Gay history was usually erased, but glimpses are preserved on the walls of Pompeii. One of the fascinating things preserved in Pompeii is the graffiti on the city walls where the thoughts of the people remain, uncensored by subsequent history. The walls of Pompeii read like a truck stop bathroom, including some colorful gay comments. As they appeared on August 24, 79 AD:
On the bar-brothel of Innulus and Papilio:
Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up. Now it penetrates men’s behinds. Goodbye, wondrous femininity!
On the house of the Citharist below a drawing of a man with a large nose:
Amplicatus, I know that Icarus is buggering you. Salvius wrote this.
On the basilica:
Phileros is a eunuch!
On the Eumachia Building:
Secundus likes to screw boys.
On the house of Orpheus:
I have buggered men.
And who knows who wrote this one, male or female?
On the house of Poppaeus Sabinus: If you felt the fires of love, mule-driver, you would make more haste to see Venus. I love a charming boy; I ask you, goad the mules; let’s go. Take me to Pompeii, where love is sweet. You are mine…
Of course Pompeii wasn’t all gay. Most of the graffitti is straight, like these from the walls of a brothel where we get bragging men and a client’s review:
Celadus the Thracier makes the girls moan!
Gaius Valerius Venustus, soldier of the 1st praetorian cohort, in the century of Rufus, screwer of women
Myrtis, you do great blow jobs.
And it is not just graffiti, as the art of Pompeii tells a similar story. There is a frieze on the walls of the Suburban Baths showing sixteen sex scenes, including male-male and female-female couples and same-sex pairings within group sex scenes. Both men and women went to the bathe there, sharing a singular changing room, so it appears these kinds of images where common and acceptable to the people of the day.