Pompeii and Herculaneum Leisure Activities

3640 Words Apr 7th, 2011 15 Pages
Pompeii and Herculaneum: Leisure Activities
For each I've chosen one main source, and gathered a variety of other sources to help explain and reinforce it further. I find that one source (particularly buildings alone) are not enough to base all of the information on, and you gain a more comprehensive understanding by combining them.
Entertainment was essential to daily life in Ancient Rome. According to Juvenal1, it seemed that all Romans were interested in was "bread and circuses," and with theatres, amphitheatres, gambling, drama and public baths galore, the Romans never seemed to get bored.
Source 1: Pompeian Amphitheatre * Built in 70BC, Pompeii's amphitheatre is the oldest and most complete pre-Colosseum style
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Thanks to the various sources and the multiple mediums through which they are presented we have learnt much about this aspect of Roman entertainment. Frescoes, mosaics, writings, graffiti, buildings, artefacts (gladiator's helmet, weapons, etc), inscriptions, reliefs and even bodies all reveal details of the many different facets and experiences of this ancient entertainment. We now know who went, what and who the entertainment was, and even the stories of the ancient Pompeians and reconstruct a variety of experiences. This source is a archaeological treasure as unlike others it did not deteriorate from non-use or knocked down, it was frozen on a typical roman day and has thus remained. It is also significant as we can compare this evidence to similar items of evidence from all over Rome and deepen our understanding of the life of the ancient Romans.
Source 2: Public Baths at Herculaneum and Pompeii. In first century AD, the baths were a place of leisure time during many Romans daily routine. People from almost every class, men and women ( but not children) could attend the public baths or thermaes3, which could be compared to modern day fitness clubs. Public baths were not only for cleaning purposes only, but in many ways, the baths were the ancient Roman equivalent of community centres. The baths were only part of what the thermae (large bath complex)
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