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Ancient Greek graffiti found in Smyrna's agora

Unique figures, confessions and dedications all show what daily life was like in the 2nd and 4th century AD

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Graffiti showing daily life in ancient Greek and Roman times. Photo: DHA.

22 July 2013

A rich Greek graffiti collection dated back to the second and fourth century AD has been found in the İzmir (Greek Smyrna) agora during excavation work in the area.

The graffiti shows daily life in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
Experts have described the find as the richest Greek graffiti collection in the world.

Besides writing and paintings there are also dozens of carvings on the wall. The writings on the wall mention the names of different cities, showing the citizens communicated with neighbouring countries or travelled extensively and showed tolerance to other cultures.

There are many different figures in the graffiti, from trade ships to gladiators. There are also confessions. One mystery person writes 'I love someone who does not love me', while others thank the gods for their good fortune - 'The gods healed my eyes, this is why I dedicate an oil lamp to the gods.'

There are also early signs of the influence of Christianity, with an inscription that says 'The one who ensouls', symbolising Jesus Christ.

There are also riddles that have not yet been solved on the walls. Professor Cumhur Tanrıver said Smyrna is one of the most extensive areas for Greek graffiti and talks are underway to properly preserve the sites.

"There are some pieces of graffiti under the plaster as well that we cannot prepare yet. We are having talks with Swiss experts to uncover them without damaging the ones on the top layer."

Source: Archaeology news network

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