I T is natural to suppose that the practice of adver-tising is as old as commerce ftself. For advertisement may roughly be described as the art by which the trader brings himself and his wares to the notice of the person with whom he desires to trade. And without the co-operation of this art, commerce, except in its most primitive stages, can scarcely be supposed to have existed at all. Bearing in mind the broad distinction pointed out in the preceding chapter between mural advertising and advertising in the Press, we see at once that the history of the latter must be confined to the five centuries that have elapsed since the invention of printing. For it is safe to say that advertising by means of books or writings of any kind previous to the invention of printing was absolutely unknown. The history of mural advertising, on the other hand, stretches back to a remote antiquity. As soon as the primitive trader began to have a fixed place of business, a sign over that place of business, rude stall or booth though it might be, was an indispensable adjunct. And traces of advertisements of a
kind more nearly approaching to what we understand by the word meet us in the remains of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. These generally take the form of descriptions of runaway slaves and other lost property displayed in public places. Advertisements of gladiatorial shows illustrated with rude pictures have been found on the walls of Pompeii. Sampson, in his Ht"story of Advertising, quotes several specimens and reproduces some of the drawings of famous gladiators, the earliest known examples of "picture-posters." The following instances will show the lines on which these advertisements ran :-
AEDILIS FAMILIA GLADIATORA PUGNABIT POMPEIIS PRo K. JUNIAS. VENATIO ET VELA
" The aedile's troop of gladiators will fight at Pompeii on the 3 I st of May. There will be fights with wild animals and an awning" (as a protection against the sun).