World’s Oldest Penis Graffiti Found On Remote Greek Island

Plus, “Nikasitimos was here mounting Timiona.”

World’s Oldest Penis Graffiti Found On Remote Greek Island

On the limestone cliffs of the remote Greek island of Astypalaia, Dr. Andreas Vlachopoulos, an archaeologist, made a fascinating discovery: dick carvings.


Graffiti has a longer history than you might expect; caricatures and advertisements and declarations of love have been scratched, painted, or carved into public places for millenia, from Greece to Rome to Egypt. But these carvings, dating to the fifth and sixth centuries B.C., are the earliest known carvings of the male genitalia, the beginnings of a trend that continues to this day. From the Guardian:

“They were what I would call triumphant inscriptions,” said the Princeton-trained professor who found them while introducing students to the ancient island world of the Aegean. “They claimed their own space in large letters that not only expressed sexual desire but talked about the act of sex itself,” he told the Guardian. “And that is very, very rare.”

Helena Smith/Guardian

The graffiti also includes the phrase “Nikasitimos was here mounting Timiona,” written carefully in Ancient Greek. Both men’s names, Vlachopoulous says the graffiti suggests an ongoing relationship. The graffiti is not just important for its influence on those who like to inscribe penises–it also indicates that even on remote islands, ordinary ancient Greeks had sophisticated writing abilities thousands of years ago–which they used to record for posterity precisely who was having sex with whom.

[via The Guardian]

[Image by Flickr user Simon Carr]

About the author

Dan Nosowitz is a freelance writer and editor who has written for Popular Science, The Awl, Gizmodo, Fast Company, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. He holds an undergraduate degree from McGill University and currently lives in Brooklyn, because he has a beard and glasses and that's the law.