This article re-evaluates the 22 so-called Tabulae Iliacae. Where most scholars (especially in the English-speaking world) have tended to dismiss these objects as ‘trivial' and ‘confused’, or as ‘rubbish’ intended for the Roman ‘nouveaux riches’, this article relates them to the literary poetics of the Hellenistic world, especially Greek ecphrastic epigram. Concentrating on the tablets' verbal inscriptions, the article draws attention to three epigraphic features in particular. First, it explores the various literary allusivenesses of the two epigrammatic invocations inscribed on tablets 1A and 2NY; second, it examines the Alexandrian diagrammatic word-games on the reverse of seven Tabulae (2NY, 3C, 4N, 5O, 7Ti, 15Ber, 20Par), relating these to the pictorial-poetic games of the Greek technopaegnia; third, it discusses the possible hermeneutic significance of associating six tablets with ‘Theodorean techne’ (1A, 2NY, 3C, 4N, 5O, 20Par), comparing a newly discovered epigram by Posidippus (67 A-B). All of these allusions point to a much more erudite purpose and clientele: the tablets toyed with Hellenistic visual-verbal relations at large.