In the course of the lecture given by Prof. Peter Kruschwitz, as part of the seminar series I organised this term, he mentioned a dipinto that caught my attention:
CIL IV 230
M(arcum) Cerrinium Vatiam aed(ilem) dignum rei / Messenio rog(at) scr(ipsit) Infantio cum Floro et Fructo et / Sabino hic ubique.
‘Marcus Cerrinius Vatia for aedile: he is worthy of this commonwealth. Messenio supports this. Written by Infantio with Florus and Fructus and Sabinus, here and everywhere.’
This text was just one example in a larger discussion of the spatial reality of hic (‘here’) in the context of Pompeian graffiti and dipinti, taken to a further degree with the inclusion of ubique (‘everywhere’). Being familiar with a number of dipinti supporting the election of Vatia for this position, (including the previously mentioned dipinto supposedly written by the petty thieves), I couldn’t help but wonder if the ‘here and everywhere’ of the above text was a means by which Messenio, Florus, Fructus and Sabinus were claiming the authorship of the entire corpus of Vatia’s electoral programmata. Perhaps, I thought, this is the only one of his many dipinti that includes both a rogator and a collection of scriptores who could have been responsible for posting the remainder of his notices.
Upon further examination, however, I discovered this is not the case at all. A quick search on the Epigraphische Datenbank Clauss – Slaby reveals more than eighty dipinti calling for the election of Vatia as aedile. Slightly more than half of these (48), contain no reference to a rogator or scriptor at all. (See, for example, CIL IV 115, 150, 483, 604, 810, 2924a, 3682, and 9830). The remainder contain one or the other or both, and this is where Vatia’s campaign gets interesting. There are more than thirty individuals or groups asking for this man’s election. Some of these appear more than once, such as Infantio, the scriptor of CIL IV 230, who is responsible with the rogator Fabius Eupor for CIL IV 120, or Faventinus who asks for a vote cum suis in CIL IV 235 and 3235. More often, the writers and supporters appear once in the surviving evidence: Iarinus (CIL IV 124), Africanus (CIL IV 818), Papilio (CIL IV 1080), and Ampliatus (CIL IV 7377), for example. Some of these texts include female supporters, such as Caprasia (CIL IV 207) and Pollia (CIL IV 368), despite the fact that women did not have the ability to vote. Members of local districts, the Salinienses (CIL IV 128) and the Campanienses (CIL IV 480) support Vatia’s candidacy, as do the pomarii (fruit-growers CIL IV 149), coronarii (garland-sellers CIL IV 502) and the saccari (sack-carriers CIL IV 274).
There are additional groups, much like the petty thieves, who also support Vatia. Florus and Fructus, the same writers of the dipinto claiming to be here and everywhere (CIL IV 230), are responsible for at least one of these texts. Found in the Taberna Hedones at VII.2.44, CIL IV 581 states:
M(arcum) Cerrinium / Vatiam aed(ilem) o(ro) v(os) f(aciatis) seribibi / universi rogant / scr(ipsit) Florus cum Fructo.
All the late drinkers ask you to elect Marcus Cerrinius Vatia aedile. Florus and Fructus wrote this.
CIL IV 575, appearing just three doors down, asks for Vatia’s election by request of all the late-sleepers (dormientes universi), a not entirely unrelated group, which has led to the conclusion supported by Tenney Frank that both of these texts are the work of Florus and Fructus. As they were also responsible for a further three known dipinti, CIL IV 95, 387 and 803, they seem to be the writers most frequently working on Vatia’s behalf.
The content of these last texts raises the question (along with CIL IV 576 citing the furunculi) of whether or not all electoral programmata should be taken at face value as legitimate advertising rather than satirical commentary on the moral fortitude of the candidate. Regardless of that fact, the numerous dipinti and graffiti supporting Marcus Cerrinius Vatia demonstrate that he was extremely well-known, whether or not that has positive or negative connotations. And if the support of late drinkers and late sleepers is anything to go by, Vatia was probably not only popular, but quite a lot of fun.