Diss Tracks in Ancient Rome

YouTube is known for its variety of content: music videos, tutorials, Do-It-Yourself videos (DIYs), and diss tracks. Diss tracks are “music videos” which either poke fun at the person creating it or someone else. All diss tracks have cringeworthy lyrics and a repetitive beat. Unfortunately, the most popular diss tracks on YouTube are the ones made by Logan Paul and Jake Paul. In fact, both of them were extremely popular last year for dissing each other (I recommend not clicking the link). Today, if you want to ruin someone’s reputation, the best thing to do would be to create a diss track. It’s a modern, memorable, and catchy way.

In Ancient Rome, the Romans didn’t have YouTube, so what did they do to publicly defame people ? Well, just like how the Paul brothers are famous for their diss tracks, Catullus was famous for his hate-filled poems in Ancient Rome. In fact, in one of his other poems, Catullus threatens Asinius Marrucinus and says that he will write “300 hendecasyllabic verses…[if Marrucinus does not] send back the napkin” (Poem 12). This threat is merely the Ancient Roman way of saying ‘I’m going to publicly embarrass you by creating something’.

So, while the Romans lived in the Ancient World, and we live in a more modern one, human instincts have not changed. If you want to defame someone, it’s quite probably that you would create something, whether it’s a rumor, poem, or diss track. Human instinct has not changed much, and we still do the same things, but in a more complicated way (making a poem is easier than making a music video).