Cities of Vesuvius-Pompeii and Herculaneum Stages of Occupation Non Examinable background
Reliability of Sources • Sources are largely archaeological, but given the history and changing methods of excavation, remain to some degree, limited in reliability • Evidence is fragmentary and subject to different interpretations • Most evidence comes from Roman times, and students should be wary of any definitive statements about the earlier periods of occupation • Students must distinguish between occupation and influence. Evidence on the early history of the towns is unclear whether Greeks and Etruscans actually occupied the towns or simply exerted an influence over them, both culturally and politically.
The History according to Strabo • “The Oscans used to occupy both Herculaneum and Pompeii next to it, past which the river Sarno flows. Then the Etruscans and Pelasgians, and after that, the Samnites; these people were also thrown out of these places.” Geography5.4.8 • Pliny the Elder states that the area had been “ in the hands of the Oscans, Greeks, Umbrians, Etruscans and Campanians.” • Cooley believes that the Alstadt or “ Old Town” is discernable in the less regular layout of this early settlement, which had the Temple of Apollo and the Triangular Forum as its focal point
Paul Zanker- Pompeii, Public and Private Life • “At the time of its destruction in AD 79 Pompeii was already an old city and had been inhabited by many generations of people from different origins, each with its own uniquely structured society…If , as is usually the case we look only at the townscape as it happened to be preserved in AD 79, then what meets the eye is just the last of a series of successive townscapes.”
In the Beginning • Scholars are uncertain as to when the settlement was established. The best estimate proffered dates this settlement somewhere between 850 and 650 BCE (Leppman, 17). The oldest buildings identified from the rubble of Pompeii has been the Doric Temple (built to Hercules) and a temple to Apollo in the Triangle Forum, which date from the 6th Century (Pompeii, 33). Pompeii was therefore most likely settled earlier than the 6th century. • Despite the scarce information available regarding the early history of Pompeii, scholars have been able to piece together what they believe to be the early progression of conquest in Pompeii.
Inscriptional evidence • The earliest writing from the site is scratched upon fragments of pottery, notably in a deposit of votive offerings in the Temple of Apollo. They range in date from the first quarter of the sixth century to 475BC, and are written in Etruscan or Oscan • Oscan uses an alphabet different from the Latins and is written right to left. Inscriptions and graffiti in the Oscan language are our main source of evidence for life in Pompeii, before the Romans. Some inscriptions were still on display in AD 79; others were found where they had been reused as building material.
ETRUSCAN INFLUENCE • During the 6th and 5th centuries , the Etruscans controlled much of the Campanian region, until they were defeated in 474BC in the naval battle of Cumae against Hieron of Syracuse. *It is not known whether Etruscans actually occupied Pompeii or simply exerted an influence over it • Recent investigation, according to Jean Paul Descoudres have led to the conclusion that the first city wall goes back to the very beginning of this Etruscan phase and dates to the first half of the sixth century . • Built of so called Pappamonte stone, a soft tufa quarried locally, it encompassed, the entire area occupied by the later city, an area of 66 hectares
Greek Architecture • The Greeks defeated the Etruscans in both 524 and 474 BCE and probably proceeded to take control of Pompeii (19). This theory is supported by the architecture and art in Pompeii that was influenced by the Greeks, such as the rebuilding of the temple to Apollo . • A sanctuary to Dionysus ( Bacchus ) was built in the second half of the 3rd century, despite the Roman Senate’s decree banning the cult. This may indicate hoe entrenched Hellenistic culture was at this time.
The Temple of Isis is one of the oldest buildings in Pompeii, dating to the 6th century BC. It was completely rebuilt after the earthquake of 62 AD.
Samnite Pompeii • Since the mid 5th century Samnite tribes from the mountain areas had been moving towards the coast both east and south. Capua was taken in 424 BC AND Cumae four years later. By the end of the century they controlled most of the Campanian region • They spoke Oscan until 80 BC when Latin became the official language • Pompeii’s Samnite period is usually divided into two periods. The first period fro 400-180BC is often referred to as the “Limestone period” after the building material most commonly used • From the early 2nd century , a harder and slightly darker tufa stone was quarried in Nuceria, hence the name “ tufa period”.
Samnite Inscriptions • The Oscan inscriptions from the Samnite period reveal that the town had a Samnite form of government. There was a chief called the Meddix, who dispensed justice in the community and would have been a leader in time of war. • Another official , called the Kvaisstur, supervised public works. The town council was called the Kombennion
Layout of a City • It was during the Limestone period that Pompeii acquired the town plan which it was to retain. • The two main longitudinal streets, Via dell’Abbondanza and the Nolan Street, run parallel to the wall and are only roughly perpindicular to the main NW/SE axis, ie Stabian Street ( all streets have been named in modern times) • Smaller streets and lanes in between the main arteries border rectangular residential blocks ( insulae) • Towards the end of the 4th century the city wall was replaced by a new one built of Sarno limestone, which virtually obliterated any earlier remains. Disagreement exists between historians as to who instigated the rebuilding of the wall. Some suggest that it was after the Roman defeat. • At the conclusion of the Samnite Wars in 311 BC, Pompeii like all other towns in Campania became an ally of Rome. As such it was required to contribute military services, and although it retained some decree of administrative autonomy, it became increasingly dependent on Rome, politically and culturally
What Lies Beneath? “The site looks like an example of below-street plumbing in mid-repair, yet it provides a tiny glimpse of a fact obscured by Pompeii's better-known association with the imperial era: A non-Roman civilization thrived here for three centuries, with its own temples, houses, taverns, baths and saucy sexual practices. Last month, a team of archaeologists from Italy's Basilicata University uncovered the remains of a structure built by the Samnites, a mountain warrior people who conquered, inhabited, built up and ruled Pompeii before Roman chariots wheeled into town. The diggers were looking for something else -- remains of Pompeii's harbor. Instead, they found a pre-Roman temple wall, clay offerings to the Samnite goddess of love, and a basin and terracotta pipes indicating the site of a ritual bath.”
Pompeii; an ally of Rome • The Romans fought against the Samnites in a number of campaigns and by 311BC had broken their power. Pompeii, like Herculaneum now became an ally ( socius) of Rome. • As an ally they adopted a Roman style of administration and used Latin as the language of government and administration. • The relationship between Rome and her allies became strained as it was thought that Rome differentiated between her “ Latin” allies and other Italian allies. Italians could not vote in elections at Rome and felt that they were badly treated by magistrates. Termed by historians as the Social War, in the years between 91-89BC hostilities raged in areas close to Pompeii and Herculaneum, with Rome’s army led by Cornelius Sulla.
Pompeii; the Roman colonia80BC—AD 79 • After Sulla’s victory in the Civil war against Marius, he began to settle his veteran soldiers on confisgated lands . Pompeii was renamed Colonia Cornelia Veneria Pompeianorum • During the Republic and early Imperial period the city grew and prospered, although population estimates vary between 20,00 based on the seating capacity of the amphitheatre to Wallace Hadrill’s based on housing , between 8-12,000 • As wealth poured into Pompeii houses were extended and embellished. The change in status was marked by the transformation of the Temple of Jupiter into the Temple of the Capitoline Triad ( Jupiter, Juno and Minerva ) • As in Rome, under Augustus which was transferred from a city of brick to marble, architecture in Pompeii also became a form of propaganda to promote the cult of the Emporer. Dedications and private patronage of buildings was a form of self promotion to the politically ambitious • Augustus commissioned a fresh water aquaduct to bring water to the fleet headquarters at Misenum with extensions to Pompeii and Herculaneum, which changed the face of the towns by providing running water to public fountains and private homes. • In the Julio Claudian period many of the Imperial family and wealthy Roman senators had their extensive villas in nearby areas.
Spectator violence in the Amphitheatre-AD59 • Tacitus tells ;” …there arose from a trifling beginning a terrible bloodbath among the inhabitants of the colonies of Nuceria and Pompeii at a gladiatorial show…Intertown rivalry led to abuse, then stone throwing, then the drawings of weapons. The Pompeians, in whose town the show was being given came off the better. Therefore many of the Nucerians were carried to Rome, having lost limbs, and many were bereaved of parents and children. The Emporer instructed the Senate to investigate; they passed it to the Consuls. When their findings returned to the Senators, the Pompeians were barred from holding any gatherings for ten years.” Annuls 14.17
An alternate Interpretation • Brennan and Lazer speculate that, rather than small town rivalries the brawl , which followed Nero’s recent settlement of his veterans at nearby Nuceria, may have been about boundary or allotments of agricultural properties.
Painting of the brawl in the peristyle of the House of Actius Anicetus
Romanization by addition and ModificationFindings of the Pompeii Forum Project • “It is recognized that the Pompeii of 79 A.D. is a Roman refitting of an established, mature city built by others. The Romans incorporated Pompeii into their regime in 89 B.C. and gave it the status of a colony in 80 B.C. It is generally agreed that in large part the city they conquered resembled the one interred by the ash of Vesuvius. Its population was probably about the same, 8,000 to 12,000, (3) and the ground enclosed by the walls was the same 167 acres the Romans occupied. Perhaps ever since the seventh or sixth century, but certainly since the fourth, the city had been enclosed by walls following the same course as the present ones. Some think it filled with residents slowly and steadily since its foundation, but excavations in 1996 by an Italian team headed by Paolo Carafa support a different hypothesis--that it leapt to that level during the second century B. C. after having sustained a largely agricultural community within the walls. Either way, within the walls the placement of the streets, the character of the forum and the surrounding 117 blocks filled with atrium houses, lower class residential and commercial structures, and vineyards and gardens, and the location of several of the major public buildings and precincts existing in 80 B. C. were about as they were when the ashes covered it all 159 years later.”
Early settlement of Pompeii Using the overhead transparency shade in the different stages of occupation in Pompeii
Early History • Ancient tradition connected Herculaneum with the name of the Greek hero Heracles (a.k.a. Hercules), an indication that the city was of Greek origin. In actuality, it seems that some primitive forefathers of the Samnite tribes of the Italian mainland founded the first civilization on the site of Herculaneum at the end of the 6th century BCE. Soon after, the town came under Greek control and was used as a trading post because of its proximity to the Bay of Naples. It is the Greeks who named the city Herculaneum. Evidence of Greek influence lies in the geometric grid of the town plan, adopted from the principles of Hippodamos a Greek architect of the 5th century from Miletus in Asia Minor • In the 4th century BCE Herculaneum again came under the domination of the Samnites.Evidence exists in the Samnite style houses and inscriptians in Oscan The city remained under Samnite control until it became a Roman municipium in 89 BC, when, having participated in the Social War ("war of the allies" against Rome), it was defeated by Titus Didius, a legate of Sulla
Herculaneum; seaside resort for the wealthy • By the first century AD, Herculaneum had become a holiday resort for rich Roman traders and high status Romans. • Early in its history the waterfront was fortified by a massive wall to protect it from invaders and pounding waves. The wall was later dismantles when it was no longer required for defence, and the luxurious Suburban baths and the Sacred Area were built on the waterfront • Nonius Balbus, one time governor of Crete and Libya, owned a luxurious house in Herculaneum and portraits of his whole family were found in the Basilica. • Calpurnius Piso, father in law of Caesar is thought to have owned the Villa of Papyri on the northern outskirts of town
Are there any visible differences between the two cities? Why must we be careful in drawing any conclusions about Herculaneum?
Villa of PapyriCarl Weber’s Plan and J P Getty’s reconstruction in Malibu