When I first saw someone tweet a link to this story about ancient Roman bullets, my mind immediately went to the continually-being-debunked conspiracy theory about the carving on an ancient Greek gravestone that internet commenters insist depicts a laptop.
But my skepticism was unwarranted. These bullets weren’t shot from mythical first century guns. Rather, they were lead projectiles made to be slung from slings at hapless enemy combatants. But it’s not the discovery of this collection of slingstone “bullets” that was remarkable. It was the Romans’ habit of writing insults onto them.
Via Mental Floss
But the most hurtful bullets of all had to be the ones inscribed with sarcasm. Here’s a short sample of the real things archaeologists have found written on ancient lead bullets:
“For Pompey’s Backside!”
“Be lodged well!”
“Fruit for Dessert!”
“This is a Hard Nut to Crack!”
And my personal favorite: “Here’s a sugar plum for you!”
I think it can be easy to put ancient people in a sort of historical box, and forget that they were normal people too — complete with a sense of humor, vibrantly colored houses, and even birthday parties.
So, the bullets and the Romans’ sense of sarcasm turned out to be very real, unlike the cell phones these statues from the Louvre seem to be using.