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2c.6   public buildings – basilicas, temples, fora, theatres, palaestra, amphitheatres
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2c.6 public buildings – basilicas, temples, fora, theatres, palaestra, amphitheatres



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  • 1. Public Buildings –Basilicas, Temples, Fora, Theatres, Palaestra, Amphitheatre s
  • 2. Public Buildings – Basilicas, Temples, Fora, Theatres,• Palaestra, Amphitheatres a Most of the large buildings in public Pompeii date from the period after it became Roman colony, when the number of temples doubled and the public baths, theatres and amphitheatres were constructed• Inscriptions show that new buildings were initiated by the duumviri• Other prominent citizens were also responsible for the construction of new buildings or the addition of certain features
  • 3. Public Buildings – Basilicas, Temples, Fora, Theatres, Palaestra, Amphitheatre s• The donation of a public building was seen as a virtue in Roman society and it enhanced the donor’s prestige• Most public buildings had a religious element such as a small shrine or statues to the Gods or members of the imperial family• An example of this is the macellum in the forum at Pompeii had such a shrine
  • 4. Public Buildings – Basilicas• In Pompeii the basilica was a large rectangular building located on the south- western side of the forum• It was more Greek than Roman in style, with rows of columns, not arches, supporting the roof• The basilica housed the law courts: at the back was a structure reached by stairs which has been interpreted as a tribunal where the magistrate sat when hearing cases• Graffiti suggests the basilica was also a place where business transactions were negotiated
  • 5. Public Buildings – Basilicas• Few public buildings have been uncovered in Herculaneum• Tunnels have provided access to buried buildings but there is no reliable analysis of usage• One building identified as a basilica may have been a temple or a shrine instead• An inscription refers to the rebuilding of a basilica in Herculaneum by the Proconsul Marcus Nonius Balbus, however it has not been positively identified
  • 6. Public Buildings – Temples • 10 temples have been excavated at Pompeii, most in and around the forum • These temples provide evidence of a range of religious beliefs and practices • The temples included the official Roman state deities: Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva • Greek deities appropriated by the Romans including Apollo, Venus and Dionysus • Foreign deities such as the Egyptian Goddess Isis
  • 7. Public Buildings – Temples• Temples dedicated to the Imperial Cult paid homage to the deified Emperors• In the forum was the Temple of the Genius of Augustus, later known as the Temple of Vespasian• The Temple of Fortuna Augusta, north of the forum, linked Fortuna, Goddess of Fertility and Good Luck, with Augusta, the guardian of the Divine Augustus
  • 8. Public Buildings – Temples• All temples had been damaged in the earthquake of AD62• Some, such as the Temple of Apollo were restored by the time of the eruption of 79AD• Others, such as the Temple of Jupiter were still in ruins
  • 9. Public Buildings – Temples• No large temples have been uncovered at Herculaneum• A Shrine of the Augustales, including a section devoted to Hercules provides evidence of the Imperial Cult
  • 10. Public Buildings – Fora• The forum was a large open area of a Roman town where the main public buildings were located and where there was space for public meetings• Two fora have been found @ Pompeii, an early forum known as the Triangular Forum and the main forum
  • 11. Public Buildings – Fora • The Triangular Forum, which contains evidence of a 6th century BC temple, was the earliest forum in Pompeii • It was located near the theatres
  • 12. Public Buildings – Fora• The main forum was located in the south-western section of Pompeii• It was a pedestrian area 40x150 metres, paved in limestone• Stone barriers prevented vehicles from entering the area
  • 13. Public Buildings – Fora• Two storey public buildings surrounded the forum on three sides• Porticoes linked the various buildings and provided shade and shelter• Around the open space were statues of distinguished citizens and members of the Imperial family
  • 14. Public Buildings – Fora• The Temple of Jupiter stood at the head of the forum on the northern side, flanked by two triumphal arches• A painting from the estate of Julia Felix shows people enjoying various activities in the forum which was garlanded for the occasion• The buildings around the forum were a mixture of religious, commercial and political buildings• Many were undergoing repairs at the time of the eruption
  • 15. Religious Buildings in the forum at PompeiiTemple of Apollo Built in the 2nd century BC on the site of a much older temple. There are statues of Apollo and Diana on either side of the porticoTemple of Jupiter Built in the 2nd century BC and later converted into a Capitolium dedicated to the worship of Jupiter, Juno and MinervaTemple of the Genius of Also known as the Temple of VespasianAugustusTemple of Fortuna Build by duumviri Marcus Tullius in honour of theAugusta Emperor AugustusSanctuary of the City There are doubts about the origin and purpose of thisLares building
  • 16. Commercial Buildings in the forum at PompeiiMacellum Main market building with shops and stalls selling a variety of food including vegetables, meat and fishMensa Ponderaria Stone table of weights and measures was near the macellum, built into the wall of the Temple of ApolloBuilding of Eumachia May have been a wool market or the headquarters of the fuller’s guild. There was a jar inside the entrance where men could urinate. Urine was used in the fulling process and for bleaching.
  • 17. Political Buildings in the forum at PompeiiBasilica A building for the law courts, but also a place where business deals were negotiated and perhaps registered. Buildings thought to be government offices, possibly the office of the Duumviri, office of the Aediles and the hall of the DecurionesComitium??? Enclosed with no roof, perhaps used as a voting areaStatues At least 40 statues stood on high bases around the forum. Many were of prominent citizens, some were of members of the Imperial family
  • 18. Public Buildings – Theatres• The large theatre of Pompeii is a Greek-style theatre with seats built into the natural slope• It may have had an awning over sections of the seating• The theatre held up to 5000 people• Entry was free but seating was assigned according to social class• The seats nearest to the stage were faced with marble and were reserved for important citizens
  • 19. Public Buildings – Theatres• Mosaics depicting actors preparing for dramatic performances have been found in private houses, as well as actors’ masks used in Greek and Roman tragedies and comedies• Farces and pantomimes were performed
  • 20. Public Buildings – Theatres • Near the large theatre is a smaller, free-standing theatre known as the Odeon, built soon after 80BC • According to an inscription found nearby, it had a roof which ensured excellent acoustics • It was used for musical recitals and poetry readings • The Odeon could seat up to 1000 people: seating was assigned according to social class
  • 21. Public Buildings – Theatres• Herculaneum had a free-standing Roman style theatre which remains under Ercolano• It held up to 2500 people• Originally it was richly decorated with marble columns and gilded statues• It was the first building to be found in Herculaneum and has been extensively looted
  • 22. Public Buildings – Palaestra• Another Greek feature of Roman towns was the public for exercise and athletics called the palaestra• Popular sports included running, discus, wrestling and swimming
  • 23. Public Buildings – Palaestra• The palaestra in Pompeii was built at public expense in response to Augustus’ desire to provide young people with facilities where they could exercise• It became a meeting place for members of Juventus (Augustan Youth) and included an alter for rites associated with the Imperial Cult
  • 24. Public Buildings – Palaestra• The palaestra was a large building with porticoes along 3 sides• In the middle of the palaestra was a large swimming pool• Plane trees provided shade• The palaestra in Herculaneum took up a whole insula, although only parts of it have been excavated
  • 25. Public Buildings – Palaestra• The large open area featured a shallow cross-shaped pool with a bronze fountain• The large central area was surrounded by rooms opening onto porticoes on 3 sides• An upper terrace of arched chambers on the northern side provided an excellent vantage point for viewing events
  • 26. Public Buildings – Palaestra• On the western side of the portico was a very tall building with a niche at the back which would have held a large statue• A marble table was found nearby• This may have been used for worship and/or prize-giving• Competitive games were financed by wealthy citizens such as Marcus Nonius Balbus
  • 27. Public Buildings – Amphitheatres • Situated in the south eastern corner of the city, Pompeii’s amphitheatre dates to 70BC • It survived the eruption of Vesuvius almost intact, making it the world’s oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre • It also offers fascinating insight into the design of amphitheatres and their importance to Roman society
  • 28. Public Buildings – Amphitheatres• In contrast to later amphitheatres, Pompeii’s is very simple and represents and example of the earliest style of amphitheatre.• It measures 135m long and 104m wide and its arena was a pit excavated 6m below ground level with earth from the excavations heaped up into embankments that served as a seating area• All that divided the audience from the spectacle below them was a 2 metre balustrade which would have offered poor protection for those on the nearest seats during wild beats fights
  • 29. Public Buildings – Amphitheatres• The arena accommodated all social classes, demonstrating the universal popularity of the games• The 35 rows of seats which could accommodate 20000 people were divided into three areas to accommodate three distinct social groupings of spectators from the city and its outlying regions: the ima, media and summa cavea
  • 30. Public Buildings – Amphitheatres• The media was kept for the general populace whilst the ima cavae ran around the arena and was kept for well to do• Slaves and women and the lowest classes viewed the games form the summa cavae, at a distance from the show.• Protection from the sun was provided by velaria suspended above the crowd from the top of the arena.
  • 31. Public Buildings – Amphitheatres• The external walls of the amphitheatre were covered with posters praising the gladiators and recording the outcome of the contests.• The Thracian Celadus is described as the ‘hero’ and ‘heartthrob of the girls’.• The area around the amphitheatre developed into an area of taverns and eateries to provide pre and post games’ refreshment.• Signs painted on the arena walls marking out rented spaces indicate that temporary booths were set up just outside the arena walls, selling souvenirs, food and drink.