Archive | September, 2017

The Preservation of Pompeii D.17.10.01

30 Sep

The houses and streets in Pompeii were preserved. Many buildings survived the great volcanic eruption in 79 CE at Mount Vesuvius. It is like a perfectly preserved Roman town from 2,000 years ago.
An example of preservation there was a mosaic floor in the entry way to a house in Pompeii. It said – Cave Canem, Beware of the Dog, with a picture of a dog.
The people were killed by volcanic ash. They were covered by it. Most of them died of asphyxiation and what happened was over time the ash hardened into stone and the bodies covered in ash decomposed, leaving a space within the stone.
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Ancient Pompeii D.17.09.30

29 Sep

Pompeii was a city of 11,000 people built near Mount Vesuvius, just south of Naples in Italy.
In 79 CE, Mount Vesuvius erupted, spewing ash and dust and volcanic matter all over the city of Pompeii. The city was covered in three to six meters of ash and anyone who lived there and was not able to escape died. At least 10% of the population were caught.
The city was buried under ash until the 18th century. So for 18 centuries the city laid buried under ash. This meant that the city was almost perfectly preserved.
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Roman Villas D.17.09.29

29 Sep

In the Roman modest homes, the pool served as a place to collect rain water for household uses.
The Persian name for such enclosed gardens was paradise.
It was in villas where Roman poets and philosophers gathered to think and had the leisure to talk and debate, something rare in the ancient world. Most Romans would never have experienced a place like that. It is a testimony to the enduring significance of Roman art and culture that over 1,500 years after the fall of the Roman Empire, on a continent that no Roman knew existed, have built magnificent buildings that a Roman senator, or centurion, or matron would recognize instantly.
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Vesuvius D.17.09.28

28 Sep

When Vesuvius erupted, the volcano covered the entire town of Herculaneum with a deep layer of ash. The Villa dei Papiri was completely buried for over 1,500 years until it began to be excavated in the eighteenth century.
In the villa, excavators discovered a magnificent collection of Roman sculpture, as well as a collection of over 1,700 carbonized papyrus scrolls. These scrolls gave the villa its modern name, the villa of the papyrus.
There was a gorgeous courtyard called peristyle, an enclosed courtyard with columns on all sides and a pool of water in the center.
Peristyle was a common feature of elite Roman homes, though most weren’t on a lavish scale.
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Vesuvius D.17.09.28

28 Sep

When Vesuvius erupted, the volcano covered the entire town of Herculaneum with a deep layer of ash. The Villa dei Papiri was completely buried for over 1,500 years until it began to be excavated in the eighteenth century.
In the villa, excavators discovered a magnificent collection of Roman sculpture, as well as a collection of over 1,700 carbonized papyrus scrolls. These scrolls gave the villa its modern name, the villa of the papyrus.
There was a gorgeous courtyard called peristyle, an enclosed courtyard with columns on all sides and a pool of water in the center.
Peristyle was a common feature of elite Roman homes, though most weren’t on a lavish scale.
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Hippodrome D.17.09.27

26 Sep

Hippos is the Greek word for horse. And so hippodrome, a place where you go to see horses run.
Hippopotamus comes from the Greek word for horse of the river. And it’s funny, we now think the word hippo means hippos, but hippos in Greek was a horse.
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Circus Maximus in Rome D.17.09.26

25 Sep

The prestigious chariot race took place in the Circus Maximus. These were long, thin stadia where you would Ride very quickly down the straightaway and then make a tight turnaround and then come back.
This was popular in Rome and at Byzantium. There would be four teams named after colours, the greens, the blues, the whites and the reds.
These teams played in Rome and all around the empire and continued very popular in the hippodrome at Byzantium.
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Deaths in the Arena D.17.09.25

24 Sep

There were various styles of gladiators. There were trainers. The gladiators were dressed in armour and practiced fighting. There were various circus entertainments.
There was gladiators fighting, there was hunting, and there were prisoners being killed by wild beasts.
Enormous numbers of people and animals were killed in these arenas for entertainment.
The other form of entertainment, perhaps the most prestigious, was the chariot race. And these took place not in the arenas or the theatres, but in the circuses.
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Blood Sports D.17.09.24

23 Sep

Street entertainment is very different to formal entertainment in a theatre. In arenas rather than theatrical performances and music there would be conducted blood sports.
They had gladiatorial contests, killing of wild animals’ executions, mock naval battles in some of these.
In ancient times they would flood the arena and send boats out fighting. This was very, very popular.
There were two sides of Roman spectacle. There was the theatrical side that ended up in modern drama, but we also see a blood sport side that gets tamed and ends up in our modern world more as sports or perhaps bullfighting.
These are remnants of Roman spectacle. But what we don’t do anymore, which the Romans did all the time, was watch people kill each other for entertainment.
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Ancient Props D.17.09.23

22 Sep

Ancient actors used masks and flutes to enhance their performances. This kind of spectacle involving masks, dancing, and music was something like what we think of as theatre, but also much more stylized and much more multimedia involving masks, costumes, music, just as much as it involves words and people interacting, confronting each other.
There were Roman street musicians and families of Roman performers with women playing flutes and men playing a type of cymbals. The people danced around drums.
Street music would have been performed randomly in the forums and around the streets of Roman cities.
The performers would have placed a box out for money and donations, and would have made their living by performing travelling around.
This was a popular culture and less formal theatre, but even the theatres were open to everyone and were considered a form of popular entertainment.
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