BORN ROMAN BETWEEN A BEET AND A CABBAGE

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Abstract

A graffito (CIL 4.4533) from a Pompeian carpentry workshop (VI.14.37) describes a knight as born Roman between a beet and a cabbage. This paper explores the graffito's possible meanings by reviewing the ways these vegetables have been featured in discourse regarding agriculture, dining, parties, and metaphors or characters and posits that they were initially featured in a positive light. In later discussions, however, these humble vegetables not only signified poverty, but also the deterioration of traditional Roman values. The paper then considers the graffito's significance in the context of a carpentry workshop in a town under the Roman Empire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-697
Number of pages39
JournalAmerican Journal of Philology
Volume142
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Classics
  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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