HistArt / CLArch
Pompeii: Its Life and Art

TTh 1:00 - 2:30pm
3 Credit Lecture

In 79 C.E. the Roman city of Pompeii, on the coast of southern Italy, was engulfed by the catastrophic eruption of the nearby volcano, Vesuvius. The inhabitants fled or died, but the city itself was preserved. It was only in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that Pompeii, and surrounding buildings and settlements, including the town of Herculaneum, were rediscovered. Their astonishingly good preservation has caught the popular imagination ever since (for example in the recent novel Pompeii, by Robert Harris). This course will uncover the urban fabric of the city as it has been revealed by more than two centuries of excavation. We will look at how the community was laid out, at public and private buildings and their decoration, and at its wider cultural, geographical and historical context. Using physical remains alongside texts in translation, we will explore different aspects of the lives of the inhabitants, including topics such as their artistic choices and achievements, social lives, roles played by men and women inside and outside the family, religion, slavery, the economy, political organization and expression, and attitudes towards death. We will also explore the enduring power of Pompeii to dominate our modern view of the Roman world. D. 1