Guy D. Middleton uses a single graffito to take us on a journey into the dark side of Pompeii in this fascinating essay. His eloquent prose manages to paint a vivid picture of life in an ancient brothel; proving that the allure of sex is something that never changes.
It is difficult to conjure these horrors while visiting the sun-baked town with its busloads of bright-shirted and good-natured tourists, or marvelling at the beautiful art and architecture in glossy books. We will never really know for sure about Eutychis, beyond the fact that there was a woman attached to the name. We may never know what life in the House of the Vettii was really like for its inhabitants, either. But we can keep trying to read the evidence to find the stories that bring the lives of Pompeii’s less fortunate into the light.