Pompeii and Herculaneum provide some 11,000 inscriptions for scholars to study, most of them bring in Latin (although there are many still which are Oscan, Greek, Etruscan and at times, combinations of these). These inscriptions give a glimpse of what life was like at Pompeii from around 30 BCE to 79 CE shortly before its destruction, so it is easy for modern scholars to appreciate them. But apparently this wasn’t always the case. Unaware of his city’s impending doom and the usefulness of the writing on the wall, one rather interesting fellow lamented the following:
Ad miror te paries non c[e]cidisse qui tot scriptorum taedia sustineas.
Translation (given by Rex E. Wallace):
O wall, I am amazed that you have not fallen down since you support the loathsome scribblings of so many writers.
As Wallace aptly puts it in his An Introduction to Wall Inscriptions from Pompeii and Herculaneum (2005), “While we can understand the sentiments of the writer, at the same time we are grateful to those who have, by means of their scribblings, provided us with an invaluable means for gaining insight into the affairs and the language of the inhabitants of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the first century AD.” (pp. xxiii-xxiv)