False positive: testing the authenticity of Latin graffiti in ancient Pompeii

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The custom in antiquity of fabricating inscriptions to confer credibility to otherwise suspect or unreliable declarations of great age or importance of one kind or another is well known. This chapter examines a representative sample of graffiti found in ancient Pompeii to produce a dataset of graffiti texts that may within the bound of statistical likelihood be designated as authentic or invented, and by extension examine the reasons underlying, as well as the methods used to execute, the manufacture of false graffiti in 1st century BCE and CE Pompeii.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTenue est mendacium
Subtitle of host publicationrethinking fakes and authorship in Classical, Late Antique and Early Christian works
EditorsKlaus Lennartz, Javier Martínez
Place of PublicationGroningen
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)9789493194366
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Roman epigraphy
  • Early modern (18-19th century) archaeology
  • CIL IV
  • Graffiti
  • Forgeries


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