So it turns out that our Tinder profile is a lie: we did not invent penis graffiti. The genital tradition has been around for a lot longer than any of us and actually dates back to the 5th Century, according to the findings of prehistoric archaeology specialist Dr. Andreas Vlachopoulos.
While doing fieldwork on the island of Astypalaia, Dr. Vlachopoulos happened upon a set of phallic carvings and inscriptions in Ancient Greek that translate to messages of sexual triumphant over the same sex. "They claimed their own space in large letters that not only expressed sexual desire but talked about the act of sex itself," Vlachopoulos told the Guardian. One of the inscriptions translates to "Nikasitimos was here mounting Timiona," not the most poetic or romantic art ever made, but still very important for history.
Vlachopoulos explains that "in ancient Greece sexual desire between men was not a taboo...but this graffiti… is not just among the earliest ever discovered. By using the verb in the past continuous [tense], it clearly says that these two men were making love over a long period of time, emphasising the sexual act in a way that is highly unusual in erotic artwork." The two penises featured the name "Dion" carved above them and, according to Vlachopoulos, "seem to allude to similar behaviour."
Beyond the fact that men were just as boastful then as they are today, the doctor and his team believe that the discovery can teach us new things about Ancient Greece. Epigrapher Angelos Matthaiou said that "whoever wrote the erotic inscription referring to Timiona was very well trained in writing...The letters have been very skillfully inscribed on the face of the rock, evidence that it was not just philosophers, scholars and historians who were trained in the art of writing but ordinary people living on islands too."
What sort of conclusions do you think people will be making about our graffiti centuries from now?