[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

ORACVLO: A Mysterious Graffito

[image ALT: A broken slab of marble incised with a rude circle about 45 cm in diameter. Toward the bottom of the circle, inside it, the word ORACVLO. It is an ancient Roman gameboard and graffito on a step of the Basilica Julia in the Roman Forum in Rome.]

This incised graffito is on the lowest (extant) step of the W end of the Basilica Iulia in the Roman Forum. The circular arc is doubtless part of a gameboard scratched on the step in Roman times; but what about the graffito? Does it too go back to Antiquity? If so, does it mean anything in particular? Was it part of the gameboard or is it completely separate, just happening to be in the same place?

The unusual shape of the A, characteristic of Late Antique and early medieval scripts, can be seen much more clearly in this photo by Kalervo Koskimies, whose page on the Basilica Julia includes a second game board there as well.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 1 Feb 10