There is plenty of evidence that people painted or etched graffiti in Ancient Rome.

I was curious whether and how the authorities removed the graffiti, did they paint over it or wash it off (and presumably paint back the original color)?

Especially with the etches, I can't imagine that would have been easy to remove. I couldn't find any sources in my search though I might not have been looking thorough enough.

  • 5
    What makes you think they removed the graffiti?
    – Semaphore
    Dec 21 '17 at 10:26
  • 7
    Obligatory Monty Python reference....
    – Spencer
    Dec 21 '17 at 11:33
  • 2
    @Semaphore J. A. Baird and Claire Taylor, in their "Ancient Graffiti in Context", talk about 'layers of graffiti' (p. 8), which indicates that even if there was no systematic removal of graffiti they could be painted over from time to time.
    – James Cook
    Dec 21 '17 at 11:57
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    @Semaphore There doesn't seem to be a systematic effort by the government to remove graffiti, but there was political propaganda (for the elections) and ads for gladiatorial shows that could be painted over existing inscriptions. So, in a sense, people connected to the government could erase some graffiti in order to paint other things over them, even though in a more general sense the government didn't care about graffiti.
    – James Cook
    Dec 21 '17 at 14:22
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    It is likely an open question as to whether Roman culture considered graffiti to be vandalism. Dec 22 '17 at 20:13

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