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The Lack of a Rogator and Its Implications in Pompeian Electoral Programmata

Hayley Barnett

Space and physical environment have emerged as a popular lens with which to study graffiti, particularly from Pompeii. Scholars like Rebecca Benefiel have explored the idea that graffiti convey not only textual information, but spatial information as well (Benefiel, AJA).  In this vein, I will address the electoral advertisements (programmata) in Pompeii, specifically the programmata with no declared sponsors (rogatores), traditionally wealthy, politically important friends of the candidate. A spatial interpretation of these programmata allows for an understanding of the relationships between rogatores and candidates. More specifically, it reveals the importance the ancients themselves put on space, and how the utilization of space in some cases may have been more effective than the utilization of text. I examine the programmata on the house and property of Trebius Valens, the inn (caupona) of Masculus, and the apartment wall (insula) next to the caupona. A large percent of the programmata has no rogator, despite being immediately next to programmata with a given rogator. With a spatial analysis, one can understand the meaning and significance of these programmata without rogatores. Ultimately, one can see that when candidates could not draw on their social connections, they associated themselves spatially with potential rogatores, thereby establishing a sort of symbolic rogator. All of these programmata occupy a certain area to make associations both with a neighboring rogator and with a heavily peopled space. Spatial relationships with other programmata were just as valuable as the text itself, if not more so. 

Session/Panel Title:

The Next Generation: Papers by Undergraduate Classics Students

Session/Paper Number

84.5

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