POMPEII. an ancient town of Campania, Italy, situated near the river Sarnus, nearly 2 m. from the shore of the Bay of Naples, almost at the foot of Mt Vesuvius. Of its history before 79 B.C. comparatively little is recorded; but it appears that it had a population of a very mixed character, and passed successively into the hands of several different peoples, each of which contributed an element to its composition. Its foundation was ascribed by Greek tradition to Heracles, in common with the neighbouring city of Herculaneum, but it is certain that it was not a Greek colony, in the proper sense of the term, as we know to have been the case with the more important cities of Cumae and Neapolis. Strabo (v. 4, 8), in whose time it was a populous and flourishing place, tells us that it was first occupied by the Oscans (to whom we must attribute the Doric temple in the Foro Triangolare), afterwards by the Tyrrhenians (i.e. Etruscans) and Pelasgians, and lastly, by the Samnites. The conquest of Campania by the last-mentioned people is an undoubted historical fact, and there can be no doubt that Pompeii shared the fate of the neighbouring cities on this occasion, and afterwards passed in common with them under the yoke of Rome. But its name is only once mentioned during the wars of the Romans with the Samnites and Campanians in this region of Italy, and then only incidentally (Liv. ix. 38), when a Roman fleet landed near Pompeii in 309 B.C. and made an unsuccessful marauding expedition up the river valley as far as Nuceria. At a later period, however, it took a prominent part in the outbreak of the nations of central Italy, known as the Social War (91–89 B.C.), when it withstood a long siege by Sulla, and was one of the last cities of Campania that were reduced by the Roman arms. The inhabitants were admitted to the Roman franchise, but a military colony was settled in their territory in 80 B.C. by Sulla (Colonia Cornelia Veneria Pompeianorum), and the whole population was rapidly Romanized. The municipal administration here, as elsewhere, was in the hands of two duoviri iure dicundo and two aediles, the supreme body being the city council (decuriones). Before the close of the republic it became a resort of the Roman nobles, many of whom acquired villas in the neighbourhood. Among them was Cicero, whose letters abound with allusions to his Pompeian villa. The same fashion continued under the empire, and there can be no doubt that, during the first century of the Christian era, Pompeii had become a flourishing place with a considerable population. Two events only are recorded of its history during this period. In A.D. 59 a tumult took place in the amphitheatre between the citizens and visitors from the neighbouring colony of Nuceria. Many were killed and wounded on both sides. The Pompeians were punished for this violent outbreak by the prohibition of all theatrical exhibitions for ten years (Tacitus, Ann. xiv. 17). A characteristic, though rude, painting, found on the walls of one of the houses gives a representation of this event.
Four years afterwards (A.D. 63) an earthquake, which affected all the neighbouring towns, vented its force ' especially upon Pompeii, a large part of which, including most of the public buildings, was either destroyed or so seriously damaged as to require to be rebuilt (Tac. Ann. xv. 22; Seneca, Q.N. vi. 1). From the existing remains it is clear that the inhabitants were still actively engaged in repairing and restoring the ruined edifices when the whole city was overwhelmed by the great eruption of A.D. 79. Vesuvius (q.v.), the volcanic forces of which had been slumbering for unknown ages, suddenly burst into violent eruption, which, while it carried devastation all around the beautiful gulf, buried the two cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii under dense beds of cinders and ashes. It is singular that, while we possess a detailed description of this famous eruption in two letters of the younger Pliny (Epist. vi. 16, 20), he does not even notice the destruction of Pompeii or Herculaneum, though his uncle perished in the immediate neighbourhood of the former city. But their fate is noticed by Dio Cassius, and its circumstances may be gathered with certainty from the condition in which the city has been found. These were such as to conduce to its preservation and interest as a relic of antiquity. Pompeii was merely covered with a bed of lighter substances, cinders, small stones and ashes, which- fell in a dry state, while at Herculaneum the same substances, being drenched with water, hardened into a sort of tufa, which in places is 65 ft. deep. The whole of this superincumbent mass, attaining to an average thickness of from 18 to 20 ft., was the product of one eruption, though the materials may be divided generally into two distinct strata, the one consisting principally of cinders and small volcanic stones (called in Italian lapilli), and the other and uppermost layer of fine white ash, often consolidated by the action of water from above so as to take the moulds of objects contained in it (such as dead bodies, woodwork, &c.), like clay or plaster of Paris. It was found impossible to rebuild the town, and its territory was joined to that of Nola. But the survivors returned to the spot, and by digging down and tunnelling were able to remove all the objects of value, even the marble facing slabs of the large buildings.
In the middle ages, however, the very site was forgotten. Two inscriptions were found in making an underground aqueduct across the site in 1594–1600, but it was not until 1748 that a more careful inspection of this channel revealed the fact that beneath the vineyards and mulberry grounds which covered the site there lay entombed ruins far more accessible, if not more interesting, than those of Herculaneum. It was not till 1763 that systematic excavations were begun; and, though they were carried on during the rest of the 18th century, it was only in the beginning of the 19th that they assumed a regular character; the work, which had received a vigorous stimulus during the period of the French government (1806–1814), was prosecuted, though in a less methodical manner, under the rule of the Bourbon kings (1815–1861). Since 1861 it has been carried on under the Italian government in a more scientific manner, on a system devised by G. Fiorelli (d. 1896), according to which the town is for convenience divided into nine regions—though this rests on a misconception, for there is really no street between the Capua and the Nocera gates—and the results have been of the highest interest, though the rate of progress has been very slow.
The town was situated on rising ground less than a mile from the foot of Vesuvius. This eminence is itself due to an outflow of lava from that mountain, during some previous eruption in prehistoric times, for we know from Strabo that Vesuvius had been quiescent ever since the first records of the Greek settlements in this part of Italy. Pompeii in ancient times was a prosperous seaport town situated close to the seashore, from which it is now nearly 2 m. distant, and adjoining the mouth of the river Sarnus or Sarno, which now enters the sea nearly 2 m. from its site. The present course of this stream is due in part to modern alteration of its channel, as well as to the effects of the great eruption. The prosperity of Pompeii was due partly to its commerce, as the port of the neighbouring towns, partly to the fertility of its territory, which produced strong wine, olive oil (a comparatively small quantity), and vegetables; fish sauces were made here. Millstones and pumice were also exported, but for the former the more gritty lava of Rocca Monfina was later on preferred.
The area occupied by the ancient city was of an irregular oval form, and about 2 m. in circumference. It was surrounded by a wall, which is still preserved for more than two-thirds of its extent, but no traces of this are found on the side towards the sea, and there is no doubt that on this side it had been already demolished in ancient times, so as to give room for the free extension of houses and other buildings in that direction. These walls are strengthened at intervals by numerous towers, occupying the full width of the wall, which occur in some parts at a distance of only about 100 yds., but in general much less frequently. They are, however, of a different style of construction from the walls, and appear to have been added at a later period, probably that of the Social War. Similar evidences of the addition of subsequent defences are to be traced also in the case of the gates, of which no less than eight are found in the existing circuit of the walls. Some of these present a very elaborate system of defence, but it is evident from the decayed condition of others, as well as of parts of the walls and towers, that they had ceased to be maintained for the purposes of fortification long before the destruction of the city. The names by which the gates and streets are known are entirely of modern origin.
The general plan of the town is very regular, the streets being generally straight, and crossing one another at right angles or nearly so. But exceptions are found on the west in the street leading from the Porta Ercolanese (gate of Herculaneum) to the forum, which, though it must have been one of the principal thoroughfares in the city, was crooked and irregular, as well as very narrow, in some parts not exceeding 12 to 14 ft. in width, including the raised footpaths on each side, which occupy a. considerable part of the space, so that the carriage-way could only have admitted of the passage of one vehicle at a time. The explanation is that it follows the line of the demolished city wall. Another exception is to be found in the Strada Stabiana (Stabian Street) or Cardo, which, owing to the existence of a natural depression which affects also the line of the street just east of it, is not parallel to the other north and south streets. The other main streets are in some cases broader, but rarely exceed 20 ft. in width, and the broadest yet found is about 32, while the back streets running parallel to the main lines are only about 14 ft. (It is to be remembered, however, that the standard width of a Roman highroad in the neighbourhood of Rome itself is about 14 ft.) They are uniformly paved with large polygonal blocks of hard basaltic lava, fitted very closely together, though now in many cases marked with deep ruts from the passage of vehicles in ancient times. They are also in all cases bordered by raised footways on both sides, paved in a similar manner; and for the convenience of foot-passengers, which was evidently a more important consideration than the obstacle which the arrangement presented to the passage of vehicles, which indeed were probably only allowed for goods traffic, these are connected from place to place by stepping-stones raised above the level of the carriage-way. In other respects they must have resembled those of Oriental cities—the living apartments all opening towards the interior, and showing only blank walls towards the street; while the windows were generally to be found only in the upper storey, and were in all cases small and insignificant, without any attempt at architectural effect. In some instances indeed the monotony of their external appearance was broken by small shops, occupying the front of the principal houses, and let off separately; these were in some cases numerous enough to form a continuous facade to the street. This is seen especially in the case of the street from the Porta Ercolanese to the forum and the Strada Stabiana (or Cardo), both of which were among the most frequented thoroughfares. The streets were also diversified by fountains, small water-towers and reservoirs (of which an especially interesting example was found in 1902 close to the Porta del' Vesuvio) and street shrines. The source of the water-supply is unknown.
The first-mentioned of the two principal streets was crossed, a little before it reached the forum, by the street which led directly to the gate of Nola (Strada delle Terme, della Fortuna, and di Nola). Parallel to this last to the south is a street which runs from the Porta Marina through the forum, and then, with a slight turn, to the Sarno gate, thus traversing the whole area of the city from east to west (Via Marina, Strada dell' Abbondanza, Strada dei Diadumeni). These two east and west streets are the two decumani.
The population of Pompeii at the time of its destruction cannot be fixed with certainty, but it may very likely have exceeded 20,000. It was of a mixed character; both Oscan and Greek inscriptions are still found up to the last, and, though there is no trace whatever of Christianity, evidences of the presence of Jews are not lacking-such are a wall-painting, probably representing the Judgment of Solomon, and a scratched inscription on a wall, “ Sodoma, Gomora.” It has been estimated, from the number of skeletons discovered, that about 2000 persons perished in the city itself in the eruption of A.D. 79.
Almost the whole portion of the city which lies to the west of the Strada Stabiana, towards the forum and the sea, has been more or less completely excavated. It is over one-half of the whole extent, and that the most important portion, inasmuch as it includes the forum, with the temples and public buildings adjacent to it, the thermae, theatres, amphitheatre, &c. The greater part of that on the other side of the Strada Stabiana remains still unexplored, with the exception of the amphitheatre, and a small space in its immediate neighbourhood.
The forum at Pompeii was, as at Rome itself and in all other Italian cities, the focus and centre of all the life and movement of the city. Hence it was surrounded on all sides by public buildings or edilices of a commanding character. It was not, however, of large size, as compared to the open spaces in modern towns, being only 467 ft. in length by 126 in breadth (excluding the colonnades). Nor was it accessible to any description of wheeled carriages, and the nature of its pavement, composed of broad flags of travertine, shows that it was only intended for foot-passengers. It was adorned with numerous statues, some of the imperial family, others of distinguished citizens. Some of the inscribed pedestals of the latter have been found. It was surrounded on three sides by a series of porticos supported on columns; and these porticos were originally surmounted by a gallery or upper storey, traces of the staircases leading to which still remain, though the gallery itself has altogether disappeared. It is, however, certain from the existing remains that both this portico and the adjacent buildings had suffered severely from the earthquake of 63, and that they were undergoing a process of restoration, involving material changes in the original arrangements, which was still incomplete at the time of their final destruction. The north end of the forum, where alone the portico is wanting, is occupied in great part by the imposing temple of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva being also worshipped here. It was raised on, a podium 10 ft. high, and had a portico with six Corinthian columns in front. This magnificent edifice had, however, been evidently overthrown by the earthquake of 63, and is in its present condition a mere ruin, the rebuilding of which had not been begun at the time of the eruption, so that the cult of the three Capitoline divinities was then carried on in the so called temple of Zeus Milichius. On each side of it were two arches, affording an entrance into the forum, but capable of being closed by gates. On the east side of the forum were four edifices; all of them are of a public character, but their names and attribution have been the subject of much controversy. The first (proceeding from the north), once known as the Pantheon, is generally regarded as a macellum or meat-market, consisting of a rectangular court surrounded by a colonnade, with a twelve sided roofed building (tholus) in the centre. On the south side were shops, and in the centre of the east side a chapel for the worship of the imperial house. Next to this comes the sanctuary of the Lares of the city, a square room with a large apse; and beyond this, as Mau proves, the small temple of Vespasian. Beyond this again, bounded on the south by the street known as the Strada dell' Abbondanza, is a large and spacious edifice, which, as we learn from an extant inscription, was erected by a priestess named Eumachia. Its purpose is uncertain—possibly a cloth-exchange, as the fullers set up a statue to Eumachia here. It is an open court, oblong, surrounded on all four sides by a colonnade; in front is a portico facing the forum, and on the other three sides there is a corridor behind the colonnade with windows opening on it. On the south side of the Strada dell Abbondanza was a building which Mau conjectures to have been the Comitium. At the south end of the forum are three halls side by side, similar in plan with a common façade—the central one, the curia or council chamber, the others the offices respectively of the duumvirs and aediles, the principal officials of the city; while the greater part of the west side is occupied by two large buildings—a basilica, which is the largest edifice in Pompeii, and the temple of Apollo, which presents its side to the forum, and hence fills up a large portion of the surrounding space. The former, as we learn from an inscription scratched on its walls, was anterior in date to the consulship of M. Lepidus and Q. Catulus (78 B.C.), and therefore belongs to the Oscan period of the city, before the introduction of the Roman colony. It was an oblong edifice divided by columns into a central hall and a corridor running round all the four sides with a tribunal opposite the main entrance; and, unlike the usual basilica, it had, instead of a clerestory, openings in the walls of the corridor through which light was admitted, it being almost as lofty as the nave. The temple was an extensive edifice, having a comparatively small cella, raised upon a podium, and standing in the midst of a wide space surrounded by a portico of columns,
(Redrawn by permission from Baedeker's Southern Italy.)
outside which again is a wall, bounding the sacred enclosure. Between this temple and the basilica the Via Marina. leads off direct to the Porta Marina.
Besides the temples which surrounded the forum, the remains of five others have been discovered, three of which are situated in the immediate neighbourhood of the theatres. Of these by far the most interesting, though the least perfect, is one which is commonly known as the temple of Hercules (an appellation wholly without foundation), and which is not only by far the most ancient edifice in Pompeii, but presents us with all the characters of a true Greek temple, resembling in its proportions that of the earliest temple of Selinus, and probably of as remote antiquity (6th century B.C.). Unfortunately only the foundation and a few Doric capitals and other architectural fragments remain; they were coated with stucco which was brightly painted. In front of the temple is a monument which seems to have been the tomb of the founder or founders of the city; so that for a time this must have been the most important temple. The period of its destruction is unknown, for it appears certain that it cannot be ascribed wholly to the earthquake of 63. On the other hand the reverence attached to it in the later periods of the city is evidenced by its being left standing in the midst of a triangular space adjoining the great theatre, which is surrounded by a portico, so as to constitute a kind of forum (the so-called Foro Triangolare). Not far off, and to the north of the great theatre, stood a small temple, which, as we learn from the inscription still remaining, was dedicated to Isis, and was rebuilt by a certain Popidius Celsinus at the age of six (really of course by his parents), after the original edifice had been reduced to ruin by the great earthquake of 63. Though of small size, and by no means remarkable in point of architecture, it is interesting as the only temple that has come down to us in a good state of preservation of those dedicated to the Egyptian goddess, whose worship became so popular under the Roman Empire. The decorations were of somewhat gaudy stucco. The plan is curious, and deviates much from the ordinary type; the internal arrangements are adapted for the performance of the peculiar rites of this deity. Close to this temple was another, of very small size, commonly known as the temple of Aesculapius, but probably dedicated to Zeus Milichius. More considerable and important was a temple which stood at no great distance from the forum at the point where the so-called Strada di Mercurio was crossed by the wide line of thoroughfare (Strada della Fortuna) leading to the gate of Nola. We learn from an inscription that this was dedicated to the Fortune of Augustus (Fortuna Augusta), and was erected, wholly at his own cost, by a citizen of the name of M. Tullius. This temple appears to have suffered very severely from the earthquake, and at present affords little evidence of its original architectural ornament; but we learn from existing remains that its walls were covered with slabs of marble, and that the columns of the portico were of the same material. The fifth temple, that of Venus Pompeiana, lay to the west of the basilica; traces of two earlier periods underlie the extant temple, which was in progress of rebuilding at the time of the eruption. Before the earthquake of 63 it must have been the largest and most splendid, temple of the whole city. It was surrounded by a large colonnade, and the number of marble columns in the whole block has been reckoned at 296.
All the temples above described, except that ascribed to Hercules, which was approached by steps on all four sides, agree in being raised on an elevated podium or basement—an arrangement usual with all similar buildings of Roman date. Neither in materials nor in style does their architecture exceed what might reasonably be expected in a second-rate provincial town; and the same may be said in general of the other public buildings. Among these the most conspicuous are the theatres of which there were two, placed, as was usual in Greek towns, in close juxtaposition with one another. The largest of these which was partly excavated in the side of the hill, was a building of considerable magnificence, being in great part cased with marble, and furnished with seats of the same material, which have, however, been almost wholly removed. Its internal construction and arrangements resemble those of the Roman theatres in general, though with some peculiarities that show Greek influence, and we learn from an inscription that it was erected in Roman times by two members of the same family, M. Holconius Rufus and M. Holconius Celer, both of whom held important municipal offices at Pompeii during the reign of Augustus. It appears, however, from a careful examination of the remains that their work was only a reconstruction of a more ancient edifice, the date of the original form of which cannot be fixed; while its first alteration belongs to the “tufa” period, and three other periods in its history can be traced. Recent investigations in regard to the vexed question of the position of the actors in the Greek theatre have as yet not led to any certain solution. The smaller theatre, which was erected, as we learn from an inscription, by two magistrates specially appointed for the purpose by the decuriones of the city, was of older date than the large one, and must have been constructed a little before the amphitheatre, soon after the establishment of the Roman colony under Sulla., We learn also that it was permanently covered, andit was probably used for musical entertainments, but in the case of the larger theatre also the arrangements for the occasional extension of an awning (velarium) over the whole are distinctly found. The smaller theatre is computed to have been capable of containing fifteen hundred spectators, while the larger could accommodate five thousand.
Adjoining the theatres is a large rectangular enclosure, surrounded by a portico, at first the colonnade connected with the theatres, and converted, about the time of Nero, into the barracks of the gladiators, who were permanently maintained in the city with a view to the shows in the amphitheatre. This explains why it is so far from that building, which is situated at the south-eastern angle of the town, about 500 yds. from the theatres. Remains of gladiators’ armour and weapons were found in some of the rooms, and in one, traces of the stocks used to confine insubordinate gladiators. The amphitheatre was erected by the same two magistrates who built the smaller theatre, C . Quinctius Valgus and M. Porcius (the former the father-in-law of that P. Servilius Rullus, in opposition to whose bill relating to the distribution of the public lands Cicero made his speech, De lege agraria), at a period when no permanent edifice of a similar kind had yet been erected in Rome itself, and is indeed the oldest structure of the kind known to us. But apart from its early date it has no special interest, and is wholly wanting in the external architectural decorations that give such grandeur of character to similar edifices in other instances. Being in great part excavated in the surface of the hill, instead of the seats being raised on arches, it is wanting also in the picturesque arched corridors which contribute so much to the effect of those other ruins. Nor are its dimensions (460 by 345 ft.) such as to place it in the first rank of structures of this class, nor are there any underground chambers below the arena, with devices for raising wild beasts, &c. But, as we learn from the case of their squabble with the people of Nuceria, the games celebrated in the amphitheatre on grand occasions would be visited by large numbers from the neighbouring towns. The seating capacity was about 20,000 (for illustration see Amphitheatre).
Adjoining the amphitheatre was found a large open space, nearly square in form, which has been supposed to be a forum boarium or cattle-market, but, no buildings of interest being discovered around it, the excavation was filled up again, and this part of the city has not been since examined. Between the entrance to the triangular forum (so-called) and the temple of Isis is the Palaestra, an area surrounded by a colonnade; it is a structure of the pre-Roman period, intended for boys, not men.
Among the more important public buildings of Pompeii were the public baths (thermae). Three different establishments of this character have been discovered, of which the first, excavated in 1824, the baths near the forum, built about 80 B.C., was for a long time the only one known: Though the smallest of the three, it is in some respects the most complete and interesting; and it was until of late years the principal source from which we derived our knowledge of this important branch of the economy of Roman life. At Pompeii the baths are so well preserved as to show at a glance the purpose of all the different parts—while they are among the most richly decorated of all the buildings in the city. We trace without difficulty all the separate apartments that are described to us by Roman authors—the apodyterium, frigidarium, tepidarium, caldarium, &c. together with the apparatus for supplying both water and heat, the places for depositing the bather’s clothes, and other minor details (see Baths). The greater thermae (the so-called “Stabian” baths), which were originally built in the 2nd century B.C., and repaired about 80 B.C., are on a much more extensive scale than the others, and combine with the special purposes of the building a palaestra in the centre and other apartments for exercise or recreation. The arrangements of the baths themselves are, however, almost similar to those of the lesser thermae. In this case an inscription records the repair and restoration of the edifice after the earthquake of 63. It appears, however, that these two establishments were found inadequate to supply the wants of the inhabitants, and a third edifice of the same character, the socalled central baths, at the corner of the Strada Stabiana and the Strada di Nola, but on a still more extensive scale, intended for men only, while the other two had separate accommodation for both sexes, was in course of construction when the town was overwhelmed.
Great as is the interest attached to the various public buildings of Pompeii, and valuable as is the light that they have in some instances thrown upon similar edifices in other ruined cities, far more curious and interesting is the insight afforded us by the numerous private houses and shops into the ordinary life and habits of the population of an ancient town. 'The houses at Pompeii are generally low, rarely exceeding two storeys in height, and it appears certain that the upper storey was generally of a slight construction, and occupied by small rooms, serving as garrets, or sleeping places for slaves, and perhaps for the females of the family. From the mode of destruction of the city these upper floors were in most cases crushed in and destroyed, and hence it was long believed that the houses for the most part had but one storey; but recent researches have in many cases brought to light incontestable evidence of the existence of an upper floor, and the frequent occurrence of a small staircase is in itself sufficient proof of the fact. The windows, as already mentioned, were generally small and insignificant, and contributed nothing to the external decoration or effect of the houses, which took both fight and air from the inside, not from the outside. In some cases they were undoubtedly closed with glass, but its use appears to have been by no means general. The principal living rooms, as well as those intended for the reception of guests or clients, were all on the ground floor, the centre being formed by the atrium, or hall, which was almost always open above to the air, and in the larger houses was generally surrounded with columns. Into this opened other rooms, the entrances to which seem to have been rarely protected by doors, and could only have been closed by curtains. At the back was a garden. Later, under Greek influences, a peristyle with rooms round it was added in place of the garden. We notice that, as in modern Italy until quite recent years, elaborate precautions were taken against heat, but none against cold, which was patiently endured. Hypocausts are only found in connexion with bathrooms.
All the apartments and arrangements described by Vitruvius and other ancient writers may be readily traced in the houses of Pompeii, and in many instances these have for the first time enabled us to understand the technical terms and details transmitted to us by Latin authors. We must not, however, hastily assume that the examples thus preserved to us by a singular accident are to be taken as representing the style of building in all the Roman and Italian towns. We know from Cicero that Capua was remarkable for its broad streets and widespread buildings, and it is probable that the Campanian towns in general partook of the same character. At Pompeii indeed the streets were not wide, but they were straight and regular, and the houses of the better class occupied considerable spaces, presenting in this respect no doubt a striking contrast, not only with those of Rome itself, but with those of many other Italian towns, where the buildings would necessarily be huddled together from the circumstances of their position. Even at Pompeii itself, on the west side of the city, where the ground slopes somewhat steeply towards the sea, houses are found which consisted of three storeys or more, »
The excavations have provided examples of houses of every description, from the humble dwelling-place of the artisan or proletarian, with only three or four small rooms, to the stately mansions of Sallust, of the Faun, of the Golden Cupids, of the Silver Wedding, of the Vettii, of Pansa, &c.—the last of which is among the most regular in plan, and may be taken as an almost perfect model of a complete Roman house of a superior class. But the general similarity in their plan and arrangement is very striking, and in all those that rise above a very humble class the leading divisions of the interior, the atrium, tablinum, peristyle, &c. may be traced with unfailing regularity. Another peculiarity that is found in all the more considerable houses in Pompeii is that of the front, where it faces one of the principal streets, being occupied with shops, usually of small size, and without any communication with the interior of the mansion. In a few instances indeed such a communication is found, but in these cases it is probable that the shop was used for the sale of articles grown upon the estate of the proprietor, such as wine, fruit, oil, &c., a practice that is' still common in Italy. In general the shop had a very small apartment behind it, and probably in most cases a sleeping chamber above it, though of this the only remaining evidence is usually a portion of the staircase that led to this upper room. The front of the shop was open to the street, but was capable of being closed with wooden shutters, the remains of which have in a few instances been preserved. Not only have the shopsof silversmiths been recognized by the precious objects of that metal found in them, but large quantities of fruits of various kinds preserved in glass vessels, various de» script ions of corn and pulse, loaves of bread, moulds for pastry, fishing-nets and many other objects too numerous to mention, have been found in such a condition as to be identified without difficulty. Inns and wine-shops appear to have been numerous; one of the latter we can see to have been a thermopolium, where hot drinks were sold. Bakers’ shops are also frequent, though arrangements for grinding and baking appear to have formed part of every large family establishment. In other cases, however, these were on a larger scale, provided with numerous querns or hand-mills of the well-known form, evidently intended for public supply. Another establishment on a large scale was a fullonica (fuller's shop), where all the details of the business were 'illustrated by paintings still visible on the walls. Dyers shops, a tannery and a shop where colours were ground and manufactured—an important business where almost all the rooms of every house were painted—are of special interest, as is also the house of a surgeon, where numerous surgical instruments were found, some of them of a very ingenious and elaborate description, but all made of bronze. Another curious discovery was that of the abode of a sculptor, containing his tools, as well as blocks of marble and half-finished statues. The number of utensils of various kinds found in the houses and shops is almost endless, and, as these are in most cases of bronze, they are generally in perfect preservation.
Of the numerous works of art discovered in the course of the excavations the statues and large works of sculpture, whether in marble or bronze, are inferior to those found at Herculaneum, but some of the bronze statuettes are of exquisite workmanship, while the profusion of ornamental works and objects in bronze and the elegance of their design, as well as the finished beauty of their execution, are such as to excite the utmost admiration more especially when it is considered that these are the casual results of the examination of a second-rate provincial town, which had, further, been ransacked for valuables (as Herculaneum had not) after the eruption of 79. The same impression is produced in a still higher degree by the paintings with which the walls of the private houses, as well as those of the temples and other public buildings, are adorned, and which are not.merely of a decorative character, but in many instances present us with elaborate compositions of figures, historical and mythological scenes, as well as representations of the ordinary life and manners of the people, which are full of interest to us, though often of inferior artistic execution. It has until lately been the practice to, remove these to the museum at Naples; but the present tendency is to leave them (and even the movable objects found in the houses) in situ with all due precautions as to their preservation (as in the house of the Vettii, , of the Silver Wedding, of the Golden Cupids, &c.), which adds immensely to the interest of the houses; indeed, with the help of judicious restoration, their original condition is in large measure reproduced. In some cases it has even been possible to recover the original arrangement of the garden beds, and to replant them accordingly, thus giving an appropriate framework to the statues, &c. with which the gardens were decorated, and which have been found in situ. The same character of elaborate decoration, guided almost uniformly by good taste and artistic feeling, is displayed in the mosaic pavements, which in all but the humbler class of houses frequently form the ornament of their floors. One of these, in the House of the Faun, well known as the battle of Alexander, presents us with the most striking specimen of artistic composition that has been preserved to us from antiquity.
The architecture of Pompeii must be regarded as presenting in general a transitional character from the pure Greek style to that of the Roman Empire. The temples (as already observed) have always the Roman peculiarity of being raised on a podium of considerable elevation; and the same characteristic is found in most of the other public buildings. All the three orders of Greek architecture—the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian—are found freely employed in the various edifices of the city, but rarely in strict accordance with the rules of art in their proportions and details; while the private houses naturally exhibit still more deviation and irregularity. In many of these indeed we had varieties in the ornamentation, and even in such leading features as the capitals of the columns, which remind one rather of the vagaries of medieval architecture than of the strict rules of Vitruvius or the regularity of Greek edifices. One practice which is especially prevalent, so as to strike every casual visitor, and dates from the early years of the empire, is that of filling up the flutings of the columns for about one-third of their height with a thick coat of stucco, so as to give them the appearance of being smooth columns without flutings below, and only fluted above. The unpleasing effect of this anomalous arrangement is greatly aggravated by the lower part of each column being almost always coloured with red or yellow ochre, so as to render the contrast between the two portions still stronger. The architecture of Pompeii suffers also from the inferior quality of the materials generally employed. No good building stone was at hand; and the public as well as private edifices were constructed either of volcanic tufa, or lava, or Sarno limestone, or brick (the latter only used for the corners of walls). In the private houses even the columns are mostly of brick, covered merely with a coat of stucco. In a few instances only do we find them making use of a whitish limestone wrongly called t raver tine, which, though inferior to the similar material so largely employed at Rome, was better adapted than the ordinary tufa for purposes where great solidity was required. The portion of the portico surrounding the forum which was in the process 'of rebuilding at the time when the city was destroyed was constructed of this material, while the earlier portions, as well as the principal temples that adjoined it, were composed in the ordinary manner of volcanic tufa. Marble appears to have been scarce, and was sparingly employed. In some instances where it had been freely introduced, as in the great theatre, it would seem that the slabs must have been removed at a period subsequent to the entombment of the city.
These materials are used in several different styles of construction belonging 'to the six different periods which Mau traces in the architectural history of Pompeii.
1. That of the Doric temple in the Foro Triangolare (6th century B.C.) and an old column built into a house in Region vi., Insula 5; also of the older parts of the city walls—date uncertain (Sarno limestone and grey tufa).
2. That of the limestone atriums (outer walls of the houses of ashlar-work of Sarno limestone, inner walls with framework of limestone blocks, filled in with small pieces of limestone). Date, before 200 B.C.
3. Grey tufa period; ashlar masonry of tufa, coated with fine white stucco; rubble work of lava. The artistic character is still Greek. and the period coincides with the first (incrustation) style of mural decoration, which (probably originating in Alexandria) armed at the imitation in stucco of the appearance of a wall veneered with coloured marbles. No wall paintings exist, but there are often fine floor mosaics. To this belong a number of private houses (e.g. the House of the Faun), and the colonnade round the forum, the basilica, the temples of Apollo and Jupiter, the large theatre with the colonnades of the Foro Triangolare, and the barracks of the gladiators, the Stabian baths, the Palaestra, the exterior of the Porta Marina, and the interior of the other gates—all the public buildings indeed (except the Doric temple mentioned under (1), which do not belong to the time of the Roman colony). Date, 2nd century B.C.
4. The “quasi-reticulated” period-walling faced with masonry not yet quite so regular as opus reticulatum, and with brick quoins, coinciding with the second period of decoration (the architectural, partly imitating marble like the first style, but without relief, and by colour only, and partly making use of architectural designs). It is represented by the small theatre and the amphitheatre, the baths near the forum, the temple of Zeus Milichius, the Comitium and the original temple of Isis, but only a few private houses. The ornamentation is much less rich and beautiful than that of the preceding period. Date, from 80 B.C. until nearly the end of the Republic.
5. The period from the last decades of the Republic to the earthquake of A.D. 63. No homogeneous series of buildings—we find various styles of construction (quasi-reticulated, opus reticulatum of tufa with stone quoins, of the time of Augustus, opus reticulatum with brick quoins or with mingled stone and brick quoins, a little later); and three styles of wall decoration fall within its limits. The second, already mentioned, the third or ornate, with its freer use of ornament and its introduction of designs which suggest an Egyptian origin (originating in the time of Augustus), and the fourth or intricate, dating from about A.D. 50. Marble first appears as a building material in the temple of Fortuna Augusta (c. 3 B.C.).
6. The period from the earthquake of A.D. 65 to the final destruction of the city, the buildings of which can easily be recognized. The only wholly new edifice of any importance is the central baths.
Outside the Porta Ercolanese, or gate leading to Herculaneum, is found a house of a different character from all the others, which from its extent and arrangements was undoubtedly a suburban villa, belonging to a person of considerable fortune. It is called—as usual without any authority—the villa of Arrius Diomedes; but its remains are of peculiar interest to us, not only for comparison with the numerous ruins of similar buildings which occur, elsewhere—often of greater extent, but in a much less perfect state of preservation—but as assisting us in understanding the description of ancient authors, such as Vitruvius and Pliny, of the numerous appurtenances frequently annexed to houses of this description.
In the cellar of this villa were discovered no less than twenty skeletons of the unfortunate inhabitants, who had evidently fled thither for protection, and fourteen in other parts of the house. Almost all the skeletons and remains of bodies found in the city were discovered in similar situations, in cellars or underground apartments—those who had sought refuge in flight having apparently for the most part escaped from destruction, or having perished under circumstances where their bodies were easily recovered by the survivors. According to Cassius Dio, a large number of the inhabitants were assembled in the theatre at the time of the catastrophe, but no bodies have been found there, and they were probably sought for and removed shortly afterwards. Of late years it has been found possible in many cases to take casts of the bodies found—a complete mould having been formed around them by the fine white ashes, partially consolidated by water.
An interesting farm-house (few examples have been so far discovered in Italy) is that at Boscoreale excavated in 1895–1894, which contained the treasure of one hundred and three silver vases now at the Louvre. The villa of P. Fannius Synhistor, not far off, was excavated in 1900; it contained fine wall paintings, which, despite their importance, were allowed to be exported, and sold by auction in Paris (some now in the Louvre). (See F. Barnabei, La Villa pompeiana di P. Fannio Sinistore; Rome, 1901.)
The road leading from the Porta Ercolanese towards Herculaneum is bordered on both sides for a considerable extent by rows of tombs, as was the case with all the great roads leading into Rome, and indeed in all large Roman towns. These tombs are in many instances monuments of considerable pretension, and of a highly ornamental character, and naturally present in the highest degree the peculiar advantage common to all that remains of Pompeii, in their perfect preservation. Hardly any scene even in this extraordinary city is more striking than the coup d’œil of this long street of tombs, preserving uninjured the records of successive generations eighteen centuries ago. Unfortunately the names are all otherwise unknown; but we learn from the inscriptions that they are for the most part those of local magistrates and municipal dignitaries of Pompeii. Most of them belong to the early empire.
There appears to have been in the same quarter a considerable suburb, outside the gate, extending on each side of the road towards Herculaneum, apparently much resembling those which are now found throughout almost the whole distance from thence to Naples. It was known by the name of Pagus Augustus Felix Suburbanus. Other suburbs were situated at the harbour and at the salt works (salinae).
No manuscripts have been discovered in Pompeii. Inscriptions have naturally been found in considerable numbers, and we are indebted to them for much information concerning the municipal arrangements of the town, as well as the construction of various edifices and other public works. The most interesting of, these are such as are written in the Oscan dialect, which appears to have continued in official use down to the time when the Roman colony was introduced by Sulla. From that time the Latin language was certainly the only one officially employed, though Oscan may have still been spoken by a portion at least of the population. Still more curious, and almost peculiar to Pompeii, are the numerous writings painted upon the walls, which have generally a semi public character, such as recommendations of candidates for municipal offices, advertisements, &c., and the scratched inscriptions (graffiti), which are generally the mere expression of individual impulse and feeling, frequently amatory, and not uncommonly conveyed in rude and imperfect verses. In one house also a whole box was found filled with written tablets-diptychs and triptychs—containing the record of the accounts of a banker named L. Caecilius jucundus.
See A. Mau, Pompeii: its Life and Art (trans. by F. W. Kelsey, 2nd ed., New York and London, 1902; 2nd revised edition of the German original, Pompeii in Leben und Kunst, Leipzig, 1908), the best general account written by the greatest authority on the subject, to which our description owes much, with full references to other sources of information; and, for later excavations, Notizie degli Scavi and Römische Mitteilungen (in the latter, articles by Mau), passim. For the inscriptions on the tablets and on the walls, Corpus inscriptionum latinarum, vol. iv. (ed. Zangemeister and Mau). Recent works on the Pompeian frescoes are those of Berger, in Die Maltechnik des Alterthums, and A. P. Laurie, Greek and Roman Methods of Painting (1910). (E. H. B.; T. As.)
Oscan Inscriptions.—The surviving inscriptions which can be dated, mainly by the gradual changes in their alphabet, are of the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C., some certainly belonging to the Gracchan period. The oldest of the Latin inscriptions are C.I.L. x. 794, the record of the building of colonnades in the forum by 'the “ quaestor ” V. Popidius, and two or three election placards (C.I.L. iv. 29, 30, 36) of one R. Caecilius, a candidate for the same office. It cannot be an accident that the alphabet of these inscriptions belongs distinctly to Sullan or pre-Sullan times, while no such officer as a quaestor appears in any later documents (e.g. in C.I.L. x. 844, it is the duoviri who build the small theatre), but does appear in the Oscan inscriptions. Hence it has been inferred that these oldest Latin inscriptions are also older than Sulla’s colony; if so, Latin must have been in use, and in fairly common use (if the programmata were to be of any service), in Pompeii at that date. On the other hand, the good condition of many of the painted Oscan inscriptions at the times when they were first uncovered (1797 onwards) and their subsequent decay and the number of Oscan graffiti appear to make it probable that at the Christian era Oscan was still spoken in the town. The two languages undoubtedly existed side by side during the last century B.C., Latin being alone recognized officially and in society, while Oscan was preserved mainly by intercourse with the country folk who frequented the market. Thus beside many Latin programmata later than those just mentioned we have similar inscriptions in Oscan, addressed to Oscan-speaking voters, where IIIIner. obviously relates to the quattuorvirate, a title characteristic of the Sullan and triumviral colonies. An interesting stone containing nine cavities for measures of capacity found in Pompeii and now preserved in the Naples Museum with Oscan inscriptions erased in antiquity shows that the Oscan system of measurement was modified so as to correspond more closely with the Roman, about 14 B.C., by the duoviri, who record their work in a Latin inscription (C.I.L. x. 793; for the Oscan see. Ital. Dial. p. 67).
- The etymology of the name is uncertain; the ancients derived it from pompa or πέμπω (Gr. send), in allusion to the journey of Heracles with the oxen of Geryon, but modern authorities refer it to the Oscan pompa (five).
- For the Oscan inscriptions found in Pompeii see below ad fin.
- Pompeii was attacked as a member of the Nucerine League. See Conway, Italic Dialects, p. 51; J. Beloch, Campanien, 2nd ed., p. 239.
- It consisted of two parallel stone walls with buttresses, about 15 ft. apart and 28 in. thick, the intervening space being filled with earth, and there being an embankment on the inner side.
- See A. Mau, Pompeii in Leben und Kunst (Leipzig, 1908), pp. 150 sqq.
- The interest taken by the Pompeians in the sports of the amphitheatre is shown by the contents of the numerous painted and scratched inscriptions relating to them which have been found in Pompeii—notices of combats, laudatory inscriptions, including even references to the admiration which gladiators won from the fair sex, &c.
- 1 It may be observed that the names given in most cases to the houses are either arbitrary or founded in the first instance upon erroneous inferences.
- The paintings of the house of the Vettii are perhaps the best-preserved in Pompeii, and extremely fine in conception and execution, especially the scenes in which Cupids take part.