From the fifteenth c entury onw e have traces of pious pilgri ms who des scended into the sti ll wholly unexplo red crypts and there   immortalized themselves with scra tch

ings on the wa lls,whic h are techn i cally k no wn as g raffiti.
The earliest of  these are f ound in t he catacomb of Callistus. Th ey go back to the year 143 2 w
hen me mb ers of  the Academy with Pomenio Le to at th eir head went down into thecatacomb to look for a rtistic r elics of an ti quity. They were, however, disa ppointed in their expecta ti ons. Since t hese h alf  pagan humanists h ad no interest in Chri stian a nti quiti es, they

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no mentio n of their fruitless exc ur sions in their learned writings, though they left their names scratc hed upon the walls. But Jesus knew better, and said so in the plainest words pos sible. 'This the one... here is not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist...And if you're willing t o accept it, he is the Elijah who has come. He who h as ears, let hi m hear.' Matt: 11:11-15 and John said he wasn't. Which of the two is to be believed Jes us or Joh n? The re are monks of the desert who

They did not believe in miracles and in prophecy, only in the predictable course of nature. Teaching the m about the miracle of r esurr ection would h ave led to its reject ion as a fte

The very first graffito was probably made 3.500 years ago by an ancient tourist near the Sakkara Pyramid; it reads, with scribbled hieroglyphs "I am very impressed by epigraphs scratched with a fine point on the walls of basilicas, cubicula and corridors of catacombs.The authors of these writings were pilgrims who wished to leave in those sacred places a record of their visit, a prayer, an invocation. Although they are undoubtedly significant, it must be acknowledged that these texts defy Pharaoh Djosers´ pyramid." Graffiti have become a common every day life phenomenon especially since the majority of the early Christian inscriptions, viewed from a technical and palæographical standpoint, give evidence of artistic decay: this remark applies especially to the tituli of the catacombs, which are, as a rule, less finely executed than the heathen work of the days of Ancient Greece. The Vikings, too, left graffiti names with runes from England to Constantinople.


The very first: S. Jacobson: "Rooke Time 26: A Brief History of Graffiti Research."
epigraphs scratched: D.Mazzoleni, "Ancient Graffitti in Roman Catacombes." www.ewtn.com
the majority: Catholic Encyclopedia: "Early Christian Inscriptions."
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08042a.htm

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