What’s being called “the world’s oldest gay graffiti” has been discovered scratched into the walls of Nidaros Cathedral in the Norwegian city of Trondheim.
Earlier this month Dagbladet News reported the discovery by local historian Terje Bratberg, who found the Latin inscription LAURENSIUS CELVI ANUS PETRI along the southern wall of the medieval church. Translated into English, it means “Lars is Peter’s butt.”
Bratberg believes that the inscription was made around the year 1290, during a dispute between the local clergy at the cathedral and Jorund, who was the Archbishop of Nidaros from 1288 to 1309. The archbishop had sent one of his followers, a man named Lars Kalvssøn to Nidaros, to deliver a message excommunicating the local clergy. The locals responded by attacking Lars, stripping him naked, whipping him and throwing snowballs at him until he was rescued by soldiers loyal the archbishop.
The Peter mentioned in the inscription might refer to Peter of Husabø, a Norwegian noble and supporter of the archbishop.
Bratberg adds that “the message is clear, but whether it is a reference to a love affair between two men – or it was meant to publicly ridicule them. I choose to believe that it’s about love.”