Last Updated 03 Mar 2020

Ancient History: Cities of Vesuvius

Category Pompeii
Words 507 (2 pages)
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Using Source A and B and your own knowledge, describe the main features of the economy in Pompeii. -The some of the main features of the economy in Pompeii consisted of: Trade, Commerce, Industry, Occupations, and Public Works. -Trade: Pompeii was the port for Nuceria and Nola, which made it the trading centre for mainly agricultural produce. There are suggestions for the size and nature of the port but this is determined on whether it was a sea port or a river port. Pompeii played an important role in the economy of the Campanian region.

Commerce: There were plenty of shops in Pompeii, but the evidence to what was sold in them is very little, and archaeologists can hardly determine what was sold in them. Some shops that have been determine though are: a masons shops and a carpenters shop, both these shops were determined through paintings that had both masons and carpenters tools on it. Markets were important as well. The macellum which was located in the Forum and sold meat and fish. The forum featured a courtyard, a colonnade and a row of shops. The evidence that supports the macellum is fish bones and scales found in a drain beneath the forum structure.

Although, not all shops or markets had permanent locations. Evidence from the praedia or estate of Julia Felix makes it clear that there were temporary stalls that sold goods such as shoes, or metal vessels. There were plenty of bars and inns in Pompeii and were mainly located on the main roads and near the gates. The many thermopolia (Source B) acted as bars, the dolia or large terracotta pots embedded in the counters of these shops are generally acknowledged as food or drink holders. Buildings identified as inns have been locate near the Nuceria Gate and the Forum. They consisted of courtyards and upper floor rooms. Industry: Industry played an important part in the economy of Pompeii.

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Agriculture, Wine and olive oil production were predominant. Pliny once stated ‘more skill was needed to produce olive oil than wine, because the same tree produces different kinds of oil’. The green olive was the olive that had the outstanding taste, and was used mainly for olive oil production. Most of the pressing of oil (Source A: Olive Press) was done in the rich estates, but some were found in Pompeian houses and the Forum granary. Generally presses had to be warmed with large fires, and Cato once stated “Pompeian presses built from lava stone were the best’.

Once olive oil was pressed it was sold at the Oblitarium or oil markets. -Occupations: There is a large amount of evidence from Pompeii concerning the varied occupations of the population. Pompeii had a large community of artisans which included: artists, metalworkers, potters and glassblowers. There were tradesmen, wealthy merchants, manufacturers and service industries employing bakers, innkeepers, bath attendants and brothel keepers. Some evidence to support these occupations are the artworks from Pompeii that depicted cupids engaged in the various crafts and occupations of the townspeople.

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