Dirty Jokes in Latrine Mosaics Entertained Ancient Romans

As men relieved themselves at the public toilets in the coastal city of Antiochia ad Cragum some 1,800 years ago, they probably would have been amused by dirty scenes crafted into floor mosaics, archaeologists have found.

The second-century mosaics, found inside a Roman latrine in Turkey, show scenes that clearly play on myth: Narcissus fascinated with his own phallus and Ganymede getting his genitals sponged clean by a bird.

“We were stunned at what we were looking at,” said Michael Hoff, an archaeologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “You have to understand the myths to make it really come alive, but bathroom humor is kind of universal as it turns out.”

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