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Ancient Pompeii Roman city destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The whole event was witnessed by Pliny the Younger from a city 20 miles away in the Bay of Naples. The buried city was discovered accidentally over 1500 years after the event. Excavations have uncovered insight into life in the ancient Roman Empire. An interesting note is that the volcano erupted a day after the Roman festival of Vulcanalia, the celebration of the Roman god of fire.
The city of Pompeii is a partially buried Roman town-city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the comune of Pompei. Along with Herculaneum, its sister city, Pompeii was destroyed and completely buried during a long catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius spanning two days in 79 AD. The eruption buried Pompeii under 4 to 6 meters of ash and pumice, and it was lost for over 1,500 years before its accidental rediscovery in 1599. Since then, its excavation has provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city at the height of the Roman Empire. Today, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Italy, with approximately 2,500,000 visitors every year. - Wikipedia
Maps are essential for any serious study, they help students of Roman history understand the geographical locations and historical backgrounds of the places mentioned in historical sources.
Pompeii. By the 1st century AD, Pompeii was one of a number of towns located around the base of the volcano, Mount Vesuvius. The area had a substantial population which grew prosperous from the region's renowned agricultural fertility. Many of Pompeii's neighboring communities, most famously Herculaneum, also suffered damage or destruction during the 79 eruption. By coincidence it was the day after Vulcanalia, the festival of the Roman god of fire.
Pompeii in the 1st Century AD. The excavated town offers a snapshot of
Roman life in the 1st century, frozen at the moment it was buried on 24 August
AD 79. The forum, the baths, many houses, and some out-of-town villas like
the Villa of the Mysteries remain surprisingly well preserved.
Pompeii was a lively place, and evidence abounds of literally the smallest details of everyday life. For example, on the floor of one of the houses (Sirico's), a famous inscription Salve, lucru (Welcome, money), perhaps humorously intended, shows us a trading company owned by two partners, Sirico and Nummianus (but this could be a nickname, since nummus means coin, money). In other houses, details abound concerning professions and categories, such as for the "laundry" workers (Fullones). Wine jars have been found bearing what is apparently the world's earliest known marketing pun (technically a blend), Vesuvinum (combining Vesuvius and the Latin for wine, vinum). Graffiti carved on the walls shows us real street Latin (Vulgar Latin, a different dialect from the literary or classical Latin). In 89 BC, after the final occupation of the city by Roman General Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Pompeii was finally annexed to the Roman Republic. During this period, Pompeii underwent a vast process of infrastructural development, most of which was built during the Augustan period. Worth noting are an amphitheatre, a palaestra with a central natatorium or swimming pool, and an aqueduct that provided water for more than 25 street fountains, at least four public baths, and a large number of private houses (domi) and businesses. The amphitheatre has been cited by modern scholars as a model of sophisticated design, particularly in the area of crowd control. The aqueduct branched out through three main pipes from the Castellum Aquae, where the waters were collected before being distributed to the city; although it did much more than distribute the waters, it did so with the prerequisite that in the case of extreme drought, the water supply would first fail to reach the public baths (the least vital service), then private houses and businesses, and when there would be no water flow at all, the system would fail to supply the public fountains (the most vital service) in the streets of Pompeii. The pools in Pompeii were used mostly for decoration.
The large number of well-preserved frescoes throw a great light on everyday life and have been a major advance in art history of the ancient world, with the innovation of the Pompeian Styles (First/Second/Third Style). Some aspects of the culture were distinctly erotic, including phallic worship. A large collection of erotic votive objects and frescoes were found at Pompeii. Many were removed and kept until recently in a secret collection at the University of Naples.
At the time of the eruption, the town could have had some 20,000 inhabitants, and was located in an area in which Romans had their holiday villas. Prof. William Abbott explains, "At the time of the eruption, Pompeii had reached its high point in society as many Romans frequently visited Pompeii on vacations." It is the only ancient town of which the whole topographic structure is known precisely as it was, with no later modifications or additions. It was not distributed on a regular plan as we are used to seeing in Roman towns, due to the difficult terrain. But its streets are straight and laid out in a grid, in the purest Roman tradition; they are laid with polygonal stones, and have houses and shops on both sides of the street. It followed its decumanus and its cardo, centered on the forum.
Besides the forum, many other services were found: the Macellum (great food market), the Pistrinum (mill), the Thermopolium (sort of bar that served cold and hot beverages), and cauponae (small restaurants). An amphitheatre and two theatres have been found, along with a palaestra or gymnasium. A hotel (of 1,000 square metres) was found a short distance from the town; it is now nicknamed the "Grand Hotel Murecine".
In 2002, another important discovery at the mouth of the Sarno River near Sarno revealed that the port also was populated and that people lived in palafittes, within a system of channels that suggested a likeness to Venice to some scientists. These studies are just beginning to produce results.
Pompeii from 62-79 AD. The inhabitants of Pompeii, as those of the
area today, had long been used to minor quaking (indeed, the writer Pliny the
Younger wrote that earth tremors "were not particularly alarming because they
are frequent in Campania"), but on 5 February 62, there was a severe temblor
which did considerable damage around the bay and particularly to Pompeii. The
earthquake, which took place on the afternoon of the 5th of February, is
believed to have registered over 7.5 on the Richter scale. On that day in
Pompeii there were to be two sacrifices, as it was the anniversary of Augustus
being named "Father of the Nation" and also a feast day to honour the guardian
spirits of the city. Chaos followed the earthquake. Fires, caused by oil lamps
that had fallen during the quake, added to the panic. Nearby cities of
Herculaneum and Nuceria were also affected. Temples, houses, bridges, and roads
were destroyed. It is believed that almost all buildings in the city of Pompeii
were affected. In the days after the earthquake, anarchy ruled the city, where
theft and starvation plagued the survivors. In the time between 62 and the
eruption in 79, some rebuilding was done, but some of the damage had still not
been repaired at the time of the eruption. It is unknown how many people left
the city after the earthquake, but a considerable number did indeed leave the
devastation behind and move to other cities within the Roman Empire. Those
willing to rebuild and take their chances in their beloved city moved back and
began the long process of reviving the city.
An important field of current research concerns structures that were being restored at the time of the eruption (presumably damaged during the earthquake of 62). Some of the older, damaged, paintings could have been covered with newer ones, and modern instruments are being used to catch a glimpse of the long hidden frescoes. The probable reason why these structures were still being repaired around seventeen years after the earthquake was the increasing frequency of smaller quakes that led up to the eruption. - Wikipedia
Pompeii (??µp????). A city in Campania, founded towards the sixth
century B.C. by an Italic tribe, which left its native haunts in the Apennines
to seek a happier home on the shores of Campania. They settled on a hill of
volcanic origin between the river Sarno and the sea, and divided the land so
that each paterfamilias should have a share of two iugera (57,600 square feet).
The number of settlers is estimated by Fiorelli at 150 families. The city was
inaugurated with the same political and religious rites which had been observed
in the foundation of Rome; it was crossed by two main streets, the cardo running
from south to north, the decumanus running from east to west. Two lanes
parallel, one with the cardo, one with the decumanus, were added in course of
time, by means of which the city was finally divided into nine quarters or wards
(regiones), and each ward subdivided into blocks (insulae). The same division is
maintained to-day. Thus the house of Lucius Popidius Secundus is marked house n.
v., fourth insula, first region; that of Marius Epidius Rufus is n. xx., first
insula, ninth region, and so on.
Towards B.C. 424 the city fell a prey to the Samnites. The new-comers, under the influence of Hellenic art and civilization, transformed the smoky huts of the conquered tribesmen into gay and commodious dwellings, levelled and paved the streets, and raised public and sacred edifices in the choicest forms of Doric architecture.
Towards the end of the Marsic War the Pompeians were defeated in the plains of Nola; their city and their territory were given up to a colony of veterans; the name was changed into that of Colonia Veneria Cornelia Pompeii. Under the benevolent rule of Augustus, Pompeii became the Newport of ancient Rome, and continued to enjoy the favour of the rich and pleasure-seeking patricians for more than a century. In A.D. 63, on
Specimen of House Decorations of the Time of Augustus. The Mosaic-work is lined with Cornices of Shells, Pumice-stones, and Enamels. (From house, reg. vii. ins. ii. n. 38.)
February 5th, the felix Campania was shaken by an earthquake. Pompeii, Nuceria, Herculaneum, and Naples were seriously damaged; a flock of six hundred sheep disappeared in a fissure of the earth; statues fell from their pedestals; public edifices collapsed, and when the work of repairing the damages was nearly completed, and the recollections of the earthquake had almost died away, another by far more horrible catastrophe took place by which Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabia, as living cities, were wiped forever from the face of the earth.
The account of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 is given by Pliny the Younger in two well-known letters (vi. 16 and 20) to Tacitus. Other particulars are supplied by Dio Cassius, lxvi. 21; Suetonius, Titus, viii; Marcus Aurelius, iv. 48; and Tertullian, Apol. 40.The history of those eventful days has therefore been reconstructed in all the leading details. (See Dyer's chapter “History of Vesuvius,” pp. 10-29.) Still there are a great many others, revealed by late excavations, which are less known to the general public. Thus, for instance, the year in which the eruption took place is well known (A.D. 79); not so the month and the day, as the text of Pliny which mentions them is undoubtedly corrupt. The Neapolitan scholars have favoured autumn (November) rather than summer (August), alleging the discoveries of carpets drawn over the mosaic and marble floors, of braziers placed in exposed corners, of dried figs and grapes, of chestnuts, pine-nuts, and other fruit belonging to the late autumn. On the other hand, it was alleged that in the hundred and fifty houses excavated since 1870, no carpet has been found, only a piece of matting which, however, seems to have been rolled, and not extended on the floor; that the braziers collected both from Pompeii and Herculaneum number scarcely fifty, and that they were used not for warming but for cooking purposes; and lastly that in Southern climates the fruit mentioned above ripens in
The controversy about the precise date of the destruction of Pompeii was settled on October 11th, 1889. While excavating a bed of volcanic ashes, a few steps outside the Porta Stabiana, Signor Ruggero discovered and moulded in plaster two human forms, and that of a trunk of a tree, 3.40 metres long, 0.40 m. in diameter. One of the human casts belonged to a middle-aged man clothed in an overcoat, and lying on his back with drawn-up legs, and arms outstretched, as if trying to protect his chest from the shower of burning ashes by which he was suffocated. The other belongs to an old woman suffocated and buried while attempting to raise herself from the ground by the joint action of hands and knees. By far more important is the cast of the trunk of the tree. The tree was still in its upright position, and must have been twenty-five or thirty feet high. The lower portion, embedded in pumice-stone, does not appear in the mould; the top also has disappeared, because, projecting above the bed of ashes, it must have been burned or cut away. The middle section of the trunk is wonderfully well preserved, together with many leaves and berries. Trunk, leaves, and berries belong undoubtedly to a species of Laurus Nobilis, the fruit of which comes to maturity towards the end of autumn. Prof. Pasquale, in a paper published in the Notizie degli Scavi for 1889, p. 408, proves that the berries discovered on October 11th were perfectly ripe. This Laurus Nobilis, therefore, so ingeniously brought back to life after a lapse of one thousand eight hundred and ten years, settles the controversy concerning the date of the eruption: it took place in the month of November, on November 23, A.D. 79. The catastrophe took the gay and thoughtless people by surprise. All over the town we find evidence of a sudden panic—of a wild rush for life. The writer has often noticed one of these striking examples in a corner of the Forum opposite to the temple of Iupiter. Some masons were engaged in raising an enclosure round a new altar of white marble; the mortar just dashed against the side of the wall was but half spread out; one can see the long sliding stroke of the trowel about to return and obliterate its own track; but it never did return: the hand of the workman was suddenly arrested. The city was not buried entirely, and concealed from the eyes of survivors. The top of the walls of private buildings, the colonnades of public edifices emerged from the
Showing the thickness of the bed of pumice-stones and ashes under which Pompeii was buried, in comparison with the height of buildings. The view is taken from near the Gate to Herculaneum. In the almost perpendicular cutting of volcanic strata back of Hexedra on the left, the various layers of lapilli and ceneri are distinctly visible.
dreary waste, so that it was easy for the survivors to dig out the valuables left behind, and even the statues, marbles, fountains, and bronzes. Later eruptions and the work of nature and man obliterated the last traces of the city; a vague recollection of its site survived in the name of Cività, given to the hill in which it lay buried. The peasants of the Cività have searched for hidden treasure since time immemorial; to save the trouble and expense of an open excavation they tunnelled the bed of lapilli and scoriae, sometimes paying for their imprudence with their life. The skeletons of four men buried alive by the collapse of the cuniculus they were actually digging have been found in a house near the Via dell' Abbondanza. That of Papidius Priscus was searched likewise in the Byzantine period, as proved by the words Dumnos Pertusa scratched above a hole cut through one of its walls to obtain a passage from room to room. The house of L. Caecilius Iucundus was found ransacked; its searching-party had left in one of the holes a lantern of the shape still in use among the Neapolitan peasantry. Yet there are a great many exceptions to the rule. Many wealthy houses have never been explored, and their valuable contents fall occasionally our prey, under the form of a treasure-trove. The writer remembers one which took place in 1881. While Michele Ruggero was excavating half-way between the Porta Stabiana and the coast, a building was found—perhaps a bathing establishment—comprising some twenty rooms gayly decorated with frescoes. Here a band of thirty-six Pompeians took refuge from the fury of the eruption, hoping to take to the boats; the fury of the sea, however, deprived the fugitives of their last chance of salvation. They were all buried alive; their skeletons were found mingled together, as they fell in their last struggle for a breath of air. They were wealthy people. Together with their bones the following objects lay scattered on the floor: five bracelets, six pairs of earrings, two necklaces, one chain, one brooch, seventeen finger-rings, fourteen pieces of gold, two hundred and eight of silver, besides engraved stones, pearls, mirrors, cameos, and copper coins.
In the following year (1882, October) a Lararium, or domestic chapel, was found in a house of the Via dell' Abbondanza in a wonderful state of preservation. On the steps of the altar there were seven statuettes of delicate workmanship. One had been taken away at the moment of the catastrophe by the fugitives, perhaps because it was the best or the most venerated of the group. The six others were found in their proper places. One represents Apollo Citharoedus, the figure being of bronze, the accessories of silver. The second, made of bronze, silver, and ivory, has undergone a curious transformation. At first it was made to represent Mercury, then, with the addition of proper clothing and attributes, it was turned into an Aesculapius. The others represent Mercury, Hercules, and two Lares.
On September 20, 1888, another remarkable discovery of silver-plate and other valuables took place in regio viii. insula ii. house xxiii. It seems that the owners of the house, having made a bundle of their plate, had put it on a stool, waiting, perhaps, for a lull in the shower of burning ashes
View of Pompeii. Island of Revigliano (Petra Herculis). Present line of coast. Ancient line of shore.
in order to remove it to a safer place. However, in the hurry of flight, the bundle was left behind. Besides pieces of the stool on which it was laid, and of the coarse cloth in which it was enveloped, an exquisite silver set for four was found—viz., four large and four small cups and saucers, four egg-cups, one filter, and one jug, weighing nine pounds in all. There was also broken silverware and table-utensils, such as spoons, salt-cellars, etc. More important still was the discovery of three libelli (of wood coated with wax) containing family documents. The deeds, drawn up in A.D. 61, eighteen years before the eruption, belonged to two women—a Decidia Margaris and a Poppaea Noté. In the first deed Poppaea sells to Margaris two young slaves named Simplex and Petrinus. In the second she declares herself a debtor to Margaris for the sum of 1450 sestertii. The third document cannot be interpreted with certainty.
The question whether Pompeii was a sea-port town in the strict sense of the word, or whether it was separated from the sea by a strip of land more or less broad, has been fully discussed by Michele Ruggero in the volume published on the eighteenth centenary of the destruction of the ill-fated town. He declares the story of the discovery of a large three-masted ship (believed to be the flag-ship of Pliny ) near the farm of Messigna, in 1833, to be devoid of foundation, because the would-be masts, seen by the naval engineer Giuseppe Negri, were but trunks of cypresses. Many such trees have been found since 1833: they are planted in quincunx, with the roots in the ancient vegetable soil, and the trunks buried in pumice-stone of the fatal eruption of 79. The average size of one hundred trees, measured by Palmieri and Scacchi, was 1.42 m. in circumference, 0.47 m. in diameter, which is the average size of cypresses thirty-six years old. Following the line of trees and of antique farmhouses, Ruggero was able to trace the line of the sea-coast before the eruption. It starts from Torre Annunziata, bends inland between the Salerno railway and the high-load to Castellamare, and crosses the river Sarno near the “molino di Rosa.” The island of Revigliano, the petra Herculis of the Pompeians, which, before the eruption, was separated from the mainland by a channel 1.550 metres wide, comes now within 420 m. of the shore.
The foregoing view, taken from the north end of the excavations, shows the belt of land created by the shower of ashes and lapilli between the walls of the city and the Petra Herculis.
Of the inhabitants of Pompeii, whom Fiorelli puts down as about 12,000, the greater part fled on foot, on horseback, or in chariots. This is proved by the fact that, although the city contained many stables, two coaches only have been found—one in the court-yard of the house of Papidius Priscus and the other in the stables regio i. insula iv. n. 28. Eight skeletons of horses have been found in the space of eighteen years. In the same period of time 150 human bodies were discovered within the walls, the total number of victims being about 550, less than one in twelve. Many died in their own houses while waiting for the cessation of the shower of ashes; some were crushed by the fall of the roofs; some asphyxiated by the sulphuric vapours or by the fine dust; some starved to death or were buried alive in places from which there was no escape. The skeletons are generally found with a lamp close by, darkness, even in the day-time, having been dense; and they are seldom alone. The Pompeians died in family groups, as shown by the eighteen bodies discovered in the cellar of Diomede's villa; by the twelve in the atrium of house reg. i. ins. ii. n. 28. The fate of these last could not be explained at first, because it seemed so easy for them to have made an escape through the opening of the impluvium. On closer examination it was ascertained that a heavy iron grating had been laid across the impluvium, and that the unfortunate crowd had tried to force it without success.
Bodies crushed by falling ruins or buried in lapilli cannot be cast in plaster, being reduced to a shapeless heap of bones. Those buried in fine dust (hardened by water) are marvellously well preserved, and can be reproduced in plaster to perfection. Nothing is more impressive than the study of the various kinds of agonies suffered by these poor victims at the last moment of the struggle.
The first cast belongs to a man dashed against the pavement by the fall of the wooden ceiling of his shop-room. His fingers are clenched and his elbows drawn, as if trying to lift the weight under which he had fallen.
Cast of man from Pompeii.
The following cast belongs to a workman of the Tanneries (Concia), who was left behind or forgotten by his comrades, as he was lying ill in bed.
Cast of workman from Pompeii.
The poor wretch, whose legs and body appear emaciated, dragged himself as far as the courtyard of the establishment, and, perceiving no chance of deliverance or help, laid himself down to die quietly on the bare floor.
Women also seem to have died with resignation; they are generally found lying on the left side, with the tunica drawn over the face, as a
Cast of woman from Pompeii.
shelter from the ashes. The attitude of most of the men conveys the idea of energetic despair. Far from showing the abandonment of death, they fight to the last against their fate, raising hands and knees in a supreme effort, as shown by the following casts.
Cast of man from Pompeii.
We must not forget the sad fate of a watch-dog, the casting of whose form is the most difficult and delicate yet accomplished in Pompeii, owing to the thinness of the legs and the extraordinary contortion of the body. The faithful animal was forgotten by his ungrateful master, L. Vesonius Prinius. He was left tied to a chain behind the street-door of the house, reg. vi. ins. xiv. n. 20. As the lapilli, pouring in from the door, began to fill the vestibule, the dog tried his best to break the ties. He was overtaken by death while lying on his back with outstretched legs.
Watch-dog. Cast from nature. Discovered at the entrance of the prothyrum of the house of L. Vesonius Prinius.
Among the manifestations of Pompeian art which strike the visitor most forcibly, the wall-decorations in fresco or encaustic painting come first. There are many publications on this subject, one of the earliest being Le Antichità di Ercolano e Pompei, 9 fol. vols. (Napoli, 1755-1792). See also Herculaneum et Pompei: Recueil général de peintures, bronzes, mosaïques, etc., découverts jusqu'à ce jour … gravé du trait sur cuivre par M. Roux aîné, et accompagné d'un texte explicatif par M. L. Barre, 8 large 8vo vols. (Paris, Didot); Raoul Rochette, Choix de peintures de Pompéi, la plupart du sujet historique, etc., with coloured plates, large fol. (Paris, 1844); E. O. Müller, Wandgemälde aus Pompei und Herculanum, mit einem erlaüternden Texte (Berlin, 1844); Wolfgang Helbig, Wandgemälde der vom Vesuv verschütteten Städte Campaniens (Leipzig, 1868). See Dilthey's criticism in the Bullettino dell' Istituto (1869), pp. 147-160. Professor Mau, of the German Institute, has been illustrating year by year the latest finds in this department, both in the Bullettino and the Mittheilungen of the German Institute.
The frescoes of Pompeian houses afford the best illustration that could be desired of ancient mythology, but they offer little of historical interest.
Specimen of Pompeian fresco-paintings (The Wounded Adonis), showing the way they are cared for after their discovery. The cracks of the plaster are first filled with gluten, and then fastened with brass clasps shaped like a T. Sometimes the whole surface of the fresco is washed with a solution of wax.
Their value, as works of art, has been slightly exaggerated; at all events, they cannot bear comparison with the frescoes discovered in Rome, in Livia's Palatine house, in Livia's villa ad Gallinas albas (Prima Porta), in the Roman palace by la Farnesina, in Lamia's gardens (the Nozze Aldobrandine), in Nero's Golden House, etc. Among the few Pompeian frescoes connected with history the one discovered in the autumn of 1882 between the Via dell' Abbondanza, dei Teatri, e de xii. Dei, representing the Judgment of Solomon, took everybody by surprise. Who would ever have conceived that a scene inspired by the Bible should have been discovered on the walls of this purely pagan, dissolute, materialistic town? The picture belongs to the burlesque genre; and although the caricaturist has somewhat exaggerated the conventional deformity of his personages, still every particular of the Biblical account can be recognized. King Solomon, with the sceptre in his hand, sits on a platform between two assessors. He has already told the officer to make two portions of the infant; and while the pretended mother is waiting to receive her half in perfect indifference, the real one falls in a fit of despair.
Many conjectures have been proposed to explain the appearance of such a picture at Pompeii; the most satisfactory seems to be this: The Alexandrian School — after the translation of the Bible by the LXX.—was well acquainted with Hebrew archaeology, history, and tradition. The episode of Solomon's judgment may have become popular in Alexandrian circles. At Pompeii a large contingent of Alexandrians met every summer. No wonder if one of them chose to decorate his house with frescoes derived from legends so popular in his mother country. What renders the conjecture all the more probable is that, in the same apartment, there are other frescoes representing Egyptian scenes, such as crocodile-hunting, the land of the pygmies, etc.
A wine-shop was discovered in 1877, in regio vi. ins. xiv. n. 36, with several tableaux de genre painted on the white plastering of its walls. The first scene on the left represents a young man kissing a woman, who appears dressed in yellow garments with black shoes. She says, nolo! cvm mvrtal—“I don't want to be kissed; go to your Myrtalis.” The second scene represents the same woman talking to Myrtalis. They both point their fingers at a third female, who brings in a great wine-jar and a cup, and says, qvi volt svmat ? oceane veni bibe—an invitation to partake of the drink. The third scene represents two gamblers seated, with the chessboard on their knees, on which several latrunculi are disposed in lines of different colours— yellow, white, and black. The one on the left throws the dice, and says, exsi—“I am out.” His partner, pointing to the dice, answers, non tria ? dvas est—“You only made two points, not three!” Both fight in the fourth scene. One says, non ita ? me tria ? ego fvi—“You lie; I made three points; I am out.” The other retorts, orte fellator ? ego fvi—“You . . .! I have the game.” At this moment the shop-keeper interferes, and, pushing the rioters outside, says, ite foras rixsatis—“Go out in the street if you want to fight.”
Landscapes are an utter failure; there is no colouring, no perspective, no appreciation of nature, no value of tones. Still, the study of the works of Pompeian landscape-painters is not without interest. Prof. O. Comes has compiled from them a catalogue of flowers, shrubs, ornamental and fruittrees known to the Pompeians. It comprises seventy varieties. See Ruggero's Pompei, pp. 177-250.
The name of Pompeii was never forgotten in the Middle Ages. A chronicler of the ninth century, named Martinus Monachus, speaks of Sikkartol, prince of Benevento, having pitched his tents in a spot qui a Pompeia urbe Campaniae, nunc deserta, nomen accepit (named from Pompeii, a city of Campania, now deserted). Martinus refers not to Pompeii destroyed in A.D. 79, but to a village of the same name mentioned by the Tabula Pentingeriana at the time of Theodosius, which had in its turn been destroyed by later eruptions.
In 1594 Muzio Tuttavilla, Count of Sarno, while boring an underground channel to convey the waters of the Sarno itself to Torre dell' Annunziata, discovered remains of the amphitheatre, of the temple of Isis, of the Forum, of the strada delle Tombe, to which, however, no attention was paid. Two inscriptions, dug up in the heart of the city, contained the name of Pompeii, of one of its prominent citizens (M. Popidius), of one of its prominent goddesses (Venus Physica Pompeiana); they were thrown aside and probably made use of as building materials. Regular investigation began a century and a half later, on April 1, 1748. I say regular, because the search was undertaken by the State; but there was no order, no regularity, no system. Holes were dug at random, more for the sake of official plunder in favour of the Naples museums than for topographical discovery. The merit of having brought Pompeian excavations to their actual efficiency belongs to Giuseppe Fiorelli, who was named superintendent in 1860. To him we are indebted for a thoroughly scientific organization of the work; since to his ingenuity we owe the invention of the casting in plaster the corpses of the Pompeians who lost their lives in that appalling catastrophe. (See Dyer's Pompeii, p. 475; The Quarterly Review, No. 230, p. 382.)
Bibliography.—Works of general interest: Mazois (François), Les Ruines de Pompéi dessinées et mesurées pendant les années 1809-1811, 4 vols. (Paris, 1812-38), containing nearly 200 plates, and embracing the results of excavations from 1757 to 1821; Sir William Gell, Pompeiana, two series, each of two 8vo vols. (London, 1824-30), giving an account of excavations down to the year 1819; T. L. Donaldson, Pompeii, illustrated with picturesque views, engraved by W. B. Cooke, 2 fol. vols. (London, 1827); Breton, Pompeia Décrite et Dessinée, 2d ed. (Paris, 1855); Overbeck, Pompeij in seinen Gebaüden, Alterthümern, und Kunstwerken (Leipzig, 1856; 2d ed. in 2 vols. 1871); Fausto e Felice Niccolini, Le Case ed i Monumenti di Pompei Disegnati e Descritti (Naples, 1864-92); Giuseppe Fiorelli, Pompeianarum Antiquitatum Historia (Naples, 1860), in two 8vo vols., containing the diaries of excavations from their commencement in 1748 to 1860, with the reports printed verbatim in Spanish down to July, 1764, after that date in Italian; id. Giornale degli Scavi di Pompei, begun in 1861; id. Descrizione di Pompei, 4to (Naples, 1875), with a good map; Dyer, Pompeii: its History, Buildings, and Antiquities, 3d ed. (London, 1871), with nearly 300 engravings, maps, and plans; Michele Ruggero, Pompei e la Regione Sotterrata dal Vesuvio nell' Anno LXXIX., a joint work of the directors of the Pompeian excavations, most excellent, and copiously illustrated (Naples, 1879); id. Degli Scavi di Stabia dal MDCCXLIX. al MDCCLXXXII. (Naples, 1881).
Besides these standard works many important accounts have appeared in archaeological journals, signed by Guaranta, Niccolini, Avellino, Minervini, Monnier, Helbig, Mau, Fiorelli, de Petra Sogliano. These contributions cannot be ignored by students wishing to obtain full knowledge of the subject. See Il Real Museo Borbonico, an illustrated serial of Neapolitan antiquities, begun in 1824; the Italian edition numbers fourteen 4to vols.; Memorie della Reale Accademia di Archeologia di Napoli; Annali e Bullettino dell' Istituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica (Rome and Paris, 1829- 1885); Jahrbuch und Mittheilungen des k. deutschen archäologischen Instituts (Römische Abtheilung, 1886-92); Avellino and Minervini, Bullettino Archeologico Napoletano; Giuseppe Fiorelli, Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità (Rome, 1876-92). The first archaeological map of Pompeii was measured and designed by Antonio Bibent in 1827; the best is that of G. Fiorelli, entitled Tabula Coloniae Veneriae Corneliae Pompei. It is divided into 42 sheets, which, put together, form a superficies of 140 square palms, being the 333.3 part of the true area.
Pompeian epigraphy has been admirably illustrated by Mommsen, Zangemeister, Fiorelli, and others. See Theodor Mommsen, Inscriptiones Regni Neapolitani, p. 112 foll.; Raffaele Garrucci, Graffiti di Pompei (Paris, 1856); Giuseppe Fiorelli, Monumenta Epigraphica Pompeiana, ad Fidem Archetyporum Expressa, part first (Oscan inscriptions); Carl Zangemeister, Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, vol. iv. Inscriptiones Parietariae (Berlin, 1871); Theodor Mommsen, Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, vol. x. pars prior (Berlin, 1883); and the article Graffiti. - Harry Thurston Peck. Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers. 1898.
POMPE´II (??µp??a, Strab.; ??µp????, Dio Cass.: Eth. ??µp??a???, Pompeianus: Pompeii), an ancient city of Campania, situated on the coast of the beautiful gulf called the Crater or Bay of Naples, at the mouth of the river Sarnus (Sarno), and immediately at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. It was intermediate between Herculaneum and Stabiae. (Strab. v. p.247; Pliny, 3.5. s. 9; Mela, 2.4.9.) All accounts agree in representing it as a very ancient city: a tradition recorded by Solinus (2.5) ascribed its foundation to Hercules; but Dionysius, who expressly notices him as the founder of Herculaneum, says nothing of Pompeii (Dionys. A. R. 1.44). Strabo says it was first occupied by the Oscans, subsequently by the Tyrrhenians (Etruscans) and Pelasgians, and afterwards by the Samnites (Strab. l.c.). It continued in the hands of these last, that is, of the branch of the nation who had assumed the name of Campanians [CAMPANIA], till it passed under the government of Rome. It is probable that it became from an early period a flourishing town, owing to its advantageous situation at the mouth of the Sarnus, which rendered it the port of Nola, Nuceria, and all the rich plain watered by that river. (Strab. l.c.) But we meet with no mention of its name in history previous to the Roman conquest of Campania. In B.C. 310 it is mentioned for the first time, when a Roman fleet under P. Cornelius touched there, and the troops on board proceeded from thence to ravage the territory of Nuceria. (Liv. 9.38.) No subsequent notice of it occurs till the outbreak of the Social War (B.C. 91), in which it appears to have taken a prominent part, as the Pompeiani are mentioned by Appian apart from the other Campanians, in enumerating the nations that joined in the insurrection. (Appian, App. BC 1.39.) In the second year of the war (B.C. 89) Pompeii was still in the hands of the insurgents, and it was not till after repeated engagements that L. Sulla, having defeated the Samnite forces under L. Cluentius, and forced them to take refuge within the walls of Nola, was able to form the siege of Pompeii. (Appian, ib. 50; Oros. 5.18; Vell. 2.16.) The result of this is nowhere mentioned. It is certain that the town ultimately fell into the hands of Sulla; but whether by force or a capitulation we are not informed; the latter is, however, the most probable, as it escaped the fate of Stabiae, and its inhabitants were admitted to the Roman franchise, though they lost a part of their territory, in which a military colony was established by the dictator, under the guidance and patronage of his relation, P. Sulla. (Cic. pro Sull. 21; Zumpt, de Colon. pp. 254, 468.) Before the close of the Republic, Pompeii became, in common with so many other maritime towns of Campania, a favourite resort of the Roman nobles, many of whom had villas in its immediate neighbourhood. Among others, Cicero had a villa there, which he frequently mentions under the name of “Pompeianum,” and which appears to have been a considerable establishment, and one of his favourite residences. (Cic. Ac. 2.3, ad Att. 1.20, ad Fam. 7.3, 12.20.) Under the Empire it continued to be resorted to for the same purposes. Seneca praises the pleasantness of its situation, and we learn both from him and Tacitus that it was a populous and flourishing town ( “celebre oppidum,” Tac. Ann. 15.22; Sen. Nat. Qu. 6.1). In addition to the colony which it received (as already mentioned) under Sulla, and which is alluded to in an inscription as “Colonia Veneria Cornelia” (Mommsen, Inscr. R. N. 2201), it seems to have received a colony at some later period, probably under Augustus (though it is not termed a colony by Pliny), as it bears that title in several inscriptions (Mommsen, l.c. 2230--2234).
In the reign of Nero (A.D. 59) a tumult took place in the amphitheatre of Pompeii, arising out of a dispute between the citizens and the newly-settled colonists of Nuceria, which ended in a conflict in which many persons were killed and wounded. The Pompeians were punished for this outbreak by the prohibition of all gladiatorial and theatrical exhibitions for ten years. (Tac. Ann. 14.17.) Only four years after, the city suffered severely from an earthquake, which took place on the 5th of February, A.D. 63. The expressions both of Seneca and Tacitus would lead us to suppose that it was in great part utterly destroyed; and we learn from existing evidence that the damage done was unquestionably very great, the public buildings especially having suffered most severely. (Sen. Nat. Qu. 6.1; Tac. Ann. 15.22.) The city had hardly recovered from this calamity, when it met with one far greater; being totally overwhelmed by the famous eruption of. Vesuvius in A.D. 79, which buried Pompeii, as well as Herculaneum, under a dense bed of ashes and cinders. The loss of life in the former city was the greater, because the inhabitants were assembled in the theatre at the time when the catastrophe took place. (D. C. 66.23.) The younger Pliny, in his celebrated letters describing the eruption (Ep. 6.16, 20), does not even notice the destruction of Pompeii or Herculaneum; [2.647] but his attention is directed principally to the circumstances of his uncle's death and the phenomena which he had himself witnessed.
From this time the name of Pompeii disappears from history. It is not noticed by Ptolemy; and it is certain that the city was never rebuilt. But the name is again found in the Tabula; and it thus appears that a small place must have again arisen on the site, or, more probably, in the neighbourhood, of the buried city. But all trace of Pompeii was subsequently lost; and in the middle ages its very site was entirely forgotten, so that even the learned and diligent Cluverius was unable to fix it with certainty, and was led to place it at Scafati on the Sarno, about 2 miles E. of its true position. This difficulty arose, in great measure, from the great physical changes produced by the catastrophe of A.D. 79, which diverted the course of the Sarno, so that it now flows at some distance from Pompeii,--and at the same time pushed forward the line of the coast, so that the city is now above a mile distant from the sea, which in ancient times undoubtedly bathed its walls.
There is no reason to suppose that Pompeii in ancient times ever rose above the rank of a second-rate provincial town; but the re-discovery of its buried remains in the last century has given a celebrity to its name exceeding that of the greatest cities. The circumstances of its destruction were peculiarly favourable to the preservation of its remains. It was not overthrown by a torrent of lava, but simply buried by a vast accumulation of volcanic sand, ashes, and cinders (called by the Italians lapilli), which forms a mass of a very light, dry, and porous character. At the same time, it is almost certain that the present accumulation of this volcanic deposit (which is in most places 15 feet, in depth) did not take place at once, but was formed by successive eruptions; and there is little doubt that the ruins were searched and the most valuable objects removed soon after the catastrophe took place. This seems to be proved by the small number of objects of intrinsic value (such as gold and silver plate) that have been discovered, as well as by the fact that comparatively few skeletons have been found, though it appears certain, from the expressions of Dio Cassius, that great numbers of the inhabitants perished; nor have any of these been found in the theatre, where it is probable that the greatest loss of life occurred.
It was not till 1748 that an accidental discovery drew attention to the remains of Pompeii; and in 1755 regular excavations on the site were first commenced by the Neapolitan government, which have been carried on ever since, though with frequent intervals and interruptions. It is impossible for us here even to attempt to give any account of the results of these excavations and the endless variety of interesting remains that have been brought to light. We shall confine ourselves to those points which bear more immediately on the topography and character of the town of Pompeii, rather than on the general habits, life, and manners of ancient times. More detailed accounts of the remains, and the numerous objects which have been discovered in the course of the excavations, especially the works of art, will be found in the great work of Mazois (Les Ruines de Pompeii, continued by Gau, 4 vols. fol., Paris, 1812--1838), and in the two works of Sir W. Gell (Pompeiana, 1st series, 2 vols. 8vo. Lond. 1824; 2nd series, 2 vols. 8vo. 1830); also in the little work published by the Society of Useful Knowledge (Pompeii, 2 vols. 12mo. 1831). A recent French publication by Breton (Pompeia, 8vo. Paris, 1855), also gives a good account of the whole progress and results of the discoveries (including the most recent excavations) in a moderate compass and inexpensive form. The still more recent work of Overbeck (8vo. Leipzic, 1856), of which the first part only has yet appeared, contains an excellent compendium of the whole subject
GENERAL PLAN OF POMPEII
* 1. Gate of Herculaneum.
* 2. Gate of Vesuvius.
* 3. Gate of Capua.
* 4. Gate of Nola.
* 5. Gate of the Sarnus.
* 6. Gate of Stabiae.
* 7. Gate of the Theatres.
* 8. Modern entrance to the city.
* 9. Forum.
* 10. Theatres.
* 11. Amphitheatre.
* 12. Street of the Tomos.
with especial attention to the works of art discovered.
The area occupied by the ancient city was an irregular oval, about 2 miles in circumference. It was surrounded by a wall, which is still preserved round the whole of the city, except on the side towards the sea, where no traces of it have been found, and it seems certain that it had been pulled down in ancient times to allow for the extension of houses and other buildings down to the water's edge. The wall itself is in many places much ruined, as well as the towers that flank it, and though this may be in part owing to the earthquake of 63, as well as the eruption of 79, it is probable that the defences of the town had before that time been allowed to fall into decay, and perhaps even intentionally dismantled after the Social War. There were seven gates, the most considerable and ornamental of which was that which formed the entrance to the city by the high road from Herculaneum: the others have been called respectively the gate of Vesuvius, the gate of Capua, the gate of Nola, the gate of the Sarnus, the gate of Stabiae, and the gate of the Theatres. The entrances to the town from the side of the sea had ceased to be gates, there being no longer any walls on that side. All these names are of course modern, but are convenient in assisting us to describe the city. The walls were strengthened with an Agger or rampart, faced with masonry, and having a parapet or outer
PLAN OF PART OF POMPEII.
* 1. Villa of Arrius Diomedes.
* 2. Gate of Herculaneum.
* 3. Public Baths.
* 4. Forum.
* 5. Temple of Jupiter.
* 6. Temple of Augustus or Pantheon.
* 7. Senaculum.
* 8. Edifice of Eumachia.
* 9. Basilica.
* 10. Temple of Venus.
* 11. Ancient Greek Temple.
* 12. Great Theatre.
* 13. Square called the Soldiers' Quarters.
* 14. Small Theatre.
* 15. Temple of Isis.
* 16. Temple of Fortune.
* 17. Street leading to Gate of Nola.
* 18. Gate leading to Vesuvius.
* aaa. Towers.
* bbb. Ancient line of coast.
* ccc. Modern road from Naples to Salerno.
wall on its external front: they were further fortified at intervals with square towers, which in some parts occur regularly at about 100 yards from each other, in other parts are added much more sparingly. These towers seem to have been subsequent additions to the original walls, being of a different and less solid style of construction. The walls themselves are very solidly built of large blocks of travertine, in horizontal courses, but presenting considerable irregularities of construction: the upper part is more regularly finished, and consists of peperino. But both walls and towers are in many places patched with coarser masonry and reticulated work; thus showing that they had been frequently repaired, and at distant intervals of time.
The general plan of the city is very regular, and the greater part the streets run in straight lines: but the principal line of street, which runs from the gate of Herculaneum to the Forum, is an exception, being irregular and crooked as well as very narrow. Though it must undoubtedly have been one of the chief thoroughfares of the city, and the line followed by the high road from Capua, Neapolis, and Rome itself it does not exceed 12 or 14 feet in width, including the raised trottoirs or footpaths on each side, so that the carriageway could only have admitted the passage of one vehicle at a time. Some of the other streets are broader; but few of them exceed 20 feet in width, and the widest yet found is only about 30. They are uniformly paved with large polygonal blocks of hard lava or basalt, in the same manner as were the streets of ancient Rome, and the Via Appia, and other great highways in this part of Italy. The principal street, already noticed, was crossed, a little before it reached the Forum, by a long straight line of street which, passing by the temple of Fortune, led direct to the .gate of Nola. In the angle formed by the two stood the public baths or Thermae, and between these and the temple of Fortune a short broad street led direct to the Forum, of which it seems to have formed the principal entrance. From the Forum two other parallel streets struck off in an easterly direction, which have been followed till they cross another main line of street that leads from the gate of Vesuvius directly across the city to the gate adjoining the theatres. This last line crosses the street already noticed, leading from the gate of Nola westward, and the two divide the whole city into four quarters, though of irregular size. Great part of the city (especially the SE. quarter) has not yet been explored, but recent excavations, by following the line of these main streets, have clearly shown its general plan, and the regularity with which the minor streets branched off at intervals in parallel lines. There is also little doubt that the part of the city already excavated is the most important, as it includes the Forum, with the public buildings adjoining to it, the theatres, amphitheatre, &c.
The Forum was situated in the SW. quarter of the city, and was distant about 400 yards from the gate of Herculaneum. As was commonly the case in ancient times, it was surrounded by the principal public buildings, and was evidently the centre of the life and movement of the city. The extent of it was not, however, great; the actual open space (exclusive of the porticoes which surrounded it) did not exceed 160 yards in length by 35 in breadth, and a part of this space was occupied by the temple of Jupiter. It was surrounded on three sides by a Grecian-Doric portico or colonnade, which appears to have been surmounted by a gallery or upper story, though no part of this is now preserved. It would seem that this portico had replaced an older arcade on the eastern side of the Forum, a portion of which still remains, so that this alteration was not yet completed when the catastrophe took place. At the north end of the Forum, and projecting out into the open area, are the remains of an edifice which must have been much the most magnificent of any in the city. It is commonly known, with at least a plausible foundation, as the temple of Jupiter; others dispute its being a temple at all, and have called it the Senaculum, or place of meeting of the local senate. It was raised--on a podium or base of considerable elevation, and had a portico of six Corinthian columns in front, which, according to Sir W. Gell, are nearly as large as those in the portico of St. Paul's. From the state in which it was found it seems certain that this edifice (in common with most of the public buildings at Pompeii) had been overthrown by the earthquake of 68, or, at least, so much damaged that it was necessary to restore, and in great part rebuild it. and that this process was still incomplete at the time of its final destruction. At the NE. angle of the Forum, adjoining the temple of Jupiter, stood an arch which appears to have been of a triumphal character, though now deprived of all its ornaments: it was the principal entrance to the Forum, and the only one by which it was accessible to carriages of any description. On the E. side of the Forum were four edifices, all unquestionably of a public character, though we are much in doubt as to their objects and destination. The first (towards the N.) is generally known as the Pantheon, from its having contained an altar in the centre, with twelve pedestals placed in a circle round it, which are supposed to have supported statues of the twelve chief gods. But no traces have been found of these, and the general plan and arrangement of the building are wholly unlike those of an ordinary temple. A more plausible conjecture is, that it was consecrated to Augustus, and contained a small temple or aedicula in honour of that emperor, while the court and surrounding edifices were appropriated to the service of his priests, the Augustales, who are mentioned in many inscriptions as existing at Pompeii. Next to this building is one which is commonly regarded as the Curia or Senaculum; it had a portico of fluted columns of white marble, which ranged with those of the general portico that surrounded the Forum. South of this again is a building which was certainly a temple, though it is impossible now to say to what divinity it was consecrated; it is commonly called the Temple of Mercury, and is of small size and very irregular form. Between this and the street known as the Street of the Silversmiths, which issued from the Forum near its SE. angle, was a large building which, as we learn from an inscription still existing, was erected by a female priestess named Eumachia. It consists of a large and spacious area (about 130 feet by 65) surrounded by a colonnade, and having a raised platform at the end with a semicircular recess similar to that usually found in a Basilica. But though in this case the founder of the edifice is known, its purpose is still completely obscure. It is commonly called the Chalcidicum, but it is probable that that term (which is found in the inscription above noticed) designates only a part of the edifice, not the whole building. [2.650]
BIRD‘S EYE VIEW OF THE FORUM. BIRD‘S EYE VIEW OF THE FORUM., A. Temple of Jupiter.
B. Temple of Venus.
C. Temple of Mercury.
E. Edifice of Eumachia.
G. Pantheon or Temple of Augustus.
I, K, L. Tribunals or Courts of Justice.
P.Curia or Senaculum.
R. Part not yet excavated.
S. Street of the Dried Fruits.
T. Street leading to the Temple of Fortune.
V. Triumphal Arch.
Y. Street of the Silversmiths.
The S. end of the Forum was occupied by three of justice, in which the tribunals held their sittings. buildings of very similar character, standing side by The western side of the Forum was principally occuside, each consisting of a single hall with an apse or pied by a Basilica, and a large temple, which is semicircular recess at the further extremity. The commonly called (though without any authority) most probable opinion is that these were the courts the Temple of Venus, The former is the largest [2.651] building in Pompeii; it is of an oblong form, 220 feet in length by 80 in breadth, and abutted endwise on the Forum, from which it was entered by a vestibule with five doorways. The roof was supported by a peristyle of 28 Ionic columns of large size, but built of brick, coated with stucco. There is a raised tribunal at the further end, but no apse, which is usually found in buildings of this class. Numerous inscriptions were found scratched on the walls of this edifice, one of which is interesting, as it gives the date of the consulship of M. Lepidus and Q. Catulus (B.C. 78), and thus proves the building to have been erected before that time. Between this edifice and the temple is a street of greater width than usual, which extends from the Forum in a westerly direction, and probably communicated with the port. The Temple of Venus, on the N. side of this street, was an extensive building consisting of a peripteral temple with a small cella, elevated on a podium or basement, surrounded by a much more extensive portico, and the whole again enclosed by a wall, forming the peribolus or sacred enclosure. All parts of the building are profusely decorated with painting. The temple itself is Corinthian, but the columns of the portico seem to have been originally Doric, though afterwards clumsily transformed into Corinthian, or rather an awkward imitation of Corinthian. This is only one among many instances found at Pompeii of very defective architecture, as well as of the frequent changes which the buildings of the city had undergone, and which were still in progress when the city itself was destroyed. The buildings at the NW. corner of the Forum are devoid of architectural character, and seem to have served as the public granaries and prisons.
TEMPLE OF VENUS. (The Forum and Temple of Jupiter in the background.)
The open area of the Forum was paved, like that of Rome, with broad slabs of a kind of marble, thus showing that it was never designed for the traffic of any kind of vehicles. It is moreover probable that the whole space, including the porticoes which surrounded it, could be closed at night, or whenever it was required, by iron gates at the several entrances. It was adorned with numerous statues, the pedestals of which still remain: they are all of white marble, but the statues themselves have uniformly disappeared. It is probable either that they had not been re-erected during the process of restoration which the Forum was undergoing, or that they had been searched for and carried off by excavations soon after the destruction of the city.
The remaining public buildings of the city may be more briefly described. Besides the temples which surrounded the Forum, the remains of four others have been discovered; three of which are situated in the immediate vicinity of the theatres, a quarter which appears to have had more of architectural ornament than any other part of the city, except the Forum. Of these the most interesting is one which stood a little to the SW. of the great theatre, near the wall of the city, and which is evidently much more ancient than any of the other temples at Pompeii: it is of the Doric order and of pure Greek style, but of very ancient character, much resembling that of Neptune at Paestum and the oldest temples at Selinus. Unfortunately only the basement and a few capitals and other architectural fragments remain. It is commonly called the Temple of Hercules, but it is obvious that such a name is purely conjectural. It stood in an open area of considerable extent, and of a triangular form, surrounded on two sides by porticoes: but this area, which is commonly called a Forum, has been evidently constructed at a much later period, and with no reference to the temple, which is placed very awkwardly in relation to it. Another temple in the same quarter of the town, immediately adjoining the great theatre, is interesting because we learn with certainty from an inscription that it was consecrated to Isis, and had been rebuilt by N. Popidius Celsinus “from the foundations” after its overthrow in the great earthquake of A.D. 63. It is of a good style of architecture, but built chiefly of brick covered with stucco (only the capitals and shafts of the columns being of a soft stone), and is of small size. Like most of the temples at Pompeii, it consists of a cella, raised on an elevated podium, and surrounded externally by a more extensive portico. Adjoining this temple was another, the smallest yet found at Pompeii, and in no way remarkable. It has been variously called the temple of Aesculapius, and that of Jupiter and Juno.
The only temple which remains to be noticed is one situated about 60 yards N. of the Forum at the angle formed by the long main street leading to the gate of Nola, with a short broad street which led from it direct to the Forum. This was the Temple of Fortune, as we learn from an inscription [2.652] and was erected by a certain M. Tullius, a citizen and magistrate of Pompeii, who has been supposed to be of the family of Cicero; but the absence of the cognomen renders this highly improbable. The epithet of Fortuna Augusta shows that the temple and its inscription are not earlier than the time of Augustus. It is much in ruins, having probably suffered severely from the earthquake of 63; and has little architectural effect.
Pompeii possessed two Theatres and an Amphitheatre. The former were situated, as seems to have been usual in Greek towns, close together; the larger one being intended and adapted for theatrical performances properly so called; the smaller one serving as an Odeum, or theatre for music. Both are unquestionably of Roman date: the larger one was erected (as we learn from an inscription found in it) by two members of the same family, M. Holconius Rufus and M. Holconius Celer, both of whom appear to have held high civil offices in the municipal government of Pompeii. The period of its construction may probably be referred to the reign of Augustus. The smaller theatre seems to be of earlier date, and was erected at the public expense under the direction of the Duumviri or chief magistrates of the city. The large Theatre is to a considerable extent excavated out of the side of a hill, on the slope of which it was situated, thus saving a considerable amount of the expense of construction. But the exterior was still surrounded by a wall, a part of which always rose above the surface of the soil, so that it is singular it should not have long before led to the discovery of the buried city. Its internal disposition and arrangements, without exactly coinciding with the rules laid down by Vitruvius, approach sufficiently near to them to show that it was constructed on the Roman, and not the Greek model. Its architect (as we learn from an inscription) was a freedman of the name of M. Artorius Primus. It seems to have been almost wholly cased or lined with marble, but the greater part of this, as well as the other decorations of the building, has been carried away by former excavations, probably made soon after the catastrophe. The interior diameter of the building is 223 feet: it had 29 rows of seats, divided into three stories by galleries or praecinctiones, and was capable of containing about 5000 spectators. The smaller Theatre, which communicated with the larger by a covered portico on the level of the orchestra, was not above a fourth of the size of the other, being adapted to receive only about 1500 spectators. We learn from an inscription that it was covered or permanently roofed in, a rare thing with ancient theatres, and doubtless owing to its small size. Its chief architectural peculiarity is that the seats are cut off by the walls at the two sides, so that it is only the lower seats of the cavea, of which the semicircle is complete.
Adjoining the two theatres, and arranged so as to have a direct communication with both, is a large quadrangular court or area (183 feet long by 148 wide), surrounded on all sides by a Doric portico. Its destination is very uncertain, it has been called a provision market (Forum Nundinarium); but is more generally regarded as having served for the barracks or quarters of the soldiers. Perhaps a more plausible conjecture is that it was a barrack, not of soldiers but of gladiators. On the W. of this, as well as of the great theatre, was the triangular area or forum already noticed, in which the Greek temple was situated. The opening of this on the N., where it communicated with the street, was ornamented by a portico or Propylaeum composed of eight Ionic columns of very elegant style, but consisting of the common volcanic tufo, cased with stucco.
The Amphitheatre is situated at the distance of above 500 yards from the Theatres, at the extreme SE. angle of the city. It offers no very remarkable differences from other edifices of the same kind; its dimensions (430 feet by 335) are not such as to place it in the first rank even of provincial structures of the class; and from being in great part excavated out of the soil, it has not the imposing architectural character of the amphitheatres of Verona, Nemausus, or Pola. It had 24 rows of seats, and about 20,000 feet of sitting-room, so that it was adapted to receive at least 10,000 spectators. From one of the inscriptions found in it, it appears that it was built, or at least commenced, by two local magistrates, named C. Quinctius Valgus and M. Porcins, after the establishment of the colony under Augustus, and probably in the reign of that emperor.
The only public building which remains to be noticed is that of the Thermae or Baths, which were situated in the neighbourhood of the Forum, adjoining the short street which led into it from the Temple of Fortune. They have no pretence to vie with the magnificent suites of buildings which bore the name of Thermae at Rome, and in some other great cities; but are interesting as containing a complete suite of all apartments really required for bathing, and from their good preservation throw much light upon all similar remains. The details of their construction and arrangement are fully given in the Dictionary of Antiquities [art. BALNEAE], as well as in the works specially devoted to Pompeii.
It is impossible here to enter into any details concerning the results of the excavations in regard to the private dwellings at Pompeii, though these are, in many respects, the most interesting, from the light they have thrown upon the domestic life of the ancient inhabitants, their manners and usages, as well as from the artistic beauty and variety of the objects discovered. A few words on the general character of the houses and other private buildings of Pompeii are all that our space will admit of. As these are almost the only remains of a similar kind that have been preserved to us, it must be borne in mind that they can hardly be regarded as representing in their purity the arrangements either of the Greek or Roman mode of building. On the one hand Pompeii, though strongly tinctured with Greek civilisation, was not a Greek city; on the other hand, though there is no doubt that the houses at Pompeii present much more the Roman plan and arrangement than that of the Greeks, we must not conclude that they represent them in all respects. We know, at least, that Rome itself was built in many respects in a very different manner. Cicero, in a wellknown passage, contrasts the narrow streets, the lofty houses, and irregular construction of the capital with the broad streets and regular arrangement of Capua, resulting from its position in a level plain; and it is clear that, in some respects, Pompeii more resembled the capital of Campania than the imperial city. Its streets indeed (as al. ready stated) were narrow, but with few exceptions straight and regular, and the houses were certainly low, seldom exceeding two stories in height; and even of these the upper story seems to have consisted [2.653] only of inferior rooms, a kind of garrets, probably serving for the sleeping-rooms of slaves, and in some cases of the females of the family. From the mode of destruction of the city the upper stories have indeed been almost uniformly totally destroyed; but this circumstance itself, as well as the few traces which occasionally remain, seems to prove that they were built wholly of wood, and could never have formed an important part of the houses. It is only on the W. side of the city, where the ground slopes steeply towards the sea, that houses are found which consisted of three stories or more. Externally the houses had little or nothing of an ornamental character; not a single instance has been found of a portico before a private house; and towards the street they presented either dead walls, with here and there a few small and scanty openings as windows, or ranges of shops, for the most part low and mean in character, even when they occupied (as was often the case) the front of dwellings of a superior description. The interior of the houses of the more wealthy class was arranged apparently on the same model as those at Rome: its disposition is given in detail in the Dictionary of Antiquities under the article DOMUS where a plan is given of the House of Pansa, one of the most extensive and complete of those found at Pompeii. In this case the single house with its garden and appurtenances, including as usual several shops, occupied the whole of an insula or the space bounded by four streets or alleys: but this was unusual; in most cases each insula comprised several houses even where they were of a better description, and must have been the residence of persons of some wealth. Among the most remarkable of these may be mentioned the dwellings known as the House of Sallust, that of the Tragic Poet, of Castor and Pollux, of the Labyrinth, &c. The work of Dr. Overbeck (above cited) gives a very interesting series of these houses, selected so as to afford examples of every description of house, from the humblest dwelling, consisting of only two rooms, to the richly decorated and spacious mansions of Sallust and Pansa.
The style of decoration of these houses presents a very general uniformity of character.. The walls are almost invariably ornamented with painting, the atrium and peristyle being decorated with columns; but these are composed only of a soft and coarse stone (volcanic tufo) covered with stucco. The prodigal use of marble, both for columns and slabs to encrust the walls, which had become so general at Rome under the first emperors, apparently not having yet found its way to Pompeii. The floors are generally enriched with mosaics, some of which possess a very high degree of merit as works of art. The most beautiful yet discovered adorned the house known as the House of the Faun, from a bronze statue of a dancing Faun which was also found in it. The illustrations to Gell's Pompeiana (2nd series, Lond. 1835) will convey to the reader a sufficient idea of the number and variety of the artistic decorations of the private houses at Pompeii; though several of the most richly ornamented have been discovered since the date of its publication.
Outside the gate leading to Herculaneum, in a kind of suburb, stands a house of a different description, being a suburban villa of considerable extent, and adapted to have been the abode of a person of considerable wealth. From the greater space at command this villa comprises much that is not found in the houses within the town; among others a large court or garden (Xystus), a complete suite of private baths, &c. The remains of this villa are of much value and interest for comparison with the numerous ruins which occur elsewhere of similar buildings, often on a much more extensive scale, but in a far less perfect state of preservation; as well as for assisting us to understand the descriptions given by Pliny and Vitruvius of similar structures, with their numerous appurtenances. (For the details of their arrangements the reader is referred to the article VILLA, in the Dictionary of Antiquities, and to the work on Pompeii, Lond. 1832, vol. ii. ch. 11.) Between this villa and the gate of the city are the remains of another villa, said to be on a larger scale and more richly decorated than the one just described; but its ruins, which were excavated in 1764, were filled up again, and are not now visible. It has been called, though without the slightest authority, the Villa of Cicero. The one still extant is commonly known as the Villa of Arrius Diomedes, but for no other reason than that
STREET OF THE TOMBS.
a sepulchre bearing that name was discovered near its entrance; a very slight argument, where almost the whole street is bordered with tombs. In fact, the approach to the gate of Herculaneum is bounded on both sides by rows of tombs or sepulchral monuments, extending with only occasional interruptions for above 400 yards. Many of them are on a very considerable scale, both of size and architectural character; and though they cannot vie with the enormous mausolea which border in a similar manner the line of the Via Appia near Rome, they derive additional interest from the perfect state of preservation in which they remain ; and the Street of the Tombs, as it is commonly called, is perhaps one of the most interesting scenes at Pompeii. The monuments are for the most part those of persons who had held magistracies, or other offices, in the city of Pompeii, and in many cases the site was assigned them by public authority. It is therefore probable that this place of sepulture, immediately outside the gate and on one of the principal approaches to the city, was regarded as peculiarly honourable.
Besides the tombs and the two villas already noticed, there have been found the remains of shops and small houses outside the gate of Herculaneum, and there would appear to have been on this side of the city a considerable suburb. This is supposed to be the one designated in the sepulchral inscription of M. Arrius Diomedes as the “Pagus Augustus Felix Suburbanus.” We have as yet no evidence of the existence of any suburbs outside the other gates. It is evident that any estimate of the population of Pompeii must be very vague and uncertain; but still from our accurate knowledge of the space it occupied, as well as the character of the houses, we may arrive at something like an approximation, and it seems certain that the population of the town itself could not have exceeded about 20,000 persons. This is in accordance with the statements of ancient writers, none of whom would lead us to regard Pompeii as having been more than a second or third rate provincial town.
The inscriptions found at Pompeii, which are often incorrectly given in the ordinary works on the subject, are carefully edited by Mommsen, in his Inscriptiones Regni Neapolitani (pp. 112--122). These do not, however, include a class of much interest, and peculiar to Pompeii, the inscriptions of a temporary kind which were rudely painted on the walls, or scratched on the plaster of the houses and public buildings. It is remarkable that several of these are in the Oscan dialect, and seem to prove that the use of that ancient language must have continued down to a much later period than is commonly supposed. [OSCI]. But the public or official use of the Oscan seems to have ceased after the Social War, and the numerous inscriptions of a public character which belong to the age of Augustus and his successors are uniformly in the Latin language. - Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) William Smith, LLD, Ed.
Map of the Roman Empire - Places