Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Prof: Last time we talked about a number of

  • monuments that were connected to one another geographically and

  • also chronologically, and were also made out of the

  • same material: concrete faced with opus

  • incertum.

  • I remind you of three of those today: of the Sanctuary of

  • Jupiter Anxur at Terracina; of the Sanctuary of Hercules

  • Victor at Tivoli, in the center;

  • and then on the right the Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia

  • at Palestrina.

  • We're going to do something entirely different today.

  • We're going to look at a single city,

  • one city, in all its aspects: its public and private

  • architecture, its civic, commercial,

  • and religious buildings.

  • We can't do this sort of thing very often,

  • because too few Roman cities are either well preserved enough

  • or well-excavated enough to allow such an overview.

  • But this is no ordinary city.

  • This is a very special city.

  • The city we will be concentrating on today is

  • Pompeii.

  • Pompeii was located in an area of Italy called Campania.

  • It was located near Naples; it was located near the

  • Mediterranean Sea.

  • It was a small resort town in the late first century B.C.

  • and into the first century A.D.

  • And you can see it on this map here, and it's right here.

  • You can see that this area of Campania is obviously south of

  • Rome.

  • It is along, again, the Mediterranean Sea.

  • And you can see Pompeii here also,

  • with its sister city of Herculaneum,

  • and some of the other well-known cities from this

  • area: Boscoreale, Oplontis, for example,

  • and Naples itself, ancient Neapolis.

  • You can see this cluster of these cities that make up

  • Campania.

  • This was an area--the town itself again was a small resort

  • town.

  • It was a town that obviously had its own population of people

  • who made their money largely from commerce,

  • because they were located so close to the sea.

  • But it was also a spot that was highly favored by the glitterati

  • of Rome, who used to come down to this

  • area of Rome, not only to go to Pompeii

  • itself, but to establish villas, to build villas in the vicinity

  • of Pompeii.

  • And we have imperial villas at places like Oplontis and at a

  • place called Boscotrecase that is located here as well,

  • and along what is now the Amalfi Coast and on the island

  • of Capri.

  • So this was a town again that was noticed and was visited,

  • even by the most elite in the city of Rome,

  • in the capital city of Rome itself.

  • But what's very important for us, from the outset,

  • is to recognize that although Pompeii,

  • as we know it today, was essentially a Roman city,

  • it had a history that was much longer than that,

  • that went back much further than that.

  • And I'd like to go over some of the major highlights of the

  • history of Pompeii, because they will situate us

  • and will help us to understand the city's architecture.

  • The history of Pompeii, as I noted, is much longer than

  • the history of Roman Pompeii.

  • It goes back as far as Rome itself.

  • It goes back to the eighth century B.C.--the same Iron Age

  • period--when Romulus was founding the city of Rome.

  • Pompeii goes back that far as well.

  • It was first overseen by an Italic tribe called the Oscans,

  • but the Oscans were soon taken over by an even more powerful

  • tribe called the Samnites.

  • And the Samnites are in fact extremely important for the city

  • of Pompeii and for the architecture that we'll review

  • today.

  • The Samnite period in Pompeii lasted from the fourth through

  • the third and even into the second centuries B.C.,

  • up to 80 B.C., because it was in 89 that

  • Pompeii fell to Rome.

  • We've talked about Rome colonizing this particular part

  • of Italy -- not only the area right around

  • it, but the area south of it -- and

  • Pompeii fell to Rome in an important military campaign in

  • 89 B.C.

  • And in 80 B.C.

  • Sulla made Pompeii a Roman colony.

  • What happened thereafter was the Samnites,

  • who had built homes for themselves and public buildings

  • that we'll study here, the Samnites were essentially

  • thrown out of their homes.

  • Their property was confiscated, and that property was given

  • instead to the Roman veterans.

  • We've talked about the fact that that was the way the Romans

  • operated.

  • They paid back their veterans for loyal service by giving them

  • land, and they usually gave them land of those that they had

  • conquered.

  • So that happens here as well; Samnite property confiscated,

  • and the Roman veterans settle in their homes and begin to redo

  • them, settle into using their public

  • buildings but begin to remake them in the Roman image.

  • The next century and a half saw the construction of Pompeii's

  • most famous buildings, but we should not forget,

  • and we'll concentrate in part on that today,

  • that some of these buildings had their genesis under the

  • Samnites.

  • During this period there was a very high civilization in

  • Pompeii.

  • There was trade with Greek cities and especially with the

  • Greek city of Neapolis, Neapolis being the ancient name

  • for Naples.

  • The next very important year in the history of Pompeii was the

  • year A.D.

  • 62, when the city was literally-- the city of Pompeii

  • was literally shaken to its foundations by a very

  • significant earthquake-- a very significant earthquake

  • indeed.

  • And to give you some sense of that earthquake,

  • I show you a frieze that encircles a shrine that was

  • located in the house, or that was commissioned for

  • the house, as decoration and as a place to

  • place the household gods that the owner and his family

  • worshipped.

  • The shrine had a frieze around it.

  • The man himself, by the way, was named Lucius

  • Caecilius Iucundus.

  • And we're very lucky--you don't have to remember his name,

  • but Lucius Caecilius Iucundus--and Iucundus,

  • fortunately we have a portrait preserved of Iucundus.

  • So we can get a good sense of what he looked like,

  • literally warts and all, because you can see that he had

  • a huge wart on the lower left side of his face.

  • And he was willing to have himself memorialized,

  • and here we are sitting and looking at him today in this

  • classroom in New Haven, as he was really was,

  • with this large wart on the lower left side of his face.

  • But a wonderful portrait of Iucundus,

  • the owner of this particular house,

  • who was obviously so struck, and probably so effected in his

  • own life by the earthquake, that he decided to have a

  • relief commissioned that would depict the event of 62 A.D.

  • And you see exactly -- you see what is happening here.

  • You can see, in fact, the great Temple of

  • Jupiter, the Capitolium of Pompeii, which we'll talk about

  • today, literally collapsing.

  • And you can see that in front of that temple were two tall

  • bases with equestrian statues honoring important people of the

  • city.

  • Those look also like they are shaking in their boots,

  • so to speak, and about to fall over.

  • If you look down here, you see the city wall.

  • And note, your ashlar masonry, your opus quadratum,

  • and the use of headers and stretchers in this wall,

  • the wall of the city of Pompeii.

  • But you can see the gate is not doing too well;

  • it also seems to be tottering and about to fall down.

  • So this is a graphic depiction of what happened then,

  • and you can--it gives you some sense of the significance of

  • this for the people of Pompeii.

  • Now at the end of this, like in so many natural

  • disasters--obviously these people loved living where they

  • did; it's a beautiful part of the

  • world-- and they essentially stood up

  • and dusted themselves off and began to remake their city,

  • to restore their city to what it was.

  • And we have, from this point on,

  • from 62 on, almost immediately seventeen

  • years of frenzied building activity in which the Pompeians

  • tried to bring their city back from the dead,

  • so to speak, to bring it back to what it had

  • once been.

  • But you know the punch line here, you know the end of the

  • story.