Recently Unearthed Roman Latrine Was Full of Dirty Jokes
Recently Unearthed Roman Latrine Was Full of Dirty Jokes Mosaics uncovered in a Roman bathroom in modern-day Turkey reminds us that bathroom humor has ancient roots Ganymedes and the heron. (University of Nebraska) 6, 2018
Anyone who’s had the privilege of visiting a public restroom has likely encountered more than a few dirty jokes and obscene scrawlings. The phenomenon is nothing new. The ancient Romans were notorious for their graffiti, and much of it is preserved in Pompeii . But a new find in present-day Turkey may take Roman bathroom humor to a new level. As Megan Gannon at LiveScience reports, archaeologists have unearthed a latrine decorated with suggestive mosaics, meaning the dirty jokes were built right into the walls.
The off-color outhouse was found by the Antiochia ad Cragum Archaeological Research Project (ACARP), which has been excavating the archaeological site along the southern coast of Turkey since 2004. The team uncovered two mosaic scenes dating to the 2nd century A.D. in the latrine of a bathhouse during the last few days of the dig season this past summer. While public latrines were common in Roman-era cities and villages, very few have survived. Toilets decorated with mosaics are even more unusual.
Michael Hoff of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, who is the co-director of the project, tells IFLScience that the mosaics depict two scenes: one tells a version of the legend of Ganymedes , a beautiful Trojan prince, whom Jupiter kidnapped and brought to Olympus to make him serve as his cupbearer and concubine. Ganymedes is often portrayed as the god of homosexual love.
Typically, Ganymedes is depicted with a hoop and an elater or stick, which is intended to “underline his boyish innocence,” according to Eva C. Keuls, classics professor at University of Minnesota, in The Reign of the Phallus: Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens . In the mosaic, however, Ganymedes is shown with a stick with a sponge on the tip, possibly so he could clean the latrines. Meanwhile, Jupiter is depicted in the scene as a heron, suggestively sponging Ganymede’s privates with his long beak. “It’s bathroom humor that would have been appreciated by the males who would have been visiting the latrine while doing their business,” says Hoff.
The other mural depicts Narcissus , the Greco-Roman mythological character who falls in love with his own reflection in the waters of a spring, eventually wasting away. In the latrine version, however, Narcissus has a very long nose, which Romans would have recognized as a sign of ugliness. Instead of admiring the reflection of his face in the water, he is ogling the reflection of his well-endowed genitals.
It’s not known if this latrine was especially naughty or if these types of mosaics may have been a common element of lavatories. What we do know from Pompeii and other sites is that sexually suggestive murals were common in places like taverns, brothels and in some homes. Suggestive artwork or trinkets were also not unusual.
Whatever the case, the jokes help archaeologists put a human face on their work. “The humor that is expressed from these mosaics really does put humanity into our abandoned city. We had been working here for 10 years and we’ve found buildings, markets, temples, and bath buildings – it’s all neat but it doesn’t speak that much to the people who actually lived here,” Hoff tells IFLScience. “I think this was really the most intimate piece of evidence that we have of the humanity who lived and breathed and worked and played here at our ancient city.”
The mosaics aren’t the only treasure archaeologists have found in Antiochia, which served as an important Roman trading center in the region and was later the seat of a bishopric during the Byzantine era before being abandoned in the 11th century. Researchers believe Antiochia would have served as an attractive hiding spot for pirates and other criminals. In another bath building, archaeologists discovered a hoard of 3,000 silver coins dating mostly to the 1600s and from regions all over Europe and the Ottoman Empire. The cache of coins appear to have been buried there intentionally. Underneath the loot, the researchers discovered the bones of a person who may have been a murder victim. Jason Daley
Jason Daley is a Madison, Wisconsin-based writer specializing in natural history, science, travel, and the environment. His work has appeared in Discover , Popular Science , Outside , Men’s Journal , and other magazines.
Watch tiny robots swim through an eyeball to deliver medicine
By Frankie Schembri Nov. 7, 2018 , 2:50 PM
Although the mere thought of a swarm of microrobots burrowing into an eyeball is enough to make some people squirm, scientists believe tiny, controllable delivery vehicles could be the future of eye medicine. Now, researchers have developed a tiny, rotini-shaped spiral that could one day be deployed in the thousands for targeted drug delivery.
Current treatments for eye diseases such as glaucoma or diabetic macular edema are delivered through direct injection or eyedrops. Those methods are effective but imprecise, often blanketing the entire eye in medication.
So scientists used nanoscale 3D printing to create spiral-shaped robots small enough to pass through the dense jelly known as the vitreous humor that makes up most of the eyeball. The researchers added a slippery coating and magnetic materials so they could propel the microbots through the eye using a magnetic field.
The scientists then collected pig eyes from a slaughterhouse, injected a solution containing about 10,000 bots into each eye, and then placed them in a magnetic field, which they used to propel the bots to the retina at the back of the eye. Imaging showed the swarm successfully reached the retina in less than 30 minutes, about 10 times faster than letting similar-size particles diffuse through the eye, the researchers reported last week in Science Advances .
The technology is still a long way from reaching the clinic. First, the researchers need to test the spiral bots in a living animal’s eye before they can begin testing in human patients. Then, they need to come up with a new, safe, easy-to-dissolve material for the bots, which are currently made with nickel. Once that happens, they say, all eyes will be on whether the bots will work well in humans. Posted in:
Carrie Underwood’s Husband Mike Fisher Surprises Her With Hilarious ‘Before She Cheats’ Spoof (Exclusive)
Carrie Underwood’s Husband Mike Fisher Surprises Her With Hilarious ‘Before She Cheats’ Spoof (Exclusive) By Leena Tailor hh:mm:ss
Carrie Underwood is in for a surprise!
The singer’s ice hockey star husband, Mike Fisher, showed off his vocal abilities in a hilarious spoof video of her hit song, “Before He Cheats,” then teamed up with ET to reveal the clip on Monday.
Titled “Before She Bleats,” the song centers around hunting, an ode to the hunting-themed apparel brand, Catchin’ Deers , which Fisher founded with his pal, Austin Casselman. The two sat down to fill ET in on the project via satellite.
“I think most people know she’s not a hunting fan, so I think she wanted to be able to plead the fifth and then be surprised,” Fisher said. “We just wanted to have fun with it [and] obviously showcase my vocal talent.”
Standing in a field in a red plaid shirt, Fisher replaces Underwood ’s lyrics with lines like, “Right now he’s probably out grazing with a corn-fed doe and it’s probably getting frisky.”
Instead of, “Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats,” Fisher croons, “Maybe next time she’ll think before she bleats.”
“A doe will make a bleating sound in mating season … it’s called a bleat,” Fisher explained to ET. So, did Underwood , 35, hand over copyright for the song?
“Carrie didn’t write the song — we didn’t have to go through her, thank goodness,” Fisher, 38, said. “She might not have approved it.”
As for how she’ll react, Fisher cheekily added that it’s, “better to ask for forgiveness than permission,” adding that the songstress has a great sense of humor and will likely “have a laugh with it.”
“I think that she’ll think he’s a pretty good singer,” added Casselman. Pregnant Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher Overjoyed After ‘Very Challenging Year’ (Exclusive) Pregnant Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher Overjoyed After ‘Very Challenging Year’ (Exclusive)
The hunting theme of the video highlights the differences between the pair, with Underwood a vegan who loves animals, while Fisher loves to hunt.
“Opposites attract,” Fisher said. “My wife is the best. She puts up with my hunting and she loves me.”
The cute couple has been married for eight years and is now preparing to welcome their second child , with Underwood also getting ready to get back on the road for her upcoming Cry Tour Pretty 360 tour.
“She’s doing great,” Fisher said. “We just moved. So, we’ve been packing and getting settled in our new house.”
Check out the full video at Fisher and Casselman’s website, https://catchindeers.com . See more on Underwood below. RELATED CONTENT: