Friday, May 31, 2013

Pompeii for Senior Students - and the rest of us

I've been to Pompeii twice - and both times have seen it through the eyes of a teacher - searching for what's on the NSW HSC Syllabus and photographing/videoing each and every 'dot point'.
It would be great just to mooch around Pompeii and see it without this lens, which can sometimes intrude on the enjoyment - but then I get to re-live it again and again when I show my images to my classes.
The Geographical context - Vesuvius looms large over the Forum. Temple of Apollo is on the left.

Streetscape - Via Dell Abbondanza (or 'street of abundance') - one of Pompeii's main streets

Private Buildings: The impluvium of the House of the Faun - with replica faun statue - the original is in the Naples Archaeological Museum

Public Buildings: The Basilica - centre of Pompeii's legal/political activities

The Economy: The Macellum (market). This circular area was once a fish pond where fish were placed and then sold

Everyday Life: The amphitheatre - scene of the riots of AD59 between Pompeii and Nuceria - resulting in Emperor Nero banning all games at this theatre for ten years.

Everyday life: Food and dining - the thermopolium of vetitius placidus
 
There is so much to learn about Pompeii - it is often overwhelming for students. The NSW HSC demands comprehensive coverage of everything from the geography of Campania to foreign cult worship. I can only imagine what it must be like for a tourist who has heard stories of Pompeii and the eruption of AD79 but knows nothing about the site and its buildings.
I would strongly advise anyone wanting to visit Pompeii to read up on it before you go. Even Wikipedia is a good starting point - it's better than nothing at all. I use Brennan and Lazer's "Pompeii and Herculaneum: Interpreting the Evidence" as a classroom textbook, as well as Bradley's 'Cities of Vesuvius: Pompeii and Herculaneum' for my own reading. Both are available on Amazon.
The thing with Pompeii is - the more you know - the more there is to know. The site itself is not frozen in time. It is a living, open air museum and with that, comes the decay and destruction associated with its excavation and exposure to millions of tourists. When something is excavated, its 'second death' begins.
 





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