The word 'graffiti' comes from the Italian verb 'graffiare,' which means 'to scratch." Apparently, the term was first used around 1851 to describe stone inscriptions unearthed in the ancient city of Pompeii. Archaeologists today still use the term when referring to engravings found on ancient surfaces like columns, panels, or walls. And, just like some graffiti today, back then people wrote raunchy things and they gossiped and made fun of other people. This is the type of history, though perhaps "unimportant" in the grand scheme of things, that I think really gives people today a sense of connection with people in the past.
©2012, copyright Emily Kowalski Schroeder