Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/67

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.
53
POMPEII


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 thegate 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 theatresfof which there were two, placed, as was usual in Greek towns, in closing 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, andifurnished 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 1 See A. Mau, Pompeii in Leben und Kunst (Leipzig, 1908), pp. 150 Sqq,

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 a nd M. Porcius (the former the fatherin-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 agmria), at a period when no permanent edihce 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 34 5 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 20,0002 (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 publicf 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 apddyterium, frigidarium, lepidafium, 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 apalaestra 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

  • 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 tc 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.