Paul Zanker, in a trio of essays written between 1979 and 1993, offers an archeological history of Pompeii that is informed by urban studies, with an acute attention to the architecture of both public and private spaces. He gives us a number of pos sibilities for the history of a place that evolved from a prosperous Hellenic community to a first century Roman city. This is a gorgeously illustrated book, with 21 color and 55 black and white illustrations, including photographs of the famous p laster wall paintings and tile mosaics, archeological site maps and reconstructions, and a large number of the ruins it situ. In it Zanker offers a thoughtful set of suggestions about how we might interpret what is left at Pompeii after centuries of looting and grave-robbing. The possibility of a pair of devastating earthquakes only about 17 years before the volcanic disaster further complicate what we can guess about the ruins. Zanker argues very effectively that Pompeii was a town in the m idst of an economic and cultural transition in 79 A.D. His is a fascinating discussion of how the uses of both public and private space chan ged with the influx of wealthy Romans, again during their evacuation in the time of the earthquakes, and the subsequent changes that took place in the process of rebuilding.
Our imagination is naturally ignited, as it was by poor Pliny the Elder's, by the cinematic moment of sulfuric explosion and fiery lava flow, but Paul Zanker's archeological history of Pompeii is actually even more dramatic than that, because it tak es us into the interior of the city s baths, it's theater seats, and into it's bedrooms.
About the Author
Paul Zanker is Professor of Classical Archeology, University of Munich, and Director of the German Archeological Institute in Rome. He is the author of Mask of Socrates: The Image of the Intellectual in Antiquity and The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus.
Table of Contents
Townscape and Domestic Taste
Domestic Taste and Cultural Self-Definition
Urban Space as a Reflection of Society
The Hellenistic City of the Oscans
The Roman Colonists' City
Townscape and Ideology in the Age of Augustus
The City's Final Years
The Domestic Arts in Pompeii
The Origins of the Roman Villa
Two Forms of Living Space
A Miniature Villa in the Town
A Courtyard with a Large Marble Fountain
A Garden as Sanctuary
A Parlor Overlooking Diana's Sacred Grove
Gardens Filled with Sculptures
Dining under the Stars
Large Pictures for Small Dreams
Domestic Taste and Cultural Identity