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Rude Roman Graffiti on Hadrian's Wall

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

Specialists in Roman epigraphy recognise engraving as mangled version of ‘Secundinus cacator’.

Hadrian's Wall

Rude graffiti carved into stone branding a Roman soldier a “s***ter” has been unearthed at Hadrian’s Wall, 1,700 years after it was written. The phallic engraving was discovered at Vindolanda, a fort and settlement near the iconic Sycamore Gap of the famous Northumberland structure.

The stone bore the image of a large phallus next to the name of a Roman soldier and the word “Cacor”, which is Latin for “s***ter”.

Retired biochemist Dylan Herbert, from south Wales, made the discovery on 19 May during his second week as a volunteer excavator. He said: “I’d been removing a lot of rubble all week and to be honest this stone had been getting in my way, I was glad when I was told I could take it out of the trench.”

He added: “It looked from the back like all the others, a very ordinary stone, but when I turned it over, I was startled to see some clear letters.

“Only after we removed the mud did I realise the full extent of what I’d uncovered, and I was absolutely delighted.”

The face of the stone measured 40cm wide by 15cm tall and was engraved with the swear words “Secvndinvs Cacor”.

Dr Andrew Birley, Director of Excavations and CEO of the Vindolanda Trust, said: “Its author clearly had a big problem with Secundinus and was confident enough to announce their thoughts publicly on a stone."



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