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Life in Pompeii Essay

The amphitheatre was built in 70bc by the magistrates to provide entertainment for the people of Pompeii. The Pompeii amphitheatre is the oldest surviving amphitheatre in the Roman world. The capacity was 24000 and because seats were numbered, only the most important people of Pompeii would be allowed to sit at the front. The amphitheatre was mainly used for games that lasted a week and were funded by the magistrates. While entering the stadium, the people would salute the important dignitaries. Political Life:

The amphitheatre was built by magistrates and events were fully funded by them aswell. Although built for the whole city to enjoy, only special people could sit at the front. Cultural Life: The amphitheatre was made from stone and included a parapet that separated the stand from the arena. The parapet was decorated with frescoes of gladiatorial combat which over time have been lost. Events that were primarily used at the amphitheatre were gladiatorial battles, hunts, and wild beast fights. The Basilica

Economic and Political Life: The Basilica was a structure in the Forum where legal and business activities took place. It was built in-between 120bc and 78bc and was 24 by 55 metres in size. The basilica was originally a market but was changed in the first century to become the new law courts

Cultural Life: The Basilica was covered by a large, double pitched tiled roof and the entrance had five doors with wooden shutters, the large hall was surrounded by twenty eight ionic columns, 11 metres in height. On the west side, stood a two story structure known as the Tribunal which was guarded by a statue of Augustus. The marbel panels on the side walls were decorated in the first style art and graffiti was found everywhere, not unusual in Pompeii. The Baths:

Economic life: Just about everyone except slaves and the poor visited the baths as not only was it a place for cleaning but also a social hub. The baths would be opened at around midday and remained open well into the evening. Most people were accompanied by slaves who assisted them with their cleaning. Political life:

Pompeii had four main baths, the forum baths, the stabian baths, the central baths and the amphitheatre baths. The stabian baths were the oldest and biggest baths in Pompeii and date as far back as the early 4th century. The baths has a Apodyterium, a frigidarium, a tepiderium, a caldarium, toilets and the stabian baths featured a swimming pool. Usually the baths were divided between men and women and when this wasn’t the case, men and women would attend the baths at different times. There was however mixed bathing in some places.

Cultural Life: Apart from cleaning, at the baths people also enjoyed physical activity and sport at the palestra. There was also massage, music, poetry, reading and business contacts to be made. Graffiti and wall drawings also depicted sexual activity at the baths. Women wore modest clothing and men wore either trunks or bathed naked. The floor was made of square stones and supported brick columns and there was space between the tiles and walls because of the use of the special nipple tiles. The hot air generated from the furnace located at the back of the caldarium would flow up between the tiles and the wall, heating all the rooms. Via Del Abbondanza

The Via Dell Abbondanza was the main street of Pompeii and the main business district of the city. The streetscape had a grid like pattern which although was popular in other roman times, was not precisely applied in Pompeii. The street contained stepping stones so that when it had been raining, people didn’t have to walk through sewage. There was enough room between stones for wheeled traffic aswell. Deep groove marks in the roads indicate to us that there was alot of wheeled traffic on the road. There were two different roads, the Decumani and the Cardines. The decumani ran east to west and the cardines ran north to south. On cross roads there were shrines called nymphaea which were water fountains. Via Stabiana:

The Via Stabiana stretches from the Porta Stabia to the center of the city. Along this street, on the west side is the Gladiators’ Barracks and the Odeon. There were stepping stones to allow pedestrians to cross the street without stepping into whatever might be in the street itself. Carriages could still travel along the streets, their wheels passing between the stepping stones.

On the east are a number of residences and shops, including a bakery with an oven which is seen as a hole in the wall with a large stone above it. Next door is a thermapolium with a counter containing four pottery jars sunk into the counter. Further along on the Via Stabiana is the Domus of Q. Octavius Romulus. Villa of the Papyri:

The Villa of the papyri is a large residential complex situated on the slope of Vesuvius in Herculaneum. Judging from the size and value of the house, it can be said that the owner of the house was extremely wealthy. Unlike other ancient roman houses, it had its own water supply which in those days was extreme luxury. It was decorated with statues and columns of Greek influence. Praedia of Julia Felix:

Julia Felix was an extremely wealthy woman from Pompeii who inherited her fortune from family. She owned a large estate which was decorated with floral motifs, statues and scenes of the Nile river aswell as a shrine to Isis the Egyptian goddess.

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