A journey through the perpetual unearthing of Pompeii and examine its history, buildings, public and private spheres of everyday life, recreation, entertainment and art.
The eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 has preserved not only buildings, including their wall-paintings and mosaics, but also items of everyday life which have disappeared long ago from most of the Roman cities excavated elsewhere. At Pompeii (and Herculaneum) objects such as combs, mirrors and glass vessels have been preserved. Even the Pompeiians themselves and their animals survive in a series of remarkable plaster casts. From casts and wall-paintings, we are able to reconstruct the precise appearance of houses and shops, the beds and couches they sat upon, what they ate and the dinner services they used. At Herculaneum, not only are wooden beams, shop shutters, garden trellises and ceilings preserved, but even the bread, nuts and eggs that were to be eaten that day. Such is the wealth of information uncovered in these buried cities that we know from election posters who was standing for office in a particular year, from inscriptions the name of the architect of the theatre at Pompeii, and from graffiti people’s opinion of various gladiators.
Over six consecutive weeks, this short course journeyed through the discovery of the perpetual unearthing of Pompeii with comparisons and references to Herculaneum and other ancient buried cities. Presenter and Chair of Classics at the University of Melbourne, Emeritus Professor Frank Sear, closely examined the history, the buildings, public and private spheres of everyday life, recreation, entertainment and art.