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Chares pornos kalos…

…is a graffito scratched into a street in the Athenian deme of Thorikos. Who Chares was, and whether he really was as fine a whore as his ‘admirer’ suggests, is anyone’s guess. Graffiti like this, which comment on the sexuality of a person, are common in the ancient world however. Examples are found in Attica, Pompeii, Aphrodisias, Thasos, Thera… along with many other types of texts and images – sometimes lewd, sometimes much more functional – drawn, painted, scratched or charcoaled onto walls of buildings, streets, inside houses, on sanctuaries. Interpreting these however is not always easy and historians, archaeologists and classicists have often had very different approaches and communicated with one another very little. But new research shows the importance of dialogue between these discipline. Graffiti have much to contribute to a variety of very current scholarly debates (from the relationship between text and image, materiality, construction of memory, the performance of emotions, to name but a few). To ignore them, or treat them as curiosities, is to close us off to a colourful, and sometimes surprising, world.

One Response to Chares pornos kalos…

  1. Prof. Dr. Claudia Tiersch

    Dear Dr. Taylor,

    I’m going to organize a Conference on „Athenian Democracy in 4th Century
    B.C. – Between tradition and modernization”. This conference will take
    place at Humboldt-University Berlin from 21-23 June 2012. I would be very
    happy if you could present your research at this meeting either concerning
    the question of social dynamics (the changed poltical world) or your
    latest studies to the perceptions of poverty and wealth. Please, could you give me your Email-address in order to send youa paper that presents the aim and the concept of the Conference. Of course, it will be held in English and French as well.

    Kind regards, Claudia Tiersch

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