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NON-ELI TE VI EWERS I N I TALY, 1 00 B. C. A. D. 31 5
University of California Press
Berkeley and Los Angeles, California
University of California Press, Ltd.
London, England
2003 by the Regents of the University of California
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Clarke, John R., 1945
Art in the lives of ordinary Romans : visual representation and non-elite
viewers in Italy, 100 b.c.a.d. 315 / John R. Clarke.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-520-21976-7 (cloth : alk. paper)
1. Art, RomanThemes, motives. 2. Art, RomanSocial aspects.
3. Social classes in art. 4. Social statusRome. I. Title.
N72.S6 C58 2003
709'.37dc21 2002154934
Manufactured in Canada
13 12 11 10 09 08 07 06 05 04
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements
of ANSI/NISO Z39.481992 (R 1997) (Permanence of Paper).8
vi i i

Researching and writing this book has been an exciting and rewarding experiencea
very special part of my life for the past six years. I am most grateful for the generous grants
that supported the travel and uninterrupted research and writing time that this project
demanded. A Fellowship for College Teachers from the National Endowment for the Hu-
manities, coupled with a Research Grant from the University of Texas, permitted me to
live and work in Rome in the spring of 1999. To allow me to keep up the momentum of
my spring-term leave, Sherry and Tommy Jacks provided funds to allow me to work
throughout the summer without having to teach summer school. Dicky and Mary Gay
Grigg followed suit with generous grants that allowed me to work full-time on the book
during the summers of 2000 and 2001.
In the course of my researching and writing this book, many scholars generously
oered their advice and criticism. I know from my own experience what a sacrice it is
to put aside ones own work and take the time to read and critique a colleagues work.
Many individuals made that sacrice, some returning to my manuscript and the ques-
tions it raised more than once. I wish to thank those who read the full manuscript: An-
thony Corbeill, Penelope Davies, Frank Fisher, Sandra Joshel, Natalie Kampen, Eric Moor-
mann, and Andrew Riggsby; and those who read individual chapters: James Packer,
Richard Shi, and Michael Thomas. Their corrections, criticisms, questions, and answers
i x
were invaluable; I hope they realize how much their contributions mean to me and how
heartfelt my thanks are.
The same thanks go out to colleagues who advised me on specic questions: Richard
Beacham, Malcolm Bell, Jonathan Bober, John Bodel, Katherine M. D. Dunbabin, Luciana
Jacobelli, Gabriele Iaculli, Archer Martin, Matthew Roller, John Tamm, Carolyn Valone,
Eric Varner, Roy Bowen Ward, and Jane Whitehead.
I am also delighted to thank a younger group of colleagues. In a great Art History grad-
uate program like that of the University of Texas at Austin, ones graduate students be-
come colleagues as they progress through their studies, from seminars to dissertations
to teaching at their own universities. In my spring 2000 seminar, Pompeii and Ostia:
Visual Representation and Non-elite Romans, the students read the manuscript of this
book and tested out many of its ideas, and I thank them: Mark Caey, Charlotte Cousins,
Susan Gelb, Rowena Houghton, Alvaro Ibarra, Kris Muoz-Vetter, Nathalie Ryan, Jen-
nifer Sherlock, and Carlie Wilmans. My graduate research assistants, Nayla Muntasser
(1999) and Lisa Kirch (20002001) provided invaluable help on a variety of tasks rang-
ing from bibliographic searches to photo permissions. Michael Thomas joined Michael
Larvey and me in Italy on several occasions, engaging me through astute questions and
helping with dicult photo shoots. I codirected two ne dissertations, both completed
in 2000, that helped shape the questions I ask in this book: Lauren Hackworth Petersens
dissertation on the art of the Roman freedman substantially changed my views about so-
called freedman art, and Margaret Woodhulls dissertation on womens patronage during
the early imperial period helped focus my inquiries into the links between gender and
The American Academy in Rome, as always, provided both a sense of continuity and
opportunities to meet new scholars and artists. Lester Little, the director, and Adele
Chateld-Taylor, president, helped make the Academy community a vibrant and pleas-
ant one. Pina Pasquantonio, associate director, deserves special thanks, as do Anne Coul-
son, who helped with several permissions. The Academys Library, where I have now
worked for thirty years, is better than ever, thanks to Christina Huemer, its director, and
the able sta: Antonella Bucci (now retired), Tina Mirri, Antonio Palladino, Paolo Im-
peratori, and Paolo Brozzi. Alessandra Capodiferro, Lavinia Ciua, and Francesca Romolo
in the Academys Fototeca helped with photographic research. Thanks also to Renzo Caris-
simi, Luca Zamponi, Norman Roberson, and Enrico Dressler.
In order to study at rst hand all of the works of art and architecture in this book, I
sought the help of many individuals. Pompeiis superintendent, Pier Giovanni Guzzo,
granted permission for extensive on-site study and photography. Antonio DAmbrosio and
Antonio Varone were wonderfully helpful in facilitating our work, and Lina Ferrante was
especially adroit in expediting the complex paperwork. Grete Stefani graciously guided
me through the photo archive, as did Antonio Parlato and Rosa Verde. At the Museum
of the Civitella in Chieti I enjoyed the support of Adele Campanelli and her sta; at the
Vatican Museum, Francesco Buranelli. Anna Gallina Zevi, superintendent of Ostia, gra-

ciously granted me access to the monuments, and Jane Shepherd was especially helpful
in resurrecting historic photographs from the Ostia Photo Archive and in arranging the
new color photography of the painting from tomb 22 of the Necropolis of the Laurentine
Road. At the Naples Museum, Stefano De Caro generously granted us extensive permis-
sions to study and photograph, and Maria Rosaria Boriello, director of the museum, fa-
cilitated our work. I am most appreciative that the Central Institute for Restoration in
Rome undertook the daunting task of cleaning and restoring the fresco from the Caupona
of Salvius, seen for the rst time in this book without its layers of calcied grime. Anna
Mura Somella, director of the Museums of Ancient Art of the City of Rome, gave per-
mission to take new photographs of the Altar of the Vicus Aesculetus, and Emilia Ta-
lamo, director of the Museum of Montemartini, kindly expedited our photographic work.
Antonio Ortolanas he has for so many of our projects through the yearsproduced
beautiful prints from the photographs that Michael Larvey took for this book. Kirby Conn
did an excellent job digitizing and rening the linework.
In my trajectories, usually taking me from archaeological sites, to museums, and back
to the library, I lived mostly in the rst century. My friends in Rome and Naples encour-
aged my time-travel even while helping me keep abreast of the curious cultural currents
of the n-de-sicle: Carolyn Valone, Brenda Preyer, Pamela and Larry Christy, Jos Luis
Colomer, Gerald and Minu Moore, Jerey Blanchard, Estelle Reddeck, Luciano Santarelli,
Alessandro Cascone, Sas Esposito, Franois Uginet, and Fabio Pignatelli. Long stays at
Pompeii found me always at the Sabatino familys hotel; they were gracious hosts, and
they and their sta, especially Crescenzo Cirillo, deserve thanks. In Austin, wonderful
friends and neighbors looked after house and garden: Frank Fisher, Ben Welmaker, and
the Rankins: Susan, Jim, Jonah, and especially Zane. Kirk Tuck, Belinda Yarritu, and their
son Benjamin often indulged and encouraged my work on this project, and Alene De
Leon, administrative assistant in the Art History oce, generously gave of her time to
help the book along.
Lastand certainly not leastI am grateful to Michael Larvey, my partner in life and
in work for twenty-ve years. He encouraged this project at every step, from shooting the
videos that sketched out the research early on, through the actual research, and on to tak-
ing the beautiful photographs that illustrate this book. Michael kept me asking questions
because he asked so many himself; he made this project both more dicult because of
all those questions and more rewarding because we could share the answers (when I found
them). It is to him I dedicate this book: comiti comilitoniqve vagvlo blandvlo. . . .

In the late sixties, when I rst began to study Roman art, no one took the art of ordinary
Romans seriously. The privileged monumentsthe ones worthy of serious art-historical
investigationwere great architectural ensembles like the Forum of Trajan; historical re-
liefs like those on the Ara Pacis or the Arch of Constantine; the portraits of emperors and
empresses. All of them, whether commissioned by the emperor, the Roman senate, or
private individuals, exalted imperial ideals. Wall paintings and mosaics were minor arts
especially when they decorated houses at Pompeiiand belonged in books on everyday
life, not in proper art history. Real Roman art was the art of the elite.
All this has changed now, and we have many dierent methodologies and disciplines
to thank. Social art historythe study of the conditions surrounding the making and con-
suming of artbroke the ice and got scholars to ask about the other 98 percent of Ro-
man society: the freeborn working poor, slaves, former slaves, and foreigners. Whether
with a Marxist, feminist, or anthropological bent, social art history broadened our knowl-
edge of the use and reception of visual representation in ancient Roman society. Parallel
to these art-historical approaches was groundbreaking work on ancient literature. Clas-
sical texts, of course, reect elite attitudes toward the non-elite. This is not surprising,
considering that elite males wrote these texts or commissioned them. You will nd no
woman, freedman, slave, or foreigner speaking for her- or himself.
Elite authors put words
in their mouths.
What is surprising is how much information lies just beyond Virgil, Ovid, Livy, and
Tacitusin anonymous poetry, legal texts, tomb inscriptions, captions on wall paint-
ings, soldiers diplomas, papyri, and grati. Thanks to new study of nonliterary texts,
we know more about the questions that the literature passes over: the condition of women
of dierent classes, relations between masters and slaves or former slaves, and Roman
attitudes toward everything from commerce to same-sex relationships. Still, rarely does
a textual scholar venture to interpret the much more ample evidence of Roman visual
This book is about how ordinary people living in Roman Italy understood and used
visual art. What part did art play in their lives? To answer this question, we have to con-
sider both who paid for the art (the patron) and just who the potential viewers were. We
must also ask how a specic visual representation communicated its message to those
viewers. Analysis of the process of viewing art in its original context can reveal much about
the patron and the people who looked at it. Although these points seem obvious, only re-
cently have scholars begun to study Roman non-elite visual representation to explore ques-
tions of identity, communication, and cultural practice.
When scholars started to explore the art of the non-elite, their focus was not its content
but rather its unusual formal characteristics.
They focused on its style. They wanted to
use formal analysis of non-elite art to explain an anomaly in Roman art: the change, around
the year 150, from Hellenistic forms of representation to ones they called Late Antique.
How to explain the antinaturalistic traits of Late Antique art? Its preference for frontal
presentation of the human gure, hierarchical proportions (the most important gure
the largest), axially symmetrical compositions, and the rendering of surface in harsh black-
and-white modeling (optical chiaroscuro)?
Alois Riegl, in his 1901 study of Late Antique art, was the rst to defend this artuntil
then considered decadent and unworthy of serious study.
Although a succession of schol-
ars followed him in their attempts to explain, through careful formal analysis, this mo-
mentous shift in modes of visual representation, they favored imperial monuments
rather than non-elite onesin their eorts to pinpoint the moment when the Stilwandel,
or Change in Style, began.
In a series of works through 1940, Gerhart Rodenwaldt tried another approach, based
on visual analysisbut with a dierence. He proposed that Roman art stood between
two poles: state art (or great art) being one pole and popular art the other.
His model
was, in a sense, the opposite of the traditional trickle-down hypothesis. He proposed
that all of the formal traits that seemed to be such strange invasions into the Hellenisti-
cally based realism of imperial Roman art were, in fact, already present in the art of the
In the postwar period Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli developed Rodenwaldts thesis in

a series of works that culminated in his two-volume history of Roman art published in
What Bianchi Bandinelli added to Rodenwaldts scheme was a theory of class strug-
gle loosely based on Marx. He, too, wished to explain the Change in Style, and, like Ro-
denwaldt, he noticed the existence, well before the year 150, of art that looked like Late
Antique imperial art. Bianchi Bandinelli added an ethnic and political element by divid-
ing artistic expression into the elite or patrician and the non-elite or plebeian. He ex-
plained that the reception of Greek and Hellenistic art in central Italy, beginning in the
third century b.c., was uneven. Whereas the patricians embraced Greek forms to legit-
imize their power, the ordinary Romans, the plebs, viewed Greek art with suspicion, bas-
ing their own art on native Italic models. Bianchi Bandinelli analyzed portraits and grave
reliefs from central Italy that ignored the careful modeling, naturalism of proportion, and
perspective systems of Hellenistic art. These were works that seemed to anticipate Late
Antique art by as much as three centuries. According to Bianchi Bandinelli, when the
plebs took political power around a.d. 200, they brought their art forms with them, thus
explaining the formal shifts in imperial monuments like the Arch of Septimius Severus
in the Roman Forum.
Although there were many problems with Bianchi Bandinellis hypothesis, it had the
virtue of framing the paradox of formal change (the Stilwandel) in terms of class and ac-
And by calling attention to works of art that did not conform to the style of
ocial monuments of state art, he was suggesting that Roman patrons and viewers de-
manded and consumed a great variety of styles and forms in their art. Bianchi Bandinelli
paved the way for scholars seeking to articulate the social and cultural history of Roman
art. Most germane to the questions I pose here and in the following chapters are the con-
tributions of Paul Zanker, whose work stresses how the elites and the emperor built power
through cultural programs with strong visual components. Always attuned to questions
of audience and reception, Zanker also articulates the ways that specic groups used elite
visual forms in their own, often idiosyncratic ways.
Zanker represents but one of a new
generation of scholars who shy away from the all-encompassing theories of stylistic change
that so beguiled the founders of Roman art history.
The new Roman art history seeks to understand how, in specic circumstances, vi-
sual representation functioned within a multilayered system of communication. Style and
formthe focus of most scholarship on Roman art through 1970are only parts of that
system. There are many other questions that need to be asked. By asking Who paid for
it? we can nd out about the patron. By asking Who made it? we get information about
the artist. The question, Who looked at it? seeks to establish the identity of the intended
viewers or consumers. Questioning the circumstances under which people looked at a
work of art leads us into the realms of ritualfrom legally prescribed religious practice
to habitual behaviors, including mundane, everyday activities like visiting people, mar-
keting, promenading, bathing, and dining. The question, What else does it look like?
takes us back to iconographical models for the work of art and shows how the meanings
of such models can change in each new application. Only by asking these and related

questions can I accomplish the aim of this book: to analyze artworks in their original con-
texts, and thereby to gain a better understanding of the attitudes, belief systems, and cul-
tural practices of ordinary Romans.
Rather than trying to dene an ancient Romans status rst, and then deciding whether
his or her visual art expresses that status, this book begins with analysis of the art. I use
art to question the patrons notion of his or her social status or position. Why?
For one thing, no one noun or adjective adequately describes a Roman persons social
status. There is considerable literary evidence, mostly from Cicero, for the political sys-
tem of the late Republic, the earliest period considered in this book (100 b.c.27 b.c.).
Yet even for this period, scholars have contested the terminology to describe men who
held oce in Rome. Were they the governing class, the aristocracy, or the elite?
For another thing, who was elite or non-eliteand how art might express that
dierencechanged over time. In the reign of Augustus (27 b.c.a.d. 14), the emperor,
faced with dramatically diminished elite ranks and the funds that came from them, in-
stituted an exclusive freedman order; wealthy former slaves could become seviri augustales,
thereby paving the way for the social advancement of their freeborn sons. A century later,
the terms honestiores and humiliores appear in the legal literature to denote two social groups
who received dierent legal treatment. The honestiores included senators, equestrians, mu-
nicipal and provincial decurions, soldiers and veterans, judges, and magistrates; they ex-
pected and got privileges, such as exemption from capital punishment and lenient treat-
ment before the courts.
Slaves, former slaves (freedmen), and men who, although born
free, had neither wealth nor a record of holding prestigious oces, made up the humi-
liores. The situation changed yet again by the late third century, when Diocletian set up a
kind of feudal system that tied people to their land and their trades, making social mo-
bility quite dicult.
Most scholars agree on how ancient Romans dened a person who was elite. Ro-
mans had a dierent conception of human worth from ours. They especially valued
men born of free citizen families that had a record of serving the state and the military
and that possessed wealthespecially in land holdings.
An elite Roman possessed
the four prerequisites necessary to belong to the upper strata of society: money, im-
portant public appointments, social prestige, and a membership in an ordo. (The ordines
are those of senator, decurion, and equestrian.)
The non-elite person lacked one or more
of the four prerequisites. Slaves occupied the lowest stratum of the non-elites, followed
by the former slaves (freedmen or libertini), who although technically free could not hold
important public oces. Freedpersonsespecially those who worked in the imperial
bureaucracycould gain impressive political power, but the stain of their slave birth sep-
arated them from the upper strata. But free birth was only one of the prerequisites for

membership in the upper strata, and we nd many freeborn Romans (ingenui) in the
lower strata.
Even among slaves there was a clear hierarchy of social value. Imperial slaves in close
contact with the emperor and his family occupied the most privileged position, followed
by well-educated and skilled slaves. Owners of such slaves entrusted them with impor-
tant work, ranging from educating the owners children to running their business en-
terprises. These high-level slaves had a good chance of earning their freedom, unlike the
slaves who worked in the elds. Slaves received a regular allowance (peculium), and often
they were permitted to keep a percentage of the income they brought in for their masters
or mistresses. With these earnings a slave might buy his or her freedom. Sometimes a
slave received freedom at the death of his owner, through a provision of the owners will;
in other cases a master who was still living might free a slave as a reward for meritorious
Once freed, the former slave became a client of his or her former master or mistress.
The freedpersonwhether born into slavery, abandoned as a baby and brought up as a
slave, or enslaved in waracquired the legal status of a Roman citizen through the process
of manumission. Nevertheless, freedpersons occupied a social and legal space fraught
with contradictions. Although a former slave had the status of citizen, Roman society des-
ignated him or her as a libertinus or libertina. The former slave carried the stain of hav-
ing been someones property, and even though freed, he could not hold prestigious po-
litical and religious oces. Wealthy freedpersons tended to spend their resources in paving
the way for their childrens political careers, since their children were born free and the-
oretically stainless.
The terms elite and non-elite dierentiate those who were esteemed in Roman society
from the people who for various reasons could not win such esteem. There are many ways
to conceptualize the relations among elite and non-elite Romans. Gza Alfldys diagram
demonstrates the stratifying eects of Roman social organization by focusing on the strict
denitions of the orders (g. 1). But these social strata were neither static nor rigidly cir-
cumscribed. Brent Shaws diagram elaborates Alfldys overly neat scheme. In it Shaw
attempts to locate denitions of status (ruling classes, free classes, and dependent
classes) in a dynamic system where relationships among classes depend on mutual needs
(g. 2).
Given the diculties of dening status in ancient Roman society through study of the
written record, the study of visual representation can at best help to articulate, by means
of concrete examples, the dynamic and shifting relationships among the strata. It cannot
dene status and class once and for all. I make no claim to precision in my use of the
terms elite and non-elite. I only claim to test these terms through analysis of visual rep-
resentation. When I use the term non-elite, I want to emphasize that a person either pay-
ing for or looking at a work of art had no access to the upper strata of society. I use the
adjective ordinary as a synonym for non-elite because (in the English language) it em-
phasizes a persons identication with the cultural values of the lower strata. We will see

Imperial slaves and freedmen (familia Caesaris),
wealthy freedmen
The emperor, the imperial household
Ordo senatorius (consulares, ordinary senators)
Ordines decurionum (local aristocracy)
Ordo equester (high prefects and procurators, those
who possessed the militia equestris, other equestrians
both within and above the ordines decurionum)
Freeborn Freeborn Freedmen Freedmen Slaves Slaves
classes and
senate, army
Political relations
Dependency relations
Status definitions
The orders-strata structure and its eects.
Proposed schema of the relationship of social groups to a class model.
that ordinary, or non-elite, Romans tend to esteem activities that the elites of the upper
strata do not, and that they express this dierence in their art.
Non-elite Romans often choose to represent themselves or others carrying out com-
monplace activities. When elites represent themselves, they favor images that show them
carrying out ocial, prestigious practices using the visual language of the imperial house.
Although non-elites will sometimes do the same, more often they tend to commission
art that portrays them in a great variety of ordinaryor at least unocialacts: sacricing
to household gods, processing cloth, hauling grain, brawling in the amphitheater, drink-
ing in taverns, defecating, and mourning.
I admit that neither non-elite nor ordinary is adequate to the range that the visual repre-
sentations reveal. For one thing, denitions and expressions of a persons status change
over the period considered in this book. In the days of the late Republic, for example, it
is relatively easy to identify a persons status by looking at the art he commissions; at that
point in time the political elite is more or less identical with the cultural elite.
By the
midrst century a.d., the rise of the freedman class blurs this equation. This newly ar-
rived group uses art to impress others with their newly acquired culture. Studies by Paul
Diana Kleiner,
Eve DAmbra,
and others have called attention to possible re-
lationships between the freedmans precarious social status and the art that he or she com-
missioned. However, recent scholarship has convincingly critiqued the notion of freed-
man art as a special subcategory of Roman art.
The notion of freedman art has even
entered some surveys of Roman art, generally to explain anomalous visual representa-
Although the art of freedmen features frequently in this book, so does that of the
freeborn working poor, the foreigner, and the slave. The art that they commission and
live within all of its variety and originalityreveals the hopes and anxieties of people
whose social position is ambiguous. It also helps us to understand the changes in deni-
tions of social status over time.
I have no general theories to oer about non-elite visual representation. I resist the
tendency in recent scholarship to use analysis of visual art to generalize about class, gen-
der, and social status. Instead I oer concrete examples through case studies that allow
me to explore individual works of art in some depth. These case studies usually begin
with the architectural context but then focus on gural representations in the media of
painting, sculpture, and mosaics. (The study of what building types non-elite persons
chose is too vast for me to give it the attention it deserves here.) I have chosen case stud-
ies where I know that the person who paid for the work of art did not qualify for the up-
per strata. I call this person the patron, and I assume that he or she consciously chose
the imagery that the artist madeeven though, in the absence of written documents, we
cannot be sure that the patron, rather than the artist, made all the choices. (The term pa-
tron is not to be confused with the Latin term patronus, used to designate the man who

agreed to protect another person by making him his client; Roman law clearly dened
the patronus-client relationship between a former slaveowner and his freedman.)
I glean information about the patron unevenly, although I insist on having some in-
dication of who he or she was. The form of a persons name in tomb inscriptions often
reveals that he or she was a former slave. In other cases, the purpose of the artworkto
publicize the services of a wool-treating plant, for examplepoints to the patrons non-
elite status. Often the visual representation constitutes wishful thinking: for instance, a
man and his wife portrayed as scholars but displayed in a bakery.
The ordinary people whose art I consider vary considerably among themselves. Some-
times they are clearly slaves or former slaves. But sometimes they are would-be elite, on
the borders between elite and non-elite society. To test the blurry borders between the art
of the elite and non-elite, I have deliberately included two monuments belonging to per-
sons technically occupying the upper stratum of Pompeian society. One of these is the
tomb of Vestorius Priscuswho, when he died at twenty-two, was a minor ocial (an
aedile) at Pompeii. Although he was elite, the poverty of his tomb and its decoration
persuades me to consider him among the non-elite. Another case where ocial status
seems to be at odds with visual representation is in the late decoration of the modest house
of Lucretius Fronto. Although written evidence suggests that at least some of the Lucretii
belonged to Pompeiis elite ranks, the latest phase of painted decoration in the house seems
to tell a dierent story.
In many ways this book employs the methods and continues the work of Looking at
Lovemaking: Constructions of Sexuality in Roman Art, 100 b.c.a.d. 250. With that book, I
demonstrated how visual representation reveals a persons sexual acculturation. Every-
one acquires, from his or her upbringing, attitudes that regulate behavior; we call this
process acculturation. It is possible to understand a persons acculturation through the
study of visual representation. By paying attention to who sees the art, where he or she
sees it, and under what circumstances, it is often possible to understand a viewers atti-
tudes toward what the art represents. The location of a work of art often tells us about the
audience and the expectations that the patron had of that audience. For instance, a rep-
resentation of carpenters at work will convey a dierent set of meanings depending on
its location. As part of a painting on the facade of a shop, it announces a commercial
activity, addressing both viewers on the street and customers coming into the shop. On
the facade of a tomb the same representation addresses a family member coming to
mourn or a passerby who needs to be informed about the dead mans profession. The
physical setting reveals both the patrons and the viewers attitudes toward a specic vi-
sual representation.
I am also concerned, of course, with who the viewers are. I have come up with several
strategies to investigate this question. Perhaps the most unusual is that of beginning with
imperial art in part 1, where I look at four important monuments in Rome from the point
of view of ordinary viewers. This strategy is admittedly an exercise in historical imagi-
nation, but one that emphasizes, in a new way, the non-elites living in Rome. Part 1 also

employs a chronological framework, taking us from the late rst century b.c. to the year
a.d. 315, when Constantine dedicated his great triumphal arch. Twelve years later he shifted
the capital from Rome to Constantinople.
In part 2 and part 3, where I consider art clearly made for non-elites, I take a thematic
rather than chronological approach because the nature of the evidence changes. The erup-
tion of Vesuvius in a.d. 79 preserved much fragile art that time has erased elsewhere.
For instance, at Ostia, a city gradually abandoned as its harbor lled up with silt from the
Tiber, there is little left of the street-side painting that must have ourished there as it
did at Pompeii and Herculaneum. For similar reasons Pompeii has given us the names
of many more people than Ostia has, since the ashes of Vesuvius preserved ephemeral
evidence, like election slogans painted on walls. Although you will nd many more case
studies from Pompeii than from the other cities I consider (Rome, Ostia, Ravenna, and
Chieti), by choosing themes rather than chronology as an organizing principle, I try to
suggest how the practices of the well-preserved period (100 b.c.a.d. 79) might have con-
tinued and developed in later centuries.
In part 2, I look at art that everybody could see: art in the public sphere. From among
the many themes that I could have chosen, I have limited myself to art that tells us about
how ordinary people handled visual representation in relation to ve themes: religion,
work, public spectacle, humor, and burial. I chose these themes because I felt that I had
new insights to bring to them, and also because they give the reader a sense of the great
variety of visual representation that ordinary Romans produced for the public sphere. In
part 3, I shift to art that people invited into a house would have seen, and there I specically
look at how ordinary people used art to picture the pleasures of the banquet and to rep-
resent themselves.
In addition to analyzing who the viewers were by considering the circumstances sur-
rounding each artwork, I have also tried to think how each work might have sent dier-
ent messages to a range of possible viewers. Recent scholarship has addressed in depth
the dierent ways that a work of art might communicate its message to viewers. John
Berger, David Freedberg, Norman Bryson, and others have demonstrated how the same
work of art can send dierent messages depending on who the viewer is.
Variables such
as gender, class, religion, and literacy complicate the notion of viewership and change
the eectiveness of visual communication.
These variables apply to both the making
and the transmission of images. As Norman Bryson has pointed out in advocating analy-
sis of painting as a sign system, the art-historical project of determining the original con-
text of production must go beyond merely charting the circumstances of patronage or
the conditions of original perception: Original context must be considered to be a much
more global aair, consisting of the complex interaction among all the practices which
make up the sphere of culture: the scientic, military, medical, intellectual and religious

practices, the legal and political structures, the structures of class, sexuality and economic
life in the given society.
Brysons expanded conception of context ts well with my own
approach to the interpretation of Roman non-elite visual representation.
In my chart
I propose that to begin to understand the making and transmission of images, we must
ask who the patron, the artist, and the viewer are (g. 3). In addition to investigating the
physical context and the circumstances surrounding the viewing of the imagery, we must
also try to take into account in what terms or in what respect each viewer understands
the imagery.
Authors like Berger, Freedberg, and Bryson, working with early modern and contem-
porary art, have the advantage of being able to investigate a wealth of written sources that
reveal attitudes toward visual representation. With the ancient Romans written sources
on attitudes toward visual culture are scanty for the elite and almost non-existent for the
non-elite. One passage from Ovids Art of Love, addressed to elite readers, reminds us
how unlike the modern art historian the ancient Roman viewer could be. Ovid advises
the young man confronted with the confusing panoply of topographical paintings, alle-
gorical gures, and notable individuals passing by in a triumphal procession simply to
concoct interpretations to impress his girlfriend:
And when some girl inquires the names of the monarchs,
Or the towns, rivers, and hills portrayed,
Answer all her questions (and dont draw the line at
Questions only): pretend
You know even when you dont. Here comes the Euphrates, tell her,
With reed-fringed brow; those dark
Blue tresses belong to Tigris, I fancy; there go Armenians,
Thats Persia, and that, hrm, is some
Upland Achaemenid city. Both those men are generals
Give the names if you know them, if not, invent.
What is striking about this passage is that Ovid encourages the viewer to invent what he
doesnt know for sure: no one is going to check his historical accuracy.
Although Ovid
is writing satire to amuse his readers, what he says about making up interpretations pokes
fun at the elite practice of ekphrasis, or the explanation of paintings. In his Imagines, Philo-
stratus provides examples of ekphrasis that are as fantastic in their invention as those of
Ovids parade-watcher. Jas Elsners analysis of texts that treat the interpretation of visual
representation provides further evidence that the elite Romans valued the ability to make
fanciful connections between what they saw and what the image could signify.
For the
elite viewer, the work of art was just a jumping-o point for a virtuoso display of rheto-
ric and erudition. By exaggerating such free association in explaining the work of art Petro-
nius satirizes the rich but ignorant freedman Trimalchio.
1 0

Patrons social status: Training and ability Location of image: Viewers social status:
Elite street Elite
Non-elite: temple Non-elite:
freeborn dining room freeborn
freedman tomb freedman
slave house slave
foreigner tavern foreigner
in moving procession
Patrons gender role Viewers gender role
Patrons motivations: Viewing context Viewers past experience
advertisement of goods or services seen while: image seen before in:
commemoration working temple
entertainment walking forum
mediationto resolve community tensions standing theater
appeasing gods or propitiation praying coin
competition or one-upmanship dining house
announcement of status or wealth shopping pattern book
apotropaic/admonition mourning procession or triumph
civic benefaction visiting
seen with what other images?
Size and scale of image:
close viewing
distant viewing
Patrons understanding of image: Has models: Viewers understanding of image:
knows/does not know model or referent understands/does not knows/does not know model or
understand models referent
Has no models: believes/does not believe image
invents from observation is a god or goddess
invents through pastiche
Cost and medium of image
Literate/illiterate Literate/illiterate Writing/no writing on image Literate/illiterate
Patrons occupation or profession Viewers occupation or profession
A model for the reception of visual art in ancient Rome. Parallels between the making and transmission of images are shown in boxes.
These literary accounts of how people responded to visual art indicate that interpret-
ing imagery was a common social practice. But the point of such interpretation was to
tell a good story that somehow related to what the viewer and his audience could see. Ac-
curate, scientic description was not the principal goal. If contemporary art-historical prac-
tice rewards accuracy in visual analysis, it is because interpretation of visual imagery is
a highly specialized discipline that aims to discover the correct meaning. If elite Ro-
mans routinely interpreted visual art in a free-ranging way, perhaps non-elites did so as
well. To address this possibility, in the case studies in this book, I try to imagine the re-
actions of a variety of viewers. Of course, I am going out on a limb, for I am daring to
imagine how, say, a woman who was a slave might see an image dierently from a free-
born man. My method is purposely speculative. At the end of many of the case studies I
construct scenarioswhat if viewing scripts.
I intend these viewing scenarios as a corrective to the only viewer that modern schol-
arly literature has given us: an upper-class male who knows everything because he has
read all of Latin and Greek literature and has the advantage of photo archives and history
books. This is not my idea of a typicaland certainly not an ordinaryRoman viewer,
whose knowledge of myths, visual models, literary sources, and styles had limits, no mat-
ter how learned he or she might have been. No ancient viewer had the advantages of the
modern scholar; to see Roman art exclusively from the scholars point of view is to distort
its purposes and meanings for the ancient viewer. To try to correct this modern view, out
on a limb I go! Although I have tried to use my historical imagination responsibly in con-
structing my hypothetical viewers, I am sure that my own conceptions of non-elite Ro-
mans have colored my constructions. I invite readers to improve onor even to discard
my viewer proles, using their own knowledge of Roman history, art, and society.
Language also shapes visual experience. In my attempt to frame non-elite visual rep-
resentation in historically and culturally synchronous terms, I consistently use Latin words
for the objects and actions depicted. They are always in italics the rst time I use them
in a chapter, followed by approximate English equivalents. My hope is that language will
helplike my viewer scenariosto make this art seem strange to you, the reader.
It is
important that we understand how dierent ancient Roman culture was from that of con-
temporary Euro-America. Saying that the Romans were just like us is really saying noth-
ing at all.
This book attempts to add nuance and substance to the parallels we have always wanted
to draw between ancient Romans and ourselvesto make concrete the generalizations
that have tended to erase dierence. What emerges is a richand indeed strangeset
of cultural and social structures within which individuals used art to express who they
were and what they valued. There is no way of isolating the ancient Roman viewer, just
as there is no way of dening the typical American or Englishwoman.
My hope is that this book will open your eyes to the astounding complexity and cul-
tural diversity of the lower strata of ancient Roman society. You will meet people who
found ways to celebrate their dierences through the art that they both commissioned
1 2

and looked at, and you will see how this art encoded their social status, identity, beliefs,
tastes, and values. Only if we consider non-elite art as a system of communication em-
bedded within a specic culture can Roman individuals emerge with any distinction. The
certainty of cultural generalization is reassuring but hollow; uncertainty is challenging
but rewarding.
Context is everything.

1 3
1 5
If we want to understand the art that ordinary people commissioned and consumed in
the Roman empire, we need to begin by looking at the dominating form: art created un-
der the auspices of the emperor. Study of visual representations commissioned by the
emperorespecially when they picture ordinary freeborn Romans (the ingenui), former
slaves, foreigners, and slavescan show us how the emperor and the upper strata of Ro-
man society wished all viewers to understand the place of non-elites within the system.
Study of imperial art also provides a frame of reference for parts 2 and 3, where we ex-
amine non-elite art and test the trickle-down hypothesis: that non-elite artworks are lit-
tle more than debased copies of imperial art. Finally, the focus on imperial art allows us
to reect on and try to remedy a major problem in the history of Roman art: the fact that
until recently most scholars have set out Roman art as a story of the accomplishments of
imperial visual representation. Imperial art has been the basis for constructing Roman
art history.
There is an agenda behind writing Roman art history on such an exclusive basis. Re-
cent critical theory has demonstrated that the historians narrative is rarely what it says it
is: an objective account of the facts. If we ask: What stock did the author have in writing
the history of Roman art on the basis of elite art? a telling perspective unfolds. The art
that traditional historians have examined is monumental, expensive, and imperial. All
three of these features in visual representation comply with history as traditionally
conceivedand traditional art history as well. If it is to matter, Roman art historylike
the story of the Romans themselvesmust be the tale of Empire.
Just as the ancient Romans constructed their own history over timeand often re-
vised itso have we moderns. What stands out in modern projects to create the history
of Rome is the desire to make the Romans a precedent for us.
If we look at the history
of writing about the art of Rome, this us is the ruling elite of any historical period; the
problematic notion that the Romans were just like us forms the premise and subtext
of ve centuries of classical studies. If Renaissance princes had a deep stock in estab-
lishing their legitimacy through the study of classical texts, it was because princely poli-
tics and codes of conduct required a powerful precedentno less authoritative and pow-
erful than the fabled Roman empire. Renaissance humanists looked to Cicero, Virgil,
and Livy for ways to dene the early modern state. Subsequent attempts to legitimize the
prince, the absolute monarch, colonialism, nineteenth-century nationalism, andnally
and most terrifyinglyGerman and Italian fascism,
always went back to the ancient Ro-
mans, to those same texts with their histories of emperors and Empire, their great lawyers,
statesmen, rhetoricians, moralists, and poets.
In this formula for writing the history of the Romans, the art that tted best with the
study of classical texts and inscriptions was the art that illustrated imperial power. The
themes were grand oneswhether chronicling the lives of emperors and their families
(for example, the Ara Pacis) or imperial conquests (the Column of Trajan, the triumphal
arches)yet the charge was the same: to show the all-encompassing power of the im-
perial model.
The study of portraiture, presumably the art that would reveal the most
about individuals in Roman history, began with the goal of providing galleries of emperors
busts for princely Renaissance palaces. The rows of famous Romans became the princes
ready-made ancestors. Even today, studies of Roman portraiture tend to ignore the anony-
mous portraitsthe ones that cannot be identied through comparison with coins bear-
ing images of the emperors and their families. Little wonder that histories of Roman art
inevitably prefer dynastic labels to indicate the date of a work of art: an Augustan gem,
a Trajanic wall painting, a Constantinian portrait.
If these labels and methods of study seem natural to us, it is because contemporary
Euro-American culture is in many ways the product of centuries of adaptation of ancient
Roman texts and cultural artifacts to t the requirements of increasingly capitalist, bour-
geois, and colonial systems. If the Romans seem to be in all things so much like us, it
is because we have colonized their time in history. (I use the words we and us to de-
note the elite, white male of Euro-American culturethe voice I perceive to be the dom-
inant one in traditional scholarship.) We have appropriated their world to t the needs of
our ideology.
Of course, I, too, have an agenda in writing my history of Roman art. I wish to draw a
picture of a pluralistic, rather than an imperialistic, Roman society. I want to tell the sto-
1 6

ries of the ordinary Romansthe ones usually excluded from the traditional histories
and I base my narrative on the analysis of art. My approach fails to create a straightfor-
ward, linear narrative, and this is to be expected. In place of the unity of purpose that char-
acterizes the histories of imperial art, I nd a variety of intentions and eects. I understand
this pluralism of content and style as the logical result of a society that was highly diverse
and anything but monolithic.
Since no monuments could be more multilayered and polysemic than the big impe-
rial ones set up in Rome, it is puzzling that few scholars have considered their imagery
in terms of an ordinary Roman viewer. Most studies assume the view of the omniscient
elite Roman. Not surprisingly, this ideal viewer is much like a modern scholar of clas-
sical art and literature.
In the following two chapters I examine imperial monuments for signs of the ordi-
nary Roman. In chapter 1, I consider the Ara Pacis Augustae (9 b.c.) and the Forum, Ba-
silica, and Column of Trajan (a.d. 113). They belong to the optimistic early empire, when
the emperor wished to be thought of as the rst citizen, or princeps. Artists used the time-
tested forms of Hellenistic art to portray the emperor fullling his religious, civic, and
military duties. Chapter 2 considers the Column of Marcus Aurelius (ca. 193) and the
Arch of Constantine (315). In them artists forge new ways of representing the emperor
as supreme, divine leader; they create visual hierarchies that express the changed social
For all of these visual representations, I conjecture viewers whose acculturation was
dierent from that of elite persons, and I ask if there were messages for such non-elites
as foreigners, slaves, former slaves (freedmen and freedwomen), and the freeborn work-
ing poor. All of these monuments should encode imperial valuessince the patrons are
emperors. Yet when non-elites saw them, how did they understand the messages in terms
of their own status and experience? And if a non-elite viewer nds anities with the im-
agery, then we must ask whether this is an intended eect: Is he or she receiving a mes-
sage sent from on high?

1 7
Much erudite ink has owed to explain the complex iconography of the Ara Pacis Au-
gustae (139 b.c., g. 4). First and foremost are the attempts to identify the protagonists
in the processional friezes along the north and south sides of the altars enclosure. These
friezes probably represent the founding (constitutio) of the altar on July 4, 13 b.c.
though scholars agree that the south frieze shows Augustus surrounded by members of
the four priestly colleges, followed by his (extended) family as they approach the plaza in
front of the altar (the west side), there is considerable disagreement about the identities
of the men, women, and children pictured there (g. 5). Similarly, no one doubts that
some of the men in togas on the north frieze also belong to the priestly colleges, followed
by Augustan family members, yet scholars have reached no agreement on the specic
identities of women and children at the end of that procession.
A second feature of the Ara Pacis that has been the focus of much debate are the four
panels on the east and west sides of the enclosure wall. The two that are well preserved
have received the most attention. Today there are so many iconographical interpretations
of the relief of a woman with two baby boys in her lapmost of them invoking contem-
porary literary texts for explanationsthat one can only call it a complex allegorical gure:
Tellus/Italia/Pax/Venus/Ceres (g. 6).
Less problematic is the mythological scene on the
1 9
Rome, Ara Pacis Augustae, south side. Procession of Augustus and his family.
Rome, Ara Pacis Augustae (139 b.c.), view from west.
west: it illustrates Aeneas sacricing the white sow with thirty piglets to the Penates
(guardian gods) at Lavinium (g. 7).
Enough remains of the panel opposite it on the left
to identify it as Romulus and Remus being suckled by the she-wolf while Mars looks on.
Its content serves as a kind of pendant to the Aeneas scene. The same might be said of
the female allegorical gure opposite Tellus/Italia on the enclosures east side: despite
the fragmentary condition of the relief, scholars have convincingly identied the gure
as Roma, seated on a heap of weapons.

Rome, Ara Pacis Augustae, west side. Aeneas sacricing.
Rome, Ara Pacis Augustae, east side. Tellus/Italia.
The third important problem that scholars have investigated is the decoration of the
inner and outer sides of the enclosure. On the lower half of the inner walls we see, repro-
duced in marble, the wooden boards of the temporary palisade that constituted the orig-
inal sacred boundary (or templum) around the altar. Above this board fence, many-fruited
garlands wound with llets hang from the skulls of sacriced bulls, with a libation dish
(patera) centered above each swag of the garland.
Exuberant vine-scrolls lled with ora
and fauna decorate the exterior face of the palisade (see g. 10).
Rather than ask what the meaning of each of these components might berather than
searching for the key to its iconographyI want to ask what the Ara Pacis as a whole
might have communicated to ordinary viewers. To answer this question, we must step
back from the details and look at the altars place among the monuments of Augustan
Rome. Diane Favros recent study of how Augustus transformed the city during his forty-
one-year reign emphasizes the perceptions of an ancient viewer as he or she walked its
streets, strolled through its gardens and plazas, attended to daily business, took part in
religious rituals, or pursued various forms of recreation.
Arguably the greatest concen-
tration of Augustan building was on the Campus Martius, an area outside the citys sa-
cred boundaries (the pomerium) but bordered by the major road to the north, the via
Flaminia (g. 8). As the illustration demonstrates, the Ara Pacis was one of three highly
original monuments that transformed the area into an Augustan theme-park. The Ara
Pacis was quite modest in size compared with the two monuments that took up the great-
est space: the mausoleum and the sundial.
Each monument articulated dierent messages. Augustuss great mausoleum pro-
claimed the dynasty that he founded (g. 9). Although Augustus insisted in all of his
public political life that he was the restorer of the Republic, he had in point of fact cre-
ated the Roman Empire, ruled by dynastic succession. The mausoleum was to contain
his ashes and those of his successors, the Julio-Claudians. If the mausoleum was a sign
of the end of the Republic for the senatorial class, ordinary Romans may have thought
of it as a strange transplantfor the tombs that they ordinarily saw were massed together
along the roads outside the city walls. Its magnitude, its isolation in a magnicent gar-
den, and the very ashes it contained constituted a reminder of the glory of Augustus and
the extent of his family.
Since, in point of fact, Augustus spent much of his reign adopt-

Drawing of Ara Pacis Augustae with horologium and mausoleum.
ing successors only to have them die, dynastic succession was a constant concern: his
mausoleum was one strategy for keeping ordinary Romans from perceiving the ongoing
crises of succession.
Recent work on the great sundial that occupied the larger part of Augustuss plaza has
highlighted its relationships with both the mausoleum and the Ara Pacis. The sundial
(called both horologium and solarium in contemporary inscriptions) was a tour-de-force
in both its conception and its construction. Augustus, in concert with wealthy elites ea-
ger to serve his aims, had been lling Rome with expensive buildings that were a won-
der to allespecially to the ordinary Romans who had not seen the splendid cities of
Greece, Asia Minor, and Egypt. In this context, the great labor needed to bring a 21.8-
meter (71-foot) Egyptian obelisk to Rome and to set it up as the sundials pointer (gno-
mon) was a wonder indeed.
Its message was a dual one. It was a reminder of Augustuss
(and Agrippas) triumph over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at Actium in 31 b.c.a tri-
umph that gained the rich province of Egypt for Rome. It also symbolized perpetual, cycli-
cal time: the eternal reign of Augustus and his heirs. The horologium told time in a mon-
umental way, its shadow playing over a surface of about 100 square meters (1100 square
feet). In 1976 Edmund Buchner argued that there were important connections between
the horologium, the Ara Pacis, and the mausoleum.
Most scholars immediately em-
braced his ideasespecially his striking notion that on the afternoon of Augustuss birth-
day, 23 September, the shadow of the obelisk pointed toward the west entrance of the Ara
Pacis. In 1990 Michael Schtz raised serious doubts about this and other connections

Rome, Augustan monuments
in the Campus Martius.
both geometrical and astronomicalamong the monuments that Augustus erected on
the Campus Martius.
Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that for the ordinary Roman
the entire complex excited amazement.
What of the imagery on the Ara Pacis itself ? Access to the altar within the precinct
was limited to the priests and Vestal Virgins in charge of the annual sacrices, although
the fact that the precinct wall had doors opening to reveal both the back of the altar and
its front made it possible for people to see more of the interior imagery than they could
with just one door. People could have glimpsed, perhaps, the garlands decorating the
precinct wall and the small sacricial friezes on the altar itself. But on ordinary days
these doors were closed, and the curious would have had to be content with views of the
It was no accident that the Ara Pacis had pride of place along the via Flaminia, for this
was the road that Augustus took on his triumphant return from Spain and Gaul. Yet Au-
gustus did not celebrate a triumphan honor he refused; the Ara Pacis was a way of
marking his victory with new imagery. Instead of presenting the moment of the triumphal
procession, Augustuss curious new altar pictured the union of his family with the ocial
priesthoods at the moment of the altars rst use. The altars very strangenessas an un-
precedented substitute for the triumphal archmust have piqued the curiosity of elite
and non-elite viewers alike.
But what in its imagery would have caught the attention of the non-elite viewer? The
enclosure wall rose to a height of 6.1 meters (over 19 feet) from the paving of the plaza
to its top. It stood with its back to the via Flaminia, so that only the allegorical gures of
Tellus/Italia and Roma would have been visible from the road, with highly foreshortened
views-in-passing of the two processional friezes on the sides of the enclosure wall. It was
only the viewer approaching from within the broad plaza of the sundial who would have
understood that the dual processions constituted a visual reenactment of the ceremonies
that occurred on the altars founding date. Unlike the modern scholar, aided by closeup
photographs, an ancient viewer would not have been able to identify all the gures in
those friezes. For one thing, the processional friezes were quite high up; the bottom of
the frieze was 3.9 meters (nearly 12 feet) from the pavement. For another, it is unlikely
that an ordinary viewer living at the time of the altars inauguration could have distin-
guished the slight physiognomic dierences between one Julio-Claudian man or woman
and another. The only easily identiable gures are those of Augustus and Agrippa, since
the composition of the south frieze singles them out. Nor would coins in a viewers purse
have helped with the identication of the rest of the gures, since Tiberius had yet to have
a coin issued with his prole on it; nor were there coins for Julia, Livia, Drusus the Elder,
and other family members.
What an ordinary viewer would have noticed were the little guresthe images of
children on both north and south friezes. Children had never before appeared on a ma-
jor public monument. In purely visual terms, they break the monotony set up by the adults

in the friezes, who are all about the same height so that their heads line up in the top one-
eighth of the panels. The childrens dress is unusual as well. On the north frieze a little
girl wears the toga, usually restricted to free male citizens. Two of the male children wear
barbarian dress.
Although it is unlikely that someone outside elite circles could have
identied any of the children, their very presencehighlighted by their unusual dress
must have provoked comment.
Part of this curiosity about the children, I propose, would have been what we call hu-
man interestin this case ordinary peoples identication with family and child-rearing.
Just as the emperor and his family had ospring, so did the ordinary person. The chil-
drens physical closeness to their mothers and fathers, clinging to their garments even as
they attempt to walk along with the adults, must have struck a common chord with view-
ers who had children of their own.
Representing children provided the ordinary person
with a point of identication with Augustus and his family.
The children, too, publicized Augustuss much-discussed legislation aimed at increasing
legitimate, freeborn ospring in Rome. Their presence was one way of proclaiming that
the future of Rome rested in its children.
They also advertised the success of the new
dynasty that Augustus had founded; the images of children clinging to members of Au-
gustuss family provided visible proof that there were successors to Augustus.
If the processional reliefs freeze for all eternity a particular momentthe beginning
of the altars ritual life, what would an ordinary viewer make of the four reliefs anking
the enclosure walls two doors? Like the processional friezes, they are high up, but in con-
trast to them, it would have been less dicult to grasp the basics of their imagery. The
gures are larger and fewer in number. Babiestwo of themin the lap of Tellus/Italia
symbolize human fertility much as do the representations of children in the processional
frieze. The two allegorical gures of winds (aurae) were familiar enough to signal that
this woman with her two infants belonged to the symbolic realm. That the artist juxta-
posed her with the gure of Roma, seated on a heap of captured weapons, made clear
that both reliefs were allegorical. Some viewers may have understood the pairas mod-
ern scholars haveas a contrast between war and peace. Successful warfare creates peace
and permits the kind of abundance (on land and sea, among animals and humans) gured
in the Tellus/Italia relief.
Whereas the panels on the exterior back of the enclosure that faced the via Flaminia
employ female allegorical gures to announce the dual theme of peace and war, the all-
male characters on the two front panels move in the realm of mythical history. Aeneas
on the right panel enacts the sacrice that fullled his destiny: to found Lavinium by en-
shrining the Penates that he had brought from Troy. This foundation was the prelude to
Romes. Ordinary viewers would have connected Aeneass act of sacrice with the ritual
that took place every year at the Ara Pacis: the slaughter of the three animals (ram, steer,
and heifer), the cooking of the choice parts (exta) as a sacrice to the gods, and the join-
ing in on the feasteating roasted meatafterwards.
The more astute might have con-

nected the image of Aeneas sacricing with Augustus. Augustus, head veiled like Ae-
neas, appears at the point in the south processional frieze closest to the panel of Aeneas.
Moreover, Augustus was the person who rst sacriced at the newly constituted altar.
The image on the leftMars observing the suckling of Romes eventual founders by
the fabled she-wolfextended this notion that wondrous events heralded Roman mo-
ments of foundation. Even more marvelous than the sow with thirty piglets that Aeneas
took as a sign for the foundation of Lavinium was the suckling of Romes eventual
founder(s) by a she-wolf. Yet for the person standing in the plaza on a ceremonial occa-
sion, these representations attached to the altars precinct wall must have paled by com-
parison with the excitement of the rituals themselves.
But for the non-elite viewerespecially the viewer who came not to attend the rituals
but to stroll through Augustuss great plaza and see what could be seenthere was one
attraction much more interesting than the gural reliefs. Larger by over a foot (0.35 m),
closer to the ground than the gural friezes, and more available to the viewers scrutiny
at eye-level, was the beautifully carved and conceived decoration of the enclosure walls
lower half.
As Barbara Kellum has pointed out, it was not just magnicent buildings
and important works of art that attracted the populace to public spaces. She cites the gi-
ant grapevine that shaded the whole of the Porticus of Livia, and the unusual animals
both live and in sculptural replicasthat Augustus put on display.
In the context of con-
temporary popular interest in the wonders of the natural world, both the content and the
form of this decoration was arguably the most extraordinary aspect of the Ara Pacis for
all ancient visitors. For one thing, this decoration takes up over one-half of the enclosures
exterior surface, and more than one-third of its interior. For another, the exquisite carv-
ing achieves a realism within the stylistic framework of neo-Attic art unsurpassed by any
surviving artifacts from the period. David Castriotas recent book convincingly argues
through analysis of all its elements that the frieze was much more than fancy decoration;
its ora and fauna were prime carriers of meaning for the ancient viewer.
From an armature consisting of stylized acanthus tendrils and blossoms, dierent
botanical speciesrealistically portrayedemerge: laurel, ivy, grapevines with grape clus-
ters, and an oak sprig (g. 10). Flowers, in addition to the acanthus, include poppies and
roses. Foremost among the animals depicted are the great swans that top the candelabra-
like acanthus plants. Early on scholars recognized the swans reference to Apollo. Since
identication of gods and goddesses with birds was a popular practice in antiquity, this
reference would not have been lost on the ordinary viewer. Viewers would have heard the
widely circulated stories about Augustuss mother, Atia, being visited by the god, and some
might have even believed that Apollo was his father.
A second highly visible motif, repeated in the center of both north and south reliefs,
was located right at the bottom of the giant acanthus leaf at the base of the candelabra.
A snake winds its way to a nest lled with tiny birds, one of them sounding the alarm
(g. 11). It is unlikely that the ordinary viewer would have seen this vignette or other un-
usual features of hybrid plants as a metaphor for Augustuss struggle with Antony, as one

Rome, Ara Pacis Augustae. Detail of exterior oral frieze.
Rome, Ara Pacis Augustae. Snake and birds nest.
scholar would have it;
more likely he would have understood it as a realistic vignette
from the natural world, exciting in its own terms.
It is worth stressing that much of Romes population at this time consisted of rural
agricultural folk who had been driven from their land in the bloody civil wars of the rst
century b.c. Their education was minimal, and their commercial skills limited, yet they
were free citizens of Italy, entitled to a vote and to a life in the city supported by doles of
food and money. Many were illiterate; their literature was the lore about plants, birds,
insects, and animals that they had learned on the farms. Many were also idle, living in a
city where the only glimpses of greenery to be had were in the public spaces, in gardens
and temple precincts.
I propose that for such Romans the decorative frieze would have been a magnet with
much greater power than the processional or mythological panels; these are people who
would have spent many an hour discussing the natural world and its inhabitants in front
of these conspicuously placed and elegantly carved reminders of the natural world they
knew so well and missed so much. The very articiality of the frieze, especially the way
the artist grafted foliage and owers from dierent plants into the acanthus, must have
evoked comment. People might have brought their children there to play at nding all
the creatures and identifying them. There were plenty hidden among the foliage: a scor-
pion, lizards, birds, frogs, a buttery, grasshoppers, cicadas, birds, snakes, a snail. Pop-
ular beliefs and stories about each of these animals and insectslike those that scholars
have gleaned from elite literaturewould have been the stu of the conversations be-
tween parent and child, between one viewer and another.
It is possible that the artists of the Ara Pacis had orders to embellish the precinct wall
with this extraordinary combination of ora and fauna precisely in order to give the com-
mon people something to wonder at. This seems certain to me, especially considering
that it was the only part of the altar complex always available for scrutiny, that it was clos-
est to the viewers eye-levels, and that its content complemented that of other natural won-
ders that Augustus set up in his city. It turned nature, symbolized by vine scrolls and an-
imals, into marblea tour-de-force of virtuoso stone carving.
If its message seems modest and lacking in propaganda, it is because we are used
to propaganda of a more obvious and bombastic sortthe kind that we have character-
ized as typically Roman: temples to the imperial cult, triumphal arches, enormous build-
ings of every sort. For an audience of ordinary people, possessing a system of beliefs and
lore concerned with the phenomena of nature, the oral frieze must have been much
more than fancy decoration. It was an expression of the very magic brought about by Au-
gustuss reign.
The jump from the Ara Pacis to the Forum of Trajanlike the Ara Pacis, a wonder in its
timeis a big one. In the 122 years between the two monuments Rome had grown to

over one million inhabitants.
Under Trajan, too, the empire expanded to its largest ex-
tent. Expansion of the city put increasing pressure on its infrastructure, especially in the
period between Neros re of a.d. 64 and Trajans dedication of the Forum and Basilica
Ulpia in 112. How did Rome cope with becoming the largest city in the worldnot to
nd an equal in population until late eighteenth-century London?
The practical measures were many: engineers increased the water supply by building
new aqueducts; the new harbor at Portus near the mouth of the Tiber greatly improved
the supplies of food and goods to the city; and multifamily apartment buildings built of
re-proof concrete and brick replaced rickety wattle-and-daub tenements. Equally im-
pressive were the citys new public structures. In addition to the triumphal arches, tem-
ples, and porticoes, architects constructed enormous buildings devoted to popular en-
tertainment, often inventing new or hybrid forms. The Colosseum and Trajans baths are
only two of the citys many responses to the demand for bread and circuses. A series
of grandiose imperial fora tripled the available area for people to carry on business, to
hear court trials, and to promenade (g. 12).
The rst of these, Augustuss own forum, completed in 2 b.c., set a precedent for
magnicence of decoration and complexity of message that it was a great challenge to
surpass. Like the Ara Pacis, Augustuss forum emphasized the emperors role as restorer
of the Republic and its religious institutionseven while it borrowed forms from Peri-
clean Athens to evoke a past Golden Age (g. 13). The temple dedicated to Mars the Avenger
(Ultor) commemorated Augustuss vow to avenge the death of his adopted father, Julius
Caesar, yet its imagery also joined Mars with Venus. Augustus claimed divine parentage
through Aeneas, whose mother was Venus. The architect employed twin semicircular

Rome, plan of Imperial Fora.
forms, called hemicycles, to introduce variety into the rectangular plan. Descent from he-
roes, both human and mythical, constituted the theme of the twin hemicycles, its niches
lled with statues of great men and inscriptions describing their great deeds (elogia).
If the Forum of Augustus emphasized traditional religion, heroic service to the Re-
public, divine ancestry, and the Greek Golden Age, it was because the emperor wished
to gain acceptance for his monarchy from a senate and people suspicious of kingship and
hereditary dynasties. Trajan, riding the crest of the wave of success that raw imperial power
had brought the city of Rome, had an entirely dierent agenda. He wished to show the
magnicent results of imperial warfare and to illustrate how and why the Roman army
always won its wars.
Until the recent publication of James Packers monumental study, the particulars of
the imagery of the Forum and Basilicaboth the architecture and its decorationwere
quite vague.
Packer provides reconstructions based on measurement and scrutiny of
all remaining elements of the buildings and their decoration. For the rst time, we can
begin to appreciate why of all the grand monuments of ancient Rome, ancient visitors
considered the Forum of Trajan to be the best: an eighth wonder of the world.
What is
more, we can begin to comprehend the meanings of this great Gesamtkunstwerk (total
work of art).

Rome, plan of Forum of Augustus with Zankers iconographical scheme.
If we put ourselves in the place of the thousands of people who visited the forum to work
as senators, lawyers, clerks, and librarians (and those who enjoyed listening to legal cases,
shopping, loitering, and promenading there), we realize how the whole architectural
complexForum, Basilica Ulpia, and Columnwas designed to amaze. It is dicult to
reconstruct the ancient viewers experience of the whole, since only the Column is still
standing, yet today we have a better understanding of that experience thanks to Packers
earlier reconstructions and to the two later, computer-generated models that allow the
viewer to walk through virtual-reality reconstructions.
As a viewer entered the Forum and progressed through its spaces toward the Column,
he or she experienced multiple congurations of Trajans power.
Everyone, from elite
citizen to foreigner, saw a very basic message encoded throughout all the spaces in a re-
curring tripartite formula: Trajan, the Dacians, and the army.
The apex of this three-part iconographical scheme was, of course, Trajan himself
(plate 1). The viewer understood Trajans triumph over the Dacians as he walked through
the monumental entrance and saw the heroon, a shrine honoring Trajan, probably with
a tripartite entry that recalled the form of the triumphal arch.
The entryway initiated a
Trajan axis running some 212 meters (695 feet) through the center of the forum.
least three monumental statues of the princeps marked that axis: an equestrian statue,
a group with Trajan riding in triumph in a four-horse chariot placed on the porch of the
Basilica Ulpia, andmost dramaticallya statue on top of the Column that seemed to
oat above the basilicas roof at a height of one hundred fty Roman feet (44 m).
great size of these statues, and their placement along the central axis of the huge com-
plex, stressed Trajans predominant role throughout.
Forum, Basilica, and Column each trumpeted Trajans importance in a dierent way.
The simple fact that the forum was the largest ever built in the imperial city showed that
Trajan was more powerful even than Augustus, the rst princeps. Few ancient viewers
would have missed the formal similarities between the Forum of Augustus and that of
Trajan. The visitor entered the Forum of Trajan from a space connected with the north
ank of the Forum of Augustus, so that it was inevitable that he or she would compare
the two in size. Moreover, the Forum of Trajan repeated the paired hemicycles of the Fo-
rum of Augustustwice. The architect located the rst pair at the midpoint of the Fo-
rums open space. The paired hemicycles, two huge cupping forms, expanded the Forum
spaces to the viewers left and right. The architect incorporated the second pair of hemi-
cycles into the short sides of the Basilica Ulpia, visual echoes that reminded the viewer
of the rst pair even while they achieved eects of space and light quite dierent from
those of the rst pair.
In size, form, and lavishness of decoration the Basilica Ulpia also outstripped any mon-
ument in Rome. At 25 by 76 meters (82 by 249 feet) in plan, and as high as 30 meters
(98 feet) in elevation, the Basilica was easily the largest covered space that Rome had seen.

An ancient viewer would have marveled at the lavish use of expensive marbles imported
from the far reaches of the empire. Thanks to the careful work of Packer and others, we
now have a notion of the rich play of color and light that aimed to astonish the rst-time
Yet today the most concrete way to imagine the grandeur and magnicence of the Fo-
rum and Basilica, now sadly reduced, is by considering the third great marvel of the com-
plex, the Column. In antiquity there was no clear view of the entire Column, as there is
today. The architect enclosed it within a relatively small courtyard between the Greek and
Latin librariesalmost certainly to dramatize its huge base and impressive height. The
architects transformation of the honorary column into a gigantic monument with a stair-
case carved out of its center was both a dazzling feat of engineering and a challenge to
the viewers imagination. What would it be like to ascend that staircase and stand on the
viewing platform with the emperors statue looming high above? Arguably, in the mind
of the ancient viewer, the Column itself was an icon of imperial power without parallel.
And, in the only exception to the rule that no one, not even the emperor, could be buried
within the sacred boundary of the city, Trajans ashes arrived in Rome in triumphal pro-
cession and were buried in the base of the Column.
Huge three-dimensional images of Trajan dominated and guided a viewer as he or
she progressed from the Forum, to the Basilica, to the Column.
On the Column itself
Trajan appears fty-nine times, as the commander-in-chief in the low reliefs that chron-
icle the Dacian wars. Trajan was present in written form as well, his name and his titles
guring in numerous inscriptions throughout the complex; these redundantly spelled
out, in great detail, his achievements and his honors.
Representations of the enemy formed the second element of the iconographical triad.
Two types of Dacians appeared. White marble statues, about 2.5 meters (8 feet) tall, ap-
peared prominently high up in the upper (attic) level of the Forums east and west colon-
nades, where they carried a cornice (g. 14).
Larger statues of Dacians, about 3 meters
feet) tall, decorated the attic of the south facade of the Basilica, their bodies of white
purple-veined marble from Asia Minor (pavonazetto), their hands and heads of white
In the Forum, the cornices on the heads of the Dacians supported a second, upper,
cornice that crowned the attic and carried inscribed pedestals with standards. Alternat-
ing between the Dacian supporting gures on the right and left colonnades were some
sixty portrait heads on shields (imagines clipeatae); the surviving ones are of emperors
and empresses.
In the attic story of the Basilicas front, alternating between the Dacian
supporting gures, was another symbol of their defeat: reliefs of captured Dacian arms.
The base of the Column of Trajan repeated this motif.
Horses and military standards
topped the attics of the Basilicas porches with the formula, ex manubiis, proclaiming
that the spoils of the Dacian wars paid for all of this magnicence.
The third prominent element in the Forums iconographical scheme was the army.
Names of legions and units that served heroically in the Dacian campaigns appeared con-

spicuously, carved in huge letters on the parapet above the Dacians and the imagines cli-
It is signicant that Trajan chose these big inscriptionsrather than, say, three-
dimensional statues of soldiersto represent the army. It is true that images of every as-
pect of the armys work, detailed so that one could identify the type of soldiers and perhaps
even their units, took center stage on the great column.
But naming specic units in
written form on the attic panels had a distinct purpose. A unit, such as a 1,000-man or
500-man cohort, was a collective whose eective ghting entitled it to share in the nal
victory. A veteran who saw his units name high up on the parapets, along with other
honored divisions, remembered that success in war came from the obedience of every
man in the unit to the chain of commandall the way up to Trajan himself. The units
name constituted an eective synecdoche for the nonmilitary viewer as well; his civic work
was like the units military work, and he had to obey orders for it to be successful. This
is only one of many examples that we will meet in this book where a viewer needed to
possess some degree of literacy to receive a message aimed at him. We will fully discuss
non-elite literacy in later chapters. One thing is certain: for both military and civic view-
ers, the virtues of careful organization and intelligent command of all the armys parts

Rome, Forum of Trajan, order of east colonnade, bay.
formed the compelling theme in these inscribed names and in the images of the army
on the Column.
The tripartite iconography of Trajan, Dacians, and army set the stage for scrutiny of the
Column itself. The Column, unlike the many Roman monuments that remained buried
until the nineteenth century, has always been visible and available for study.
have thought of the Columns helical frieze, with some 2,500 gures and 154 recogniza-
ble scenes, primarily as a source of information about the Dacian wars. Only one line of
Trajans own account of the two campaigns of 1012 and 1056 survives, and what re-
mains of Dio Cassiuss history are two brief and confusing abstracts: Excerpta prepared
in the tenth century and the Epitome produced by Xiphilinus in the eleventh century.
Little wonder that scholars over the centuries have tried to reconstruct the great wars from
the Columns reliefs.
Unfortunately this project is doomed. In his 1927 monograph Karl Lehmann proved
that the artist composed the Columns reliefs by creating variations on six stock scenes,
or topoi, generally repeated in the same order.
Although the end product looks like a
continuous narrative, the same six scenes are repeated, with variations, throughout.
army journeys, then builds, then the emperor prepares for battle by sacricing, then he
addresses the troops. The army battles. The sixth stock scene focuses on the enemy rather
than on the Romans and their work: we see the Dacian barbarians, brought as prisoners
or coming as ambassadors to Trajan. Although the stock scenes vary in length and de-
tails, they are the building blocks of a narrative that has much more to do with the tech-
niques of Greek and Roman epic poetry than with those of modern history.
Yet this is not to say that the Column lacks references to specic events. We see, for
instance, an image of the great bridge over the Danube that Apollodorus of Damascus
we see the submission of the Dacians at the end of the rst campaign at their cap-
ital, Sarmizegetusa;
at the top of the Column we see the conclusion of the second cam-
paign, with Roman soldiers pursuing the Dacians leader, Decebalus;
we see Decebaluss
and Roman soldiers displaying his severed head and right hand on a platter.
Yet even in all this detail the narrative is an epitomized one.
These specic scenes, like
the stock scenes themselves, are key images that stand for narrativea narrative we will
never know fully from studying the visual representation. There is even an allegorical
representation of the time between the two campaigns: halfway up the Column, after the
scene of the submission of the Dacians at the end of the rst campaign, the gure of Vic-
tory writes the (temporary) triumph on a shield.
Stock scenes and salient detailsif not the stu of historical illustrationthen what?
What was the purpose of the imagery on the Column of Trajan? What messages did it
have for its intended viewers? Furthermore, how did the ancient viewer see its imagery?

All viewers knew that it was a wondrous invention, a helical frieze winding twenty-three
times around the Column that told the story of Trajans two campaigns against the Da-
cians. Yet when we begin to question how exactly an ancient visitor would have gone about
trying to view that history, problems arise (plate 2). The Column itself was 100 Roman
feet (29.8 m) high, and it stood on a podium that was 5.4 meters (17
feet) in height.
The ancient visitor emerging from the basilica into the small courtyard that contained it
(24.8 18.3 m, or 80
feet) had a maximum of only 6 meters (19
feet) to view
the base of the Column and the shaft.
The distance from the doors of either library to
the base was only 9 meters (29 feet).
What could a viewer actually see? There are two doorways from the Basilica Ulpia,
each o-axis with the Column and opening onto the colonnade around it. The viewer
could read the dedicatory inscription and inspect the relief of captured Dacian arms that
decorated the base. Walking around the Column, he could understand that there was a
narrative, and could determine from the composition of the reliefs that it read from left
to right. But he would not have been able to examine the reliefs in detail because of the
excessive foreshortening of the spirals as he craned his neck upwards. It is unclear whether
there were viewing terraces located on a second level, on the loggias of the libraries and
the Basilica Ulpia, and it is highly unlikely that there was a terrace or balcony area in
front of the Temple of the Divine Trajan.
At most, these higher vantage points would
have allowed the viewer, at a distance of perhaps 9 meters (about 30 feet) from the ground
and 6 meters (about 20 feet) from the Column, to scrutinize another three or four wind-
ings closely. Even so, it would not have been possible to circle the Column from these
hypothetical terraces. The ancient viewer did have one distinct advantage, however, for
the relief was painted in realistic colors, and bronze weaponstoday gonewould have
completed the gestures of now empty-handed ghters. He could distinguish key players
by matching up the colors of their distinctive dress: Trajan, Decebalus, the legionaries,
and so on.
Memory of both verbal and visual accounts would have also helped the contemporary
spectator. Viewers of the Columnat least in the years immediately following the great
conictwould have had in their minds the stories of the campaigns of the war, narrated
by storytellers and veterans, and read in Trajans own commentary. Visual accounts might
include the triumphal paintings that soldiers carried in procession when Trajan celebrated
the nal victory, put on display in a public space after the celebration.
Gauer has pro-
posed that there was a scale model of the Column, with detailed rendering of its reliefs,
on view nearby.
I believebut cannot provethat Romans in Trajans time could have
seen a copy of the Columns reliefs at full scale, on display temporarily in the Basilica
Ulpia itself or permanently in one of the many porticoes where Roman generals and em-
perors had displayed art for over three centuries. But even with these aids, the experience
of viewing the helical frieze on the Column itself was dierent from that of hearing or
reading the narrativeor even seeing it in ground-level replicas.

Scholars have convincingly argued that the artist planned for vertical reading patterns so
that the viewer did not have to circle the Column. Instead of reading the helical frieze
from right to left, as one reads lines of text, viewers scanned the Column from bottom to
top while standing at one of the four sides of the plaza that contained it.
The Column
is the most important axis-marker in the plan of the forum, and it has four distinct sides.
The window slits that light the spiral staircase inside the column acknowledge these four
sides: the architect centered them over the midpoints of the faces of the square base. The
south side was the principal one, marked by the doorway into the Column base. Behind
the door, within a special chamber to the north side of the pedestal, rested the ashes of
Trajan and his wife Plotina.
The north side faced the front of the Temple of the Divine
Trajan, both the expression of Trajans apotheosis and the end of the Forums long axis.
East and west of the Column were the Greek and Latin libraries. From these four princi-
pal viewing points, the ancient viewer could engage in reading correspondences between
scenes and gures, his eye moving up and down the Columns shaft.
Both Brilliant and Settis illustrate how vertical reading would have created units of
meaning for the ancient viewer. Brilliant proposes that following the helical frieze con-
tinuously (an impossibility in fact) was an annalistic treatment, and that reading it in
terms of Lehmanns six repeated stock scenes was an iconic mode, but that recogniz-
ing the relationships among vertical groups, with several windings together making a unit
of meaning, was an imagistic code.
Settis expands upon Brilliants observations, pro-
viding a complex menu of viewing possibilities.
Whether one agrees with either scholars
proposed groupings in all their details, they emphasize how essential it is to consider the
viewers activity in the act of reading. Unfortunately, despite the sophistication of their
analysis, neither scholar questions who that viewer was: again the viewer is the omni-
scient scholar.
Burkhard Fehr is the only scholar to date to ask questions about the reception of the
Columns message by a specic group, in this case the noncombatant elites in Rome.
In The Military as Visual Motif: Political Function and Group-specic Perception of the
Forum and Column of Trajan, he proposes that the special stress that the artist places
on the careful organization and coordination of the armys activities constituted a pointed
message for a civilian audience, especially the senators and equestrians (equites). The artist
devoted exceptional attention to spelling out the hierarchies within the Roman chain of
command and to showing how Trajan commanded all the armys personnelfrom the
elite praetorian guards all the way down to the most exotic and un-Roman barbarian troops.
He depicts Trajan as the omnipresent First Leader (princeps), overseeing every detail of
the campaigns: we see him marching with the troops, supervising the building of gar-
risons, propitiating the gods with sacrices, rousing his troops to ght, commanding the
battles, and receiving barbarian delegations. Trajan represents the epitome of the most
important Roman virtues: he exhibits virtus (manly courage), pietas (piety), clementia

(clemency toward the enemy). In Fehrs interpretation, these images of Trajan as able ad-
ministrator and pious citizen had a pointed meaning for elite viewers: the Columns em-
phasis on clear organizational hierarchies was a metaphor for the organization of the Ro-
man state. The Columns message was that civic society should work likeand be as
eective asTrajans military. I would like to pursue similar questions of reception by
focusing on several dierent kinds of viewers, all of them non-elite.
We have seen how the imagery of the Forum and Basilica set out a relationship among
Trajan, the Dacians, and the army. We nd this same relationship on the Column, where
the artist gives to all three faces, bodies, costumes, and a script. In his visual realization
he elaborates the identities of a great number of non-Romansnot just the Dacians and
their allies but also the noncitizen members of the Army. I believe that the Columns em-
phasis on the non-Roman people on both sides of the war addressed a particular audi-
ence in Rome, that of citizens of foreign communities (called peregrini), slaves, and for-
mer slaves.
For them, the story on the Column was an account of the Roman system of
conquest, colonization, and Romanization that they had experienced rsthand.
Several historical observations are particularly relevant to understanding the reactions
of non-elite viewers to the Columns imagery. The Dacians, although barbarians in name,
were representatives of a highly developed power. Their gold and silver mines produced
great wealth. They were skilled warriors: they had successfully fought the Romans under
Domitian (a.d. 8589).
The Dacians willingly accepted Roman desertersmany of them
specialists in building defenses and war machines. The Dacians also added to their might
by striking alliances with other tribes of the region. Theirs was a stratied society, with
Decebalus and the other nobles (called pileati because they wore conical hats) at the top,
the comati, or shaggy-haired warriors, in the middle, and slaves at the bottom. The artist
of the Column took some care to depict the Dacian hierarchy, including in his purview a
variety of Dacian peoplefrom high-ranking men, women, and children to the near-sav-
age. Although the artist looked to models in Hellenistic art for some body types and com-
positions, he does not present the Dacians as generic barbarians. It is true that the artist
omits their armor (although captured Dacian armor appears on the Columns base and
in the Forums friezes), and he often shows them running from Roman pursuers, but he
also communicates their valor.
Their fearless actions, such as the nobles mass-suicide
within a besieged and doomed garrison, also come through clearly.
Finally, and most
importantly for our purposes, the nal fall of Dacia broughtin addition to tremendous
wealth in silver and gold50,000 Dacian slaves to Rome.
This was the last massive
inux of slaves into the city.
Because the paradigm of Black slavery, established in Europe and the Americas in the
modern period, predominates in contemporary Euro-American constructions of slavery,
it is important to stress that the majority of Roman slaves were Caucasian. Persons of all

ethnicities could beand wereslaves. Slaves coming from the great centers of Hel-
lenistic culture, like Alexandria, Pergamon, and Athens, continued their professions in
Rome. They served as teachers, scribes, secretaries, engineers, architects, and doctors.
Slaves ran the businesses of their elite owners, who shrank from commerce. The prom-
ise of freedom provided slaves the incentive for productivity: they could buy their free-
dom or have it awarded for good service.
One cannot think of the system of Roman slavery without attending to the in-between
status of freed slaves. Freedmen and freedwomen designated their status by the term li-
bertini or liberti, abbreviated as l. or lib. in tomb inscriptions. Freedpersons still owed alle-
giance to their former masters and often continued to oversee their masters commercial
enterprises. But they were free to marry. Most importantly, although slaves became Ro-
man citizens upon manumission, their civic privileges were limited. But their children
would be freeborn and thus could claim the same rights as other freeborn citizens, in-
cluding holding public oces and priesthoods.
Parallel to the process of Roman slaves moving up in society through gaining free-
dom was the process of becoming a Roman citizen through service in the army. The Ro-
man army in Trajans time consisted of about 350,000 men. Of these, probably 140,000
were legionaries, several thousand praetorians, and about 200,000 auxiliaries.
only Roman citizens could serve in the legions and praetorian guard, the auxiliaries did
not possess Roman citizenship. The Romans enrolled auxiliaries from among the for-
mer barbarians living within conquered territories (peregrini). Further down in the armys
hierarchy were the symmachiarii. The term means those who ght with the army, and
in the Dacian wars there is at least one named unit of symmachiarii (Asturum), recog-
nizable on the Column because the men ght barechested.
For all of these non-Roman
ghters the prize to be wonin addition to the meager paywas Roman citizenship.
For the foreigner, slave, or former slave looking at the Column of Trajan, the abundant
images of outsidersboth Dacians and non-Roman soldiersconstituted a visual digest
of the steps such a person took from being outside the Roman system to being part of it.
Just as he carefully dierentiated among the Dacians and delineated their social hier-
archies, the artist represented in remarkable detail the dress, weapons, ghting styles,
and even the physiognomies of each component of Trajans army. Estimates place the num-
ber of soldiers who crossed the Danube with Trajan into Dacian territories around 50,000,
with a like number poised to protect garrisons on the rivers right bank. But for our in-
vestigation the most interesting fact about the great war is this: men who were not Ro-
man citizens did most of the ghting. As Rossi points out, there are twenty major battle
scenes represented on the Column. The auxiliaries take part in nineteen of them, the le-
gionaries and/or praetorians are to be found in seven, while auxilia and symmachiarii
ght alone in twelve. Division of the labor of warfare is clearcut: legionaries build
fortications, handle provisioning and moving troops, and operate long-distance weapons
such as the ballista, a crossbow with a range of 500 yards.
But in the fray of battle we see the non-Roman soldiers: the auxiliaries with their light

armor and oval shields; symmachiarii, barechested and ghting with clubs;
the light
cavalry from Mauretania (modern-day Morocco) in North Africa, with their corkscrew
Syrian archers with conical helmets and long dresses;
and slingshot ghters from
In addition to their distinctive dress and weapons, the auxiliaries and irregular
soldiers retain barbarous traits: only auxiliaries, for example, bring back bloody enemy
heads to show to Trajan.
Trajanas the bulk of the evidence indicateswas the patron
of the Column, overseeing its imagery in some mannerperhaps quite directly.
wanted to make it clear what a prominent role non-Romans took in winning the victory,
and that the Dacians were worthy opponents. Why?
For all viewers, the images of non-Romans helping the Romans suggested that Ro-
man power was so great that it organized even barbarians.
But for the non-elites who
looked at the Column, its message was more pointed. It told the outsiderforeigner, slave,
and even ex-slavethat the non-Romans were ghting the war both to serve Trajan, the
best prince of all, and to become full-edged Romans. For a man serving in the auxil-
iaries or even as a symmachiarius, the greatest prize was to win honors and even citi-
zenship. Twenty-ve years serviceor exceptional valorbrought these non-Romans
Rossi points out that of the seventy-six units of auxilia (both alae of cavalry
and cohortes of infantry) that served in the Dacian Wars, seventeen have the title of Ro-
man citizens (civium Romanorum) on their units name.
The inscriptions in the attic
stories of the Forum may have even demonstrated this process of gaining citizenship
through valor with the abbreviation c. R.
There is yet another parallel between the military model and the civic model of work-
ing ones way up: it seems likely that the east apse of the Basilica Ulpia was the Atrium
Libertatis (Hall of Freedom), where the ceremony of giving slaves their freedom took
Viewers who had received their freedom in the Basilica must have felt a special
anity for the image on the Column showing Trajan himself awarding money (and per-
haps citizenship) to courageous outsider soldiers. This scene, called the dona militaria,
shows an auxiliary soldier kneeling at the emperors feet and kissing his hand; a second
soldier departs carrying a sack of booty on his shoulder (g. 15).
Finally, beyond these two ways of becoming fully Romanmanumission from slav-
ery and service in the armythere was the process of being conquered and annexed to
the Empire. This is the action that the Romans nally take against the Dacians. At the
top of the Column, after Decebaluss suicide, we see Roman soldiers destroying Dacian
towns and forcing their inhabitants to relocate at new settlements outside of Dacia.
a peregrinus, these images of dislocation and forced Romanization may have represented
both the tyranny of colonial practice and the eective erasure of his or her culture. Just
as the barbarian serving in the army would gradually give up native dress and religion,
so Roman conquerors did everything possible to civilize the natives of a region.
Pointedly, after the failed rst campaign of the Dacian wars, the artist devotes consid-
erable space to representing the armys progress through Dalmatiaalready Romanized
where the emperor sacrices to the acclaim of the Romanized population in a Roman-

style walled city with beautifully rendered temple and theater.
In the further reaches of
Dalmatia, the Romans appear in fortied towns where local deities have merged with the
Roman pantheon. As Trajan advances into Dacia he once again sacrices at an altar sur-
rounded by a mixed population. The men, women, and childrenin both Roman and
Dacian-looking dressacclaim their emperor.
In contrast, the desperate vanquished
Dacians in the Columns last windings were the raw material that Trajan would make into
new Romans. Many of the viewers, themselves fully assimilated foreigners, must have
remembered this process of Romanization from their own experiences.
The largely positive emphasis on the non-Roman, the Other, within the complex of
Forum, Basilica, and Column leads one to suspect that Trajan was trying to compensate
for the negative side of the story. In fact, in Rome it was becoming more dicult for freed-
men to move up in society, partly because Trajan himself helped to establish the legal dis-
tinctions between the upper orders (the honestiores) and the lower (the humiliores) that we
discussed in the Introduction.
No matter how wealthy they became, freedmen remained
humiliores, and suered greater penalties than the honestiores in every aspect of civic

Rome, Column of Trajan, XLIIXLV. Dona militaria.
life, from payment of taxes to penal actions.
This de facto suppression of the freedmen
class enhanced the opportunities of freeborn new men (novi homines) from the provinces
to gain political clout at Rome. Trajan himself was a new man from Italica in the province
of Baetica, near modern Seville, Spain.
In mapping out the concept of self-improvement
through Romanization, Trajans Forum, Basilica, and Column proclaimed a benevolence
that masked the hard realities for outsidersespecially the non-elite functionariesthe
slave and freedmen lawyers, doctors, architects, engineers, surveyors, and teachers who
would have frequented the Forum and especially the libraries anking the Column.
jans complex projected a success story, where the Emperors virtues and the armys obe-
dience to the rules brought about victory through hard and persistent work.
A free foreigner from the Danube region viewing the Columns imagery would have
recognized the peopleperhaps his former neighborsand would have recalled his own
experiences of the imposition of Roman military and civic order. He may have either ap-
plauded or detested the way the Column translated the conquest into heroic, monumental
form. As a person who had left his barbarian homeland for the Romans capital city, he
may have enjoyed its grand public spaces, its complex civic order, and its systems of pub-
lic assistance for the working and unemployed poor. Or he may have rankled at the way
the Column celebrated Romes inexible cultural imperialism.
If our viewer was still a slave, the imagery of the Column, Basilica, and Forum may
have held out the promise of freedom. Nevertheless it constituted a warning that Roman
virtues, rather than Dacian or other barbarian virtues, were the ones to cultivate. If he
was already free, the imagery laid outin military termsthe steps to greater prestige
and glory through service to the princeps. A recently freed slave, thinking on his hard-
won status, would have understood the parallels to the path he had taken and the dreams
he might have for his children.
Trajans forum marked both a high point and a fault line in the Empire. Although his suc-
cessor, Hadrian, put a stop to further expansion of the Empire, it became increasingly
dicult to control barbarian incursions, with the result that Marcus Aurelius (161180)
spent most of his rule ghting barbarians in the north. By the time of Marcus Aureliuss
death it was clear that the good old days were not to return. In the following chapter we
look at new visual strategies for projecting the emperors numinous powerand the sup-
posed harmony within Roman societyto ordinary viewers.

To communicate their intended messages to non-elites, the Ara Pacis and the Column
of Trajan had to show the emperor participating in Roman religion and military service.
On the Ara Pacis, Augustus appears not as omnipotent, divinized emperor but as high-
priest of the Roman state religion, as pontifex maximus. Similarly, Trajan is the high mil-
itary commander, not the divine Trajan he becomes after his death. If most viewers rec-
ognized and embraced the ction of the emperor as rst citizen, it was because they could
still believe in social mobility. With endless war, economic instability, and natural disas-
ters plaguing the empire during the second half of the second century, such sanguine
faith in the future became increasingly fragile. New representations of the emperors re-
lationship with his subjects had to address the changed social order. No monument bet-
ter encodes these changes than the Column of Marcus Aurelius.
Rome saw momentous changes in the eighty years separating the dedication of the Col-
umn of Trajan and the completion of its twin,the Column celebrating Marcus Aureliuss
victories over a host of trans-Danubian barbarians. Trajans Column shows its viewers
both elite and non-elitehow to achieve success: it preaches the virtues of military or-
ganization, right handling of the barbarian enemy, and the proper steps to becoming an
insider to Roman culture. Even though closely modeled on the Column of Trajan, the
Column of Marcus Aurelius presents no such recipes for success. In place of the balance
of forcesemperor, barbarian, and armythat rationalizes warfare through its visual
organization, the Column of Marcus Aurelius isolates and elevates the emperor. It is his
transcendent power that brings victory: power over his army that makes it invincible
against the ghastly barbarian enemyand, by extension, his power that sustains Rome
itself. How did the artist, working with the Column of Trajan as a model, create this new
The artist both pared down details and employed remarkable new formal devices to
increase legibility. This unknownand sadly underratedmaster was one of the major
exponents of the new visual language that modern art history calls the Late Antique.
of his devices have to do with composition: he reduced the number of windings from
twenty-three to twenty to allow a slight increase in their height; he placed fewer gures
in his compositions, and he eliminated complex details of landscape and architecture.
Other devices have to do with style: he made the relief deeper, with ample use of the run-
ning and stationary drill to create dramatic detachment of light from shadowthis in
contrast to the even modeling and fussy detail on Trajans Column.
His most striking device is the so-called frontal composition.
If in looking at the Col-
umn of Trajan, we seem to be watching the unfolding of a story within its own space
out thereit is because the artist emphasizes the landscape setting, and consistently
combines prole views with the gures left-to-right movement. Not so with the Column
of Marcus Aurelius; the artist emphasizes gures rather than their setting, and he con-
stantly interrupts left-to-right reading patterns with eye-catching frontal compositions.
Two symmetrical groups will meet at a center point, as in the macabre scene of Marco-
manni forced to behead their own countrymen (g. 16). Most frequently, it is Marcus
Aurelius who is in the center of a symmetrical grouping, represented frontally or in three-
quarters view, so that he looks out at you. This constitutes, in contrast to the predomi-
nantly prole rendering of Trajan and his soldiers, direct address to the viewer and a rup-
ture of the annalistic reading of the helical frieze. These are the formal means that
connect image with viewer in such a forceful new way. What new content does this new
style serve?
The answer to this question lies in the element of the Column of Marcus Aurelius that
diverges the most from its predecessorits base. Unfortunately, it is also the element
that is the hardest to analyze, for it has suered the greatest damage. Because two-thirds
of the base lies buried, its original prole and conguration, as well as the relation of the
column to surrounding buildings, is still conjectural. The original doorway opening into
the base lies 2.65 meters (8
feet) below the modern piazza. Yet the other ancient build-
ings and streets around the column were 3 meters (10 feet) lower than this entrance. In
his comparative study of the Column of Trajan and the Column of Marcus Aurelius, Giu-
seppe Gatti concluded that the two columns, although nearly identical in their proportions,

Rome, Column of Marcus Aurelius, LXI. Marcomanni beheading their countrymen.
Rome, Column of Marcus Aurelius, base. Detail of engraving by Vico, 1540.
had quite dierent eects on the viewer. Whereas the Column of Trajan occupied a small
and enclosed space, that of Marcus Aurelius dominated all the buildings of the Cam-
pus Martius, so that a viewer traveling along the via Flaminia would have seen the bronze
statue of Marcus Aurelius at its top, nearly 50 meters (about 163 feet) above.
On the
one hand, it is dicult to assess the eect that the Columns higher elevation had on
the viewerother than making the reliefs that wind around it harder to read from the
ground. The eect of the big gural relief on the base, on the other hand, contrasts
strikingly with the representation of piled-up arms that covers the base of the Column
of Trajan.
We can reconstruct part of the imagery on the base of the Column of Marcus Aure-
lius using drawings and prints made before 1589, when Domenico Fontana, at the order
of Pope Sixtus V, shaved o all remaining relief decoration.
Francisco dOllandas draw-
ing of 153940 shows the north side, decorated with the gures of four equally spaced
victories who stand with swagged garlands between them.
Scholars assume that the artist
repeated this subject on the west and south sides of the base. Enea Vicos engraving, ex-
ecuted around 1540, gives us a view of the principal frieze that faced the via Flaminia.
Here the artist employed the same kind of frontal composition that appears repeatedly
in the helical friezealthough on a much larger scale (g. 17). Its purpose was to artic-
ulate the relationship between Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, his son and heir to the
throne. Commodus, in fact, did not appear in the reliefs above.
Two gures dominate the center of the relief, and they balance each other in pose. The
man on the right, dressed in a cuirass partially covered by a cloak, looks out at the viewer
while extending his right arm toward the man on the left, who wears a body-cuirass and
turns toward a group of two kneeling barbarians guarded by two standing Roman sol-
diers. Becatti convincingly identied the pair as Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, and
proposed that the smaller gure at the center who looks toward Commodus and the bar-
barians might be Pompeianus, the emperors right-hand man who accompanied him
throughout the long campaigns.
Commoduss dramatic gesture of delivering the captive
barbarians to Marcus Aurelius asserts his key role in both the war and the victory. By plac-
ing himself in this large relief, the most conspicuous and legible on the Column, Com-
modus made the Column a victory monument that advertised his close relation with his
heroic father.
The composition itself is not new. It is a stock scene of submission (submissio) that an
ancient viewer would have recognized because it appeared everywhere: on coins, in re-
liefs, and in statuary groups. Since it is likely that Commodus himself commissioned the
Column, the role he gave himself on its base constituted wishful thinking.
After Mar-
cus died in the eld in 180, Commodusno soldier like his fatherhastily concluded
the burdensome warfare by buying o the Marcomanni and Sarmatians.
manipulated history not only by highlighting his role in the barbarians submission, but
also by using Trajans Column as a model. The Column of Marcus Aurelius is one of

historys great examples of compensatory appropriation or, perhaps better put,
acclamation by association. It is not hard to understand that Commodus wished the
Column to proclaim absolute victory over rude and worthless barbarians: for a whole gen-
eration Rome had suered the barbarian crisis, years of plague, and repeated threats of
economic collapse. Nor is the artists framing of Marcus Aurelius as a godlike philosopher-
emperor dicult to comprehend, given Commoduss need to establish his father as a
god. Yet why, in view of the Column of Trajans optimistic messages for the peregrinus,
slave, and ex-slave, and even for foreigners along the Danube, does the Column of Mar-
cus Aurelius remove so many nuances? The barbarians become generic, suering, sav-
age creatures; the army homogeneous and robot-like; the emperor a commander, yes, but
one with numinous powers who stares out at the viewers as often as he looks at his men.
If we consider the Columns setting, we see that it is a monument to dynasty. Trajan
did not adopt his successor, Hadrianunless on his deathbed. Unlike Augustus, who
made his burial placeand even his foruma statement about the foundation and con-
tinuation of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Trajan made no proclamation of a blood dynasty.
His plans for succession were unclear at the time of his premature death, since he had
not named an heir. Although he planned from the beginning to be buried in the base of
his Column, the column itself constitutes a statement of but one of the accomplishments
of his reign.
By contrast, everything about the setting of the Column of Marcus Aure-
lius conveys the notion of dynasty. It connects visually and physically with a group of mon-
uments erected by the Antonines, starting with Hadrians Mausoleum, to the west, and the
Temple of the Deied Hadrian, to the south, and continuing with the nearby cremation-
sanctuary (ustrinum) and column of Antoninus Pius and Faustina (g. 18).
Paradoxically, both Hadrian and Antoninus Pius had to adopt their heirs, their own
male children having died, so that Commodus was the only bloodline Antonine. It is clear
that the Column was of utmost importance in advertising his lineage. He placed the Col-
umn within the precinct honoring the deceased members of the Antonine dynasty, thereby
using it to align himself with his fathers valor and, by association, with that of Trajan.
Furthermore, Commodus appeared in the Columns most conspicuous position, in the
submission scene that adorned its base, facing the via Flaminia. These messages of vic-
tory, piety, and dynastic succession addressed all viewers, elite and non-elite alike. But in
the end, Commodus proved to be the weakest of the Antonines. Angry at his excesses,
his advisers had him strangled by a champion wrestler on 31 December 192.
Analysis of what the artist (and therefore Commodus, the patron) chose to include and
exclude from the menu oered by the Column of Trajan allows us to pinpoint the Col-
umns messages to the non-elite viewer. In content the Column of Marcus Aurelius is
even less a historical record than that of Trajan. The artist copied many scenes from the
Column of Trajan directly, even retaining their relative places in the windings: the armys
march across a pontoon bridge at the beginning of the frieze; the gure of Victory writ-
ing on a shield halfway upfacing the via Flamina just as in the submission scene on
the base; the legionaries assaulting a barbarian gate in the tortoise (testudo) formation,

their shields interwoven to cover the top and sides of a walking wedge. The six stock scenes
appear as well, with the dierence that the artist has pared the scenes of building down
to just two,
in contrast to the nineteen on the Column of Trajan (where the artist even
provides an elaborate scene of Dacians building fortications).
The only stock scenes
to appear in equal numbers on both columns are those of battles and of barbarian en-
voys. Unique to the Column are two miracles. The artist pictured two natural catastro-
phes that the Romans took to be miracles: lightning striking and destroying an enemy
siege engine,
and a violent rainstorm in the land of the Quadii that devastated the en-
emy while providing much-needed water for the Romans.
Fundamental to the practice of art history is the slide comparison; Heinrich Wlins
use of lantern-slide comparisons to illustrate his lectures at the turn of the century was

of Augustus
of Augustus
of Augustus
of Augustus
Ara Pacis
Ustrinum of
Marcus Aurelius
Ustrinum of
Antoninus Pius
Column of
Column of
Marcus Aurelius
Rome, plan of area around
Column of Marcus Aurelius.
Rome, Column of Trajan, CXXXVICXXXVII. Adlocutio with horseshoe composition.
Rome, Column of Marcus Aurelius, IX. Adlocutio with horseshoe composition.
perhaps the founding moment of the modern discipline.
Visual comparison of two
similar but distinct artworks is a pedagogical technique that facilitates discussion of for-
mal and stylistic dierences, period style, dating, and even the ow of iconographical mod-
els. Seen from the perspective of the discipline of art history, the two columns are a ready-
made slide lecture, and much of the art-historical literature treats them as such. We
assume, perhaps, that the ancient Roman viewer saw the same similarities and dier-
ences as we do, but unless Commodus arranged an exhibition with images of the two
columns reliefs arranged side-by-side at ground level, the ancient viewer had nothing
like our photographic comparisons. Furthermore, he or she was not an art historian,
but a person with a dierent set of cultural practices, who had specic ideas about im-
itation and oratory.
For someone who had regularly viewed the Column of Trajan over a period of many
years, seeing the Column of Marcus Aurelius, freshly freed of its scaolding, would have
been like seeing an old friend in new or unusual clothes. The shape and size were right;
so were the dominant features. Yet the details were dierent. Vertical sweeps of the im-
agery would have assured the viewer that essential scenes were there: the scenes copied
directly from the Column of Trajan, such as the initial Danube crossing, the Victory halfway
up, the testudo, and so on. He would have identied the stock scenes easily, perhaps not-
ing how the artist had nearly edited out scenes of building while increasing the brutality
of the battle scenes. But what would have stood out most in comparing the two columns
were the new frontal compositions featuring the emperor, framed symmetrically and look-
ing out.
Trajan never looks out at the viewernot even in those scenes of adlocutio where his
soldiers group around him in a horseshoe formation, so that we look over the shoulders
of the ones closest to us (g. 19). Trajans head may be in three-quarters view, but he is
still clearly speaking to his soldiers: he is not addressing us, the viewers. The ancient
viewer would have noticed that Marcus Aurelius, in contrast to Trajan, was addressing
him or hereven in the scenes of address to the soldiers. Marcus, like the orator speak-
ing from the rostra in the Forum, casts his gaze and directs his gestures toward the viewer
(g. 20).
Habits of vertical reading that the viewer had formed in sorting out the imagery on
the older Column would have found distincteven dramaticreinforcement on the new
one. The symmetrical compositions with matching elements to either side of the central
gure of Marcus Aurelius (his clothing probably of a distinctive color) emphasized the
vertical axis traced by the viewers eye moving up and down the columns side; such com-
positions were far more direct in the Column of Marcus Aurelius than in the Column of
Trajan. By depicting the emperors face frontally, looking out at the viewer, the artist was
setting up visual oratory. Marcus Aurelius directly addressed the viewer in the plaza be-
low. The emperor, now deceased and deied, was stepping out of the historical past to
speak to him or her in the present.

It seems likely that four generations after the completion of the Column of Trajan, when
the events and places of the Dacian wars had receded from collective memory, ancient
viewers must have found many of the scenes and details on the Column of Trajan dicult
to decipher. There was less detail to speculate about on the new Column. Its simpler, less
cluttered scenes, rendered in frontal compositions with deep chiaroscuro, encouraged
the viewer to see them as symbolic condensations rather than specic elements of a lin-
ear history or narrative.
Soldiers are no longer individuals, striking varied, naturalistic poses. When they march,
they march as a unit: the artist simplies their movement through conspicuous repeti-
tion to make them as one (g. 21). When they kill, they kill eciently; in contrast to the
Column of Trajan, there are no dramatic battles of uncertain outcome. Furthermore, there
is much less space for barbarians, whether in battle or scenes portraying envoys. In con-
trast to the Column of Trajans eorts to portray the Dacians as complex and noble op-
ponents, the artist of the Column of Marcus Aurelius eliminates signs of the enemys hi-
erarchical organization, building achievements, and way of life.

Rome, Column of Marcus Aurelius, LXVII. Soldiers on the march.
What is new are images of the horrors of war: the stabbing of barbarians with spears,
the pursuit of a eeing barbarian woman with child, and gruesome mass decapitation
(gs. 22 and 23; see also g. 16). The artist of the Column of Marcus Aurelius strives for
expressive eects rather than classical balance by making his gures plunge headlong
into battle, grimace pathetically, and die brutallynot posing them prettily like the dead
on the Column of Trajan. Often, like Marcus Aurelius, barbarians look directly out of the
action at the viewer, as if to plead for mercy from the spectator. These pathetic gures
might have reminded Roman viewers of the amphitheater, where vanquished gladiators
pleaded for their lives with similar gestures.

Rome, Column of Marcus
Execution of barbarians.
Rome, Column of Marcus
Aurelius, LXXIX. Pursuit of
barbarian women.
The message to the elite is relatively simple: the emperor is invincible and his army
an ecient ghting machine even against a wild and savage threat. The outcome is
and always will bevictory. For the foreigner, slave, and freedman the picture is much
less optimistic, for the imagery on the Column of Marcus Aurelius oers no pattern for
progress through the ranks in its depiction of either barbarians or army. It oers, instead,
the barbarian as monster, freak, and nonhuman, incapable of redemption by Romaniza-
tion. Nor does the representation of the army emphasize the diversity of its makeup; much
more important, in this time of crisis, to represent the army as a monolithic ghting ma-
chine that will protect the city and its inhabitants.
The emperors agency, too, has changed. If the Column of Trajan conveys a message
of social orderand an ordered moving through the ranksto achieve Romanness, it is
because of Trajans constant engagement in details of organization. By presenting him
always in prole view, looking into the unfolding action, the artist emphasizes Trajans
executive role. By showing Marcus Aurelius in frontal view, the artist suggests that the
emperor, although engaged in action, does not need to be engagedwhether he is ad-
dressing his troops, performing a sacrice, or observing a messenger entering camp
(g. 24). How would the foreigner, slave, and freedman have understood this visual rep-
resentation of Marcuss power?
On the one hand, the contemporary viewer may have known that Marcus Aurelius
was a Stoic, who proclaimed his Stoic way of life in his Meditations.
On the Column his
actions demonstrate Stoic virtues, along with the virtues of pietas (respect for the gods)
and clementia (clemency), especially evident in Marcuss relationship to the two miracu-

Rome, Column of Marcus
Aurelius, CI. Messenger
lous events depicted: the lightning bolt that destroys the enemys siege engine and the
wondrous rain in the land of the Quadii.
Seen in this light, the Column is an exemplum
virtutis (model of virtue) for the common person. The emperor looks out at the non-elite
viewer in the same way that he looks out at his army, and his exhortation to both is the
same: obey and act together for the common good. Even while Marcus Aurelius is ad-
dressing his troops he is addressing you; just as they achieve victory against savage non-
Roman forces through unquestioning obedience, so should you stay in your place and
obey. You are part of a civilian order, and like the army, you are a cog in the machinery of
Rome. Only by obedience to the emperor and the state will you achieve the virtuous life
and a dignied death, and be remembered after death.
On the other hand, Commodus, as the patron of the Column, may have pushed the
artist to make Marcus Aureliuss power seem to be that of a god. His power is spiritual
divine evena power beyond the moderate limits of Marcuss Stoic beliefs. Perhaps the
ordinary viewer saw this divinity in the way the artist framed Marcus frontally, in isola-
tion, and usually in nonmilitary garb. His gaze met the viewersespecially viewers like
foreigners and slaves who might question his authorityas an icon of power, strength,
and invincibility. Marcus Aurelius did not win wars, like Trajan, through careful atten-
tion to administrative duties, through rational planning and action; he won because he
was a god.
The Column of Marcus Aurelius is the visual expression of the profound changes in the
empire that Commoduss disastrous reign exacerbated: by the time Septimius Severus
took control of the chaos in Rome, the tide had denitively turned against the time-hon-
ored systems of dynasty, army, and empire. Septimius, son of an equestrian, was born in
Leptis Magna in North Africa. At the time of Commoduss assassination, he was gover-
nor of Upper Pannonia and commander of the largest army on the Danube. On April 13,
193, his troops proclaimed him emperor. Once his claim was secure, he joined the An-
tonine dynasty by proclaiming his posthumous adoption by Marcus Aurelius, a ction
meant to cover the fact that he did not inherit the thronehe took it by military force.
Septimius then founded his own dynasty, arranging for his sons, Caracalla and Geta, to
succeed him as co-emperors. (Caracalla then murdered his brother to become sole ruler.)
In 203 Septimius erected two arches to commemorate his great victory over the Parthi-
ans, one in the Roman Forum, the other in his native city. The arch in Rome established
new formal and iconographical conventions that proclaimed the full-blown Late Antique
the Change in Style come to fruition.
It was also the primary model for Romes last tri-
umphal arch, that of Constantine, completed 112 years later.
Of its many stylistic and
compositional innovations, the most important for this investigation of the non-elite
viewers reception was the artists new conception of the human gure, especially in the

four relief panels that told the story of the Parthian wars. One artist in particular, the Se-
veran Master, completely rejected the proportional system inherited from Hellenistic art
that prescribed gures eight or nine heads high.
The new man was much shorter and
stockiersix or seven heads high. Deep furrows made by the running drill created black
outlines separating one gure from the next, yet the overall impression was of blocks of
individuals acting as one. Instead of using variations in facial and gural types to distin-
guish one man from another, the artist repeated the same type to convey the mens col-
lective action as a single unit.
If on the Column of Marcus Aurelius the artist sacriced the individuality of the sol-
dier and the barbarian for eects of unied action and reaction, he still articulated dier-
ence in pose and demeanor. Looking at the soldiers listening to Septimiuss harangue on
the Arch, however, a viewer found little dierentiation; the soldiers constitute a homo-
geneous block, all equally intent on the emperors words (g. 25). This momentous change
in visual representation nds its fullest expression on the Arch of Constantine.
The great hiatus in state-sponsored art and architecture in Rome between the murder
of Caracalla in 217 and Diocletians accession in 284 reects the focus on the provinces
and away from Rome during the so-called age of the soldier emperors. Many of these em-
perors did not reign long enough to commission new monuments for the city of Rome.
For all practical purposes, during this period it was the army who proclaimed and de-
posed emperors, not the Senate and certainly not the Roman people. Between Caracalla

Rome, Arch of Septimius Severus, Roman Forum, southwest panel. Adlocutio.
and Diocletian there were fully twenty-two claimants to the throne, some with reigns as
short as a month, and often with several rival emperors claiming the throne at the same
Diocletian decentralized power and put it where it would do the most good. Rome, al-
though still the capital, was no longer the sole seat of imperial power. Four rulers, or te-
trarchs, each with his own capital, divided the empires defense and administration. An
Augustus of the West, based in Milan, shared power equally with an Augustus of the East,
headquartered in Nicomedia (present-day Iznik across the straits of the Bosporus from
Istanbul). Another set of twin rulers, called Caesares, oversaw the farther reaches of the
empire: one at modern-day Trier in Germany and the other stationed at Thessalonica, in
northern Greece.
Images of the tetrarchs, looking for all the world like two sets of iden-
tical twins visually cemented in reciprocal embrace, reinforced the central ideology: that
the Augusti held equal power as the senior rulers and, like them, the Caesares shared equal
power as junior rulersand that they were happy about the fact (g. 26). At the twenty-
year anniversary of the Augustis reigns, they were to abdicate peacefully, allowing the
Caesares to become Augusti: the new Augusti would then appoint new Caesares. This

Venice, St. Marks Basilica.
four-part division of territory and power, coupled with a ladder-of-succession system, ad-
dressed the need to defend the empire from strategically located capitals; it also improved
control over the army, a force of over 400,000 menmany of whom had never set foot
in Italy, let alone in Rome.
The cost to individuals of Diocletians reforms was great. To control headlong ination,
he established maximum prices for goods and services.
He tied men and women to their
land and to their professions in an eort to stabilize production and discourage ight to
the cities, where many lived on the dole. The new system of taxation-in-kind addressed
the pay and supply of the army.
LOrange characterizes Diocletians reforms as the es-
tablishment of the Dominate in place of the Principate: if the old emperors followed Au-
gustus in declaring themselves simply rst citizen, or princeps, Diocletian and his co-
Augustus, Maximian, were denitively the domini: lords and masters.
The harmony projected by both textual and visual representations of the tetrarchs
masked conict, and although Diocletians scheduled abdication after twenty years co-
rule saw a bloodless change of regime, the tetrarchy was doomed. In the years of turmoil
between 303 and 312 that culminated in Constantine wresting full power from his rivals,
all the inhabitants of the empire accepted the fact that life would never be as it had been
in the good old days.
They eulogized the Good EmperorsAugustus, Trajan, Hadrian,
and Marcus Aureliusas embodiments of what they had lost. The Arch of Constantine
even more than the Column of Marcus Aureliussystematically appropriated the rep-
resentations of these Good Emperors even while forging powerful visual codes to illus-
trate the new order. Its messages to the non-elite were clear and unequivocal.
If Commodus, in creating the Column of Marcus Aurelius in the likeness of Trajans,
forged a set of comparisons to demonstrate that the two men were alike in their victories
and virtues, Constantine created such far-ranging comparisons between himself and for-
mer emperors that they surpassed his own images on his Arch in number and in size.
Clearly he wanted to create a monument where his presence became so understated that
his identity merged with that of his illustrious predecessors. The form of his arch follows
that of the Arch of Septimius Severus in the Roman Forum (g. 27).
But rather than
using an existing monuments form and type of relief decoration, as Commodus did, Con-
stantine actually removed sculpture from various monuments of the Good Emperors
Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aureliusand incorporated them into his Arch. The sculp-
ture he took included relief panels and single statues, and although he had sculptors recarve
some of the heads of his illustrious predecessors to resemble himself and his co-regent
Licinius, the contemporary viewer would have realized from their style alone that they
belonged to former ages.
Constantines artist did everything possible to dierentiate his own work from the spo-
lia (the scholarly term for art appropriated from existing monuments and reused).

Constantinian decorative program (with the exception of the two round reliefs on the Archs
short east and west sides) does not t in with the spolia but rather stands out by reason
of its dierences in size, style, and position on the Arch.
Scholars have debated Con-
stantines motives in commissioning this strange monumentalways dicult to explain
because of its contrasts. It is a well-made, gigantic structure, yet they have called its con-
temporary decoration everything from degenerate to the fulllment of Late Antique
Many attribute Constantines use of spolia to his haste to complete the monu-
ment, whereas others emphasize the propaganda value of such use.
I would like to step
back for a moment from these art-historical controversies to try to establish what mean-
ings this new monument in Romes center might have had for the contemporary, non-
elite viewer.
Constantine chose an important site for his arch that provided a new entryway expe-
rience to the Roman Forum even while dening a new set of relationships with existing
monuments (g. 28).
In Constantines version of the facts, the triumph that the arch

Rome, Arch of Constantine, view from north.
celebrated was his liberation of Rome from Maxentius, a usurper who controlled the city
until Constantine defeated him at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge on 28 October 312. The
arch spans a most important road, the Triumphal Way (via Triumphalis) leading from the
Circus Maximus (recently restored by Constantine) to the Forum. Along this route the Ro-
man people had seen the great triumphal processions of the past. (The Triumphal Way
eventually connects with the main artery to the south, the via Appia, and also marks the
point where four city districts, or regiones, meet.) Entering the city center along the path
of the triumph on this road and approaching the arch from the south, a viewer would
have noticed how the arch framed views of the 100-foot Colossus of Sol (the Sun God),
axially aligned with the center of the arch. As Mark Wilson Jones has pointed out, Con-
stantine identied himself with Sol Invictus (Omnipotent, or Unconquered, Sun) before
his move toward the god of the Christians, also identied with the Sun in the cult of Christ-
As the viewer passed through the arch, the Colosseum came into full unob-
structed view. Perhaps people recalled that a Good Emperor, Vespasian, had built the Colos-
seum on the site of the lake that was the centerpiece of Neros infamous urban villa, the
Golden House. In building the Colosseum there Vespasian returned the center of the
city to the people while creating a monumental amphitheater for their entertainment.
When the viewer turned left, another enormous building by a Good Emperor, Hadrians
temple to Venus and Roma, loomed from above its high podium. Maxentius had recently
rebuilt it, and Constantine had installed a shrine to his family, the second gens Flavia,
in the east cella of the temple of Venus and Roma.
Behind it, farther to the west and
now dominating the Forum, was the basilica begun by Maxentius and nished by Con-
stantine; its high cross vaults may have been visible to a viewer turning west toward the
Ahead, the Arch of Titus marked the entrance to the Sacred Way. Standing under the
vault of the Arch of Titus, the viewer saw the Sacred Way descending into the Forum; the
terminus of this view was the speakers platform or rostra; behind it was the Arch of Sep-
timius Severus, twin to the Arch of Constantine. In between Septimiuss arch and the

Rome, plan with path from Arch of Constantine to Arch of Septimius Severus.
rostra rose a recent monument celebrating the Tetrarchy: ve monumental columns serv-
ing as pedestals for statues of Jupiter and the four tetrarchs.
Together, the rostra, the
ve-column monument, and the Arch of Septimius Severus constituted the ideological
and physical focus of the Roman Forum.
And this is exactly where Constantines artist
placed the emperor in the small frieze that runs around the arch just below the attic level
(g. 29). In that panel, the image of Constantine speaking from the rostra becomes the
axis of the Forumlarger than life and greater than the monuments around him. He be-
comes, as it were, the center of Romes monumental center.
Considered as a whole, this small Constantinian frieze girdling the arch is arguably the
mouse that roared. Whereas decipherment of the relationships among the subjects of the
spoliaall enormous in scale and covering the arch at every level and on all of its sides
would have required the viewer to be well versed in imperial history, the Constantinian
narrative is easy to read. It is sequential, it presents contemporary events, and it relates
to the viewers own walk from outside the Forum to inside it. It is also the only contem-
porary narrative of Constantines deeds to be found on the arch.
Someone approaching the arch from the south would rst scan the big elements: the
inscription, the monumental gures atop the attic and at the pedestals, and the large re-

Rome, Arch of Constantine. Oratio.
lief panels. Aside from the inscription, none of these oered a story that connected with
the viewers knowledge of the events that led to the archs creation; so it is likely that her
eyes would have sought out the little girdling frieze.
For one thing, this miniature frieze
was a feature common on most triumphal arches, usually picturing the triumphal pro-
For another, only in this relief would the viewer have recognized gures wear-
ing contemporary dress and carved in the modern style.
Two main events in the story of Constantines takeover appear on the south side of the
archthe side a viewer coming into the city would have seen rst. To the left is the Siege
of Verona; to the right the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (gs. 30 and 31). The viewer would
have noticed that these two events formed part of a narrative, and that the event on the
left happened before the one on the right. Logic demanded that farther to the lefton
the west side of the archhe would nd an earlier event. There, in fact, a curious viewer
would nd the beginning of Constantines story. He sets out from Milan to retake Italy
and thereby establish himselfthe legitimate ruleras emperor in the capital. Con-
stantine is conspicuous by his absence here; his proper place would have been ahead of
the standard-bearers (signiferi) and curved-horn players (cornicines) at the right of the re-
lief. The ghters follow in the right half: robot-like infantry on the march, holding shields
and lances (g. 32). The supply train takes up the left half of the relief. As in the scenes
of marching on the columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius, much of the interest for a
viewer is in the anecdotal details of this profectio (setting out), including a camel, a diminu-
tive groom crouching down beside a horseman, and a wagon coming through the arch
of a tower.
The viewer, returning to the south side, would then see the next chronological event,
the siege of the city of Verona. The artist has made the siege into a fait accompli rather
than a match of equal opponents, using several strategies to emphasize Constantine. The
emperor dominates the left half of the relief; his is the only gure to take up the full height
of the frieze; soldiers all holding the same round shields frame him right and left; and a
Victory ies along the upper left to crown him. The city of Verona, in contrast, is tiny,
complete with two little soldiers silhouetted against its walls. One falls to the ground, the
other rushes to the right. Above Veronas walls appear the upper bodies of the men de-
fending the city.
In the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, the artist separated Constantine from the battle,
placing him at the left and at full height (only his foot remains) with the goddess Roma
on his left and Victorythis time frontally representedat his right. Beneath Constan-
tine is the River god Tiber. Constantine, we assume, looked out at the viewer from this
framework of gods, while in the rest of the relief, his soldiers mercilessly slaughter Max-
entiuss army. Again the artist separated Constantines men from those of Maxentius with
a clear visual device. Constantines soldiers stand in the upper half of the relief and deal
death blows to the enemy in the lower half, reduced to a chaos of helpless bodies swirling
in the river.

Rome, Arch of Constantine. Siege of Verona.
Rome, Arch of Constantine. Battle of Milvian Bridge.
Rome, Arch of Constantine. Profectio.
Rome, Arch of Constantine. Ingressus.
Following the logic of left-to-right reading, the artist completed this sequential narra-
tive with the nal march into Romethe ingressuson the archs east side (g. 33). The
ancient viewer now understood how the narrative worked, and as she walked along, look-
ing up, she may have felt she was joining in Constantines victorious entry. (The same
device of pairing the depicted movement of the triumphal procession with the spectators
walk through the arch had been used 220 years before in the triumphal friezes for the
Arch of Titus.) The artist framed the narrative with an arch at either end, perhaps the
arch over the via Lata on the right and that over the via Flaminia on the left. Once again
Constantine occupies the left end of the relief, larger than the other gures and riding in
a chariot that looks for all the world like a throne on wheels. At the head of the proces-
sion soldiers marching in two tiers hold their spears in front; the resulting pattern, like
repeating arrowheads, emphasizes their resolute movement to the righta compositional
strategy we have already seen on the Column of Marcus Aurelius (compare g. 21).
But both the composition and the message of the narrative change once the soldiers
and the viewerreach their goal. Standing and looking up at the archs north facade, the
viewer saw that it was not just Constantine, his army, and their adversaries who acted in
history. Both reliefs, to left and right, also pictured the viewerespecially the non-elite
vieweras the end beneciary of Constantines eorts. More than any imperial monu-
ment in the history of Roman art, these two reliefs put the ordinary person into the lime-
light. They also put him into his place, and in their visual language, this place was per-
manent and suprahistorical.
If the compositions of the reliefs on the archs other three sides emphasized a sequential
narrative by making gures move from left to right, and encouraged the viewer to circle
in that direction, both friezes on the north side stopped left-to-right reading with axially
symmetrical, static compositions. As we have seen, with the relief of the left (north) side,
the viewer has arrived at the rostra in the forum, where she would have stood to listen to
the emperors oratio, or speech to the assembled people (see g. 29). She joins the crowd
of ordinary people ranged at the bottom of the relief below the rostramen, women, and
children. Although a viewer would have understood that the relief depicted a specic mo-
ment in time, its message was also symbolic and eternal. The processional friezes on the
north and south sides of the Ara Pacis also included men, women, and children, but they
were elites, and the families depicted were members of Augustuss family. On the Arch
of Constantine a viewer saw generic families of the lower strata. If the Ara Pacis reliefs
projected the stability of Augustuss dynasty, the message of the oratio relief was the sta-
bility of all society.
Constantine stands, larger than lifeeven larger than the seated statues of two of the
Good Emperors, Marcus Aurelius to the viewers left and Hadrian to the right.
arly consensus restores the gure of Constantine, although damaged, to share some of
the features of the colossal seated image that originally formed the axial focus of his great
Basilica in the Roman Forum.
Like the statues of the Good Emperors, Constantine looks
out, eyes xed in an otherworldly stare, directly addressing the viewer. Constantine has

the power to part the crowd, and the artist has demonstrated this power by displacing the
listeners to right and left of the rostra rather than representing them in front of it, where
they would have actually stood. He even has the power to part the buildings to his left and
right, for the arcades of the Basilica Julia and the Basilica Aemilia extend laterally (rather
than in foreshortened perspective).
Constantines magistrates, one size smaller than he
is, partake of the same answering, or paratactic, left-right symmetry. All of this to give
you, the onlooker, a direct view of the center of the composition, the center of your uni-
verse: Constantine. Several scholars go so far as to characterize Constantine, on the ba-
sis of contemporary panegyric texts, as God-Emperor, now dominus (lord) rather than prin-
ceps, his expression that of divina maiestas (divine majesty).
Paradoxes abound. Although the composition gives viewers of all social strata direct
eye contact, as it were, with Constantine, it also insists on the distinctions between the
upper and lower strata. The medium-size men stand on the rostra anking the emperor.
They are the elites and they wear the toga; they share the sacrosanct space of the rostra
with Constantine and the statues of the Good Emperors. The non-elites, dressed in tu-
nics, occupy the space below; they are the smallest in stature and lowest in social status.
Comparison of this relief to the frontal representations of Marcus Aurelius on his Col-
umn underscores how much has changed in the representation of the emperors power
between 193 and 315 (see g. 24). It was with such frontally composed scenes on the Col-
umn that the artist broke the left-to-right reading pattern of the narrative to emphasize
the emperors address to the viewer. Symmetry in gural and architectural framing em-
phasized a rupture of the historical ow to x the emperor in timeless contact with the
viewer looking up at him. Yet the viewer is always outside the historical narrativenever
portrayed on the Column like the soldiers or barbarians who look at Marcus, but included
only by the implication of the emperors frontal pose and outward gaze.
With the oratio relief on the Arch of Constantine the artist takes the much bolder step
of representing the onlookers. In so doing he instructs the viewer in the rules of proper
viewership: everyone must stand in his or her place and gaze in the proper direction. The
Good Emperors are Constantines models: as they look out at the viewers, so does he. The
elites up on the rostra turn to look at Constantine, who is both the axis of the composi-
tion and the center of their world. Down below the plebs do the same, yet they are liter-
ally the little peoplemen and women with their children, all showing the viewer how
to act in the presence of the godlike emperor. Through composition, the relative size of
gures, and the gures gestures, the oratio relief instructs all the people in proper be-
havior. The visual representation encodes the social order.
The right-hand relief, showing Constantine giving out money to the people of Rome
(the liberalitas), drives home the messages of ones proper social role with devices even
more obvious than those of the oratio (g. 34). Once again it is Constantine who marks
the axis and who looks out at the viewer in direct address. In this scene the people gather
not to hear him speak but to collect their coinsthe gift of money that is the concrete
benet of Constantines victory. Like so many emperors before, he buys the allegiance of

the people of Rome with money, but here for the rst time the ancient viewer saw just
how much he was worth in comparison with others. Once again the artist has employed
a hierarchical, axially symmetrical composition with the emperor at the center, larger than
everyone else. He has also emphasized the upper and lower halves of the visual eld by
placing the higher magistrates who give out money to the ordinary people within four
compartments. These ocials follow the emperors example and mimic his gestures, but
on a smaller scale. Whereas Constantine uses a large, twelve-slotted coin scooper to give
a larger gift to the elites, they employ small, six-slotted scoopers for the smaller dole al-
lotted to people of the lower stratum. Gestures of the recipients, like those of the givers,
repeat mechanically. Each manelite and non-elitelooks up with hands covered in the
folds of his garment to receive his dolewith a gesture of respect and gratitude.
In the fourth century and later, both art and ceremony increasingly removed the emperor
from the realm of ordinary people.
The oratio and liberalitas reliefs are only the begin-
ning of a new kind of visual representation that abandons the realism that had charac-
terized imperial monuments from the Ara Pacis to the Arch of Septimius Severus. In
these earlier artworks artists used Hellenistic conventions of style and composition to

Rome, Arch of Constantine. Liberalitas.
demonstrate that the emperor was rst citizen, carrying out his duties like other men.
Beginning with the Arch of Constantine, artists will seek out forms that emphasize, in-
stead, the emperors transcendence and divinity. In addition to making him bigger than
everyone else and posing him frontally, artists will frame the emperor with symmetri-
cally placed gures and within pavilions of various sortsall with the goal of singling
him out from the rest of humankind.
And instead of seeking to show the diversity of
the emperors subjects, artists make them look alike: assembly-line citizens.
Representations that separated the ruler from the ruled in such strict hierarchies gave
visual form to new models of behavior for both elites and non-elites. One wonders whether
they were just wishful thinkingdidactic documents meant to instruct the emperors sub-
jects in proper reverential behavior even while his control was slipping. Such considera-
tions are beyond the scope of this book, but an art that so blatantly rejects the realism of
earlier imperial representations serves to remind us that even those older, realistic im-
perial monuments had agendas that had little to do with recording historical events or
facts. Despite their seeming documentary or historical character, the Ara Pacis, Column
of Trajan, and Column of Marcus Aurelius resist straightforward narrative reading pre-
cisely because they had other messages to convey. Their messages were polyvalent and
depended to a great degree on who was looking at them.
If in the north friezes of the Arch of Constantine the artist uses obvious visual devices
to separate elites from non-elites, on earlier imperial monuments such separation was
implicit but no less intended. On the Arch of Constantine the visual separation of ruler
from the various ranks of the ruled baldly articulates the channels of access to the ab-
solute, divine monarch. In place of the rst citizen, the princeps, the viewer nds the em-
peror as lord and god. Yet as we have seen, even the monument that attempted the great-
est inclusion of the non-elite, the Column of Trajan, clearly dierentiated the social orders
to articulate distinct messages to senator and freedwoman, to equestrian and slave. Con-
stantines arch simplies and codies social dierences, oering a clear formula for the
success through unswerving allegiance to the power that apportions and protects ones
social rank. If success in Trajans time meant upward mobility, by the fourth century the
message was to stay put and let the emperor take care of you. The Constantinian reliefs
pledge stability. In exchange for undivided loyalty, you will be part of an eternal order sta-
bilized by divine right and the emperors benecence.
Inscriptions on the arch add nuance to the visual messages of the Constantinian friezes.
Although by now it should be clear that Constantine was the patron, the inscriptions name
him as the recipient of the Senates benecence. The phrases Liberatori urbis (To the lib-
erator of Rome) and Fundatori quietis (To the founder of tranquility) appear in the Tra-
janic reliefs of the central passage, and the main inscription reads: To the emperor Fla-
vius Constantine the Great, Augustus, pious and fortunate, the Senate and the Roman
People have dedicated this arch, resplendent with triumphs, since by divine inspiration
and greatness of spirit he avenged the state on the tyrant and all his faction with his army,
once and forever, in just battle.
Scholars have argued variously that the divinity who

inspired Constantine (in the phrase by divine inspiration, instinctu divinitatis) was Chris-
tian, pagan, or even Constantine himself. Yet the interpretation that makes the most sense
is that Constantine controlled the textual message in the same way that he aimed the ar-
chitecture, the spolia, and the contemporary relief sculpture at a constituency that included
both pagans and Christians. For the arch to succeed in solidifying his power, the pagan
viewer had to think of Constantine as a new Good Emperor, restoring the old order; the
Christian viewer had to see him as taking his inspiration from their divinity while creat-
ing a new order. The inscription is deliberately indeterminate, so that the divine inspi-
ration is pagan for a pagan viewer, Christian for a Christian viewer. As Wilson Jones notes:
Constantine may have leaned toward the Christians God, but his was syncretic, inclu-
sive faith, as typical for its time as it was later to become unthinkable.
In both its vi-
sual and textual representations, the arch is a monument that looks both to the past and
to the future.
This investigation of how elites represented non-elites on imperial monuments under-
scores how over time ocial art increasingly addressed ordinary people in terms of their
proper social roles. Although they are conspicuous by their absence on the Ara Pacis, or-
dinary peopleor military and barbarian stand-ins for themappear within the didac-
tic framework of Trajans forum, basilica, and column. The Column of Marcus Aurelius
abandons instructing through analogy in favor of the emperors direct address to the non-
elite viewera ploy that nds its logical fulllment in Constantines Arch. As we will see
in parts 2 and 3, when a non-elite person pays for art, the focus shifts from instructing
the viewer in proper social roles to telling the viewer about him- or herself. Articulating
ones own identityoften an identity more complex than that dictated by the Stateis
the recurring theme of art paid for by non-elite Romans.

Ancient Romans embraced the notion of life in public to a much greater degree than we
do. We tend to worship and bury our dead in buildings or areas separated from the trac
of everyday life. Yet even in modern Euro-American societies, opinions dier about what
events belong behind closed doors and what might go on in public spaces. There is an
enormous dierence between the life in the piazza that characterizes countries bordering
the Mediterranean and the enclosed, indoor mentality of the northern European coun-
tries. Climate is not the only determining factor: tradition, temperament, and patterns of
social organization come into play as well. Some scholars would even see the ancient Ro-
man model still operative in the formation of the Mediterranean attitude toward life in
There is a semantic problem as well. We understand the word public largely in re-
lation to our highly developed sense of its opposite. In ancient Roman times we would
be hard put to nd spaces that corresponded in any way to our notions of privacy. Public
processions and rituals advertised a persons religious practices; most business transac-
tions took place in noisy forums; the audience was as much a part of the show as the ac-
tors on the stage; and tombs vied with each other for the publics attention. For the elite
as well as the non-elite, who you were depended on how people perceived you in public
spaces. Everyone noted your dress, your walk, your gestures, and your speechand from
A Caupona of Salvius
B Caupona on the Street of Mercury
C Fullonica
D House of the Vettii
E House VI, 15, 14
F Necropolis of the Herculaneum Gate
G Shop of the Carpenters Procession
House of Lucretius Fronto
House of the Triclinium
Tomb of Vestorius Priscus
House of Pinarius Cerialis
House of the Moralist
House of Octavius Quartio
Praedia of Julia Felix
P House of Riot in the Amphitheater
Q House of the Sarno Lararium
R House of Sutoria Primigenia
S House of the Ephebe
T House of the Menander
REGIO IX (central Pompeii)
House of Epidius Sabinus
House of the Chaste Lovers
Shop of the Procession to Cybele
Shop of Verecundus
Temple of Isis
Temple of Venus
House of Terentius Neo
House of Gavius Rufus
House of the Baker
House of the Figured Capitals
Suburban Baths
1 1
1 5
1 6
1 4
1 4
1 3
1 3
1 2
1 2
1 0
1 0
1 5
1 1
1 0
1 1
1 2
1 3
1 3
1 2
1 1
1 0
1 9
22 21
1 4
1 5
1 6
1 7
1 8
1 1
1 5
1 6
1 4
1 4
1 3
1 3
1 2
1 2
1 0
1 0
1 5
1 1
4 5
1 0 9
1 1
1 2
1 3
1 3
1 2
1 1
1 0
1 9
22 21
1 4
1 5
1 6
1 7
1 8
0 50 100 200m
Pompeii. Plan showing spaces discussed in parts 2 and 3. Buildings are located by Regio numbers (I, II, III, etc.) and Insula numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.). A third
number indicates the location of the doorway to the building in the Insula. For example, I, 13, 2 (House of Sutoria Primigenia) is located in Regio I, Insula 13,
and entered at doorway 2.
Hall of the Grain
Measurers (I, 19)
Caupona of the
Seven Sages
(III, 10)
Forica (latrine)
(I, 12)
Forum of the Corporations (II, 7)
(II, 7)
Necropolis of the
Ostia Road
Necropolis on the
Laurentine Road
0 50 100 150 200 250m
Ostia. Plan showing spaces discussed in part 2.
these markers understood your place in society. Given the importance of such external
signs of status, it is little wonder that visual representation in the public sphere was so
important for non-elite Romans.
Considering the wealth of art in the public sphere and the large range of activities that
it complements or comments on, I have been quite selective. I have chosen works of art
where the archaeological evidence or inscriptions tell us who the patron was, and whose
placement tells us who would have seen them. I have also favored representations that
deviate from elite/imperial models. They show, above all, that non-elites (like the elites)
were passionate about self-representation, but that they invented images that veered away
from standard themes. These paintings and sculptures reveal how ordinary Romans
identied with their gods, their work, their games, their families, and their friends. These
works of art also reveal a much more complex range of religious, social, and cultural in-
teractions than we might expect in a highly stratied society.

For those of us living in the secular states that characterize contemporary Euro-American
culture, it is dicult to imagine how pervasive religious worship was in the everyday lives
of ancient Romans. We have succeeded in cordoning o religion from the world of work
and from most social interactions as well. We might attend church, synagogue, or
mosque, but rarelyespecially among the Christian majoritydo we invoke God in our
places of work, or even in daily rituals in our homes. We incorporate buildings for wor-
ship into the fabric of our citieslarge and smallbut with few exceptions worship oc-
curs behind those buildings closed doors, not in public, municipally owned spaces.
A glance at the plan of second-century Ostia, with an estimated population of 40,000,
reveals how much space religious buildings took upand how much of that space merges
with the realms of civic administration, business, and entertainment (g. 35). Ostias the-
ater, for instance, boasts a huge rectangular portico, similar to the one attached to the the-
ater at Pompeii (g. 36). But the temple in the center of the portico at Ostia indicates that
it was not just a space for theatergoers to promenade: religious worship took place there.
What is more, mosaic images in the spaces of the porticos double colonnade tell us that
numerous companies (corporationes) had their oces there. Taken together, theater, por-
tico, oces, and temple constitute a busy, multiuse space where work, leisure, and wor-
ship all intermingled.
Ostia. Plan showing spaces for business, entertainment, and worship.
Ostia. Theater, Forum of the Corporations, and Temple (II, 7, 25), reconstruction.
It is worth underscoring that the separation of church and statean important prin-
ciple of many modern statessimply made no sense to the ancient Romans. The em-
peror was the chief priest of the Roman state religion, the pontifex maximus, and an elite
mans political career included a series of priesthoods and ministries just as important to
his prestige and advancement as his military and civic duties.
The limited religious oces
available to the non-elite Roman were equally coveted ways of gaining social standing.
Since our purpose is to uncover attitudes and practices that reveal the culture of non-
elite Romans, we will pass over the rich documentation of Roman state religion in favor
of humbler visual representations that celebrate in the public domain ordinary peoples
devotion to the gods.
The materials for this study are modest ones. Although non-elite
visual representations have some formal and iconographic similarities with monuments
commissioned by the emperor, senators, and decurions, most of them tend to simplify
form in order to communicate their messages directly. These reliefs and wall paintings
are all the more remarkable, because along with the standard imagery borrowed from the
elite monuments, they include details that reveal the identities and religious practices of
ordinary men and women.
In order to understand the patterns behind non-elite representations of worship in the
public realm, we have to consider how ordinary people set up shrines for daily rituals in
their houses. Worship of the gods belonged just as much in the domestic sphere as it did
in the public realm. Every Roman house, whether the villa of a wealthy woman or a poor
mans tenement, had at least one shrine (lararium) honoring the protective deities of the
house and its owner. A good standard example is the large lararium in the servants atrium
of the House of the Vettii at Pompeii (a.d. 6279; g. 37), for it represents the key ele-
ments of domestic worship. The central image is the Genius (guardian spirit) of the pater-
familias, or head of the household, sacricing on an altar. The two Lares ank him. They
wear kilts and hold a rhyton (horn-shaped wine vessel) in one hand while carrying a pail
(situla) in the other.
A serpent, his body describing S-curves, approaches to take the oer-
ings from the altar. Such snakes, called agathodaemones (good spirits) and often depicted
in male-female pairs, appear frequently in lararium paintings; they have a long history
in Greek and Roman art as protectors of a place.
Every daythroughout the empire
heads of households sacriced cakes, fruits, and wine at similar shrines in their homes.
Their hope was to appease the protective spirits: the Lares who guarded the house, the
paterfamiliass Genius, and another set of domestic protector-deities, the Penates.
of lararia at Pompeii and elsewhere demonstrates the stability of domestic worship
throughout the imperial period.
Domestic shrines that veer from the standard ones like that in the House of the Vet-
tii often carry a great deal of information about the religious attitudes and practices of
non-elite Romans. Although painted with much less care, the scene decorating the lara-

rium in the House of Sutoria Primigenia (I, 13, 2) at Pompeii provides a particularly eloquent
testimony to the importance of religion in the household (g. 38).
This is a relatively
modest house, and the paintingsexecuted in Pompeiis last two decadesdecorate a
tiny kitchen. Someone entering the kitchen (17 on the plan) would see a representation
of the whole household, or familia, attending a sacrice (gs. 39, 40). Large gures of
the Lares frame the scene. Next in size are the gures of the Genius, accompanied by the

Pompeii, House of the Vettii (VI, 15, 1). Lararium.
Pompeii, plan of House of
Sutoria Primigenia (I, 13, 2).
Pompeii, House of Sutoria Primigenia, room 17, north and east walls.
Pompeii, House of Sutoria Primigenia, room 17, east wall, detail.
Juno, or guardian spirit of the woman of the house, both standing at an altar at the left.
Just to the left of the altar the tibicen plays the tibia (double oboe). Only the Genius wears
the toga; because he is sacricing, he has pulled its edge over his head (capite velato). The
Juno wears the proper garment of the Roman matron, the stola. All thirteen persons to
the right face outwards frontally and wear white tunics with short sleeves, and all hold
their arms and hands in the same attitudethe right arm held to the chest and the left
resting at the waist. An exception is the rst person at the left in the front row standing
near the Genius: he must be the camillus (attendant). Beneath this scene of the whole fa-
milia assembled for a sacrice to the Lares is a frieze showing a man with two pack-mules
leading a bull with a ropeprobably the painters attempt at a landscape genre-scene.
The niche for the lararium proper is on the north, or left-hand wall, surrounded by
paintings of foodstus: skewers with eel and pieces of meat, a ham, the head of a pig,
and hanging sausages. At the bottom a serpent approaches the round altar.
Unlike the fancy lararium in the House of the Vettii, where the Vettii brothers instructed
the artist to represent only the standard gures and elements, here Sutoria Primigenia
(if she was the owner) ordered a complex composition. Most interesting for our purposes
is the representation of the familia at worship. Was it intended to encourage piety among
the slaves who gathered in this space to oer sacrice? Or did it constitute wishful think-
ing, since the kitchen is scarcely large enough to accommodate such a large gathering?
Perhaps the scene records a special sacrice of thanksgiving or celebration. Although it
is impossible to determine the patrons purpose in representing the assembled familia
in such a humble space, both its specicity and its elaborateness distinguish it from stan-
dard lararium paintings.
The House of the Sarno Lararium in its small size and unusual layout belongs to a group
of modest dwellings for Pompeiis poorer ranks (g. 41). In place of the usual atrium,
with a central skylight and a cistern head (impluvium) beneath, the builder used nearly
half the available lot spaceand this measures only 162 square meters (about 9 18 m)
for a fully roofed atrium that extends across the full width of the space. To exploit the
space vertically, he constructed a stairway in the atrium leading to the second-oor rooms
over the front of the house; the stairway also gave accessvia a wooden balconyto the
rooms over the back half of the house. Such a concentrated use of the available space sig-
nals both the humble status of the owner and the relatively high price of land within Pom-
peii. Excavators have found houses constructed like the House of the Sarno Lararium
throughout region I, including whole rows of them along the west side of insula 11 and
along the north side of insula 12.
To compensate for the cramped and relatively dark living quarters of his house, the
owner commissioned an artist to create an elaborate lararium for the modest garden space
at the very back of his house (9 on the plan). Placed at the center of the south wall, it is

the terminus of the houses long axis, running from the deep entry at 1, through the atrium,
and through the corridor at 6. Obviously the owner conceived the lararium as the focus
of the view from the street, imitating a common feature in the ner houses at Pompeii
and Herculaneum.
The lararium diverges from the standard imagery to represent activities on the Sarno
River that reected the owners world of work (g. 42). It stands upon a cement podium
surrounded by a canal that must have been lled with water. Red ocher pigment colors
the entire construction, inside and out, and yellow ocher outlines its divisions and serves
as the dominant color to delineate gures. Mariette de Vos has identied a workshop, ac-
tive in Pompeiis last decades and working in this neighborhood at Pompeii, that regu-
larly employed this economical but showy decoration.
We nd the Genius at the back of a deep vaulted enclosure, standing on a plant-cov-
ered base and in the act of pouring a libation on a round altar; he holds a cornucopia over
his left shoulder. The artist lled the lower walls of the enclosures sides with more green
plants on a red ground, and he decorated the vault with white rosettes. The Lares, miss-
ing from the painting, were present in three-dimensional form. When the excavators un-
covered the lararium, they found two statues of Lares, along with a lamp and a bowl, un-
der the shelter of the niche. These objects, all in bronze, must have been the treasures of
this modest household (g. 43).
In response to the patrons desire to make his little lararium special, the painter made
it do double duty, both as a shrine and as a poor mans version of the elaborate mosaic
fountains that grace so many of the wealthier houses at Pompeii and Herculaneum.
substituted a picture of running water for the real thing, and he set the lararium inside
a shallow canal. For his image of water he chose the Sarno River. The rivers personication
for the most part follows standard river-god iconography: he is a bearded gure who leans
on a tall rocky outcropping, his head turned to the viewer. He wears a red garment with
a bright blue mantle. Under the river gods left arm a vessel, lying on its side, pours out
water to create the river. On the river are two men in a boat, laden with unidentiable

Pompeii, plan of House of the
Sarno Lararium (I, 14, 7).
goods. Near the boats prow is a little bridge, with two packmules behind it. In the upper
half of this scene the artist has painted a line for three gures to stand on. The two men
at the left wear short tunics: one carries a big basket, while the other gestures to the right,
where another large basket rests on the ground. A third gure, distinguished from all the
others by his long garment with a light blue edge, looks out at the viewer even as he ges-
tures to the scene at the far right. Here two small gures are weighing similar baskets
that hang from the arms of an enormous scale.
Despite his modest talents, the artist has succeeded in conveying the story of work on
and about the river. We know from the geographer Strabo that Pompeii had a harbor on
the Sarno that served neighboring inland towns.
Because the eruption of Vesuvius
completely changed the rivers course and covered all evidence for it, we do not know where
that harbor lay.
Scholars have also debated the contents of the boat and the basket. Maiuri,
citing a passage from Columella, believed they contained onions grown in the region.
What is certain is that the patron must be the man in the long garment who stands in
the center of these activities of weighing and transporting his product. Although paint
losses make it dicult to distinguish portrait traits, the six men surrounding him may

Pompeii, House of the Sarno
Lararium, the lararium.
be his slaves. If so, they formed the servile part of his familia and would have taken a cer-
tain pride in seeing themselves with their owner every day as they stood behind him to
sacrice to his Genius and the Lares in the little garden.
Just as Lares guarded the Roman house and its occupants, so they guarded the very streets
of the city. Minor ocials called vicomagistri (that is administrators of the city ward or vi-
cus) erected altars to the Lares of the crossroads (Lares compitales) within the neighbor-
hood under their care.
The parallels with domestic lararia and their rituals are particu-
larly telling in a stone altar from the vicus Aesculeti in Rome, since it shows the
vicomagistri sacricing not only to the Lares, but to the Genius of Augustus as well (H
1.05 m, W 0.66 m; g. 44).
It was Augustus himself who divided Rome into regions
subdivided into vici, beginning 87 b.c.
The vicomagistris responsibilities included keep-
ing watch over trac, crime, and resand sacricing to the Lares and to the Genius of
the emperor. In the oce of vicomagister, religion and civic duty merged.

Pompeii, House of the Sarno
Lararium, the lararium.
Excavation photo.
Who were the vicomagistri? Analysis of the imagery and inscriptions on the altar, now
in Romes Centrale di Montemartini museum, provides several clues. The four gures
wear togas, indicating that they are citizens, either freeborn or freedmen. Since they are
in the act of sacricing, they have drawn an edge of the toga over their heads. This was a
powerful image for the contemporary viewer, for it was a visual signier of the virtue of
pietas, or piety, that Augustus promoted. As part of his program to revive the old state re-
ligion, Augustus had artists multiply images of himself, togate, head covered (capite ve-
lato), throughout the city and the empire.
The emperor wished to stress his role as chief
priest (pontifex maximus) of the Roman state religion. As we have seen, his only ap-
pearance on the Ara Pacis shows him in this guise (see g. 5). The vicomagistri also
wear laurel crowns. The motif of the laurel is a central one in Augustuss visual repre-
sentations, and here it also distinguishes the images of the Lares depicted on the altars
two sides from ordinary domestic Lares: each carries a large laurel branch in his hand
(g. 45).
Yet the vicomagistri are not senators or equestrians belonging to elite priestly colleges,
like those represented on the Ara Pacis. They are non-elite residents of the ward, most
likely freeborn or former slaves, who in return for their work of watching over the neigh-

Rome, Altar of the Vicomagistri
of the Vicus Aesculeti.
borhoods security have won the privilege of parading their status before their neighbors,
accompanied by two lictors.
In the relief the artist has alluded to this honor by showing
one lictor, carved in low relief at the altars left edge. Lictors, too, appear on the Ara Pacis,
identied by the fasces (iron rods bound together) that they carry. The tibia player, essen-
tial to this ceremony, occupies the center, between the four vicomagistri. He assumes a
nearly frontal pose.
Clearly this modest relief crows a bit in its imitation of important state religious cere-
mony, considering that the vicomagistris duties were local and discrete. The vicomagistri
instructed the artist to give them the greatestand equalprominence, so he arranged
them symmetrically on either side of the altar, their arms all outstretched to sacrice. In
the right hand of the man on the left is a patera; although it obscures his partners hand,
it is doubtful that the man next to him held a patera as well. The forenger and thumb
of the man on the right hold a grain of incense, and again his arm and hand obscure that
of his fellow vicomagister. If the surfaces of the relief were less damaged, we could as-
certain whether the artist tried to dierentiate each ocials facebut otherwise, the im-
age is one of solidarity and equal sharing of duties.
A special aspect of this sacriceand its earliest visual representationis the oer-

Rome, Altar of the Vicus
Aesculeti, right side. Lar.
ing of a bull to the Genius of Augustus.
As we have seen, pigs are the proper oering
to the Lares, as is well attested in domestic settings. A viewer would immediately iden-
tify the bull in the relief with the emperor. The sacrice carried out by the vicomagistri
was much more expensive and complex than the one a paterfamilias ociated over in
his home. We imagine a crowd of people from the vicus watching the proceedings and
eagerly anticipating a feast with abundant roasted meat.
To accommodate the animals and the barechested men (the victimarii) who handled
and killed them, the artist has reduced all four in size.
The victimarii also crouch down
in front of the altar to keep the view of the all-important vicomagistri clear. The victimarius
on the left carries the sacricial mallet for stunning the animals (malleus) over his left
shoulder. He wears only a kilt, visible behind the leash he uses to restrain the pig, and
seems to be half-kneeling.
His partner, only his laurel-wreathed head and right shoul-
der and chest visible, must be kneeling. The renement of the carving and the artists at-
tention to the composition as a whole helps to mask these gures illogical poses.
Just as the images on the altar overstate the importance of the four vicomagistri and
their ocial duties, so do the inscriptions. The altars dedication to the Lares of Augus-
tus appears above the scene of sacrice on the altars molding: LARIB[us] AUGUST[is]
to the Augustan Lares. Beneath it are the partially preserved names of two of the magistri;
the names of the other two appear on the sides of the altar, above the gures of the Lares
holding laurel branches.
The last line of the inscription, just above the heads of the four
vicomagistri, is MAG[istri] VICI ANNI NONI, telling all that they dedicated the al-
tar in the ninth year since Augustus established the oce of the vicomagistri (a.d. 2).
It is signicant that two of the names, [l . . . ]S L L SALVIUS, (on the right side) and
P CLODIUS P L (on the left side) preserve the letter L, placed after the abbreviation
of their former masters name, indicating that the magister is a former slave. (The rst
L in the right-hand inscription is the abbreviation for Lucii, telling the reader that Salvius
is the freedman of Lucius; the P before the L in the second inscription means that P.
Clodius is the freedman of Publius.)
In some cases the ward ocials are slaves. A case in point is the modest altar from
the vicus Statae Matris, found on the Caelian hill in 1906. It commemorates the sixth
year of the establishment of the cult, and bears the names of the four ocials (called mi-
nistri rather than magistri). All of them are still slaves, demonstrating how important en-
listing the piety and loyalty of the slaves in Rome must have been to Augustus.
One can imagine the competition for the rank of vicomagister within Romes crowded
popular wards, where it was dicult for anyone to gain the public visibility and social im-
portance that were such signicant measures of a mans personal distinction (gloria). Giu-
seppe Gatti, who excavated the altar of the vicus Aesculeti at a depth of 8 meters (25 feet)
under the present via Arenula, remarks thatmiraculouslythe altar had stayed put since
its dedication, for he found it still resting on its original travertine base with the inscrip-
In addition to repeating the year of its
constitution, this inscription names one of the 265 vici established by Augustus.
Yet the

inscription also betrays the patrons ignorance, and that of the man who carved it, for the
name of their vicus is spelled incorrectly: Aescleti for Aesculeti. Either they failed to
noticeor if they did, they allowed the error to pass.
If the altar of the magistri of the vicus Aesculeti, despite its modest execution, seemed
familiar to the ancient viewer, it is because it imitated elite monuments of the state reli-
gion. Although most of the deities invoked on the two shop facades at Pompeii that we
will now consider were also familiar ones, they appear in compositions that are much
more complex than that of the altar in Rome. The patrons at Pompeii had dierent pur-
poses that begin to emerge when we consider where the images appear and who would
have looked at them.
The paintings that decorated the facade of a shop at VI, 7, 811 provide a mixture of im-
ages that only make sense when we consider the owners profession.
The shop occu-
pied a busy street corner north of the forum, located diagonally across from a little tav-
ern, the Caupona on the Street of Mercury (see p. 135). Although only one important
fragment of the painted imagery survives, removed to the Naples Museum soon after ex-
cavation in 1827, written descriptions allow us to imagine the facades original composi-
tion. What emerges is a fascinating prole of how religious belief, coupled with a con-
cern to ensure protection from harm, merged in the workplace. The owner wanted to
proclaim his identity as a carpenter and at the same time to invoke the deities who safe-
guarded his craft.
There are several entrances to the structure, a workshop with a living area (g. 46). In
the doorway at 9 a viewer found Mercury and Fortuna facing each other on the door jambs.
A watercolor executed shortly after excavation shows the image of Mercury that graced
the left (south) jamb, with his standard attributes of wand (caduceus), money bag, helmet,

Pompeii, plan of Shop of the
Carpenters Procession (VI, 7,
and winged shoes, approaching the snake wound round Apollos omphalosallusions to
Apollos sanctuary at Delphi.
Opposite this image of Mercury, on the right (north) door
jamb, were the attributes of the goddess Fortuna: a golden cornucopia above a blue globe.
The owner was, as it were, doubling his luck, since Mercury was the god who made
tradesmen and shopkeepers prosper; Fortuna brought wealth and prosperity as well. Com-
plementing these deities in the passageway itself was an image of Minerva on the exte-
rior facade to the left of the doorway at 9. The artist depicted her, armed with shield and
spear, in the act of oering a libation on an altar; a young girl with her hand on the altar
assists Minerva.
Although these paintings of protective deities are long gone, the fragment now in
the Naples museum pictures the carpenters themselves honoring their patron goddess.
They or their servants carry a statue of Minerva, set upon a base, on a bier or ferculum
(plate 3).
All that remains of her gure, in the far left edge of the fragmentary painting,
are the edges of her red dress, her spear, and her shield, leaning against her left leg.
ferculum rides in procession on the shoulders of four men (the last, like the gure of
Minerva, mostly destroyed). The ferculum bearers wear greenish tunics hiked up under
their belts to leave their legs free. To help with the weight they hold canes in their right
hands while holding the ferculums spindly handles with their left. Although at rst glance
the artists rendering of the men seems perfectly logical, if we look at the poles on their
shoulders, we realize that the rst and third man are out of place. They should be on the
left side of the ferculum, not on the same plane as the second and fourth man. What is
more, they should be resting the poles on their right shoulders. Even though the per-
spective of the ferculum poles demands that the rst and third man be smaller and that
the structure overlap them, the artist simply repeated the same gure four times with mi-
nor variations.
The ferculum itself supports an open structure with gabled roof that gives us a rare
glimpse of the type of images that devotees carried in religious processions. One possi-
ble occasion for such a procession would be the Quinquatria, held in honor of Minerva.
Garlands of owers, ribbons, and vessels cover the posts, gable, and eaves of the pavil-
ion. Beneath its protection diminutive gures act in tableaus calculated to honor, in equal
measure, both the carpenters and their protective deities. All the gures must be statues
in the round, sculpted from a lightweight material such as woodnot paintings on wood
or canvas framed within the little building. Although paintings would have been much
easier to execute, only three-dimensional images would have been visible to all viewers.
At the back of the pavilion, next to the statue of Minerva, a man is planing a board. A
much larger board, supported, it seems, only by a thin board on edge, juts up diagonally
even while it supports one of two men operating a large saw. The man on the board bends
to his task while his partner, on the ground, reciprocates his pull on the saw. Both men
wear only brief kilts around their hips.
Much larger than the three carpentersmatching the scale of the statue of Minerva
is the gure of a standing man wearing the quintessential workers garment, the exomis

a short tunic covering one shoulder. He looks down at the body of a naked man on the
ground. Scholars have debated the meaning of this image since its discovery, for although
the gures dress, bald head, and attribute of a compass in his right hand identify him
as Daedalus, the carpenter-deity with magical powers, it is not clear who the gure on
the ground is. The most likely explanation is that this group is a unique representation
of Daedalus contemplating the dead body of his nephew Perdix.
A bizarre detail sup-
ports this interpretation. A huge spike punctures the gures head from ear to ear. Daedalus
has just killed Perdix, but in a way that nds no parallel in ancient literature.
Perdix is an unusually clever boy who invented both the saw and the compass. In Ovids
account, Daedalus in his jealousy ung the boy from the acropolis, but Minerva caught
him in midair and made him into a bird, the perdix or partridge.
No such rescue saved
Perdix in the Pompeian tableau, yet Daedalus appears a second time, just opposite the
procession image on the other door jamb. The painting was in poor condition at the time
of its discovery and has since disappeared, but its function as a pendant to the image of
Daedalus on the ferculum is clear: the painting represented the god making his most fa-
mous wonder, the wooden cow that Pasiphae ordered, to allow her to satisfy her lust for
Jupiter, who had appeared to her in the form of a beautiful bull.
The scene of Daedalus carrying out Pasiphaes commission shows the gods great skill,
a hint to the customer who could expect similar expertise as she ordered some less ex-
traordinary wooden fabrication. Even so, everyone knew that the outcome of the actual
union between Pasiphae and Jupiter was a monster, the Minotaur. When the scene ap-
pears in a grand reception space of the House of the Vettii, it ts with two other pictures
on the same theme of mortal liaisons with the gods.
But here, most likely, a viewer would
recognize the mythbut think carpenter rather than feel the need to plumb its pro-
founder meanings. What then, of the image, up on the ferculum itself, of Daedalus as a
In the context of the religious procession, Daedaluss act speaks not so much about
murder but about protection of his craft from usurpers who would attempt to better him.
It is worth remembering that Minervathe carpenters other protector deityhad a sim-
ilar rival in Arachne, whom the goddess turned into a spider for daring to challenge her
weaving skills.
No one can upstage the gods. In the eyes of the carpenters, Daedaluss
superiority over Perdix, like Minervas over Arachne, makes him worthy of worship. There
may be another message in Daedaluss harsh vengeance: just as no one challenges the
god, so no one should challenge the carpenters themselves. Standing as he does at the
head of the procession and over the body of his rival, Daedalus proclaims his supreme
power over the carpenters skill.
If the imagery on the carpenters shop yields up its meanings, it is because we can know
the relationships between the gods honored there and the purpose of the shop. It is more

dicult to understand the complex painting on a shop facade along Pompeiis main east-
west street (called by excavators the Street of Abundance), for it celebrates the owners
observance of a foreign cultand this without reference to the work or sales activities of
the shop (g. 47).
In fact, the shops purpose remains a mystery, since the excavator,
Vittorio Spinazzola, was unable to excavate beyond the facade. When he discovered its
remarkable paintings in 1912, they were largely intact and visible.
Today little remains.
Excavation photos establish that there were several parts to the representation.
Along the top of the facade, beneath a balcony, the artist painted the heads of the four
planetary gods: Sol (the Sun), Jupiter, Mercury, and Luna (the Moon). The four heads,
conceived as a decoration for the architrave that opens over the shop, gaze toward the
center of the composition: Sol and Jupiter to the viewers left, Mercury and Luna to the
right. Simply rendered, each has easily recognizable attributes: Sol has the radiate crown
and the whip to spur the horses that pull the chariot of the sun; Jupiter is bearded, with
a scepter at his left shoulder; Mercury wears the winged hat, and his caduceus appears
over his left shoulder as well; the crescent moon appears behind Lunas head, and she
has a whip at her right shoulder.
Scholars have attempted to explain these four divinities in various waysnone of them
entirely satisfying. Each stands for a day of the week, and if read from right to left we have

Pompeii, Shop of the Procession to Cybele (IX, 7, 1). View of ensemble in 1911.
the sequence: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sundaybut why not the other three days?
In my own view, their importance lies not so much in their relation to days of the week
as in the way they set up a cosmos, on high, above the shops entrance and in relation to
the images of the gods below. The Sun and the Moon, whose courses through the sky tra-
versed the Roman conception of the universe, frame Jupiter, father of the gods. Mercury,
as we will see, has special signicance in a commercial space. The patron, in commis-
sioning this cosmic architrave with its immediately recognizable images, seems to be pay-
ing homage to standard Roman religion in a general way above so that he can represent
his specicand nonstandardreligious practices below. He grounds his cosmos of
work, as it were, in the large cosmos.
Beneath, to the left of the shop opening, in a white-ground square (1.50 1.50 m) above
a high red socle, appears the corpulent image of Pompeian Venus (Venus Pompeiana),
principal deity of the city. When Sulla conquered Pompeii of the Samnites and made it
into a Roman colony in 80 b.c., he named it Colonia Cornelia Veneria Pompeianorum
prominently citing his own gens name, Cornelius, along with the name of the goddess
he so venerated. Venus, heavily bejeweled, wears a thick purple tunic that falls to the
tips of her toes. Over that she wears a mantle of the same color and fabric; it has gold-
embroidered edges, and it covers both arms and falls in an overskirt below her knees.
The goddess holds a scepter and rudder in her left hand. The artist put little Cupid up on
a high round base: he ourishes his left wing while holding a large round mirror for the
goddess. Twin cupids y toward the goddess, one bearing a llet for her head, the other
the palm of victory.
Spinazzola contends that the images of both Cupid and Venus represented statues well
known to Pompeiansthe very statues that they venerated in the Temple of the Pom-
peian Venus near the forum, made of wood so that they could be carried in procession.
The artist carefully recorded all the details of the goddesss appearance; after all, the god-
desss jewelry and clothing were gifts from devotees who dressed the cult statue as an act
of piety.
Although it is impossible to conrm Spinazzolas hypothesis from details of
the painting itself, the representation facing the statue of Venus and Cupid on the right
side of the shops entrance supports his argument.
Here the artist represented a second statue of a maternal deity, and this time there can
be no doubt that it is a wooden statue used in processions like those we saw in the paint-
ing of the carpenters procession, for it still rests upon its ferculum (gs. 48 and 49). She
is not a Roman goddess but an import from Phrygia in Asia: Cybele, also known as the
Great Mother of the Gods (Magna Mater Deum). The four bearers have just set the fer-
culum down.
The statue is about twice life-size, set o by a high, pointed green backdrop covered
with red stars. Cybele wears a white tunic that shows only at the neck and at her feet. Over
that, she wears a dress of deep purple, worn in the manner of a Greek chiton. A mantle,
draped like the Greek himation, falls nearly to the ground, leaving only the edges of her

white tunic and her sandaled feet visible. She wears a crown in the shape of city walls
the so-called mural crownsymbol of her role as protector of the city. In her left hand
she holds a long golden branch with thin leaves at the top and a golden patera in her
right. In the crook made by her left arm is a round object, the tympanum (tambourine)
that is one of Cybeles frequent attributes, like the two little lions at her feetsymbols

Pompeii, Shop of the Procession to Cybele. Procession to Cybele.
Pompeii, Shop of the Procession to Cybele. Drawing of Procession to Cybele,
with gures numbered.
of her status as Mistress over the Animals. Dicult to see is another of her attributes,
the net of prophecy covering the area between her knees and the bottom of her dress.
This net belongs to a group of oracular divinities also including Dionysus, Apollo, and
In fact, the artist included one of these oracular divinities, Dionysus, in a novel way.
He inserted a marble bust of the god in a niche at the left (probably robbed from another
building). Dionysuss form is that of a herm rendered in the archaic style of the sixth cen-
tury b.c., with heavy beard and a crown of ivy. Dionysus, too, although entering the Ro-
man pantheon from that of the Greeks, is a god of Asian origin, and his cult shares many
featuresespecially the disorderly and ecstatic procession (thiasus)with that of the Great
Mother. Although the arrangement of the painting and the bust of Dionysus honors both
deities, the subject of the painting is the devotees of Cybele, who have paraded her im-
age through the streets, and who now, gathered around the priest and his assistants, pre-
pare to sacrice in her honor.
The artist varied the ages and expressions of the four men who have just set down the
ferculum (gures 1316). All wear long white tunics partly covered by long red bibs that
hang from shoulders to knees.
The men still hold the canes that they used to help bear
the statues weight, and they have placed the ferculum in three-quarter view so that the
statue surveys the proceedings: the goddess looks toward the niche of Dionysus and to
the representation of Venuss statue on the other side of the buildings facade.
As in the Rome Vicomagistri relief, the patron has instructed the artist to rank the
gures in order of importance. The painter represents that pecking order by calling at-
tention to the gures relative size, position, and clothing. In the front are the three prin-
cipal actors, all wearing ample white tunics draped like himations and decorated with red
stripes (clavi). The ociating priest (11) holds both hands out. In his right hand he holds
a little green twig and an object that may be an oil lamp or ask, and in his left a gold pa-
tera. The man to the left of the priest (9) who turns to him must be his assistant, and al-
though paint losses make it impossible to know what he held in his right hand, raised
over his left shoulder is the sacred cista, the reliquary containing the objects sacred to
Cybeles cult, identied by its red cylindrical lid. To the left of the cista-carrier is the tibi-
cen (6) turning his double utes in the direction of Dionysus in his niche.
Immediately behind the celebrant are two women who stand out a bit from the oth-
ers (10 and 12). Figure 12 wears a vegetal crown and a robe the color of Cybeles, and she
carries special attributes: a branch in her right hand and a patera in her left. Spinazzola
identies her as the rst priestess of Cybele.
Her companion (10) also wears a green
dress and a vegetal crown on her head. She stands on the other side of the celebrant and
looks intently at the cista; she may be the second priestess of the Pompeian cult.
ers among the women hold vessels or play musical instruments. Immediately to the left
of the cista-bearer is a woman in a dark dress also looking at the cista (8). Although paint
losses have obliterated the object that she held, the excavator tells us that it was a yellow
basket for oerings, making her the canephora (basket bearer).
To the left of the tibicen

is a woman (4) who wears a gold dress trimmed with red stripes. She turns to the right,
looking at the tibicen, and holds two objects: a large-mouthed vase suspended from three
chains in her right hand and a tympanum, hanging from a cord, in her left.
This tympanum is the only idle instrument in what must have been a noisy event. The
artist amplies the tibicens volume, as it were, by representing ve others playing in-
struments. Just behind and slightly to the left of the tibicens head we see the round form
of a tympanum, held in the outstretched arms of a man who looks toward the woman
playing the cymbals (3). She holds the brass-colored cymbals in her right hand, raised up
at the elbow at the same angle as the pediment over Dionysuss niche. For some reason,
the artist depicted two of the musicians at half the size of the others and at the left of
Dionysus. Perhaps he meant them to be children. They both wear tunics, and Spinazzola
was able to identify their instruments: the one at the far left plays the syrinx (panpipes),
the other the cymbals.
The patron packed this painting with information about the Cybele statues appear-
ance and what her priests and followers did to honor herand connected this repre-
sentation with images of both Dionysus and Venus Pompeiana. How would a contem-
porary viewer have understood this representation, and what might her response have
been? Cybeles cult was already quite ancient in Roman times, for it originated in the area
of modern-day Turkey in the second millennium b.c. Worship of Cybele spread to Greece
in the rst millennium, where devotees of deities similar to Cybele eagerly embraced her
and connected her with their local gods and goddesses. Particularly interesting in con-
nection with our painting is the venerability of associating Cybele with Dionysus and with
Aphrodite in Attica. The Greeks linked her beloved partner, Attis, with the god Adonis.
This process of Cybeles assimilation within the practices of Greek religion, called syn-
cretism, also embraced the fascinating music of her cult. Plato mentions the Phrygian
harmony, seemingly a combination of percussion instruments with the double utes
(diauloi) that had a powerful eect on those who heard it.
The Roman Senate, at the suggestion of the Sibylline prophets, invited Cybele to Rome
in 204 b.c.: the Sibylline books suggested that Magna Mater would bring victory over
Hannibal as the Second Punic War (218201 b.c.) dragged on. King Attalos of Pergamon
permitted the holiest relic of the Great Mother, the meteorite worshipped at her sanctu-
ary in Pessinus, to come to Rome, where it took its place in the Temple of Victory on the
Palatine. In 194 b.c. the Senate instituted a festival in her honor, held every April 46,
called the Ludi Matris Magnae, and they dedicated a temple to the goddess nearby.
Even so, in the two hundred and fty ensuing years the Romans struggled with the
unruly and illegal aspects of the cult, until the emperor Claudius ocially permitted cit-
izens to become its priests in a.d. 50. Senators and lawyers repeatedly called for bans on
cult practices, such as the noisy, exuberant, and licentious dancing and music that ac-
companied Cybeles processions and ritesand above all the practice of self-castration
by priests of the cult, the Galli.
The Galli entered Rome along with the sacred meteorite
from Pessinus; their self-castration imitated that of the goddesss beloved, Attis, who made

himself a eunuch in devotion to Cybele.
It took Rome several hundred years to accept
priests who compromised their legal identity as men by becoming eunuchs. Epigraphic
evidence shows that even the head priests, the Archigalli, were ex-slaves well into the third
century a.d.
Equally dicult for elite Roman men was the attraction that Cybeles cult had for
women. Traditional state religion allowed women quite minimal roles: one thinks of the
elite women remaining virgins to become Vestals, and those who appear as priestesses
of Venus, like Eumachia and Mamia at Pompeii. Even in Greek times, the frenzied women
followers of Dionysus threatened the men, a threat with terrible consequences in Euripides
Our humble street-front painting is an important indicator of non-elite womens par-
ticipation in the very public, showy, and noisy cult of Cybele. For one thing, the patron
instructed the artist to represent six womentwo of them possibly priestessesamong
the entourage of sixteen. For another, the representation underscores Cybeles alliance
with two Roman deities who were especially important to womenDionysus and the lo-
cal Roman maternal deity, Venus Pompeiana.
It was not only the cult of Cybele that attracted many women as devotees. The wor-
ship of the Egyptian goddess Isis also allowed women to take part in the cult and to be-
come priestessesan attractive exception to the general exclusion of women from ocial
roles in the Roman state religion. Although excavations have yet to unearth a sanctuary
to the cult of Cybele at Pompeii, inscriptions and visual representations from Pompeii
and Herculaneum document the importance the cult of Isis for women.
As with the
cult of Cybele, the inclusion of women as both devotees and priestesses constituted one
of the reasons for the spread of Isiac religion within Roman Italy.
It is signicant that
the only sanctuary to be fully restored from the damage of the earthquake of a.d. 62 was
that of Isis. A former slave, Numerius Popidius Ampliatus, and his wife, Cornelia Celsa,
rebuilt the Temple of Isis at Pompeii with their own money. They attributed the rebuild-
ing to their six-year-old son, Numerius Popidius Celsinus, to pave the way for his politi-
cal career, since the father, a freedman, was not eligible.
Within the complex decorative
program of the Iseum, the patrons included at least one image of a priestess of Isis in the
paintings of the portico.
Womenand non-elite women at thatcould play important
roles in the worship of these imported, maternal deities.
This shop facade represents an unusually specic commission. The only really stock
images are the heads of the four planetary deities that span the entryway. All the rest are
custom-made, with the patron instructing the artist to represent specic aspects of Venus
and Dionysus, and even to depict a particular moment when priests, priestesses and devo-
tees of Cybele gather. The unique nature of this iconographical program leads back to a
patron who was a special devotee of Cybele; it seems likely that he was the priest (11) whom
we see carrying out the rites in honor of the goddess. If so, did he also require the artist
to represent members of his family, perhaps even his wife, among the women priests and
devotees in the painting?

Although we cannot know the identities of Cybeles followers in the painting, its im-
portance lies in the way it proclaims the patrons religious beliefs outside the sanctuary.
Spinazzola, justly proud of his discovery but unable to excavate further, believed that the
space behind the buildings facade was a religious site somehow related directly to the
cult of Cybele and her followers. His identication seems unlikely, since the paintings
take their place among the many shop signs and electoral slogans that crowded facades
all along the Street of Abundance. If it was a shop, as seems likely, the only evidence for
what it manufactured or sold comes indirectly, from an electoral slogan painted on its fa-
cade, along with the religious imagery we have looked at. The most prominent slogan
reads: Quactiliari [sic] rogant . . . (The Quactiliarii recommend [someone] for election).
Quactiliarii (usually spelled coactiliarii) were felt-makers; inscriptions show that there were
many felt-makers at Pompeii.
Some scholars have even suggested that the heavy robes
dressing the statues of Venus and Cybele are made of felta subliminal advertisement
of the quactiliariis product.
Whatever product the shopowner and his wife may have sold in the shop, it was their
desire to demonstrate to all who passed by what their goddess and her devotees looked
like that motivated them to commission this highly detailed representation. Advertis-
ing their religious identities as devotees of Cybele seems to have been more important
than announcing what they sold in their shop. What is more, if the shopowner and his
wife were priests of the cult, the viewer would have recognized their likenesses in the
painting. The painting was a way of showing the rank they had attained through their
If these street-side decorations seem unconventional to us, it is because the patrons wanted
to articulate in them their own religious beliefs and their hopes for their favorite gods
blessings. Unlike the numerous and well-studied representations of the Roman state re-
ligion, or even the large sanctuaries of foreign cultslike that of Isis at Pompeii or Cy-
bele at Ostiathese are modest commissions tailored to the wishes of a single individ-
ual. Because they were expensive, big temples and their many adornments required wealthy
patrons; their imagery followed traditionsboth artistic ones and those dictated by priests.
Elite patrons hired great architects and artists to glorify their favorite deitiesusually in
order to fulll a vow made to the god or goddess in exchange for a favor granted. Ancient
literature tells us both about the works of art in these dazzling sanctuaries and about the
responses of elite viewers to what they saw.
Here, in Pompeii, we get instead the expression of modest shopowners honoring their
preferred gods. There for all to seethe people who passed by and tarried to look, and
those who entered their workspaceswere representations of religious processions and
a mix of images of their gods that followed no particular artistic tradition. They were fresh,
improvised, and anything but standard.

You had eight of them. You could get up to sixteen! You ran a tavern, you were a
potter, you made sausages, you were a baker, you were a farmer, you were a peddler,
you were a street vendor, and now you have a bottle shop. If you were to lick cunt,
you would have done everything!
It is well known that Roman elites did not sully their hands with trade or manual labor.
Ownership of property was the only proper way for a senator or an equestrian to obtain
wealth, and although equestrians and senators owned businesses of various sorts, oth-
ers performed the actual work. By employing the freeborn poor, freedmen, or slaves to
work the land and to manage industries like shipping and manufacturing, the elite could
bypass the stigma of manual labor and amass great wealth. Cities were full of the work-
ing poor, struggling in one way or another to make ends meet. For a slave, if his master
gave him permission to earn money, it meant he could eventually buy freedom for him-
self and perhaps for his mate and his children. But obligations to ones former master
did not stop with manumission; the Roman system of maintaining duties of service
through the former slaves lifetime meant that he continued to enrich his former mas-
ter. Even the freeborn, whether the rst generation born of former slaves or from a free
citizen family, might depend on one or more patroni for support.
The whole system of
patronus-client relationships reinforced the dierences between the social orders; it also
provided a model that perpetuated the system. Often former slaves followed in their mas-
ters footsteps by buying slaves for themselves.
Thus, work both marked a person as non-elite and provided the path to improving his
or her status. Little wonder, then, that in contrast to elite representations of the self, many
ordinary people left records of what they did for a living. The study of written materials,
ranging from grati to formal inscriptions on monuments, has enriched our under-
standing of the kinds of work non-elites did, how that work tted into the ancient Roman
economy, and why ordinary people wanted to record their profession for posterity.
this chapter I turn to visual representations for further insight into how work gured in
the lives of non-elite Romans. In the paintings and reliefs representing work that I ana-
lyze here, I try to see how their imagery conveys the patrons attitudes toward his or her
profession. Making an image that communicates the processes and products of a specic
kind of work requires selecting and editing from a whole menu of possible representa-
tions; the decisions that the artist and patron make on what to show a vieweras well as
how to show itare revealing in a way that inscriptions and grati are not.
The paintings of work that I discuss here all come from Pompeii and date to the period
6279. I try to balance these with the reliefs and mosaics from other periodsranging
from the early rst century through the mid-thirdand from other towns in Roman Italy.
With all of my case studies, my focus is not so much to catalogue the various kinds of
work ordinary people did, but to probe the rationale behind specic representations: why
did the patron want to show the work scenes, and how might a viewer have responded to
them? What emerges is a set of attitudes toward work quite dierent from those trans-
mitted by the texts and visual representations of the elite.
As we will see, the bulk of representations of work come from burials, where their
purpose was to commemorate the deceased by showing what he or she did in life. The
paintings from street-fronts, workshops, and houses at Pompeii have very dierent pur-
poses, fashioned as they were for the world of the living. We know their dates, and in
some cases we know the names of the owners of the buildings that the paintings deco-
rated. For these reasons they make excellent case-studies for questioning the attitudes
that both maker and viewer had toward images of labor. I have selected painting ensem-
bles that furnish the fullest information on these questions.
The paintings removed between 1755 and 1757 from the huge atrium (24) of the praedia
(rental property) of Julia Felix, even though reproduced in every book about daily life in
Pompeii since the early nineteenth century, are highly problematic if we wish to see them
as evidence of attitudes that non-elite Pompeians had toward visual representations of
their work. For one thing, in their original context they formed a frieze 0.60 meters (2
feet) high that began at a height of 2.40 meters (nearly 8 feet) from the pavement.
though a viewer would see that the artist painted a colonnade running behind all the scenes,

designating a space like the forum at Pompeii, it would have been dicult to compre-
hend just what all the people that the artist placed in that setting were doing. For another,
the grand scale of the room, and Julia Felixs own advertisement for the rental of the whole
complex, tell us that the scenes of everyday life were meant for wealthy viewersnot the
people who worked in the forum or elsewhere.
This is work as decorationgenre scenes
meant to amuse the elite viewer.
What is interesting for our inquiry is the great mix of activities and gures that the
artist put into his creationjust what we would expect for a genre picture. Activities that
have nothing to do with commerce were ones that a viewer might associate with the elite.
They include representations of honoric equestrian statues on bases, a scene of men in
togas reading a long scroll attached to the colonnade, that of a girl and her guardian in
front of a magistrate, togate people conversing and promenading, and the comic scene
of a schoolboy being spanked.
The numerous images of quadrupeds of various sorts,
mounted or pulling carts, add movement and introduce the ambience of commerce.
elite activities are those of selling goods: shoes, cloth, pots and pans, and metal tools (g.
It is clear that the artist created a sort of compendium of what could go on in pub-
lic spaces like Pompeiis forum. No genre scene is really an everyday scene, and as Tanzer
points out, not every day was a market day.
The citys magistrates would have routinely
regulated the selling activitiesjust as they would have determined where and when in-
structors could teach their young charges. And the scene of the girl before a magistrate
would probably have occurred in the basilica rather than in the forums colonnade.
In short, the frieze was fanciful decoration, not documentation. When Julia Felix had
the house redecorated after the earthquake of 62, she made the atrium into a new mon-

Pompeii, Praedia of Julia Felix (II, 4), atrium 24. Sales scene.
umental entrance on the Street of Abundance; the former dining and reception space be-
came a semipublic hall that gave access to the ne rooms-for-rent that she advertised. In
this context, the scenes of forum activities constituted a bit of local color in a decorative
scheme otherwise punctuated by the candelabras, ying gures, and stylized animals that
constitute the gural accents throughout the house.
If the elite viewers who saw the
frieze in Julia Felixs atrium had little reason to recognize themselves in the images of fo-
rum life that they saw, the same could not be said for wealthy merchants and low-level
magistrates who may have viewed them. They probably took part in some of the activi-
ties of forum life pictured in the friezeperhaps in an earlier phase of their lives.
If the images from the Praedia of Julia Felix belong to the category of genre painting, it
is because the viewers pleasure in looking at them comes from recognizing a collection
of familiar scenes of life in the forum. With the frieze of cupids and psyches in the largest
reception space of the House of the Vettii (room q, g. 51), a viewers pleasure comes from
seeing everyday work and play transposed into the realm of cute little demigods that look
like chubby babies with wingsbirds wings for the males (cupids or amores) and but-
terys wings for the females (psyches).
It is an art that trades on the transfer of human
activities into a fanciful world. Even so, the painter had to observe real-life work activities
closely to make this transfer convincing for the viewer.

Pompeii, plan of House of the
Vettii (VI, 15, 1).
It is fortunate that we know that the owners of the House of the Vettii were former
slaves, and wealthy ones at that. A. Vettius Restitutus and A. Vettius Conviva were broth-
ers who had been able to buy their freedom. A. Vettius Conviva was an augustalis, as is
clear from the wax tablets found in the House of Caecilius Iucundus.
To become an au-
gustalis the former slave had to expend considerable sums of money for public works
and festivals.
The decoration of the Vettiis house, perhaps the nest of Pompeiis last
two decades, is both rich and iconographically bewildering. Much ink (including a good
deal of my own) has owed in attempting to explain its variousand variously linked
iconographical programs.
We cannot even speak of the program of the room with the cupid and psyche frieze,
because although it is the largest and most important reception space, room q is one of
the least well-preserved in the house (g. 52). None of its huge center pictures survives,
probably because they were on wooden panels inserted into the walls; only portions of the
painting schemes above them and to their sides remain.
What we do have are the ne
paintings of the lowest zones, including the base-band or socle, the lower parts of fancy
pilasters that divide the walls into compartments, and the cupid frieze running around
the rooms perimeter above the socle (often called the predella by analogy to similarly posi-
tioned bottom-panels on Renaissance altarpieces). All of this painting is of high quality.
In my analysis I want to avoid drawing conclusions about the Vettii brothers com-
mercial activities from analysis of what the cupids and psyches do in this famous frieze

Pompeii, House of the Vettii, oecus q. View from entrance.
a tactic that is methodologically unsound.
After all, the frieze itself is incomplete, and
it played a secondaryperhaps tertiaryrole in the rooms decoration. The lost center
pictures declared its big themesjust as we can see in the other reception rooms of the
house, most notably the Ixion room (oecus p) and the Pentheus room (oecus n). Fur-
thermore, unlike the unique paintings of the Praedia of Julia Felix, there is much evi-
dence that vignettes of cupids and psyches at work and play constituted a standard mo-
tif circulating among wall painters. If the frieze in the House of the Vettii is a secondary
part of a rooms decorationand a standard genre at thatwhat can it tell us about a Ro-
man viewers attitude toward work? Why did the Vettii brothers use this representation
in their best reception space? Since the cupid and psyche scenes constitute decoration
not documentationthe answers to these questions lie in asking what responses view-
ers of dierent classes and cultural formation might have had in seeing them.
Since their house lacked a tablinumthe standard space for receiving clientsthe Vet-
tii brothers used the room of the cupid and psyche frieze for that purpose. Grati found
on the columns near oecus q indicate that the clients waited there.
We must imagine,
then, the daily ow of the slaves, freedpersons, and freeborn dependents entering the
house through the atrium, then turning right to proceed around the peristyle and to the
north oecus. Once in the large room, the client would encounter one or both of the Vet-
tii brothers, standing and dressed in the toga. The client would confer with his patroni
about a range of business and social matters. It is doubtful whether a client engaged in
giving accounts or asking for favors would have the time or the inclination to get close
enough to the cupid and psyche frieze to take in its details. The messages for the clients
if anywere to be found in the enormous central pictures. And these are lost.
The visitors who would have had the time and the leisure to examine our frieze would
be invited guests, and this at times when the oecus became a hall for dining and wine-
drinking. Romans wealthy enough to entertain had several spaces within their houses
where servants would set up dining couches (klinai) and tables for food and drink. The
Vettii brothers house had ve such spaces, including a room well sheltered from the
cold that could be used for winter dining (e) and one within a suite with its own diminu-
tive peristyle (t). Oecus q was large enough so that servants could set up nine, rather
than the standard three, couches around the rooms back walls. In dining, Romans fol-
lowed the Greek custom of reclining on the left elbow and eating with the right hand.
Given the height of the couches, and the fact that guests had considerable time during
the banquet and the wine-drinking that followed, it is likely that the cupid and psyche
frieze would have been one of the topics of conversation.
Ten of a total of thirteen original panels of the cupid and psyche frieze remain, and
they show their subjects at both work and play.
Psyches play darts on the panel on the
right (south) entryway wall. All of the scenes that follow on the right, or east, wall are well
preserved. As a viewer walked along this wall, he must have marveledas viewers do
todayat their ne execution and whimsical compositions. He would rst have taken in
the scene of ower-sellers and garland-makers (g. 53). Supplies come in on a ower-
1 00

laden goat; cupids and psyches manufacture the garlands and hang them on sale-racks.
In the next scene two cupid perfume-makers extract oil from owers by pounding them
with mallets in a receptacle; a psyche stirs a cauldron; and a cupid and psyche pair mix a
liquid in a tall conical vessel. On a counter next to them is a scrollperhaps with per-
fume recipes or accountsand a scale. A psyche-client sits on a fancy bench with a foot-
stool and tests some of the product on her hand (g. 54).
A scene of play follows: a whimsical circus race with cupids in four chariots each pulled
by two antelopes. Next is a scene of goldworkers (g. 55). A cupid works on a gold bowl
at right. He stands at the back of a forge with the head of Vulcan on top of it, where a psy-
che is melting metal in its heat. To the left of the forge, a seated cupid is intent on ham-
mering the metal on an anvil. At the center of the panel is a stepped counter that show-
cases objects for sale. A psyche is the client, seated on a bench and resting her feet on a
footstool while a cupid weights an object for her. At the far left two more cupids hammer
an object on an anvil. The compositions up to this point read in a narrative from right to
left, but this one has its focus in the middle.
The nal scene on this wall actually reverses the narrative direction so that it reads
from left to rightevidently because guests would be looking at it from their places on
dining couches. Cupids and psyches are at work in a cloth-treating shop, or fullery (ful-
lonica) (g. 56). The sequence begins on the left with cupids treading cloth in a square
vat with walls at either side. Next to them a cupid rubs the cloth with fullers earth while
another next to him brushes cloth hanging from a sturdy rack. Scenes of checking and
folding the cloth follow to the right. At the far right is a psyche, seated but bending in-
tently over a piece of cloth; her posethat of a cloth checkermakes it unlikely that the
artist wished to designate her as the proprietor of the fullonica, as Spinazzola suggested.
It is possible to read most gures in badly abraded scenes on the back (north) wall.
The rst panel from the right (east) shows four cupid-bakers celebrating the feast of their
patron, Vesta. In the background to the right and left are assesthe animals bakers used
to turn their grain mills. But the bakers are not working; they recline, holding metal cups
and arranged around a vessel with two handles that must contain wine. They are engaged
in the after-dinner wine-drinking party, or commissatioan activity that, we may suppose,
often took place in this room. In fact, wine is the theme of all three vignettes on the north
wall and the one preserved scene on the west wall. The central vignette, the largest of all,
has scenes of harvesting grapes to right and left, with the cupids climbing up ladders to
pick the grapes from vines trained to grow between tall trees. In the center of the picture
are two cupids operating a big wine press. The left-hand panel presents a procession go-
ing from left to rightagain for the comfort of the person looking at the wall from his
or her place on the dining couch. Dionysus leads the thiasus in his chariot pulled by goats,
followed by an ithyphallic Pan playing the double pipes. A dancing cupid balancing a big
crater (mixing bowl) on his shoulders closes the procession (g. 57). On the west wall only
one scene is preserved, that of winetasting. On the right, a cupid carefully tilts an am-
phora resting horizontally on a block, watching as the wine pours into a cup held by

1 01
Pompeii, House of the Vettii, oecus q. Cupids and psyches making garlands.
Pompeii, House of the Vettii, oecus q. Cupids and psyches making perfume.
Pompeii, House of the Vettii, oecus q. Cupids and psyches working gold.
Pompeii, House of the Vettii, oecus q. Cupids and psyches as fullers.
Pompeii, House of the Vettii, oecus q. Dionysiac procession (thiasus).
Pompeii, House of the Vettii, oecus q. Cupids winetasting.
another cupid. In the center the cupid-host oers a cup of wine to his guest or customer.
The host wears a Dionysian fur tunic (the nebris), and holds a kind of ladle (the simpu-
lum), used to mix wine with water, in his left hand. His guest wears a white tunic and car-
ries a thin sta. Behind him stand many amphoras, signaling this space as a wineshop
(g. 58).
The cupid-and-psyche imagery in this grand room, while not evidence for what the
patrons did to earn their moneyand their freedomdoes reveal their interest in show-
ing their guests cute, fashionable representations of productive work. It is likely that people
whom the Vettii entertained were, like themselves, relatively wealthy freedpersons, both
men and women. A former slave may not have had to do much manual work to earn his
freedom; the wealthiest slavesand those most likely to be able to amass the money to
buy their freedomwere administrators, not manual laborers.
A friend of the Vettiis, then, would have rst understood the cupid and psyche frieze
as the best in fashionable decorative painting of the timea mark of the Vettiis improved
social and nancial status. The earliest paintings in this genre date to the period of the
Third Style of a.d. 1545 and appear as predelle panels in the grand reception space of the
wealthy Villa Imperiale, built into Pompeiis west wall.
All of the other representations
of the genre are later, most found in medium-size houses decorated in the late Fourth
Style (a.d. 6279).
The Vettiis use of the cupid and psyche frieze may be another
expressionlike so much of the imagery in their houseof their desire to imitate elite
The Vettiis banquet guests, seeing cupids and psyches carrying out work that they
supervisedor even once performedmay have reected on their own experiences as
they worked their way to freedom. The very variety of work activitiesand the missing
paintings of the west wall would have provided moremakes the frieze a digest of the
ways working people earned their living. But ordinary working people were not the tar-
get audience in the Vettiis sumptuous reception space, nor did the frieze present ordi-
nary working people. It consisted of pretty, whimsical translations of the sweaty realities
of work into the never-never land of myth; for the former slaves who viewed the frieze, it
was a sign of what they had left behind and a trophy of their new status. It was a way of
sanitizing the viewers servile past even while advertising the Vettiis new gentility and
good (elite) taste.
If the paintings on the facade of the shop at IX, 7, 1, that we looked at in the last chapter
emphasized the owners veneration of Cybele and Venus, Verecundus, who owned an es-
tablishment just a few doors down in the same block, wanted to show viewers just what
his workers did and what he and his wife sold.
This is not to say that the imagery is en-
tirely secular or documentaryjust that it details actual work activities in a way that nei-
ther the Shop of the Carpenters Procession nor that of Cybeles devotees does.
The fres-

1 05
coes occupy two registers on either side of a doorway: the images of the gods are above,
those of work below. On the upper part of the space to the right of the doorway, the painter
created a colorful and dramatic image of Venus Pompeiana, this time in a red chariot in
the form of a ships prow being pulled by four elephants (gs. 59 and 60). Venus wears
a sky-blue chiton and mantle. Her attributes include a mural crown, a scepter in her left
hand, and a rudder against her left arm. Cupid, in a yellow mantle, stands at her left, hold-
ing a mirror. Two small ying cupids ank Venus, the one on the left holding a crown,
that on the right a palm branch. Venus is both the center of the composition and the largest
gure; next in size is a standing gure of the goddess Fortuna framing the composition
on the left. She stands on a globe, holding a cornucopia in her left arm; a rudder leans
against her right side. The smallest of the gures is the crowned Genius opposite For-
tuna on the right; like Fortuna he holds a cornucopia in his left arm, but he has a patera
in his extended right hand.
A Pompeian viewer would have quickly understood the messages of this iconograph-
ical triangle. Venus occupies its apex. Only royalty could ride in a chariot pulled by ele-
and the chariot, shaped like a boat, alludes to the goddesss role as protector of
both sailors and their cargo at sea. Her mural crownlike that of Cybelesignals her
role as protector of the city of Pompeii. It is worth noting that the Temple of Venus Pom-
peiana rose on the highest point of the city, where it was a landmark for navigators in the
bay below.
Fortunas message is that prosperity, symbolized by the cornucopia, comes
with proper devotion. Only then will the goddess use her rudder to steer the devotees life
on the right course, a meaning that complements that of Venus. The Geniuss cornucopia
signals prosperity as well, but prosperity won through another kind of devotion: to the
guardian spirit of the paterfamiliasin this case the owner, Verecundus. This painting
is the largest of the four (H 1.55 W 1.82 m) and sets the tone for the ensemble.
A viewers eyes would probably look for a match in size and message to the painting
of Venus and would nd it in the upper painting opposite it, to the left of the doorway
(g. 61). Here the other deity who protected merchants and travelers, Mercury, appears
under the porch of a little Roman temple with a high podium and two front columns.
1 06

Pompeii, Shop of Verecundus
(IX, 7, 57), view of entrances
7 and 5, with right pier
of doorway 7.
In addition to his attributes as the messenger of the gods (winged helmet and shoes; the
caduceus), Mercury carries a sack of money in his right handsymbol of the nancial
prosperity that comes from his guardianship over Verecunduss shop.
Verecundus, having represented all the proper deities who would protect and further
his business in these large and showy paintings above, got the painter to depict some of
his workers, himself, and his wife in the smaller friezes below. He instructed the artist
to ll the long panel beneath the image of Venus Pompeiana with scenes of clothmaking
(H 0.50 W 1.82 m). We see two operations, the combing of wool and the making of felt
cloth from wool and other animal hairs. There are three wool combers, or pectinarii, sit-
ting in the background: their job was to comb the wool before spinning it to remove knots
and residual impurities. They wear voluminous robesto keep the ying wool akes o
their bodiesand sit on little stools behind low tables. They hold their feet together un-
der the tables to secure the base of a little square wooden column that tapers near the bot-
tom. The top of the column supports two tall combs, one behind the other, at chest level.
Each man is combing wool by drawing it through the tall metal teeth of the parallel combs,
perhaps using a curved instrument with handles on both sides.
Various tools, includ-
ing several more combs, lie on their tables.

1 07
Pompeii, Shop of Verecundus. Venus Pompeiana and clothworkers with
At the center are four men, called coactiliarii (quactiliarii in Pompeian dialect), making
felt from the hair on animal hides and from wool (g. 62).
The word for the felter, coac-
tor or coactiliarius, comes from the verb cogere, to compact, because the felter forced the
bers together with his hands. To make felt, the felter must press wool and animal hairs
together into a compact, consistent mass, using some sort of greasy or cohesive binder
to size the felt. The felt, called coactilia, shed water and was well suited for the making of
hats, boots and slippers, and raincoats; the military used felt for tents, horseblankets, and
even cuirasses.
Just left of center is a round boiler with a log re under it to keep the
coagulant hot. Into its mouth t two teardrop-shaped basins resting on sawhorses; two
muscular coactiliarii, wearing only kilts, work at each. They are felting the bers in the
gluey coagulant in a motion that combines scraping and compacting; the leftover liquid
ows back from their work surface into the boiler.
At the rightdirectly below the gure of his Genius in the big paintingstands the
proud owner of the establishment (see g. 60). To make sure that everyone understood
1 08

Pompeii, Shop of Verecundus,
left pier of doorway 7. Mercury
in front of his temple.
that this was the owner, the artist wrote Verecundus in small letters under the gures
feet. He depicted Verecundus in a frontal pose, proudly holding up one of his oerings:
a brown cloth adorned with purple stripes.
Verecundus also seems to be modeling some
of the clothing made and sold in his shop; he wears a felt hooded garment, called a cu-
cullus, and felt shoes with leather soles.
Who is Verecundus and what is his profession? It seems likely that he is the same man
named in a grato found in the House of M. Gavius Rufus (VII, 2, 16): M. Vecilius Vere-
cundus, vestiar(ius).
A vestiarius is both a maker and a seller of cloth and clothing. An-
other grato, this time at the right of the entryway to the shop itself reads: tunica lintea
aur(ata), a tunic of linen with gold thread.
We know that linen was imported to Pom-
peii from Alexandria.
Verecundus, it seems, sold luxury items more expensive than those
made of felt or woolincluding, no doubt, the striped cloth he holds up, probably made
of linen or even silk.
To reinforce this point, the painting to the left of the doorway shows a woman selling
a variety of cloth goods (g. 63). Although she could be an employee or even a slave owned
by Verecundus, most scholars believe that she is his wife. In support of this hypothesis
is her prominent place in the decorative program as a whole. Just as Verecundus and his
workers are literally under (hence symbolically under the protection of ) Venus, Fortuna,
and Verecunduss Genius, the artist placed Mercury, god of commerce, in the panel above
the wifes enterprise. She sits behind a high table, wearing a blue hooded mantle and
holding a shoe in either hand. Behind her to left and right are shelves with unidentiable
objects on them. On the table, between two glass vessels, is a tray with more shoes and
perhaps cloth bundles on it. A second table of about the same height, but narrower, projects
into the foreground;
it holds a glass vase and four shoes with red and yellow bundles
anking them on either sidecertainly parcels of clothing. At the right, a customer wear-
ing a blue hooded mantleanother of Verecunduss waressits on a bench with a high
back. The artist, despite his meager talents, attempted to give the man a pose that is both
relaxed and intent: he rests his left hand on the bench while he cranes his neck forward
and gestures with his right hand.
Taken together, the four panels composing the painting program that Verecundus
worked out for the facade of his shop reveal both his values and the expectations of con-
temporary viewers. He invokes the proper deities for the owner of a woolworking and
clothing shop: they appear in capital letters, as it were. It would be a mistake to see the
paintings as shop signs advertising wares; the principal message to the passerbyand
it must have been the message that she expectedwas the celebration and propitiation
of the proper gods. Yet Verecundusin lowercase letterssends a second visual mes-
sage: he invites the viewer to consider the range of his and his wifes activities by select-
ing just three from among the many involved in his operation.
Why show the combers and felters? Combing was only the rst of many steps required
to make cloth out of wool. This rst step becomes a sign for all the other operations

1 09
Pompeii, Shop of Verecundus, right pier of doorway 7. Felt-makers, detail.
Pompeii, Shop of Verecundus, left pier of doorway 7. Sales scene with woman and customer.
spinning, weaving, cleaning, dyeing, pressing, and so on. Since no one has excavated the
shop area beyond the facade, we have no way of knowing whether any of these operations
actually went on in Verecunduss shop. The same is true of the scene of feltmaking. It is
one of the many phases in a long process, and therefore a visual synecdoche standing for
the manufacture of felt. The third element of this frieze, Verecundus himself holding up
a piece of cloth and perhaps modeling a felt outt, seems calculated to tell a viewer that
this is the place to buy all kinds of cloth goodswool, felt, and others. Rather than illus-
trating systematically what kinds of manufacturing went on in the space behind the shop,
the image of the wool combers stands for items made of wool just as the image of the felt-
ers stands for goods made of felt. Verecundus is the head of this family of workers and
also the proud entrepreneur.
In support of this interpretation is the pendant to this scene, where Verecunduss wife,
surrounded by felt shoes and bundles of cloth, reigns over her shopkeepers domain in
the presence of a customer. This is certainly an image of selling, not manufacturing. Al-
though we will not know for sure until the shop space is excavated, it seems unlikely that
Verecundus was able to make both wool and felt products in his space. We know from
the wax tablets found in the House of Caecilius Iucundus that, between a.d. 56 and 60,
Caecilius rented a wool-treating establishment (fullonica) belonging to the city.
cundus, like Iucundus, may have rented or otherwise controlled small-manufacturing
sites around Pompeii and used this shop for sales. Its location, along Pompeiis main
east-west street, is well suited for a sales shop. This, coupled with the emphasis in the
two paintings on exhibiting the owners and the things they sold, argues for sales rather
than manufacturing.
Although the shops activities must remain a moot point, the fact of the owners self-
representation is clear. What did it mean to show yourself with your waresand in Vere-
cunduss case, modeling them? No elite person would commission such a representa-
tion of him- or herself. Yet among the working non-elitesfrom slaves to freedpersons
to the freebornself-representations surrounded by images of ones trade or profession
are common. Since, as we will see, most of the surviving evidence comes from tombs,
these images on Pompeiis main street give us a glimpse of self-representation in the realm
of everyday living.
Rather than recoiling from showing themselves with their hands sullied by com-
merceas any self-respecting elite Pompeian would doVerecundus and his wife in-
structed an artist to advertise to all who pass just what they sold. Everyone who could read
knew who they were by reading Verecunduss cognomen, or last name, under his picture.
This visual representation demonstrated that for non-elites there was no stigma attached
to work, but rather thatunder the protection of the gods and in full view of allwork
was to be celebrated. If Verecundus chose to include himself in the company of sweaty
feltworkers and lint-covered wool combersand his wife chose to show herself sur-
rounded by the shops wares selling goods to a customerit was because they took pride
in what they did. And if the main thrust of the painting ensemble was to invoke the fa-

1 1 1
vor of the gods, the visual connection of Verecundus with his Genius above, and his wife
with Mercury, proclaimed to all the happy results of the gods favor.
A fullonica or fullery provided two services: nishing newly woven cloth and cleaning soiled
cloth. Although one could use wool cloth immediately after weaving, the processes col-
lectively called fulling were necessary to clean it further, to shrink it, soften it, bleach it
white, and to give it a nap if desired. The rst step was to wash the wool cloth in warm
water with a grease cutter such as natron, potash, soapwort root, or urine. For this and
other washing processes, fulleries needed large supplies of two liquids, water and urine
(both animal and human), and had to make provision to obtain them.
The next step was
to rub fullers earth (creta fullonica) into the cloth to whiten it and give it luster. After
washing the cloth again and beating it, the fullers hung it to dry. Once dry, the fullers
brushed the cloth with various kinds of combs, and then fumigated it with sulphur to
bleach it. For this process they draped the cloth over a wicker frame, the viminea cavea.
At this point the fullers rubbed the cloth with fullers earth again, brushed it to give it a
nap, and, if necessary, cropped the bers to make it smooth. The last step was to press the
cloth, after sprinkling it with water. Rather than using heated irons, fullers employed large
mechanical presses.
Modern understanding of the workings of the fullonica advanced signicantly with
the excavation, in 1825, of the structure at VI, 8, 20, just north of the forum on the Street
of Mercury (g. 64). Both its unusual architectural features and four paintings repre-
senting fullers at work provided concrete evidence for the activities that written sources
described. The building takes up one-fourth of insula 8 and is the largest fullonica found
to date at Pompeii.
The owner built his establishment into the space of two former private houses. Clients
would enter through the large vestibule (40), furnished with a doorkeepers room (7). The
three intercommunicating rooms at the east of the peristyle (39) were reception spaces
(1113), reserved for customers who dropped o or picked up items. Small work rooms
(1523) occupy the spaces on the peristyles south side, and at the back are the square
washing tubs of dierent sizes (26AC), all furnished with running water. A little stair-
case gives access to the deepest of the tubs (26). Room 27 has six niches for treading cloth,
and room 30 is the largest washing area, perhaps for the nal rinsing of the cloth.
The only decoration connected specically with the structures conversion from house
to fullery is the installation of a fountain decorated with paintings between two piers on
the east side of the peristyle (a and b on the plan). The paintings date to Pompeiis last
two decades. Only the paintings on the right-hand pier survive, since the excavator had
it removed whole to the Naples Museum shortly after its excavation.
As we will see, these
1 1 2

paintings are nearly comprehensive in their depiction of how fullers (fullones) processed
cloth that came from the looms.
However, modern scholars interested in what the paint-
ings revealed about ancient wool-processing technology have ignored their original con-
text, using them as illustrations of the fulling process rather than asking how they might
function as an expression of the mentality of the owner and his workers.
In its original setting the Naples pier formed part of a fountain installation now re-
duced to near-rubble, since it was left to the mercy of the elements. The other paintings
that completed the decorative program have vanished. One contemporary view survives,
an engraving made after Sir William Gells drawing (g. 65).
It shows the fountain seen
from the southwest, the view a worker might have as he approached the suite of rooms
(1113) reserved for clients. Combining Gells drawing with contemporary descriptions,
it is possible to reconstruct the decorative program. What emerges is the use of images
of work that have a very dierent eect and content from those decorating the front of
Verecunduss shop.
The fountain itself consisted of a shell-shaped marble basin supported on a uted col-
umn. Both the column and the basin itself have disappeared. To either side of the basin
were little spur-walls, rising to the height of the basin, that jutted out from the framing
piers; the pipes inside them spouted water into the basin. When the water owed over
the edges of the basin, it fell into the peristyles rain gutter.
As the only decorations on
an otherwise unadorned peristyle, the fountain, together with the decorated piers and
waterspout walls, must have held a certain fascination for both visitors and workers.
The artist unied the ensemble in two ways: he provided a red ocher ground for the

1 1 3
Pompeii, plan of Fullonica
at VI, 8, 20.
whole (like the painter of the lararium of the House of the Sarno Lararium, g. 42), and
he painted the whole of the lowest register, or socle, with a frieze of water plants and birds
punctuated by representations of masks. He also created important symmetries in the
decoration of the upper zones. On the south side of the north pier he painted an image
of Venus, represented as a blurry gure in Gells engraving, but well-preserved on the ac-
tual pier in Naples (plate 4). Facing Venus on the north side of the south pier was the im-
age of a water god.
The river god (similar, perhaps, to the image of the River Sarno in
House I, 14, 7, g. 42) poured water from an amphora: a tting allusion to the water-
works of the fountain beneath him. Venusalthough born of the seadoes not appear
in any of her watery forms. Instead she wears a radiate diadem and a red mantle that falls
behind her shoulders to reveal her nude body. Images of Venus following the same late-
Hellenistic model appear throughout Pompeii; here she is the youthful goddess of love
not the large, maternal goddess that we have seen on the shop-fronts of Verecundus and
of the devotee of Cybele.
These were the images on the inner sides of the two piers that faced the fountain it-
self. On the sides of the piers and spur-walls facing east, where clients gathered in rooms
1113, the artist carried through the theme of divine presence and protection. (Unfortu-
nately Gells engraving does not show us this side of the fountain complex.) On the east
face of the corner pier the artist painted two snakes approaching an altar. Boyce includes
this painting in his corpus of Pompeian lararia, but Frhlich rejects this designation be-
cause the other necessary element, a niche or altar to place oerings on, is missing.
image of the snakes, like those of the gods, is an appeal for protectionfor the workers
and for the establishment as a whole. The artist rounded out the cycle of deities by paint-
ing images of Dionysus and Apollo on the spur walls jutting out from the piers that car-
1 1 4

Pompeii, Fullonica at VI, 8, 20. Decorative scheme of fountain, walls, and piers in
southeast part of peristyle, seen from the southwest of peristyle.
ried the water pipes to the fountain basin. The pairing of these two very dierent, but
complementary, gods is as common in contemporary Pompeian decoration as it is in tex-
tual sources of the period.
So much for the standard imagery. For the east and north sides of the right-hand pier
the patron instructed the artist to paint images that, rather than invoking the gods pro-
tection over his establishment, showed what his workersboth men and womendid
there. A customer would have probably rst taken in the charming fountain installation,
and then her eye would scan the two registers on the pier facing the drop-o and wait-
ing rooms. In the upper painting, reading from left to right, she would rst see the im-
age of a woman seated on a stool (plate 4). She wears a long garment and has a hairnet,
necklace, and bracelet. Her right arm rests on her thigh while with her left hand she grasps
the edge of a piece of cloth held by a young servant girl. The servant girl wears a simple
long tunic and holds an objectperhaps a needlein her lowered left hand. Scholars
have interpreted the seated woman variously: as the proprietor of the fullery,
as a cloth
checker, or as a customer.
Given her small size in relation to the other workers, she is
likely to be a worker or customernot the proprietor. If she is a customer, a viewer could
see herself in this scenean excellent way to engage and perhaps atter a client.
To the right of this group are two much larger gures of men, both in essentially the
same dress (short tunics) and in the same pose, but carrying out very dierent work. The
one on the left leans forward while turning his head to face the viewer. He is brushing a
white tunic with red borders that hangs from a bar. The other worker is carrying the cage-
like viminea cavea on his head; he has a pailprobably lled with sulphurin his left
hand and a bundle (of cloth?) over his right shoulder.
An owl sits on top of the fumi-
gating framethe bird sacred to Minerva, protector and patron of all clothworkers.
The lower picture arranges four workers in apsidal niches, each dened by low pro-
jecting walls (plates 4 and 5; compare also the fullonica scene from the House of the Vet-
tii, g. 56). The excavator immediately connected this representation with the structures
he found in the room at the northwest corner of the peristyle (27 on the plan), where the
workers tread on the cloth to clean it while using the niches side walls for support.
the workers stand in round tubs, but the second gure from the left is at least twice the
size of the other three, a dramatic example of the artists use of size hierarchy. The two
workers in the outer niches each hold a piece of cloth; the artist depicted their faces in
three-quarters view so that each looks toward the center of the painting. The second worker
from the right is a bit taller than the outer gures, but unlike them he is fat and bald. He
stands in a frontal pose and holds a cloth that he has pulled out of his treading basin. The
largest gure demonstrates how the cloth treaders used the side walls to support them-
selves while they worked. He looks out at the viewer and wears the same simple, hiked-
up tunic as the others.
Although some would like to make him the owner of the fullery because of his large
size, it is unlikely that the proprietor would want the artist to represent him doing the
least glamorous work in the establishment. Nor is it likely that he is an adult and the oth-

1 1 5
ers are children, since the second gure from the right is bald. The most likely explana-
tion is that the artist, instructed to show four dierent activities, had to double the height
of this gure to enable him to rest his arm on the niche walls. And as Frhlich points
out, if all four fullers had been represented at the same size, the painter would have run
out of space.
As in many representations of work activities where the artist has no icono-
graphical models, shifts of scale are a common way of allowing him to pack extra infor-
mation into a scene. In the image just above, he employed this device to show three ac-
tivities: the woman checking the cloth, the man brushing the cloth, and the one carrying
the viminea cavea.
There exist three other representations of fullers treading cloth in vatstwo stone re-
liefs and one paintingbut this one is intent on recording the particular installation of
vats and niches that the fullers used in this shop.
More important, the specicity of both
the activities of each fuller and the careful depiction of each mans physical traits leaves
little doubt that they are portraits of the workers in this fullonica.
The artist continued his story of the fullonicas activities on the small side of the pier
that faced north, to a viewers right. In the upper picture of the right small side he de-
picted the cloth-press (plate 5). Although there were no remains of this fullonicas cloth-
press, Spinazzolas excavations of the Fullonica Stephani on the Street of Abundance
turned up a carbonized cloth-press very much like the one depicted in the painting.
again, the painter had no traditional models for this image: he had to observe the press
that the establishment used in order to reproduce its details. It is a straightforward im-
age: with a minimum of perspective foreshortening he represented the sturdy framework
and the mechanical apparatus: two large vertical screws pressed the upper board against
the bottom board where workers placed the cloth.
Although the rst image we looked at could have been either a cloth checker or a cus-
tomer, there can be no doubt that it is a customer who appears in the picture beneath
this. Two drying poles suspended above in oblique perspective hold cloth set out to dry,
providing a slightly whimsical setting for the scenes beneath. At the lower left a woman
either receives a cloth from a young man standing in front of her or gives the cloth to him
(plate 6). Two details support it as a drop-o scene: the cloth is not carefully folded, and
the man receiving it looks out to the viewer, away from the customer.
This, then, is cloth-
ing that has seen use and simply needs cleaninga motif found in a number of grave
reliefs of fullers.
And once again, the man who looks out at the viewer is one of the
fullersanother probable portrait of the fullonicas personnel.
On the right we see a woman clothworker, represented at a larger scale than the group
on the left. She is cleaning a tool, perhaps a wool-comb. The image is an important one,
for it furnishes evidence not only for the presence of women workers in this fullonica,
but also for the visual representation of such workers. Natalie Kampen notes in her study
of second- and third-century reliefs of working women at Ostia that the pattern there is
quite dierent: artists represent women selling and serving (for example, as shopkeep-
1 1 6

ers or midwives) but never actually performing manual labor.
This image of a woman
working in cloth production might reect the owners pride in his female workers, or it
may simply indicate an attitude that welcomed such images in Pompeii at the time. There
exists a strong visual parallel in the image of a working psyche in the fulling scenes in the
House of the Vettii (see g. 56). Although a psyche is a female demigod, not a real woman,
such representations of psyches at work occur frequently in decorative painting of the
What did this painting ensemble, and, in particular, the images of the workers them-
selves, mean to people who frequented this fullery: the proprietor, the customers, and
perhaps most importantlythe workers themselves? Although the cost of the fountain-
with-painting could not have been great, its importance lies in the fact that the owner
instructed the artist to depict the activities of his workers. The images of the gods are
standard, but the scenes of work were custom-made. The only other decorated spaces in
his establishment were the three interconnecting rooms reserved for customers (1113);
today only the mosaic oors remain. Descriptions from the time of the excavations re-
veal that the paintings had lofty mythological themes. In room 12 were three center pic-
tures: Theseus Victorious over the Minotaur,
Adonis and Aphrodite,
and an uncertain pic-
ture that may have shown Theseus leaving Ariadne on Naxos.
It is impossible to
determine whether these paintings were left over from the houses previous life as a res-
idence, or whether the owner of the fullonica ordered them to decorate the waiting rooms.
Either way, the paintings, along with the original Second-Style mosaic oor in room 11,
gave these reception or waiting rooms a semblance of high culture even as they provided
a refuge amidst the noise and stench of the fullery. Those waiting were either the cus-
tomers themselves or their slaves.
But the proprietor, it seems, also wanted to show his pride, not only in his establish-
ment but also in his workers. If he instructed the painter to make into portraits the vi-
gnettes of the workers treading cloth, the man accepting dirty laundry, and the woman
cleaning her toolas I believe he didthen he wanted to show not just what his em-
ployees did but also what they looked like. He wished to put a face, as it were, on his lit-
tle industrial operation. For the customer, the surprise of matching a workers face in the
fresco with the person he or she was dealing with must have been a pleasant one. It was
also, one could argue, a good way for the owner to sweeten his workers as well: seeing
themselves at workand in the company of the gods and goddesses of the fountain
would have reinforced their pride in their work and perhaps their loyalty to their boss.
The owner, unlike the self-proclaiming Verecundus, is absent from these scenes. If the
workers were slaves, the paintings exhibited the skills that would perhaps earn them
enough money to buy their freedom one day.
The fountain complex in all its specicity had little in common with the generic dec-
oration that graced many workspaces in Pompeii, and almost nothing in common with
the work scenes transformed into the never-never land of cupids and psyches, like those

1 1 7
in the House of the Vettii. Right there for all to seeowner, customers, and workers
was a series of images celebrating the workers and the machinery of their establishment.
For each viewer, the paintings message was slightly dierent, depending on his or her
status and his or her relation to the business of the fullery. Yet for all viewers, the images
of the workers and their tools celebrateand, in a sense, elevateeveryday life and the
ordinary people who worked in the fullery.
Most of the stone reliefs showing people at work, or representing the tools of their trades,
come from burial contexts. Scholars have long studied them for the information they pro-
vide about Roman trades and professions.
Kampens study of reliefs from Ostia show-
ing working women was the rst to explore questions of gender and social status.
own approach is similar to hers in that I wish to understand how representations of work
articulated the patrons values, identity, and social standing for viewers of dierent back-
grounds. From an enormous range of reliefs, I have chosen several whose densely packed
imagery has encouraged me to make connections with the society and economy of the
cities they come from.
Ravenna, the ancient city of Classis, was an important harbor in the Roman period. Lo-
cated on the delta of the Po river, it was a center for trade and shipping, and an important
port on the northern Adriatic. As in all port cities, exchange of goodsin this case, agri-
cultural products from the rich Po valley for luxury items from the eastern Mediterranean
required a large labor force. Classis was also a base for the Roman navy. The numerous
grave monuments found in Ravenna and throughout the Po Delta provide an idea of the
work that people did and in some cases give us their names and those of their spouses.
The most informative of these monuments is the stele of Longidienus.
Despite the fact that we have no information about the original context of the large
vertical monument commemorating Longidienus and his family, its clear imagery and
inscription provide valuable insights about the patron, his work, and his messages to view-
ers (g. 66).
Both its style and its inscription date it to the Augustan period (27 b.c.
a.d. 14). Among the great number of grave steles and funerary altars from the region
studied by Mansuelli, Longidienuss is the only one that specically names a profession
in the inscription: he is a shipbuilder (faber navalis).
He announces his profession twice,
in fact, for in the relief at the bottom of the stele the artist has shown Longidienus work-
ing. The ship is in drydock, nearly nished, although the mast has not been stepped.
Longidienus wears a tunic and is smoothing a curved board with a kind of axe (ascia),
while standing on a rectangular block or chest.
It is characteristic of a boats architec-
1 1 8

ture that its pieces are not squared rectangles, but curved. Unlike the generic motif of a
man planing a board in the painting of the carpenters procession at Pompeii (see plate
3), here the artist has detailed and emphasized Longidienuss special skills in shaping
and tting the curved boards.
The indentations on the board may function to separate
out the shrouds.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this image is the patrons insistence that the
viewer know that the person working is Longidienus himself. The little rectangular plaque
between the end of the board and the ships rear says: Publius Longidienus, son of Pu-
blius, busy at work.
With this combination of verbal and visual representations (there
were two more completed ships on the narrow sides of the stele) Longidienus drives home
the point that he is not a shipping contractor with a big business but a man whose suc-

1 1 9
Ravenna, grave stele of
Longidienus and Longidiena.
cess depended on his own skills. In the portraits and inscriptions above that take up the
other two-thirds of the stele, he projects his hopes for the future.
Here Longidienus announces his status as a freeborn Roman citizen even while de-
claring his love for a wife who had been his slave. The artist singled out Longidienus and
Longidiena by placing them in a tall niche with an arch over each gure and by repre-
senting them as nearly half-length gures. Longidienus, on the left, seems to be stand-
ing and surveying the terrain. He wears the toga, symbol of his citizen status, his right
hand emerging from its deep curve (sinus).
Even though Longidienas face is gone, we
can see that the artist placed her behind her mate, since his left shoulder overlaps her
right. She holds her left hand across her breast and wears a garment with its edge pulled
up over her that may be the stolathe proper garment of a Roman matron.
The inscription below articulates their relationship: Publius Longidienus, son of Pu-
blius, of the tribe of Camilia, shipbuilder, established (this monument) while he was alive
also for Longidiena Stacte, freedwoman of Publius.
Longidiena was once his slave, and
Longidienus has freed her in order to marry her legitimately. She had been his property,
and even though he has freed her, her status does not match his: she is not freeborn (in-
genua). The visual representation reinforces this point: in tomb monuments commem-
orating properly married people, the couple often joins right hands, in a gesture known
as dextrarum iunctio.
Here the artist has placed them as close together as he could, but
their hands do not touchin fact Longidienas right hand is not visible.
The portraits below represent the two young freedmen who dedicated the altar to Longi-
dienus, their patronus. The artist has dierentiated them from Longidienus as much as
possible. They occupy a single half-circle that allows us to see just their heads and shoul-
ders. Whereas Longidienus stands stiy erect, his eyes looking out into space, these two
young men are supple and animated. The formulaic inscription says only that these two
former slaves paid for the monument: Publius Longidienus Ruo, freedman of Publius,
and Publius Longidienus Piladespotus, freedman of Publius, paid the cost [ for building
the monument] to their patronus.
Yet the composition is anything but formulaic, for
it expresses familial relationships among Longidienus, Longidiena, and the two freed-
men. The household or familia consisted of husband, wife (former slave), and the hus-
bands freedmen.
The Ravenna relief is particularly eloquentand touchingin the ways that it reects
both Longidienuss world and that of his two freedmen. Longidienus is proud of his work,
and his freedmen emphasize that work in their monument to him. They represent, both
in the inscription and in the four portraits, their relation to their patronus and to his freed-
woman wife. To an elite viewer, the monument was a pastiche: whereas tomb monuments
with portraits like these, showing the deceased looking out from niches, had been popu-
lar among the eliteand copied by wealthy freedpersonsfor some time, they never tried
to connect the portraits with the world of work.
Longidienuss stele was an aront to
elite taste. A freeborn man looking at the monument would see in the monument a pat-
1 20

tern that was quite frequent among the working poor, when a mans aection for a slave
in Roman thought and law a possession that one owned rather than a personturned
into a permanent union.
Another grave monument, in the form of an altar dedicated to Atimetus and Epaphra,
comes from the city of Rome and dates to around the middle of the rst centuryslightly
later than the stele of Longidienus.
If the stele of Longidienus articulates complex per-
sonal relationships, it is because the freedmen who paid for it focused most of the im-
agery on portraits while dedicating just one scene to characterize their patrons work.
The monuments inscriptions mirror and reiterate this emphasis. Although the inscrip-
tion on the altar tells us that Lucius Cornelius Atimetusfreeborn like Longidienus
dedicated his altar to himself and his meritorious freedman, L. Cornelius Epaphra, and
to his other freedmen, freedwomen, and their descendants, its imagery focuses on pro-
duction and sales rather than on presenting portraits of the patron and his dependents.
In this sense it resonates more with the paintings on the facade of Verecunduss shop at
Pompeii than with Longidienuss stele, since it emphasizes the connections between the
making and the selling of goods. Their setting and purpose are quite dierent, of course.
Verecundus was decorating the exterior of his workplacea temporary thing, to judge
from the fact that most of the paintings got covered by electoral slogans not long after the
artist painted them. The altar, well-carved in ne marble, was meant to perpetuate the
memory of L. Cornelius Atimetus.
The quality of the carving in the two reliefs on either side of the altar is quite high
a characteristic of many such monuments from the city of Rome.
On the right side we
see a smiths shop, where two men in tunics work at an anvil (g. 67). In the background
is a forge with glowing ames. A detail of the bellows appears behind the man on the left.
On a crossbar above hang a knife, a three-sided cutting device, pincers, a garden-knife,
and a straight knife.
The standing man raises his hammer to strike the metal object,
possibly a steel rod, that his seated co-worker holds on the anvil with his left hand. Its end
is in the re, and the seated man holds a tool, perhaps a hammer, in his right hand.
A large cabinet (armarium) lled with the products of the knifesmiths work domi-
nates the relief on the altars left side (g. 68). Atimetus has arranged them according to
type: in the upper shelf hang sickles and garden knives, in the middle one are nine straight-
bladed knives and two three-sided tools that may have been used to spread the wax on
writing tablets. At the bottom are writing cases bound around styluses.
Against this back-
ground is a scene that emphasizesthrough both pose and dressthe social distinc-
tions between the two men depicted. Gerhard Zimmer proposes that the togatus on the
left is Atimetus and the man in a short-sleeved tunic is his freedman Epaphra.
He sees

1 21
Rome, Altar of Atimetus and
Epaphra, left side.
Rome, Altar of Atimetus and
Epaphra, front and right side.
the relief on the altars left side as an image of Atimetus and Epaphra working together:
on the right side they are posing beside their nished wares and wearing the clothing
that distinguishes the freeborn Atimetus from his freedman (but co-worker) Epaphra.
I prefer Kampens reading of this scene as one of sales.
Details of dress, composi-
tion, and gesture support Kampens reading. Although both Atimetus and Epaphra had
the right to wear the toga, the artist has contrasted the dress of the two men: the man on
the left wears the toga and the one on the right a tunichis workclothes. If we under-
stand the togatus as a customer, then the man dressed in workclothes is the proprietor,
Atimetus. If we read the scene from left to right, the togatus is a customer who has en-
tered from the left, and Atimetuss gesture indicates his goods with his raised right hand.
There may even be a parallel in the paintings on the facade of Verecunduss shop, where
we see Verecundus and scenes of work on the left and his wife and her customer in a
scene of selling on the right.
The visual dierences indicate dierent concerns. Where Longidienus is satised
with a single, unembellished representation of his shipbuilding work, Atimetus feels
compelledlike Verecundusto record details. The closeness of the gures in the
smithing scene and the clutter of goods cornucopiously displayed in the sales scene ex-
press Atimetuss desire to show the viewer both how he does his work and what an abun-
dance of ne products he provides for his customers. Such emphasis on production and
productsoften magnifying the size of the tools used or goods sold so that they dwarf
the human gures in the reliefscharacterizes most reliefs representing handworkers.
A freedman or slave would perhaps envy Epaphras being honoredand probably pic-
tured as wellon this ne altar. A freeborn working man looking at the reliefs would
understand Atimetuss desire to celebrate both the diculty of the work and the full range
of products that peoplelike the togate customersought out. It was a monument to
his pride in his work.
When excavators at Ostia found the well-known relief of a woman selling vegetables and
small animals, they could not determine from what building it came (g. 69).
Most schol-
ars assign it a date in the second half of the second century. Although it looks like many
other reliefs of work found on tomb facades at the cemetery of nearby Isola Sacra, its
ndspotalong a busy street leading to the mouth of the Tiberindicated that it was a
shop sign. Considered as such, the relief raises interesting questions about the place of
women in Ostias commercial life as well as about the possible responses of customers
to the relief s imagery.
A woman to the right of center stands behind a counter made up of three crates or
cages. She gazes in prole at a diminutive man as she hands him some sort of round veg-
etable or fruit with her right hand; she grasps another with her left hand. The womans
gure obscures all but the head and shoulder of a second person behind the counter, a

1 23
male or female assistant. To the right, on top of the middle crate, are three stacked bas-
kets; the artist has represented their contents by depicting a snail at the top left of the
stack. Two pet monkeys ll the space of the upper right-hand corner. The artist shows
two hares poking their heads out of the crate beneath the monkeys, and the beaks of fowl
probably chickensprotrude from the bottoms of the other two cages. We see just their
beaks, and the artist has depicted a gutter for their food at the base of their cages. Our
businesswoman sold dressed as well as live fowl and rabbits: two geese or ducks hang
from a wooden rack to the left of center, and the two men at the far left seem to be dis-
cussing the hare that one of them holds.
At the time that the artist carved this relief, in the second half of the second century
a.d., Ostia was booming. Although it had been an important military camp, protecting
Rome at the mouth of the Tiber since the third century b.c., its growth as a commercial
center came when the building of two great harbors made it Romes principal supply city.
The rst of these, built by Claudius around a.d. 50, allowed the great ships laden with
grain, oil, and wine to unload their goods within 15 miles of Rome rather than at distant
Pozzuoli or Civitavecchia. Trajan built a larger, more ecient harbor fty years later, along
with a canal that allowed more rapid access to the Tiber. A building boom transformed
the city of Ostia. Building contractors razed the citys single-story structures to build new
multistoried warehouses and apartment buildings in reproof brick-faced concrete. Os-
tias population soared to about 40,000mostly non-elite people connected with mov-
ing enough supplies to Rome to sustain its population of more than one million.
In the context of images of working women that we have seen so farVerecunduss
wife and the woman cleaning her woolworking toolthere are two anomalies that sin-
gle this particular patron out from the rest. She seems to be the sole proprietor, and she
instructed the artist to represent her petstwo monkeysin her sign. Toynbee points
out that monkeys had been pets in Italy since the third century b.c., and she considers
1 24

Ostia, relief with woman selling food.
the ones in the Ostia relief to be the saleswomans pets, put there as curiosities to attract
They are engaging: they turn toward each other in three-quarters view, the
one on the left scratching its head. Their benign expressions and the fact that they are
not tied up indicates that they belong to the woman at the counter.
The other anomaly is a more important one in terms of our search for Roman view-
ers attitudes. In the absence of inscriptions it is impossible to know whether the shop
was jointly owned by a man and a woman, as seems likely from comparison with the
scenes of work we have looked at so far. It is possible that the man standing to the left
and gesturing broadly with his right hand toward the dead hare is the coproprietor; yet
he could also be a customer. The one unambiguous proprietor is the woman, a point that
the artist reinforced by placing her behind the counter and by giving her an assistant in
the gure who looks out over her right arm.
We do not know her social status, but if she is the owner of her shoprather than a
slave or freedwoman in the employ of the actual ownerthe relief declares to the world
her pride in her work. A viewer would have understood that it was also an advertisement
of what she sold. The clear presentation of the animals, vegetables, and fruits for sale was
the sculptors priority: for instance, he made the customer at the counter small so that a
viewer could see the hanging poultry clearly. A freedwoman looking at the sign would
identify with the womans pride in her work, since work was the way she had earned her
freedom. A freeborn man might nd the details of the scene entertaining (especially the
pet monkeys), yet the image as a whole was unexceptional, since it tted the stereotype
of visual representations of women working: nearly all showed women engaged in sales
or service occupations.
Collegia of the commercial sort dominated the organization of workers at Ostia to an even
greater extent than at Pompeii. Inscriptions record a great number of dierent collegia
at Ostia, each with a dierent commercial interest.
There were collegia (loosely trans-
lated as guilds) of rope-makers, shipbuilders, and carpenters. We get a sense of the in-
tense pace of work that such groups did from the mosaics surrounding Ostias so-called
Forum of the Corporations (g. 70; see also g. 36). The mosaics decorating the oces
occupying the inboard side of the double portico that surrounded the temple record the
names of many collegia as well as the names of commercial enterprisesloosely trans-
lated as corporationsthat met with customers there. A grain merchant in Rome, for
instance, would go to an oce with the image of a grain bushel-measure (modius) in front,
perhaps with a leveling stick (rutellum) poised above it. He might be contracting with a
collegium of grain measurers (mensores) to measure the grain in a lot he has bought from
a grain-shipping company at another oce (statio) in the portico.
As it turns out, we have a representation of just this sort of work in a mosaic in a large
hall that was the social and religious center for a collegium of grain measurers (g. 71).

1 25
Brick-stamps found in the walls of the hall date its original construction to a.d. 112. It
formed a meeting place next to the mensores little temple, high on a podium with four
columns across the frontcertainly dedicated to the grain-goddess Ceres, protector of
all mensores.
The fact that around 200 masons doubled the thickness of the walls and
added four brick piers suggests that the hall had an impressively high vaulted ceiling.
Bases for travertine columns anking the entrance complete the picture of a stately open
1 26

Ostia, plan of Hall and
Temple of the Grain
Measurers (I, 19, 12).
Ostia, Forum of the Corporations (II, 7, 4), statio 5. Mensor leveling modius with a rutellum.
space of 16 by 9.5 meters (53 by 31 feet) The mensores commissioned the mosaic oor
after the renovations; its style dates it to a.d. 23050.
In a decorative eld made up of big white bands braided around black circles is a rec-
tangular picture (g. 72). Its position, parallel to the side walls rather than to the back of
the hall, meant that a viewer entering the hall from the street had to walk in along the
right side of the space and stop midway take in its imagery. For a grain measurer, the
scene was a familiar one. There are six workers, ve men and a boy. All are wearing long-
sleeved tunics. The second man from the left has his tunic hiked up with a belt around
his waist, to allow him to move his legs freely; whereas the man at the far right has his
tunic arranged so that it forms a decorative fold at his waist. He is also the only man not
barefoot: the crisscross straps at his ankles show that he is wearing high-topped shoes.
Each man performs a dierent task. Although we cannot know what the rst man on the
left was doing, since a gap has erased his gesture and attribute, it is clear that the man
next to him, weighed down by the big sack over his shoulders, is bringing in the grain to
be measured. Becatti has successfully identied the boy at the center: he is not an alle-
gorical gure with a downturned palm-frond in his left hand, but a worker. His job is to
keep a record of how many sacks of grain get measured, using a simple counting device
(calculus) that he holds in his left hand. It is a cord onto which he adds a wooden stick

1 27
Ostia, Hall of the Grain Measurers, mosaic.
for each unit that the mensores handle.
The presence of a boy in this mosaic under-
scores the Romans ample use of child laborwhether slaves or freebornespecially for
simple tasks such as these. The mosaicist has made him an engaging gure, as he looks
out at the viewer and raises his right hand in greeting.
The man holding the rutellum up high also telegraphs the importance of his job to all
viewers. He stands over the huge modius holding his left hand over the grain as though
it were a sacred substance. The modius, in the artists vision, has become a substitute
altarhow else explain the gesture of the man at far right? His frontal pose, fancy shoes
and tunic, and above all the way he holds his right hand over the modius show that he is
more important than the rest of the mensores. He is most likely the head of the collegium,
and the artist has stressed his importance by showing him in the stance of a priest oer-
ing sacrice at an altar: a Roman viewer would understand this reference at once, since
all that is missing is the patera in his hand.
Between the measurer and head of the col-
legium we see another stevedore who looks at the modius while holding his empty sack
over his left shoulder.
Becattis reconstruction of the inscription above the mensores, although necessarily
hypothetical because of the missing letters, has the merit of being straightforward and
quite plausible. He proposes V[ilici] Sex H(orreorum) Agi(lianorum?) Hi(c) Six [work-
ers] of the Agilianus Warehouse here.
Perhaps the boys raised index nger is point-
ing up to the inscription. Surrounding the Hall of the Grain Measurers are rows of ware-
houses extending along the road that leads to the mouth of the Tiber, so that the Hall
could have served both for the collegiums religious and organizational meetings and as
an oce, much like the stationes of the Forum of the Corporations. (It is unlikely that
grain measuring took place here, since practicality demanded that the mensores went
where the grain was stored and transported, not vice versa.) In addition to the mosaics
imagery and its fragmentary inscription, a marker-stone (cippus) found inside the build-
ing conrms that this was the statio of the grain measurers collegium.
The mosaicparticularly in its stately setting within the big hall and next to Ceres
templeexpresses the solidarity of the group in a way that the other, earlier visual rep-
resentations of work did not. Just as a slave, former slave, or freedperson touted his or
her work as a means of constructing an identity, so the collegium expressed its pride in
its members work by showing what they did, how they did it, and who the workers were.
We six, the inscription crows.
A member of the collegium would recognize not only the work but also the hierar-
chies of workers in the mosaic. He had advanced through the ranks, from being a little
boy with a counting cord, to a stevedore hefting the bulky sacks, to the mensor, with the
easy job of measuring. Perhaps he had not advanced through the ranks, and the work
had taken its toll on his body, like that of the forty-year-old worker from Herculaneum,
whose skeleton showed fused vertebrae from carrying heavy loads.
The mensores may
have prevented such abuse of their workers by reserving easier jobs for the older ones
one advantage of having such a guild, after all. An elite man would perhaps see in the
1 28

mosaic the perfection of the Roman system of organization and division of labor, mod-
eled on the eciencies of the military. For the slave, the image showed the way up to
freedomthrough hard work that would win freedom and perhaps an easier life.
Simple as it is, the mosaic of the grain measurers encapsulates both the intricacies
and the aspirations of organized enterprise in the later Roman empire. Ostia would suer,
in fact, from the demands for greater eciency, as Portus, the city built around Trajans
harbor, began to take over the handling of the goods that came in on the big ships.
at this moment, the six grain measurers project not only their pride in their work but also
the success of their system to a range of viewers: members, customers, and those not so
fortunate as to be included in their ranks.

1 29
The amphitheater was no football stadium.
Spectaclesshows of various sorts that the ancient Romans thronged towere more
than mere entertainment. In addition to what they saw on the stage, in the arena, or in
the circus, people saw each other at spectacles. One function of the shows was to demon-
strate and reinforce the organization of the social classes. Furthermore, paying for spec-
tacles was an important way not only for the elites but also for wealthy freedmen to ad-
vance upward. There is an enormous and growing scholarly literature on every aspect of
Roman spectacle, and I cannot address it fully here. Rather, I want to frame the experi-
ence of spectacles with an emphasis on the identities of non-elite viewers. Because of the
nature of the visual evidence I limit my scope to the rst century a.d. I begin with ob-
servations on how Roman theater marked both audience and players socially, and how
those social distinctions played themselves out in visual representation. I then examine
images of games in the amphitheater that express the non-elite origins of the men who
commissioned them. Taken together, these visual representations provide a telling prole
of ways that spectacle encoded the culture of ordinary Romans and played an important
role in their lives.
Roman theater buildings have much to tell us about Roman social life. Going to the
theater was one of the great collective experiences in the Roman city, connected as it
1 30
was to the celebration of festivals that liberated everyoneeven slavesfrom every-
day work. Excavations of Roman cities and towns throughout the empire always turn
up theater buildings along with other marks of Romanness (romanitas)temples, baths,
and amphitheatersfor the theater was one of the building blocks of Roman culture.
Up until the time of the late Republic, theater buildings in the city proper were tem-
porary structures; Rome was wary of allowing permanent theater buildings because they
were potentially dangerous gathering places for political upheaval. Romes rst per-
manent theater rose only in 55 b.c.
In smaller cities the situation was somewhat dierent. Pompeiis Large Theater be-
gan around 200 b.c. as a Greek theater, when the city was under Samnite domination.
The Large Theater took advantage of a natural slope for the steeply raked, concentric rows
of seats, and the separate, low stage building allowed theatergoers a view to the landscape
behind. After Sulla reduced Pompeii to a colony in 80 b.c., the Large Theater began to
take typical Roman form (gs. 73, 74). In this process, the architects brought the sepa-
rate elements of stage, orchestra, and seating together into a self-contained building where
access could be controlled and the social classes easily separated.
As in all Roman theaters, the audienceabout ve thousandsat in the cavea, a seat-
ing area in the shape of a half circle. The cavea rose steeply to the full height of the stage
backdrop, a building called the scaenae frons. Actors declaimed on the shallow stage plat-
form, or pulpitum, in front of the scaenae frons.
What is particularly evident at Pompeii is that the extensive renovations during the
reign of Augustus, paid for by M. Holconius Rufus and his younger brother, Celer, aimed
not only to increase the theaters splendor (all the seats were faced with marble) but also
to separate the classes more clearly. Rufus and Celer erected tribunals, two small rectan-
gular platforms at either end of the stage that were accessible by means of individual stair-
ways. Here sat the magistrates who paid for performances, in full view of all. Between
the tribunals, at ground level, was the orchestra, a semicircle originally used for the cho-
rus, but probably at this time reserved for prominent city ocials. M. Holconius Rufus
and Celer also provided additional seating for women, slaves, the poor, and visitors by
building the crypta, a seating area at the top of the cavea.
To reach its four rows of seat-
ing, however, a person had to climb narrow staircases on the theaters exterior. The twenty
rows of seats in the middle cavea, reserved for citizen males, now also had separate ac-
cess, allowing the bottom cavea to be reserved for the citys most prominent men: the lo-
cal senators (decurions) and wealthy citizens. Paul Zanker sees in this new seating arrange-
ment the enactment of Augustuss cultural politics, as expressed in the lex Iulia theatralis
(the Julian theatrical legislation); the law provided for a larger audience, including de-
serving slaves, but at the same time it sharpened the distinctions between social ranks.
Inscriptions and statuary celebrated the emperor and the men close to him. The same
inscription advertising the generosity of M. Holconius Rufus and Celer appeared twice,
over the two side entrances to the orchestra (the paradoi) and perhaps on the scaenae frons
as well. It read: M(arcus et) M(arcus) Holconii Rufus et Celer cryptam tribunalia theatrum

1 31
Pompeii, plan of Large Theater.
Pompeii, Large Theater. View of stage from cavea.
s(ua) p(ecunia) Marcus Holconius Rufus and Marcus Holconius Celer (built) the crypta,
the tribunals, and the seating with their own money. On the center of the lowest tier of
the middle cavea once stood a monument honoring M. Holconius Rufusprobably a
bronze curule chair, the kind of chair a magistrate sat on.
Excavators found only an in-
scription and holes cut into the marble for the monument. [Dedicated] in accordance
with a decree of the city council to Marcus Holconius Rufus the son of Marcus, ve times
duumvir with judiciary authority, twice quinquennial duumvir, military tribune by choice
of the people, priest of Augustus, and patron of the colony.
The connection of Holco-
niuss honors with the emperor himself comes through in his titles, including that of priest
of Augustus (amen Augusti). The arrangement of statues of Augustus and his family
that lled the niches of the scaenae frons must have reinforced this connection between
the theaters great patron and the emperor.
But of all the visual signs that declared a persons status at the theater, perhaps the
most conspicuous was his or her clothing. Senators and decurions had the right to wear
the broad purple stripe on their togas, distinguishing them from the equestrians (equi-
tes) with their narrow purple stripes, and from the freeborn citizens with their plain white
wool togas. Freedmen could also wear the toga, but slaves, foreigners, and women would
have dressed in clothing varied in color, cut, and fabric. From the top of the cavea, a slave
fortunate enough to get standing room could see the social hierarchy embodied in the
concentric rows, going from the literally colorful non-elites at the top to the men in white
closest to the stage.
The theater, then, was a place to see and to be seen; we can imagine necks craning to
see who of the prominent locals attended. Empty tribunals and bisellia (double-width seats
awarded for civic service) would have been of special interest to all theatergoers, no doubt
causing speculation about why this or that prominent ocial had failed to appear.
Each viewers experience depended on where he or she sat and on eects of light and
shade. From up in the summa cavea, or from seats at either side of the caveas horseshoe
shape, the views were skewed. Furthermore, lighting was unpredictable. Theatrical
events took place during the day; to shade people from direct sunlight the donors would
often see to it that there was an awning. Advertisements for events in the theater and am-
phitheater often promised vela eruntthere will be awnings.
Once the audience was in place, the actors and musicians would march in. The actors
took their places on the stage, the musicians on the stage and sometimes in the orches-
tra. In the rst century a.d., the theater at Pompeii would have provided a variety of en-
tertainments. By this time, although there was very little new writing for the tragic or
comic stage, written sources indicate that the comedies of Plautus and Terence and the
tragedies of Ennius, Naevius, Pacuvius, and Accius continued to be performed.
representations of theatrical scenes abound, for Pompeians commissioned artists to cre-

1 33
ate paintings and mosaics that represented moments from comedy and tragedy to deco-
rate their houses.
Analysis of their content shows that for the most part artists were us-
ing models derived from Hellenistic originalsconceived while comic and tragic play-
wrights were still active. Rather than reecting contemporary theatrical practice, the
widespread incorporation of images from the theater of the past into domestic decora-
tion reected both the patrons nostalgia and the wall-painters reliance on model books
in circulation that reproduced images from the second century b.c.
Theater went through a sea-change around the time of Augustus. Two forms, pantomime
and mime, began to replace the performance of tragedy and comedy. Pantomimebest
described as the dance of an individual performer who conveyed specics of character
and plot solely through movements of his bodyarrived with the inux of Greeks and
Greek culture that reached its peak during the rst century b.c.
Sources always describe
pantomime in terms of a specic performer who would take the center stageand hold
the audience in rapt attentionwhile he silently acted all the roles in a story to musical
Pylades, Augustuss own freedman, was famous for his pantomime
based on stirring moments in Greek tragedies.
Lucianin a long dialogue praising the
importance of pantomime as a high art formdescribes in great detail the range of skills
and themes that the pantomime performer commanded; he was able to link solo scenes
together, impersonating the actions and emotions of several characters at the same time.
The wealthyand even the emperorscourted talented pantomime artists; ancient au-
thors recount the seamy details of palace intrigues involving pantomime performers, par-
ticularly under Caligula, Claudius, and Nero.
If pantomime was an import from the Hellenistic east, mime had its roots in the ear-
liest Roman theater, the Atellan farces, popular well before Plautuss comedies took the
stage in the second century b.c. Although the Atellanaeusually translated from their
original Oscan into Latinwere still popular in the time of Augustus, mime gradually
took their place over the course of the rst century a.d.
Mime, unlike the high-minded
pantomime, was neither a silent nor solo performance. Troupes of actorsincluding
womencreated topical, sidesplitting, and often obscene skits, performing without masks,
wearing outrageous costumesor nothing.
Perhaps the best reection of class-based social attitudes toward contemporary mime
as it existed at Pompeii is in three of the thirteen paintings that originally decorated the
main room of the Tavern on the Street of Mercury. When excavated in 1823, their sexual
subject matter was quite legible.
Today little remains of these erotic picturesalthough
some of the other scenes are in relatively good conditionso that, to reconstruct their
subject matter, we must rely on engravings published in 1836.
The paintings seem to
have represented the seamiest side of mime: the nude mime.
By the second century b.c. the original relation of the nudatio mimarumto cults of fer-
tility had faded into obscurity, while the performances of nude mimes became outlandish
explorations of sexual play.
The annual festival in honor of the goddess Flora, the ludi
Florales, also featured nude dancing; its nal spectacle was a stage production with pros-
1 34

titutes as actors.
Valerius Maximus recounts the story that Cato, that staunch upholder
of old Republican values, left the theater at the Floralia in 55 b.c.: he did not want his
stern presence to spoil the peoples fun.
One painting from the Tavern on the Street of
Mercury has a particularly theatrical avor; a woman represented in prole bends deeply
at the waist to perform several feats simultaneously (g. 75). She reaches down with her
right hand to place a wine pitcher on a low table while she raises a glass of wine to her
She has just lled both her glass and that of her companion, who seizes the op-
portunity as she bends over to penetrate her from the rear. He stands in a relaxed con-
trapposto, with his left leg extended and turned out in three-quarters view while supporting
most of his weight with his exed right. He tucks his left hand behind his hip while stretch-
ing out his right arm. The glass of wine that he holds in the palm of his right hand demon-
strates an equilibrium almost equal to that of his partner.
The woman wears only a breastband, with her hair pulled back from the face and piled
up in a crown of curls. The mans sleeveless tunic descends on a sharp diagonal to reveal
his extraordinarily long penis and one of his testicles. The artist may be representing a
long fake phallus like the ones that male mime actors frequently wore.
This is a detail
that we cannot verify today because of the paintings destruction. Nor can we verify the
most curious element of all: the parallel ropes that appear beneath the couples feet. Hel-

1 35
Pompeii, Caupona on the
Street of Mercury (VI, 10, 1).
Tightrope walkers.
big went so far as to suggest that the principal subject was the performance of a tight-
rope act and that the modern draftsman added the mans erect penis simply to titillate
the nineteenth-century viewer.
Frhlich has suggested a more likely solution, that what
the draftsman interpreted as ropes were merely the cast shadows that regularly appear
in Pompeian paintings as thin lines behind the gures feet.
This picture in an ordinary tavern, evoking or recalling an outrageous sexual perfor-
mance from the theater, was one of the owners ways of attracting viewers and potential
customers into his little shop. His clientele was not an elite one, but rather menand
perhaps some womenof the lower stratum.
What is missing from this picture and others like itstage, background elements, and
representation of the audiencereminds us that it formed part of an interior-decorative
scheme. It alludes to a viewers specic experiences in the theater by exploring a colorful
subject. The painting was a conversation piece, not a document recounting particulars
of plot, theater architecture, or the spectators.
Another kind of wall decoration provides some of that information. These are wall-
painting schemes that depict the architecture of the scaenae frons. In them we get a dier-
ent type of transplant from the theaterand this with an interesting twist, for the artist
populates it with living gures.
It seems strange, on the face of it, that visual representationparticularly the relatively
minor art of decorating the walls of housesshould enact transgressions of any sort. But
beginning with Neros Golden House in Rome (6468), painters transform whole walls
into replicas of the scaenae frons, bringing the theaters salient sign into the domestic
realm. What is more, they populate its aediculas and stairways with gures who dont re-
ally belong there. Who are they and what might their function be?
One way to frame this question is to look at another class of gures who dont belong,
the ones that appear in the mythological pictures that painters placed in the centers of
their wall decorations. Dorothea Michel has explored the problem of these so-called on-
looker gures by analyzing such paintings as the Theseus Liberator from the House of
Gavius Rufus (g. 76). She was trying to nd a rationale for the artists inclusion of spec-
tators who have nothing to do with the central action of the plot. In the Theseus paint-
ing, these onlookers are the people the painter has grouped on the right side of the pic-
ture. In the late sixties, Bianchi Bandinelli characterized the picture from the House of
Gavius Rufus as a Romanized version of the painting that decorated a public building,
the Basilica at Herculaneum (g. 77). In Bianchi Bandinellis view, the artist who painted
the version from Pompeii (dated about a hundred years later than the picture from Her-
culaneum) modied the original Greek composition to include the proletariatyet an-
other instance of the triumph of plebeian art.
Although Bianchi Bandinellis explana-
tion is satisfactory from a formal point of viewafter all, the painter has corrupted, as
1 36

Pompeii, House of Gavius
Rufus (VII, 2, 16), exedra o.
Theseus Liberator.
Herculaneum, Basilica.
Theseus Liberator.
Rome, Domus Aurea, Fourth Style scaenae frons decoration.
Sabratha, Libya. Theater, with reconstructed scaenae frons, last quarter of the second century a.d.
it were, the simpler, more noble Greek compositionit begs the question of purpose and
Michel, basing her analysis on reception theory, postulates that the patrons who had
such pictures in the decorative systems of their houses didnt want Greek paintingsnor
did they want an art-historically correct art collection. They were less interested in the cor-
rect representation of the myth than in being brought into the picture. For Michel, then,
the onlooker gures are important to the patrons and viewers of these pictures because
they reect themselves as viewers. The onlooker gures represent the communication
process between the work of art and the viewer.
If the onlookers are a way of guring the viewer in panel paintings, what is the func-
tion of the gures inhabiting the scaenae frons constructions that artists begin to develop
and elaborate during the Neronian period? Although they had used modied versions of
the scaenae frons as early as the midrst century b.c., the full-blown, ambitious com-
positions covering entire walls in Neros Domus Aurea, dated between 64 and 68, look
more like preserved stage buildings than either Second or Third Style versions.
parison of a drawing of a typical wall from the Domus Aurea with the remarkably well-
preserved scaenae frons of the Theater at Sabratha drives this point home (gs. 78 and
79). In both cases there is a three-part elevation, with a stage platform surmounted by
several stories of anking aediculas. In both cases the aediculas vary their shapes but are
clearly stacked, with the central aedicula marked by its special tympanum.
More remarkable than the accurate representations of the scaenae frons are the gures
that populate it. The appearance of gures within the architectural representations dis-
tinguishes the Domus Aurea decorations from earlier, unpeopled scaenae frons con-
structions, setting a trend that endures through the destruction of Pompeii in 79. In the
Chamber of Achilles on Skyros, a surviving fragment from the east wall combines statues
with living gures (g. 80). Three stucco pilasters divide the wall into compartments; in
front of the compartments are two standing gures and one seated gure. Comparison
with similar representations in sculpture identies the standing males as philosophers
and the seated one as a poet or writer. Representations of statues complete the decora-
tion, including the winged Eros that crowns the central aedicula and the gures of korai
(Greek maidens) that face each other on either side of the pilaster.
The representation of statues in the painted scaenae frons poses few problems of in-
terpretation, since there exists archaeological evidence that architects frequently placed
statuary in the aediculas. More dicult in the theatrical context is the appearance of
philosophers, playwrights, andas we shall seeoering gures. As living persons they
do not belong in this architectural construction.
The only living persons who were supposed to appear on stage appeared belowthe scae-
nae frons, on a shallow stage, and they were actors in costumes, and no one else. Perhaps
the most accurate representation in wall painting of what actors looked like on the stage
is the decoration of cubiculum a in the House of Pinarius Cerialis at Pompeii.
The artist
has posed gures on the shallow stage in front of an elaborate scaenae frons. On the north

1 39
Rome, Domus Aurea, Chamber of Achilles on Skyros, detail.
Pompeii, House of Pinarius Cerialis (III, 4, 4), cubiculum a, north wall. Representation of scaenae frons
with Thoas, Iphigenia, Orestes, and Pylades.
wall appears Iphigenia in Tauris, standing between two attendants and framed by the
central aedicula (g. 81). She is at the top of the stairs leading down to the shallow stage
platform, where two groups appear, the Scythian King Thoas to the left and Orestes and
Pylades, their hands bound in preparation for sacrice, to the right. On the east wall the
artist put Attis in the central aedicula, with Nymphs of the river Sangarios on the stage
platform to the left. Even though the artist has taken his inspiration from his observation
of theatrical performance, the paintings in the House of Pinarius Cerialis fall short of
documenting theatrical practice. He has omitted masks (and, in the case of the nude
Orestes and Pylades, costumes), making us wonder whether these are actors performing
in a pantomime or tableau rather than in a tragic play.
Actors, because they used their bodies improperly, suered the status of infamy (in-
famia). Roman law put prostitutes, gladiators, and actors in this category because they
displayed their bodies in public, an act that in the Roman mind debased their persons
and therefore disqualied them for public oce and such activities as voting. In fact, their
professions made them alien and impure in relation to the Roman citizenry.
Neros ap-
pearance both in the arena and on stage therefore constituted the most debased activity
that an emperor could perform. Catharine Edwards has pointed out the parallels between
the actor and the orator. The actor suered the status of infamy because he used his per-
suasive voice and gestures not for winning law cases or persuading the senate, but for
deceiving the audience into believing that he was the murderous Medea or Canace in la-
The actor, then, represented the dark side of oratorical skills.
It is puzzling, then, that the artist of the Domus Aureaunlike the painter of Pina-
rius Cerialiss cubiculumhas placed the gures of philosophers and poets in the scae-
nae frons, not on the stage platform, and that he has omitted masks and costumes that
would identify them as actors. If they are citizens and orators, why are they there?
At Pompeii artists expanded the repertory of types beyond the philosophers and writ-
ers that we nd in Neros Domus Aurea. In room e of the House of the Vettii they appear
in an abbreviated scaenae frons in the upper zone (g. 82). They ank representations
of Jupiter in the illustration, and Danae and Leda on the other walls; the gures on stair-
ways include elegantly draped women and partially nude males who carry attributes such
as tambourines, pitchers, and trays as they descend the staircases. In the so-called Palaes-
tra at Pompeii the artist has depicted nude athletes; although he borrowed the gural types
from statuary, the artist makes them walk down the stairs to drive home the idea that they
are living persons (g. 83).
What is the Roman viewers relation to these living gures in the scaenae frons? Like
the onlooker gures in the Theseus Liberator picture, these gures are meant, in general,
to enliven the viewers visual experience. The geometric divisions of Second and Third
Style scaenae frons compositions are well suited to the wall-painters practice of squar-
ing o the wall with plumb-bob and rule, but because they lack gures they are some-
what boring to look at. The populated scaenae frons asks the viewer to decide what is a
statue and what is a real person while his eye scans the aediculas. The gures break the

1 41
Pompeii, House of the Vettii, room e. West wall.
Pompeii, Palaestra (VIII, 2, 23), courtyard f, south wall. Athlete on stairway.
illusion that the artist is representing an ordinary scaenae frons on the wall, since only
statuesnot living gures with recognizable social positionbelong there. Although they
were just visual representations, they were also transgressing a deeply ingrained rule
that ones appearance on the stage brought the stain of infamy.
When the Roman viewer found living gureswhose social status ran the gamut from
philosophers to athletesdid she interpret them in relation to her own social condition?
If these gures mediate the spectators process of viewing, it is because they inhabit a
passagewayor liminalspace between the realm of reality and the make-believe of the
stage. They are actually in the stage architecture rather than on the stage platform. The
living gures help the viewer to transport herself into the space of the theater without
having to suer the shame of going on stage. They also comment on questions of class
and status.
In Neros Domus Aurea, the living gures are beardless poets in Greek dress and
bearded philosophers. They are foreigners who stand in for the citizen viewer. In the House
of the Vettii, owned by two wealthy former slaves, the gures are more ordinary: male
and female gures, perhaps minor temple functionaries, carrying objects associated with
religious ritual. The athletes in the scaenae-frons paintings of the Palaestra and in the
stuccoes of the Stabian Baths mirrorand in their bu beauty perhaps mockthe would-
be athletes exercising and panting in the exercise courts that they decorate.
The living gures in these visual representations challenged viewers of dierent so-
cial strata to imagine not statues, actors, or mythological gures, but living peoplesome
of them like themselveson view in the theater. Seeing these living gures within the
scaenae frons, and knowing the shame of infamy that attended such appearances, the
spectator saw them enacting transgression. In the suspension of disbelief attending all
acts of viewing, this Neronian construction particularly emphasized the viewers active
role. It was a guilt-free way of making the viewer into a voyeur.
As we have seen, no amount of wealth could buy a freedman the dignity of high birth.
Augustus faced dramatically decimated senatorial and equestrian classesthe result of
his ruthless proscriptions during the troubled decade between Caesars death and when
the Senate gave him the name Augustus in 27 b.c. He needed new elites and money. Al-
though one solution was to allow wealthy equites to buy their way into the senate, an-
other much more ingenious one was to create a new order (ordo): the augustales. Former
slaves wealthy enough to pay could become seviri (or sexviri, literally six men) augustales.
After contributing to the city by organizing sacrices and games, the augustalis belonged
to an order (ordo) that functioned like a collegium. Its members ranked just below that
of the local civic council, made up of freeborn men.
Being a sevir augustalis carried with
it privileges that dramatically enhanced the former slaves social status. In the context of
the spectacle, numerous representations advertising the fact that a sevir paid for games

1 43
in the amphitheater indicate that it was this activity more than any other that gloried
the freedman and his family.
To understand the possible eects that seviris sponsoring spectacles in the am-
phitheater might have had in societal terms, we need to consider briey their content and
social purposes. Collectively called munera, literally gifts, the spectacles in the amphi-
theater consisted of three events: men ghting wild beasts (the venatio), beasts killing crim-
inals condemned to death (damnatio ad bestias), and contests between paired gladiators
the munus gladiatorium or spectaculum gladiatorium. If the games were to take place in
the course of a day, the hunt would take place in the morning, the executions during the
noon hour, and the gladiatorial contests would occupy the afternoon.
In ways even more compelling than the spectacle of the theater, the munera both ex-
hibited and enforced social order. Seating, in a cavea shaped like two theaters turned toward
each other to make an ellipse (hence the word amphitheater), followed the same rules:
elites at the bottom, closest to the action, followed by each social stratum on the succes-
sive bleachers going toward the seats farthest away at the top.
Alsoas in the theater
clothing distinguished the orders.
But more important in terms of social control were
the events that took place there.
Although the Romans also called munera the games (ludi), we misunderstand the
serious social and cultural implications if we class them with our culture of football and
soccer games. Like modern sports, the munera functioned as a kind of safety valve. But
they went beyond athletic contests to construct a world of carnival, where the crowd aban-
doned their proper social behavior in their lust for bloody violence: men killing animals
and men wounding, maiming, and even killing their opponents for entertainment.
though many Romans knew that the ludi had their origins in ancient funerary practice,
where the spilling of blood (both human and animal) honored the dead,
by the second
century b.c. the ludi had become an occasion for collective frenzy that crossed the bound-
aries dividing the classes: although carefully distinguished by dress and seating, all the
crowd joined in screaming for blood.
The public executions carried out at noontime constituted a dramatic instrument of
social control. What were the lessons that you were to learn? For one thing, you learned
that crime did not pay. Far from being a police state, Rome devoted relatively few resources
to training and maintaining police forces. In the Imperial period, public executions of
criminals played a central role in crime prevention. The serious criminal knew that if
he or she were caught, condemnation to death in the arena was a likely possibility, a pun-
ishment that inicted the infamy of being put on public display as well as certain and
bloody public death. Cruelly imaginative executions included macabre spectacles, such
as burning a man alive in the role of Hercules or forcing a woman to have intercourse
with a bull in a literal enactment of the myth of Pasiphae.
Compassion for the crimi-
nal, or even notions of prolonged imprisonment, reform, and reeducation, could not have
been farther from the Roman mind; it was in the best interests of the states control of
citizens behavior to make it clear that there was no possibility of compassion or reversal
1 44

of the death penalty. As harsh and inhumane as these events might seem to us, watch-
ing condemned criminals being stalked and torn apart by hungry bears and lions must
have been an eective crime deterrent.
Yet the most popular events of allmuch more so than the executionswere the con-
tests between highly skilled and well-matched gladiators that took up the entire afternoon
program. Fans took sides, probably placed bets, and yelled their votes to the man who
sponsored the games, the editor muneris. Painted programs announced the munera well
in advance.
Outcomes of these contests were the stu of record, as numerous grati
attest. The grati usually record the names of the pairs of gladiators, the weapons that
they fought with, the gladiatorial school where they were trained, and the outcome of the
match. A grato from Pompeii, for instance, records two such programs. In it we read
of a match between two gladiators from the school founded by Nero at Capua: Pugnax,
with Thracian weapons, and Murranus, who bore Gallic weapons. Each had fought three
battles before, but Pugnax won (vicit) whereas Murranus was killed (periit). The same
grato records a ght between Cycnus and Atticus, both Iuliani, that is, trained in a school
founded by Julius Caesar. Cycnus used the heavy armor and weapons of the hoplomachus;
Atticus that of the Thracian. Cycnus won, but Atticus, presumably because he fought well,
was allowed to leave the arena alive (missus esthe was let go).
In this context, what did it mean for a wealthy former slave, now a sevir, to sponsor the
munera? Fortunately we have one visual representation of a sevir that answers this ques-
tion, the reliefs from the Tomb of C. Lusius Storax. They commemorate the sevirs great-
est moment of glory, when all the town acclaimed his municence.
Because inscrip-
tions from the tomb complex survive, we can establish Storaxs social position fairly
accurately. Storax was a wealthy freedman who held the title of sevir augustalis in the lit-
tle municipium of Teate Marrucinorum (modern-day Chieti, about 20 km inland from
Pescara, on Italys Adriatic coast).
Storax died around a.d. 40, but while still alive built his own lavishly decorated tomb
for himself and his two freedwomen wives within a funerary enclosure owned by a funer-
ary college (collegium)a burial club. The inscriptions found within the precinct delin-
eate a distinct social pecking order area among the members of the collegium. At the top
is Storax, with his wivesall of them freed by the same owners, Gaius and Iunia. The
monument, the inscription tells us, will not pass to their heirs.
No sculptural decoration
only two lists of namesrecorded the other members of the college (soci monumenti).
One list has twenty-ve names, 30 percent being the names of slaves; the other lists thirty-
two names, with slaves making up 20 percent. As we saw on the altar from the vicus
Aesculeti, slaves had to assume their masters rst name (the praenomen) and second, or
clan or gens name (the nomen) when they were freed. For example, when Cicero freed
his slave Tiro, his name changed to Marcus Tullius Tiro. The rst two names show that

1 45
Chieti, Monument of Storax, pediment.
Chieti, Monument of Storax. Gladiatorial relief.
M. Tullius freed him, the third (the cognomen) that he was once a slave. Torellis analysis
of the freedmens names in the two lists demonstrates that many of the freedmen had
been owned by men and women belonging to elite gentes; some of their former masters
had been senators, decurions, and military commanders.
There were, then, three distinct social orders within this freedmens tomb. Storax,
as a sevir, had the money and the prestige to put on gladiatorial games and to decorate
his part of the monument with a sculptural program commemorating the moment that
established his glory in Teate. His two wives shared that glory in the inscription, al-
though they did not appear in the sculpture. Next came the freedmen. At the bottom
stratum were the slaves included on the lists, although their very inclusion was an
honorespecially since they expected to be buried in the company of their masters. Some
may have achieved freedman status by the time of their deathalthough it was too late
to achieve that glory for three of them, listed as already deceased (obiti).
What can the visual representation add to this prole of social hierarchies? The sur-
viving blocks, carved in relief, relate Storaxs merits by choosing salient moments in the
story of how he put on the gladiatorial games. We know from literary sources that it was
a four-part ceremony: it would have begun with Storax carrying out a sacrice, followed
by a procession called the pompa (modeled on the triumphal procession). The congia-
rium, or giving gifts of money to the people, was next, and nally the games themselves
Scholars have puzzled about the relationships among the three sculptural elements
that have survived. The head of a seated, life-size, togate statue of Storax is the least prob-
lematic, since it would have been freestanding, probably within the tomb enclosure.
most complete is a roughly triangular relief showing Storax presiding over the gladiato-
rial contests (g. 84). It must have been positioned above the long frieze featuring paired
gladiators in combat, since most of the victorious gladiators look up from the relief to ob-
tain Storaxs verdict of vicit (g. 85). Filippo Coarellis hypothesisthat the frieze (ve
meters long), decorated the top of an enclosure wall, with the triangular relief (2.8 me-
ters long) lling the pediment of a low temple frontis the most plausible.
Reading the horizontal frieze is a fairly straightforward matter, even though we lack
details about the precise identication of some of the gladiators. You read the relief from
left to right, beginning with a pair of equestrian gladiators who have just stepped down
from their horses (not represented) and look up to Storax. There follow eight pairs made
up of a thrax, or Thracian, ghting his traditional adversary, the myrmillo.
The artist,
despite his modest talents, succeeds in creating a complex and well-articulated compo-
sition. He made the gures on the far left and right ends of the frieze into bookends
that look inward, framing the actions of the others, and he alternated dynamic gures
standing and movingwith static ones. Several gures turn their back toward the viewer.
The artist has also represented two secondary, noncombatant gures; he carved them in
a shallower relief plane to indicate their ancillary role in the narrative.

1 47
More dicult to interpret are the blocks that made up a kind of truncated pediment
(g. 86; cf. g. 84). Although at rst glance we seem to be witnessing a particular moment,
when Storax presided over the gladiatorial contests, in fact the artist loaded the relief with
details that make it a compendium of events and social relationshipsall glorifying Storax
(g. 87). A viewers eye would naturally seek out Storax rst: it is easy to distinguish him
(even in the relief s battered state) because he is signicantly larger than the other gures
and sits on an elevated armchair near the center of the platform (tribunal). Behind the tri-
bunal the artist represented two wide columns, perhaps an attempt to locate the scene in
the porticus of Teates forum. The artist brought further attention to Storax by posing a
man standing behind him who leans forward to speak to him. Storax wears the dress of
the editor muneris, his left arm resting on the arm of the chair and his right lifted as if to
begin the games. To either side of Storax two pairs of men wearing togas (togati) sit on
bisellia (1415 and 1718). They must be the higher of Teates magistrates, the four men
with juridical power (the quattuorviri iure dicundo) rather than the lesser magistrates (the
quattuorviri aediles). The two on the viewers right (17 and 18) converse, while 15 turns to
Storax and 14 looks out at the viewer. Two attendants (apparitores) complete this group
at the front of the tribunal (13 and 19); they stand, tunics cinched up at the waist, ready to
carry out the wishes of their master.
Togati standing in various attitudes along the topmost space of the relief complete the
ensemble on the tribunal. An orderly group of ve stands to the left of Storax. The toga-
tus on the far left (21), rendered in prole, looks toward the center, drawing the viewers
eye to Storax. What remains of the heads of the next three togati indicates that they, too,
look toward the center, but with their heads in three-quarters view (22, 23, 24). The next
man counters this collective gaze toward Storax by turning his head in prole to the left
(25), eectively completing the composition.
So far, all these actors t a scenario that would make the subject of the relief quite sim-
ple: Storax presides over, or starts, the games. But the group behind the honored sevir (to
the viewers right) contradicts such a simple reading. Chaotic in both composition and
action, this section of the relief taxed the artists marginal abilities, for it presents an event
that had to take place earlier. A togatus taller than the rest (26) stands directly behind
Storax and gazes at the action that takes place to the right. Neither the man whispering
to Storax (27), nor the two behind him (28 and 29), seem to be aware of this scene, mak-
ing it all the more dramatic. A togatus (30) holding a scroll (rotulus) in his left hand looks
at what may be either a little box or a tablet that he holds in his right. Another man (31)
helps steady the object with his left hand while he leans forward to write something on it
with a long pointed instrument (a stylus) that he holds in between the thumb and index
nger of his right hand.
Here scholarly interpretations diverge. Torelli believes that the object is a box that holds
the payment of the summa honoraria that entitled Storax to become a sevir augustalis.
His interpretation not only introduces a temporally distinct element into the relief s nar-
rative, but also introduces a new personage in the man with the rotulus: the quaestor or
1 48

public accountant.
Storax would be parading his wealth before the viewer with this scene,
since only those wealthy enough to pay the summa honoraria could become seviri, and
this did not include payment for the games that he is presentingpotentially a much
more expensive venture. Torelli also proposes that this little scene did double duty by re-
minding a viewer of the element of the munera that the artist did not represent, the giv-
ing of money gifts to the peoplethe congiariumthat preceded the beginning of the games.
I believe that the object that togatus 31 is writing on is not a box with coins in it but a
clumsy representation of a bronze or wax tablet. The block of stone that looks like a lit-
tle box is simply the stone the artist left to support the surface of a tablet. The artist would
have painted the block a dark color to minimize its intrusion, as he must have done for
similar stone supports throughout the relief. Storax wanted the artist to emphasize this
act of writing. The most likely interpretation is that they are writing out a written request
of some sort (a petitio) for Storax, the magistrate in charge of the games. The advantage

1 49
Chieti, Monument of Storax, pediment, center part, detail.
Chieti, Monument of Storax, pediment, with gures numbered.
of this interpretation is that it integrates the actions on the tribunal, making them con-
temporaneous. The man whispering to Storax is telling him about the petitio that he is
about to receive.
Although we will never know for sure, at the very least an ordinary
viewer would have understood the vignette as an expression of Storaxs importance in the
public realm.
Because of the irregular vertical seam between the central block and the one to the
right, the nal gure on the far upper right of the tribunal (32) is quite dicult to read.
He seems to have been a togatus looking at the group engaged with the writing tablet.
Taken together, who are all these togati in the back row? The composition makes it clear
that they are men with ocial duties; counting Storax, but excluding the quattuorviri,
there are twelve in all. Torelli has suggested that they may represent the six incoming and
outgoing seviri for the year, since at this time one did not become a sevir for life: the se-
virate was an annual magistrature organized into colleges of six. Unfortunately, sources
do not point to the existence of a college of augustales in Teate at this time.
Although we
cannot know how the contemporary viewer would have identied them in their specic
roles, everyone would have understood how the presence of the togatilike the vignette
of writing on a tabletemphasized Storaxs elevated social standing.
The two blocks that completed the pediment to left and right deect timeand
perspectiveto represent moments and meanings dierent from the central scene on
the tribunal. A gure made all the more conspicuous because he steps down from the
tribunal and holds the fasces must be one of the two lictors a sevir was entitled to (33).
The other lictor must be the man seated below and to the left of the tribunal who looks
1 50

Chieti, Monument of Storax, pediment, left part, detail.
toward the center (12).
Together they refer to earlier events, for the lictors would have
been present at the sacrice and would have marched in front of Storax in the pompa.
The gure opposite him on the other side of the tribunal is another seated man (20), this
time holding a curved rod, the lituus of the augur, the ocial who took auspices at the
sacrice. Three rather restless boys, seated farther to the left of the tribunal, also recall
the sacrice that Storax had ociated over earlier (5, 6, 7). The boys long hair identies
them as camilli, whose duty was to hold the various sacricial implements (g. 88).
The two groups of horn players that complete the corners of the relief right and left
took part in both the sacrice and the games themselves. On the left the tibicines (14),
dressed in short tunics and seated on a bench with their backs to the viewer, raise their
straight horns as if saluting Storax and the ocials on the dais. The curved-horn players,
the cornicines (3437), are also seated, but the bulk of their instruments required the artist
to give them more space and, it seems, more contorted poses. To accommodate both groups
of horn players and to represent them clearly, the artist has moved their benches from a
position perpendicular to the tribunal to one at either side of itan early example of un-
folded perspective.
In addition to these eects of composition and pose, it is important
to the relief s eect that the hornplayers are blowing their instruments, for their image
must have been calculated to make the viewer recall not just the sights, but also the sounds
of Storaxs munera.
The last element to be accounted for is the least standard: an agitated group of four
people in ordinary clothing, three men (810) and a woman in a V-necked dress (11), above
the camilli. They represent the fans, the ordinary people, and must have been the most
talked-about group in the whole relief. Storax, in a clever move calculated to show his
anity with the common people (for he once was one of them), instructed the artist to
include this little vignetteprobably the outbreak of a brawl. Positioned conspicuously
at the top of the group, her arms ung out wide and her breasts fully in evidence, the
woman both signals the conict and intervenes to stop it. She is, signicantly, the only
female gure in the entire program, and as such she must stand for all the women who
witnessed Storaxs munera: she is a visual synecdoche for womens presence at the event.
In visual terms, her gure answers that of the lictor on the right: her isolation and ges-
ture underscore her importance in the composition.
Immediately to the left is the next-most active gure (10): a man, his torso nude, turns
his head sharply to the woman while grasping a knife in his right hand. Seemingly un-
aware of this aggressor is a man below and to the right (8). His cloak is the workmans
exomis, covering his left shoulder but leaving his torso bare. He holds his right arm at his
side but stretches out his left to touch the head of another man wearing a long-sleeved
tunic and standing in a frontal pose (9); he is not yet aware of the man about to touch his
head. In fact, the position of both of his hands, down at his sides, suggests that he might
be pulling one of the camillis ears.
The artist has cleverly given the viewer a key to this scene in the gure of the dramatically

1 51
gesturing woman, for she is the only one of the four who sees what mischief is about to
happen. None of the other gures is completely aware of the possibilities. But why rep-
resent a brawl ? The Romans conceived the munera as a cathartic, communal event (like
theatrical productions) that spanned a whole day, beginning with a religious ceremony,
continuing with a parade (pompa) and the giving out of money, and ending with blood
If it was a social safety valve, letting o steam in a brawl must have been part of
the catharsis, and the part that ordinary people understood best. Although we would ex-
pect Storax, as the upwardly mobile editor of the games, to distance himself from such
brawls, he instructed the artist to include the scene. It may even have been a reminder
of a specic incident, one that would go on in memory as long as someone was left who
could tell the story as she looked at the tomb.
We will never know the particulars of the four-person brawl pictured on Storaxs relief,
but it sets the stage nicely for a scene of the full-scale riot that occurred in Pompeiis am-
phitheater in a.d. 59. This large fresco (1.70 1.85 m), now in the Naples Museum, orig-
inally decorated the peristyle of a small house in Pompeii (g. 89).
Since its discovery
in 1868, scholars have recognized the painting as an illustration of events described by
In his Annales 14.17 Tacitus tells us that under the duumvirate of Cn. Pompeius
Grosphus and Cn. Pompeius Grosphus Gavianus, a riot broke out between the Pompeians
and their rivals, the inhabitants of Nuceria who had come to attend the games.
The edi-
tor of the games was Livineius Regulus, an ex-senator exiled by Claudius during the cen-
sorship of 47. The Senate held an inquest, exiled Livineius, and suspended the duumviri;
furthermore, it appointed a praefectus iure dicundo, who chose two new magistrates. Fi-
nally, Rome forbade all gladiatorial shows for ten years and dissolved all illegal collegia
(private clubs and trade associations). But it is doubtful that the Senates ruling held, since
archaeological evidence shows that the amphitheater was restored after the earthquake
of 62. The porticus of the Large Theater was being used as a barracks for the gladiators
at the time of the eruption, and mostif not allcollegia continued to function.
What does the painting tell us about the riot? Despite its distortions of conventional
perspective, the painting is unusually accurate in its recording of architectural details.
We see, from a birds-eye view, the oval of the amphitheater from the north along with
its double exterior stairway, supported by barrel vaults and leading up to the cavea.
divisions of the cavea are clearly visible, as well as the yellow marble facing of the para-
pet that separated the arena from the best seats at the bottom level. Above we see the vela,
extending in this view from the southeast to the southwest towers of the city wall. The
architect built this part of the amphitheater directly against the city walls, presumably to
save on building materials. To the right is the palaestra where gladiators exercised and
practiced. Details in the depiction of the palaestra, such as its two eastern entrances and
1 52

the central swimming pool, found corroboration in Maiuris 193539 excavations of the
area. On the palaestras northern wall are two doors framed with pilasters and topped
with tympana. Above the left door we read D. Lucretio fel(i)citer and between the doors in
Greek letters Satri(o) Oualenti O(g)ousto Ner(oni) phelikit(er). The inscriptions celebrate
D. Lucretius (Valens) and his father D. Lucretius Satrius Valens, both known through many
announcements of munera painted on house facades as generous editores munerum of
the Neronian period.
The inscription in particular trumpets D. Lucretius Satrius
Valenss special relationship with Nero; he served as a life-time amen of Nero (amen
Neronis Caesaris Augusti lii perpetuus).
The artists accurate rendering of the built forms provides a specic setting for the real
subject of the picture: the ghting. But not everyone ghts. The gures posed under the
trees in the foreground are not involved in the riot. They wear long robes, possibly togas,
in contrast to the men with their tunics cinched up around their waists who run about

1 53
Pompeii, House I, 3, 23, peristyle n, west wall. Riot in the Amphitheater.
gesticulating or engaging others one-on-one. Rioters appear relatively isolated and scat-
tered in the area in front of the amphitheater and at its east side. The battle thickens, with
several paired ghters between amphitheater and palaestra; at the top right, between
palaestra and city walls, the artist repeats the grisly image of a man on the ground with
a sword-wielding adversary standing over him. Fighting is thickest inside the amphithe-
ater, both in a now-illegible section in the middle cavea (probably representing the tri-
bunal) and on the arena oor, where ve men battle it out.
It is not surprising, given the specicity of the event depicted and the fact that we hap-
pen to have a contemporary historical account of it, that scholars have devoted most of
their eorts to expanding the historical account beyond Tacituss cryptic comments. Other
parallel eorts have focused on the paintings style, analyzing its peculiarities to support
one or another hypothesis about the nature of so-called popular art.
Only Thomas Frh-
lich has oered some remarks on the possible identity of the person who paid to have
this painting installed in his house, a question I would like to explore further.
In so do-
ing I oer several possible scenarios that might explain why the owner wanted this paint-
ing in his house andmore importantwhat the painting meant to him and visitors
who saw it.
The rst important consideration is the paintings location. Although it was removed
immediately after its discovery, excavation reports locate it on the west wall of the peri-
style n of the house at I, 3, 23. It is a modest house, located on the slopes adjacent to the
Stabian Road, not far from the gate that allowed the ow of commerce from the south
into the city (g. 90). Today nothing remains of the other paintings visible at the time of
Two drawings record the gladiator pictures that anked Riot in the Amphi-
One painting showed the victor, whose high crest (galea cristata), oblong shield
(scutum), and single greave (ocrea) identied him as a secutor or Samnite (g. 91). He
rushes forward to slay his opponent, a Thracian with greaves on both legs; he is down on
his knees, his back to the viewer. A third gure, perhaps the referee, restrains the Sam-
1 54

Pompeii, plan of House I, 3, 23.
nite, forcing him to wait for the verdict of the spectators. The other painting shows the
same pairing, with the Samnite standingabout to drive his sword through a Thracian
who is on his knees and holds his shield uselessly at his side (g. 92). The positions of
the two paintings, to right and left of the Riot in the Amphitheater, as well as the way that
their compositions respond to each other symmetrically, make it clear that they were con-
temporaneous with the Riot picture and designed to complement it.
What purpose did the riot picture and its violent, bloody pendants serve in a private
house? Why did the patron wish to see them every day as he strolled his little peristyle,
and why did he want to display them to visitors? These images depart radically from known
patterns for the decoration of peristyles; invariablyif there were to be pictures at all
owners chose images alluding to high culture.
The riot scene shows the world of social
and cultural control run amok, while the gladiator pictures glorify the bloody conclu-
sions to two ghts to the death. None of these images ts the prole for proper peristyle

1 55
Pompeii, House I, 3, 23,
peristyle n, west wall.
Drawing of lost painting of
gladiators to left of Riot.
Pompeii, House, I, 3, 23,
peristyle n, west wall.
Drawing of lost painting of
gladiators to right of Riot.
The small size of the house makes it unlikely that the owner was wealthy enough to
have used it for extended business activities. In large houses, owned by a propertied pater-
familias, daily visits of clients required a large atrium, a tablinumfor receiving clients, and
slaves who would have acted as human barriers to cordon o the spaces of the peristyle
not normally used for business meetings. In a small house like this one, with its tiny atrium
and no tablinumat all, the peristyle would have hosted most visitorsthe owners social
equals. This might help explain the fact that the owner placed the riot picture in the peri-
style; for big, complex pictures are rare in peristyles. In large houses such pictures in-
variably grace static reception areas rather than the dynamic spaces of peristyles and atria.
The fact that the patron went to the trouble of getting an artist to create this large paint-
ing and its pendants for permanent display in his peristyle suggests that he had some-
thing to gain from displaying the painting. We might see it as a conversation piece, an
anecdotal slice of local history to chat about with guests. I want to resist this interpreta-
tion as anachronistic. We live in a culture of news, sustained by modern media, but the
ancient Pompeian did not. We are accustomed to a glut of disaster imagerya melee at
a soccer match one day and bombings in the Middle East the next. But the Riot painting
was a permanent addition, not an object hung or taped on a wall. What is more, the artist
had no ready models at hand to guide him. For mythological pictures he had model books,
as the large number of replicated pictures at Pompeii proves;
for this picture he had to
go and observe the amphitheater and palaestra, decide upon a perspective that would high-
light the ghting, and present his sketch to the patron for approval. This was a commis-
sion that, despite its modest level of execution, was unusualin fact, uniqueamong
the paintings preserved on Pompeiis walls. The only near parallels are in the scenes of
work that we discussed in chapter 4.
Comparison of the Riot painting with coins that represent people in the amphitheater
underscores the paintings singularity, not to say its bizarre aspects. Both the sestertius of
Titus, of a.d. 8081 (g. 93) and the painting emphasize the contents of the building
the people within itby using birds-eye perspective. But the coin image of the Colos-
seum in Rome shows everyone in his or her place; it is the very image of order, social
stratication, and religious ritual.
The sestertius, an ocial representation circulated
1 56

Sestertius of Titus/Vespasian
Divus, a.d. 8081, showing
the Colosseum lled with
people. To left: the Meta
Sudans. To right: a portico.
throughout the empire under the emperor Titus, and available to everyone who used coins,
presents the order that should be: the senators in the bottom section with the emperors
box in their midst, and the lower classes in the upper two sections. In the painting, that
order has broken down. Within the built order of the rows of seats and the exterior stair-
way, we focus on the disorder caused by human beings out of control: instead of the proper
social hierarchy, with each class, or ordo, in its place, we see the displacedand there-
fore unmarkedgroups ghting. It is order turned upside down. Instead of representing
the stratied masses seated and watching the spectacle below, cordoned o on the am-
phitheaters oor, the men who possessed a xed place and identity have left their places.
It is they who ght in the arena and who spill out of the amphitheater to brawl in the
areas surrounding the amphitheater. The spectators have become the spectacle.
And Pompeii itself has also become the spectacle. The artist has taken pains to iden-
tify the place as Pompeii by including much more of the surrounding neighborhood than
one sees on the coin (where we see the meta sudans on one side and part of the Baths of
Titus on the other). This is not a timeless, archetypal representation of the amphitheater;
it is only one possible place and one possible time. The ground around the amphitheater,
with scattered booths for selling food and wine, and the enormous palaestra, complete
with its inscriptions, enlarge our view of both the place and the event. What it contained
has spilled out. We witness a rupturean infamous one at thatof the social order.
One possible identity for the patron who commissioned the Riot picture is that of a
gladiator, as Fiorelli and Della Corte suggested.
Yet far from glorifying the gladiator (as
the anking pictures do), the scene of the riot has no identiable gladiators in it at all. A
gladiator would be unlikely to commission a picture that could be construed as discred-
iting the whole enterprise of gladiatorial contests. After all, the rioters ght in a wild, dis-
orderly way, just the opposite of the controlled and regulated hand-to-hand ghting that
the gladiators engaged in. Equally dicult to accept is Sabbatini Tumolesis interpreta-
tion that the painting celebrated the early lifting of the ten-year ban: in her view the in-
scription naming D. Lucretius Valens indicates that he has used his inuence with Nero
to do so.
Frhlichs interpretation, that the man who commissioned the picture was a Pompeian
who took part in the riot himself, makes the most sense, for it provides a motive: the man
in his hate for the Nucerians thought the bloody event was a great success.
It was an
image he could be proud of. Maiuri proposes that the enmity between Pompeii and Nuce-
ria arose from the fact that Nuceria had taken over lands adjacent to Stabiae that were key
to Pompeiis economic prosperity.
It is possible that the owner belonged to one of the
collegia, or clubs, mentioned by Tacitus as being banned by the Senate as a result of the
riot. Central to this question is the scholarly debate surrounding a grato on the facade
of the House of the Dioscuri (VI, 9, 6/7): Campani victoria una cum Nucerinis peristis.
Both Richardson and Moeller believe that the Campani, named in three other grati,
was one of the forbidden collegia that provoked the fracas, fought against the Nucerians,
and was therefore disbanded by the Senate.
In this scenario, the grato would trans-

1 57
late Campanians, in victory you perished along with the Nucerians.
Whoever wrote
the grato was reminding the Pompeian fanclub that they lost lives even though they
beat the Nucerians.
If the man who commissioned the riot painting belonged to the Campani or another
similar club, we have a motive for his commissioning both the riot painting and those of
the gladiators. If the riot picture showed the excesses of being an avid fan, the represen-
tations of the gladiators that framed it reminded members of the collegium of their proper
functionto honor the gladiators. The pictures placement on the west wall of the peri-
stylenot along the axis from the houses street entrance (the fauces)meant that it was
clearly visible only to guests with access to the peristyle, and that people looking in from
the street or standing in the atrium could not see it. It is far from the kind of decoration
that up-from-under Pompeians put in their peristyles at this time: in these houses we
nd high-minded, complex images appropriated from the villas of the super-rich.
every way the Riot in the Amphitheater is a subversive image that reveals the special in-
terests of a manand his buddieswho delighted in seeing Roman social order turned
upside down.
In trying to assess the meanings that visual representations of spectacles had in rst-
century Italy, it is useful to remember how dierent the visual and verbal stimuli that
surrounded the Romans were from ours. We Euro-Americans of all classes live enveloped
byif not submerged ina much greater variety of sounds, sights, and means of com-
munication. The twentieth century saw a rapid proliferation of technologies making
demands on our senses that would have bewildered an ancient Roman. Rapid travel, both
locally and worldwide, has shrunk the worldand demystied it in the process. Even
the most basic form of modern communication, print, was not available to the ancient
Roman; he or she had to rely upon sharp ears and eyes for information and entertain-
ment. Few had access to written versions of plays presented in the theater or the stories
that they heardfrom the epics that schoolboys memorized to the tales sung by poets in
the forum. Commemorating a particular spectacle, as Storax and the owner of the Riot
painting did, was a way of recording specic events in permanent, visual form. What is
more, these commemorations specied a set of social relations that positioned both pa-
tron and viewer in clear ways.
In their inclusion of municipal ocials, seviri, and commoners, Storaxs tomb reliefs
address viewers of every social stratum. Local elites may have looked upon the whole mon-
ument with a certain disdain: after all, before Augustus former slaves had no ocial means
of aunting their money and prestige. A freeborn woman, poor but not elite, would no-
tice that even though the composition focuses attention on the only female gure in the
relief, she is part of the rabble: the monument celebrated male privilege and power. A
freedman would immediately understand his social relation to Storax, especially if he
1 58

lacked the special status of sevir because he lacked the money to buy that status. He might
long for the glory that was Storaxs. Similarly, a freedwoman whose husband had not been
able to provide such a prestigious tomb for her might envy Storaxs two fortunate wives.
For people lower down on the social ladder, slaves and the working poor, the monument
projected a form of glory that they would probably never attain. Storaxs ploy of repre-
senting the brawl on his funeral monument was a brilliant way of including such non-
elite viewers.
The circumstances surrounding the viewing of the Riot painting, as we have seen, were
quite dierent. Male friends of the patronwhether or not they had taken part in the
ghtshared his glee in remembering it. A child not yet born at the time of the event
would marvel at its visual accuracy and enjoy the story it told of long ago. If someone out-
side the condence of the patron saw it, the Riot picture must have seemed quite odd
not so much because of its subversive content but because proper peristyles ought to dis-
play handsome mythological paintings. He or she would have cast the owner of the house
as a maverick in matters of interior decoration, preferring a representation of an ugly local
event to a timeless and beautiful mythological scene. In every caseand these are but a
few possible viewing scenariosthe viewers social status, gender, and experience of the
games aected his or her understanding of the image. These visual representations, like
the experience of the amphitheater itself, put a viewer in his or her place.

1 59
In the last chapter we saw how the public experience of the theater and the amphitheater
reinforced the social order, and how one non-elite visual representation, the picture of
the riot in Pompeiis amphitheater, delighted in showing that social order turned upside
down. There is a similar delight in overturning the social orderespecially in overturn-
ing social expectationsin humor. For this reason, perhaps more than any other aspect
of culture, humor has the potential to highlight the dierences between social classes.
This is as true in ancient Roman society as it is in ours. Just as elites create a them and
us in their jokes, so do non-elites. Humor, especially the kind that relies for its punch
on reversing accepted social roles, becomes a way of asserting power.
In the highly stratied society of ancient Rome, three celebrationsthe ludi Florales,
the triumph, and the Saturnaliatemporarily overturned the rules. As we saw in the pre-
vious chapter, the ludi Florales featured nude dancing by prostitutes in honor of the god-
dess Flora. Soldiers marching in a triumphal procession sang obscene songs mocking
their general,
and the feast of the Saturnalia overturned the dynamics of power: in its
carnival setting master played slave and slave played master.
Much Roman humor re-
lies on a carnivalesque upsetting of accepted relations of status and power, and this is
clearly the case in the two sets of paintings that I analyze in this chapter.
Both of them
decorated taverns, one at Pompeii and the other at Ostia, where ordinary men and women
drank and ate. Both suites of paintingseach using dierent strategieselicit laughter
through power reversals.
1 60
What is more, in both taverns written captions are integral to the images. Analysis of
the interplay between the texts and the images reveals some of the viewers commonly
held social and cultural assumptions. The texts range from the vulgarities of everyday,
lower-class speech to pretentious verse, yet they deliver their humor only when connected
with the images and when understood in the tavern setting. The process of reading is in-
tegral to the joke, just as the images are integral to the words written next to them.
Studying the combinations of text and image in these humble tavern paintings en-
larges what we can know from the study of classical literature. Authors like Cicero and
Quintilian, for instance, discuss humor, but mostly with the aim of warning orators against
the vulgar kind of humor that I discuss in this chapter.
Alongside these straightforward
instructions on how to use humor properly in oratory are comic characters, like the rich
freedman, Trimalchio; analysis of what is funny about Trimalchio reveals what the elites
derided and detested about up-from-under people. Seen from this point of view, Petro-
niuss Satyricon becomes a compendium of elite values.
Perhaps most revelatory of the
textual sources for understanding non-elite culture are the anonymous poems to the phal-
lic god Priapus. As Amy Richlin has shown, they reveal what Romans found funny about
gender, dirtying, and sexual penetration.
The humor of grati, as well, has the potential
largely unexploredto reveal what the lower strata laughed at.
These exceptions aside,
for the most part texts articulate elite attitudes toward humor.
Visual humor cuts a wider swathe, since artists made comic images for every stratum
of society. Scholars have favored analysis of elite visual representations, especially cari-
catures found among the frescoes of Pompeii and Herculaneumusually in the houses
of the wealthy.
It is relatively easy to explain caricatures in elite contexts, since they reect
the literary and visual culture of Hellenistic Alexandria that Roman elites valued.
It is
probable that prototypes in Alexandrian art guided the artists who produced comic art
for the high end of the spectrum, and artists repeated Hellenistic motifs in art that non-
elites saw, such as mold-made objects like lamps.
Yet it is impossible to argue for Alexandrian sources for the tavern paintings I con-
sider in this chapter, and most scholars have thrown them into the catch-all category of
popular artmeaning, in the end, art invented by the artist without recourse to elite
iconographical precedents.
What analysis of all the componentsvisual, textual, and
contextualreveals is a much more complex situation, where the artist invented new rep-
resentations but also looked at high-art models, and where he recorded common speech
but also mimicked the diction of poetsall knowingly engaging his audience of ordinary
Giuseppe Fiorelli excavated the little Caupona of Salvius (VI, 14, 36) in 1876 (g. 94).
Noting the precarious state of preservation of the painted frieze that decorated the north

1 61
wall of room 1, just above the northern entrance, he had it cut from the wall and removed
to the Naples Museum.
The frieze covered repairs made to the cauponas walls after the
earthquake of 62. Four scenes, each about 50 cm square, follow each other from left to
right to make a frieze 2.05 meters long (plate 7). Their function was to decorate this room,
one of the spaces in this establishment where ordinary people ate, drank, gambled, and
perhaps dallied sexually with the male and female slaves who served them.
At rst glance
these pictures seem to represent four separate and unrelated vignettes of tavern life. But
I will argue that, taken together, they depict behavior that the tavern-goers would have
found amusing precisely because it went against culturally accepted norms. The artist ex-
plained and enhanced the outrageousness of these characters activity by painting cap-
tions above them thatlike modern cartoon balloonsput words into their mouths.
In the rst scene, a woman and a man press their upper bodies together and kiss each
others mouths. The caption above their heads reads nolo cum Myrtale . . . (plate 8). Al-
though the nal word, probably an innitive, will keep us in eternal suspense, the rest of
the phrase is clear: I dont want towith Myrtalis. Although Myrtalis is the name
of a woman, until recently it was impossible to determine the sex of either of the two
gures because the fresco had never been properly cleaned. Conservation and cleaning
eorts between 1997 and 2000 at the Central Institute for Restoration in Rome removed
layers of both ancient and modern grime, showing how uninformative both old photo-
graphs and Presuhns watercolor reconstructions were.
The gure on the left is clearly
a woman, since in addition to her long orange-yellow dress, she wears her hair pulled
back in a conspicuous bun.
The gure on the right seemed to wear a long red dress un-
1 62

Pompeii, Caupona of Salvius (VI, 14, 36), north wall, room 1.
til the cleaning, and a thick layer of calcied grime covered his head and face. Cleaning
was particularly successful in the area of his face, revealing his square jaw, short hair, and
sideburn, as well as the way that he locks his lips with the woman rather than whisper-
ing in her ear, as some scholars had proposed.
The restorers also discovered through
cleaning that the man is wearing a red tunic that stops above the knees, and that the painter
changed his design in the area below the mans knees. Today the artists pentimenti (changes
of design) are clear. He moved both of the mans legs, from knee to foot, farther to the
viewers right, and created deep shading on the right side of each, emphasizing the mans
muscular calves and making him lean into the woman in a more dynamic fashion than
he had in the original design.
In the Caupona of Salvius, the image itselfof a man and woman kissinghad no
explicit comic content. A viewer looking at the image alone would not have gotten the
humor, for it was only after reading the caption that he discovered that the man in the
picture is announcing a change of heart: that he is o Myrtalis and wants to initiate a
sexual relationship with the woman he is kissing. The caption announces the mans turn-
about to everyone in the bar who can read.
The artist emphasized the womans willingness to make sexual contact with the man
in several ways. Like the man, she leans inward with her whole body, so that the meeting
of their lips becomes the focus of the composition, the two bodies forming a kind of tall
triangle whose base is their feet. The woman stands on the toes of her right foot, and the
man on the toes of both feet, another way of emphasizing the passion of their meeting.
The subject of the painting seems oddly out of place in a tavern. Passionate kisses, se-
cret intrigues, and armations of love are the stu of an elite literary form: the Greek ro-
mance novel.
To decode the meaning of the painting in its tavern context, we must ques-
tion the identity of the man and woman. If they represent elite persons, the picture
becomes a parody of elite notions of romance for the viewers who frequented the tavern:
slaves, freedpersons, and freeborn workers.
The tavern-goers looking at this picture would have been acutely aware of the dier-
ences between elite sexual practices and their own. Recent studies of Roman sexuality
have demonstrated how most regulation of sexual behavior was aimed at the protection
of the elite mans body and his property.
For example, an elite man must not have in-
tercourse with freeborn individuals, even though he is free to penetrate everyone else.
The axiom voiced in the midsecond century b.c. by a slave in Plautuss Curculio expressed
the legalities for elite men of the rst century a.d.: Love whatever you want, as long as
you stay away from married ladies, widows, virgins, young men, and free boys.
thermore, in the ancient Roman scheme of what we call sexuality, a man was supposed
to be active; he should be the penetrator, not the penetrated, whether his partner was male
or female. A woman could only properly be the passive recipient of the mans penis (so,
too, the passive boy or man). Working within this construction of sexual roles, a proper
woman could not take any active role.
In the painting from the Caupona of Salvius, the
womans body language suggests a degree of enthusiastic response, although it is only a

1 63
response to a mans kiss, not actual sexual penetration of the sort we nd in the Caupona
on the Street of Mercury (see g. 75).
There is ample evidence that one of the greatest fears of elite males in this period is
the emancipation of elite women, not only in matters of money and freedom of move-
ment but also in matters of sex.
A central andto the ancient Romansoutrageously
funny aspect of Petroniuss Satyricon is the sexual power and freedom of the women.
Several decades later Martial expresses his anxiety about the emancipated woman, con-
structing her as a dangerous, sex-hungry monster who will often turn to other women to
satisfy her unquenchable lust; she is a phallic woman who likes to strap on a dildo to
penetrate both women and boysjust like a man.
In the minds of elite Roman men,
women are, by nature, voracious in sex, and lesbian lovemaking is proof of their vo-
racious sexual appetites.
But the painting in the Caupona of Salvius is aimed at non-elite men and women, for
whom elite sexual rules must have seemed ridiculous. Non-elites were used to relatively
unregulated sex with a variety of partners: their spouses, other women or men, prosti-
tutes of both sexes, servants in taverns. If they were freeborn or freedpersons, they could
have sex with their slaves; if they were slaves themselves, they could have sex with other
slaves as well as being used sexually by their masters and mistresses. In the non-elite
viewers mentality, a man passionately kissing a woman and saying that he doesnt want
to go with, or perhaps make love to, another woman is the stu of the high-minded ro-
mance, but not of tavern humor. Here we would expect parody, and this is what the artist
seems to be delivering. For one thing, the specicity of the exchange, both physical and
verbal, is amusing, for it makes inner passions quite public. It is even possible that the
kissing couple are portraits of individuals well-known to the taverns clientele, and that
everyone knew poor Myrtalis.
A second possibility is that the artist has reproduced a scene from a play or farce that
the tavern-goers knew from the theater. The gures clothing neither conrms nor negates
the possibility, although the womans dress may be Greek. It is orange-yellow with a pleated
area at the bottom. Her dress is neither the stola of the elite married woman nor the toga
that the prostitute wore. If the artist was attempting to depict Greek dress, the pleated
area represents the thin chiton showing beneath a heavier overcloak or mantle.
The man
wears a tunic, the common garment worn by non-elite working men.
The footwear is
also that of ordinary working people; the woman wears ankle-high shoes and the man
wears sandals with two tiers of leather strapping gathered at the ankles. If the artist was
depicting a moment from the theater, the absence of masks and platform boots, and the
fact that a woman plays the female role all point to popular theater, such as mime or farce.
The moment depicted would have been a turning point in a plot that only theater-
goers would have known. Unlike the scenes of sexual coupling in the Caupona on the
Street of Mercury, where the humor lies in the outrageousness of the sex acts themselves,
here the viewer had to know what came before and after in the plot, and he had to be able
to read the caption recording the mans declaration of a change of heart.
1 64

With the second scene we get a new cast of characters and a much more complex
intersection of sexual roles. Two new characters appear: men already in their cups
competing for the wine that the waitress carries (plate 9). The men are seated in three-
quarters view, hands outstretched, both demanding the jug of wine and the winecup that
the barmaid holds. The gure on the left says hoc or Here! while his companion coun-
ters non / mia est or No! Its mine!
The barmaid, feigning indierence, says Whoever
wants it, take it (qui vol / sumat)but then with a somewhat ominous change of heart
she oers the wine to someone: Oceanus, come and drink (Oceane / veni bibe).
Todd proposes that this man is none other than a famous Pompeian gladiator named
Even if the man she is addressing is not that Oceanus, the name itself must
have carried a cachet in local circles. Martial uses the name four times for a person who
performs the dual functions of usher and bouncer in the theater.
A second, and more
likely interpretation, is that the barmaid is directly addressing one of the drinkers as
Oceanus with the sense of Okay, big boy, come and get it.
Closer examination of the physical types of the two men, their hairstyles, and their
body language support this second interpretation. The man at the left, although he has
a masculine face with large features, is wearing an anomalous hairstyle for the period
(a.d. 6079). His long hair is parted in the middle, with a thick gathering (or bun!) over
his right ear. His burgundy robe, shaded in black, gathers around the seat of the four-
legged, backless stool. He draws his left leg behind the right to cross it at the calf. It is
clear that his pose was important to the artist, since he repainted the entire upper half of
this gure.
His drinking companion turns his long, oval face in three-quarters view; al-
though his features are similarly masculine, his hair frames his face, perhaps gathered
in a bun as well. This mans blue-green robe falls down to bunch at the seat of the stool,
where it turns to shades of black. He crosses his feet in the same way that his fellow drinker
does, as he makes a sweeping gesture with his outstretched arm to dramatize his plea for
more wine.
The artist took pains to dierentiate the barmaid both from the two men in the scene
and from the woman in scene one. Her scale, facial features, and pose contrast so greatly
with those of the men that she may be the work of a dierent artist. She is much larger
in stature than the men, and wears a singularly stern expression, her face in prole as
she holds a wine jug in her left hand and a wineglass in the other. (Paint losses reveal
guidelines in red pigment under the jug.) The artist represented her detachment from
her customers spatially: she stands to the right, her feet nearly touching the bottom fram-
ing edge of the picture, making her appear to be closer to the viewers space.
The barmaids large size, her stern expression, and her response to the men all stress
her power over them. Whoever wants it, take it is the set-up line, expressing her lack of
interest in the rival claims for her attention. But her second utterance, nastier than the
rst, reveals a change of mind. She becomes the quintessential female wiseguy, moving
from annoyed indierence to challenging the annoying customers. Either she calls on
Oceanus, the beeest character in the bar, to settle the dispute (perhaps violently) or

1 65
she mocks their virility by calling them by the name Oceanus. Not only do the men
probably drunkenmake a spectacle of themselves by vying to be the rst served, they
both fail in their attemptsa mark of their impotence as men. They cant even control
a barmaid.
The drinking men also look much weaker in both facial features and gestures than
the men who appear in the other three frames of the painting. The man kissing the woman
in scene one is clean-shaven and has a square jaw and short-cropped hair; as we saw he
expresses his passion toward the woman quite directly. The men arguing over dice in scene
three (plate 10), and then coming to sticus and being thrown out of the bar in scene
four (g. 95) are also quite dierent from the drinkers of scene two. Their heads are smaller
in relation to their bodies, and both are bearded, with close-cropped hair. In both body
and head type they conform to the same ideal of masculine beauty that we saw in the
painting of Theseus Liberator from the House of Gavius Rufus (see g. 76): thin, muscu-
lar but wiry, actively posed. Their faces are ercely expressive. The artist also dierenti-
ated the men in scene two from those in scenes three and four through the color of their
tunics. Although the man on the left in scenes three and four wears a red tunic like the
1 66

Pompeii, Caupona of Salvius, fourth scene. Two ghting men and innkeeper.
man on the left in scene two, the man on the right wears a yellow tunic rather than the
blue-green tunic of the man on the right in scene two.
The drinkers, by contrast, are beardless and eeminate. I believe that the ancient viewer
recognized in them the stereotype of the passive male or cinaedus. Why else did the artist
take such pains to mark them as dierent from the other six images of men in the frieze,
with larger heads, longer dresses, womanish hairdos, and seated powerless before a mere
barmaid? The cinaedus constituted a preposterous inversion of the Roman rule that men
penetrated but were never penetrated. Here they are trying to do the impossible: act like
real men. And they fail. The comic eect depended on the viewer picking up the visual
clues that suggested that they were cinaedi. Not only did the Romans consider cinaedi to
be sexual monsters, they also suered the same status of infamy that, as we saw in the
last chapter, prostitutes, actors, and gladiators suered.
For the male viewers in the Caupona of Salvius the picture with cinaedi trying to get
a barmaid to serve them was ridiculous. A parallel from contemporary visual represen-
tation might help put the vignette of the cinaedi and the barmaid into perspective. Artists
create hybrid animal-humans, rather like Donald Duck or Felix the Cat, that are like hu-
mans but not human. They act out cartoon scenarios that become funny precisely be-
cause they are animal-humans. Similarly, the ancient Roman artist was representing the
disenfranchised human male to the normal man. For ancient Romans, the cinaedus
was an outrageously funny curiosity, and having him act like a normal man was as comic
as having Donald Duck fall in love with, and court, Daisy Duck. The male viewer laughed
at this scene for several reasons, but at the most basic level because he saw the world
turned upside down.
From the laughable spectacle of two cinaedi, each vying to be the rst served, the artist
shifts to real men getting into trouble over gamblingand this in a two-frame narrative.
In scene three the two are seated at a table (see plate 10). The man on the left holds the
dice-cup or fritillus in his right hand. The artist has him saying, I won (exsi). His com-
panion asserts: Its not three; its two (non / tria duas / est). This disagreement turns
ugly in the following scene, where the two men, now standing, come to blows (see g.
95). The man on the left grabs the right shoulder of his dice-partner, who in turn raises
his right hand in a st. They exchange insults. The man on the left says You no-name.
It was three for me. I was the winner (noxsi / a me / tria / eco / fui). The other responds
Look here, cocksucker. I was the winner. (orte fellator / eco fui).
The innkeeper wants
none of this. He tells them Go outside and ght it out (itis / foras / rixsatis). The artist
has used primitive but eective poses to make his point. The two squabbling men are
tight up against each other, their faces nearly touching and their sts raised; the innkeeper
rushes in from below, bending deeply at the waist and stretching out his arms to pull the
men apart if necessary.
Whereas the rst vignette from the Caupona of Salvius is a parody of elite sexual rules
and roles, the other three underscore mens inability to control either the barmaid or them-

1 67
selves. If we interpret the four scenes in the Caupona of Salvius from a contemporary
Euro-American perspective, their humor falls short. Scholars have been content to see
the paintings as a charming slice of everyday Pompeian life, matching the scenes with
their own memories of drinking in modern taverns. Such attempts to normalize the paint-
ing miss the cues that made them much funnier to the ancient Romans than to us.
If there is a theme common to the four panels, it is that of a persons potential to lose.
A woman could lose a husband or boyfriend to another woman; a man could fail to get
a barmaid to serve him a drink; he could lose at dice; he could get beaten up. Each vi-
gnette likely pointed to very real indignities that ordinary people experienced in pursu-
ing love, drinking, and playing dice. They are stereotypes, of course, but they point to
real-life situations that arose from the fact that the freeborn poor, freedpersons, and slaves
depended on places like the Caupona of Salvius for their freetime pleasures. If an elite
man played dice, it was a gentlemans game, and no tavernkeeper would kick him out
if he got rowdy. The non-elite person who laughs at the scenes in the Caupona of Salvius
is asserting a kind of power by laughing at how he or she could so easily be disempow-
ered. The hapless victims in the vignettes are stereotypes cut close enough to the reali-
ties of ordinary peoples misfortunes that a viewers laughter is really a release from his
or her realities.
Mikhail Bakhtins concept of the carnival as the world turned upside down is a useful
one for considering the four vignettes.
Each painting, in its own way, points to people
who are on the losing end of the social order. In scene one the absent Myrtalis is the loser,
since the man who kisses the unnamed woman in the painting tells her he no longer
wants to be with Myrtalis. In scene two a serving woman ignores and insults two men
(even if they are cinaedi); in scene three two men lose at dice; in scene four they are out
of control and get thrown out of the caupona. Taken together, the paintings show the or-
dinary persons world turned upside down, where all of the common pleasures he or she
is accustomed to enjoy in the caupona turn sour. Bakhtin argues that the temporary in-
version of carnival is a societal strategy for asserting the very order it seems to overturn.
Here, in the Caupona of Salvius, a tavern-goers laughter at the upside-down situations
pictured on the walls allowed him or her to feel in control.
Scholars have compared the paintings from the Caupona of Salvius with those of the
nearby Caupona on the Street of Mercury; some have proposed that they are the work of
the same artist.
Like the Caupona of Salvius, it is a small establishment, located a block
north and two blocks east of the forums northern entrance, and like it, the Caupona on
the Street of Mercury featured paintings of tavern life for the amusement of its customers.
In the previous chapter we analyzed one of the paintings showing male-female intercourse
for its relation to the nude mimes in the theater (see p. 134). The following lists reveal
parallels in the subject matter of the paintings in the two taverns.
1 68

Male-female sexual acrobatics 3 Male-female assignation 1
Male servant and customer(s) 3 Female servant and customers 1
Dice playing 1 Dice playing 1
Eating and drinking 1 Brawling 1
Wine transport 1
But what this comparison of subject matters fails to reveal are the quite dierent strate-
gies for entertaining customers in the two establishments. If the threat of powerlessness
incited laughter in the Caupona of Salvius, the paintings decorating the Caupona on the
Street of Mercury gave the viewer images without implications of conict. The most amus-
ing paintings in the Caupona on the Street of Mercury were the sexual caprices inspired
by the theater, whereas the other scenes reected tavern life and normalized it. The only
captions are afterthoughtsnot painted by the artist but scratched above gures heads
in two of the scenes of wine being servedand they have little humorous content.
if reading the captions is essential to getting the jokes in the Caupona of Salvius, read-
ing has no part in understanding the straightforward representations in the Caupona on
the Street of Mercury.
The patron who ordered the paintings for the Caupona on the Street of Mercury wanted
his customers to see the things they liked to look at: sex shows, wine carts, and images
of themselves, enjoying tavern life. There are no conicts or inversions. Salvius, if he was
the owner who commissioned the paintings in his caupona, wanted pictures that would
make his clientele laughall the more so if they were able to read the captions. We have
already considered two representations of the world turned upside down in the previous
chapter: one in Storaxs relief, where a brawl breaks out among the commoners; the other
in the painting of the riot in the amphitheater. Storaxs relief is so jam-packed with im-
agery that the four-person brawl scene becomes little more than a tidbit thrown in the di-
rection of the commoners. In contrast, the fan who commissioned the picture of the riot
for his house gleefully celebrated its spontaneous inversionor carnival. Visual repre-
sentations of sexual play, interactions with servants, and dice playing appear in both
cauponae; what makes the images in the Caupona of Salvius funny is the way that text
and image address the viewers potential loss of control. The viewer could laugh at some-
body elses undoing.
The small size of the Caupona of Salvius and the content of the paintings indicate
that this cauponas clientele were most likely men and women of little means: trades-
people and workers from Pompeii, farmers who came from the neighboring lands to
sell in the markets, and visitors from the region. They could have been freeborn, freed-
persons, or slaves. It is unlikely that elite persons, including the local decurion class and
wealthy freedmen, frequented the caupona, since they would have entertained at home
or would have been invited to the homes of people of the same or higher status. A freed-

1 69
person could have seenand would have been relieved to laugh atthe cauponas vi-
gnettes of powerlessness, for they encoded the kind of impotence he or she had endured
while a slave.
A woman could lose her sexual partner to another man; a man could, like
the cinaedi, be refused service by a tough woman servant; men lose at dice; men ght and
get thrown out of the establishment. The freedman probably knew from experience how
in spaces like this, where oppressed men met to let o steam, a game of dice could end up
in a stght. He could laugh at these upsetsbut they were also a humorous warning that
the proprietor would throw out clients who behaved like the men in the picture.
The woman viewer in the caupona could have been either a customer or a tavern ser-
vant. Both men and women, mostly slaves, served customers in such taverns, and often
their owners prostituted them to customers for a modest price.
A woman working in
the Caupona of Salvius may have found the rst scene threatening, for she could, like the
absent Myrtalis, lose her lover to another woman. The second scene, in contrast, may
have seemed empowering to her, especially if she could read the caption. The waitress
turns the tables on two insistent, obnoxious, and eeminate customers with a mild threat
of potential violence. Her refusal to serve the demanding cinaedialong with her abil-
ity to invoke Oceanus as a backupgives her power that she is not supposed to have.
The sophistication of the humor in the Caupona of Salvius in Pompeii, with its car-
nivalesque scenarios and clever use of texts, nds a more complex counterpart at Ostia.
Here the subject is not tavern life but lampooning elite values.
The tavern paintings in the Caupona of the Baths of the Seven Sages at Ostia Antica date
to about 100, forty to fty years after those of the Caupona of Salvius (number 5 on the
plan, g. 96). In the Caupona of Salvius it was the characters sexual escapades, deviant
sexuality, and bad conduct at the dice table that created the humorhumor that over-
turned expectations of proper behavior among real people. At Ostia the artist attributes
absurd bowel-movement techniques to the venerable voices of wisdom, the Seven Sages
of the seventh century b.c., and he pairs their images with those of ordinary men in the
act of shitting. The paintings of the Caupona of the Seven Sages reveal another side of
Roman humor, where the laughter comes from overturning a set of cultural expectations
quite dierent from those of the Caupona of Salvius.
Although the high, barrel-vaulted room where Guido Calza discovered these remark-
able paintings in 1936 clearly saw reuse as a dressing room (apodyterium) or a massage
room (destrictarium) for the baths, its original function was not entirely clear at the time
of excavation.
The focus of the Sages adages on defecation might suggest that it was a
latrine, but Calza found no traces of the seats or water channel of a latrine. The most likely
hypothesis is that this room, originally opening onto a small east-west street rather than
to the frigidarium of the bath, was a caupona that served wine.
Supporting this hypothesis
is the image of a Dionysian ying gure next to two wine amphoras still to be seen on
1 70

the north half of the high barrel vault, and tripods holding two more amphoras on the
south and west walls.
Furthermore, the artist painted the word falernum on the west
wall, the name of a wine highly prized in Roman antiquity.
What remains is a fragment
of the original painting program. Only three of the original seven images of the Sages
have survived in full (plate 11); a fragment of a fourth one is also visible. Scholars have
analyzed these three gures suciently to establish that the artist was reproducing with
some delity sculptural types going back at least to the late Hellenistic period.
The gure
on the south wall to the left of the street entrance is Solon of Athens. He is bearded and
sits with his legs crossed. He holds a thin sta in his left hand, and rests his right hand
in his lap. Greek letters spelling solon and athenaios frame him to right and left, but
careful Latin capital letters spell out the words above him: Ut bene cacaret ventrem palpavit
Solon, or To shit well Solon stroked his belly.
There are remains of an untranslatable
inscription below him.
On the right (west) side of the same wall follows Thales of Miletus, framed by the Greek
words thales and meilhsios. He is clean-shaven, with short hair, and also holds a sta
in his left hand. Here, too, the artist has written the joke in Latin above the venerable sage
from Miletus: Durum cacantes monuit ut nitant Thales, or Thales advised those who shit
hard to really work at it.
There is a fragmentary inscription below the Sage that includes
the words [u]taris xylosphongio, or use the sponge on wood;
since the Romans used
sponges to clean themselves after defecation, one scholar proposes that the phrase sug-
gests using the philosophers sta for this purpose.
The long back, or west wall of the room would have contained the images of three
Sages; only one is fully preserved. It is Chilon of Sparta, rst on the left (south) part of
the wall, identied by the cheilon and lakedaimonios to his right and left (plate 12).
Chilon is bearded, and he sits in the same three-quarter pose as Solon. He brings his

1 71
Ostia, plan of Caupona of the
Seven Sages (III, 10, 23).
right arm up toward his chin and rests his right elbow on his left hand. He holds a scroll
in his left hand. Above him we learn why he was such a great wise man: Vissire tacite
Chilon docuit subdolus, or Cunning Chilon taught how to fart without making noise.
Another gure followed, but a door cut through this gure when the room became an
apodyterium (plate 13). Finally, on the right or north part of the west wall appear the lower
right leg of a stool and traces of the Sages drapery, and the name of his city in Greek:
prihneys. Above, in Latin, is the last part of his saying: invenib Bias, or Bias discov-
ered . . . . Although we will never know what Bias of Priene discovered, we can assume
from the character of the other sayings that his discovery had to do with defecation.
Five gures remain lower down on the south and west walls; only the heads and tor-
sos of four of them, and the head of a fth, are preserved. The top of a red plaster dado,
probably dating to the rooms conversion in the 120s, destroyed the gures below the waist.
They are men, and they must be sitting and defecating, to judge from the words written
above their heads in Latin. Above the man on the south wall (beneath Thales) we read:
mulione sedes, or, you are sitting on a muledriver. The artist rendered his head in three-
quarters, so that he looks to his left, across the corner of the room, to address the men
on the west wall (see plate 11). The rst man on the west wall says properoIm hurry-
ing up; the verb appears above his left shoulder (see plate 12). He may be responding to
what the man next to him says: high above this gures head are two inscribed guide-
lines. On the upper line appear the words agita te celerius, and on the guideline below the
continuation: pervenies. Here the writer uses the verb agitare in its meaning of shaking
or moving the bodyprobably the bellyin order to hurry up the process of elimination:
shake yourself about so that youll go faster. Perhaps this is his remedy for constipation.
The last translatable lines appear above the man next to him; the letters rest on the same
two guidelines: amice fugit te proverbium / bene caca et irrima medicos: Friend, the adage
escapes you. Shit well and make the doctors blow you (literally, force the doctors to fel-
late you).
A more colloquial translation: Hey, buddydont you know the saying? Shit
well and fuck the doctorsyou dont need them.
Several interesting consequences emerge when we attempt to imagine the scope of
the original program of images and textsand what a customer drinking in this space
would have seen. It is relatively easy to ll out the rest of the middle zone of the wall, now
occupied by two Sages on the south wall, and one Sage and a part of another one on the
left and right sides of the west wall. We would simply have to add three more Sages, a
third one on the west wall opposite the original entrance where a later doorway pierces
the wall, and two on the north wall.
Like the preserved Sages, these would masquerade
as statues, placed on plinths; their names and their cities, painted in Greek letters, would
frame them, and a Latin saying having to do with some aspect of defecation would have
appeared above. Beneath this august lineup we would have to ll in the row of men, seated
on a many-seated latrine. Using the size and positions of the four preserved torsos as a
guide, there would have been twenty sitting gures in all, six on the south wall, eight on
the west wall, and six on the north. The ancient viewer would have immediately recog-
1 72

nized this conguration, since at Ostia many preserved latrines consist of a large entry-
way with a bench running continuously around the left, back and right walls.
Holes in
the marble of the bench designate the places where users would sit to defecate (g. 97).
The artist who literally elevated the statues of the Sages and compared them with the
real, shitting men down below used the physical position of the two kinds of sitters to
mock the grandiose rhetoric of intellectuals in general and the Sages in particular. Mod-
ern intellectuals, like the intellectuals of the ancient world, are fond of reading classical
statuary as being up there, its very removal from our everyday world a challenge to our
mundane thoughts and feelings:
The classic statue is the radiant centre of a transcendent individualism, put up on a pedestal,
raised above the viewer and the commonality and anticipating passive admiration from be-
low. We gaze up at the gure and wonder. . . . The presence of the statue is a problematic
presence in that it immediately retroects us to the heroic past, it is a memento classici for
which we are the eternal latecomers, and for whom meditative imitation is the appropri-
ate contrition.
The artist of the Caupona of the Seven Sages amplied the contrasts between up there
and down herebetween the classic statue and the ordinary manto create a scheme
much more ambitious and multivalent than that of the Caupona of Salvius.
The height of the vault is about 5.2 meters (17 feet) at its crown, perhaps twice as high

1 73
Ostia, I, 12, Forica on the Street of the Forica.
as the at ceiling of the Caupona of Salvius, and the painter worked out a program that fea-
tured imagery and text all the way up the wall.
The four relatively small framed panels
that make up the frieze on the wall opposite the entryway of the tiny room 1 in the Caupona
of Salvius were at eye level, whereas the three registers of guration in the Caupona of the
Seven Sages would make the viewer crane his neck to take in the imageryand the texts.
Each vignette in the Pompeian inn paintings uses a kind of cartoon balloon to give the
protagonists speech and to identify how theyre upsetting their expected rolesespecially
in scenes one and two. There is also a narrative in the last two scenes, where arguing over
dice-playing ends up in a ght and the threat of expulsion. The case is very dierent in
the Caupona of the Seven Sages. It is not only the visual representations of wine amphoras,
Sages, and defecating men that would make the viewers eyes scan the walls vertically.
Once the viewer got the visual pun connecting the Sages sitting with the shitters sitting,
reading the texts that accompany these images amplied the humor, a process that re-
quired scanning the lines from left to right.
It is clear that the person who commissioned and paid for this painting program wanted
to give his clients a lot of text to read. I have proposed translations of the texts that are
complete, and I have included the undecipherable ones in the notes; to these we would
have to add the maxims directly attributed to the other four missing Sages and the words
above the heads of the missing sitters. To go along with the twenty sitting men there
would have been the same number of texts, ranging in length from one word (like the
propero) to perhaps ten (like the fairly complex amice fugit te proverbium / bene caca et
irrima medicos).
The humor escalated when someone read these texts. The images of the Sages serve
their comedic purpose by looking as much as possible like the traditional statues and paint-
ings of the Seven Sages that the second-century Ostian might have seen. The use of Greek
labels to tell the viewer each sages name and city must have seemed more ocial to the
Latin-speaking viewer than Latin labels would have. They are images from elite culture:
of statues adorning gardens, lecture halls, libraries, and the villas of the rich. Our tavern-
goers would have known them from grand public spaces at Ostia, Rome, or any large city.
Their presence in the tavern sets them up for ridicule, especially since the Sages them-
selves do not speak. The bogus sayings above their heads simply report, in the third per-
son, what they purportedly taught. The fact that each line scans in six iambs (they are
iambic senarii) gives the sayings a pseudoliterary avor that further emphasizes their role
in what was a mockery of elite culture.
Given the actual content of what the Sages and the shitting men say, it is remarkable
that scholars have doggedly resisted seeing any humor in the painted decoration of the
Caupona of the Seven Sages. Richard Neudecker has recently reviewed in great detail all
the ancient texts that mention digestion and elimination in order to support his hypoth-
esis, based on Michel Foucaults research, that the luxury latrine of the imperial period
came about because of the development and diusion of elite models of bodily care.
connection with our paintings, Neudecker cites Plutarchs symposium of the Seven Sages,
1 74

where after dinner they discuss, among other things, food. In Plutarchs text, the Sages
comments on digestion are a way to highlight the conict between body and spirit.
The closest the conversation comes to actual bodily functions is Solons exaggerated ac-
count of digestion: For this, in truth, it is which constitutes the pollution of our esh
and its bowels of Hell, as it were, teeming with frightful streams and wind, intermingled
with burning re and corpses.
This highbrow utterance is a far cry from Solon strok-
ing his belly, Thales telling shitters to push hard, or Chilon teaching people how to fart
silentlyyet Neudecker insists that the paintings of the Caupona of the Seven Sages are
visual explanations of what Plutarchs Sages say.
In Plutarch the Sages try to reach be-
yond the body to the spirit; the paintings and texts in the Caupona bring the Sages back
down to the body, and they dirty or soil the Sages wisdom. What is more, wise words
coming out of their mouths end up being about what comes from the lower part. Although
the Sages are not shitting, their words represent shit.
Calza, too, denies any humorous content and wants to make the tavern-goers into the
intellectual bohemians of the day who belonged to an exclusive mens club that met in
this space. Calzas normalization of both the space and the taverns clientele is clearly
anachronistic and reveals more about his own early-twentieth-century culture than it does
about that of the ancient people who frequented the Caupona of the Seven Sages.
sees no humor, only the nobility of the common Roman man who has rejected high-
minded philosophy for practical wisdom.
I think that we can get closer to the paintings meaning for customers in the Caupona
of the Seven Sages by considering how defecating gured in their lives.
Bearing in mind
that ancient Ostians sat together on benches in latrines to urinate and defecate, they would
have been seeing a scene from their everyday lives in the Caupona of the Seven Sages.
The forica (public latrine) was a social setting governed by cultural constructions of elim-
ination quite dierent from our own. In contrast to the modern requirement that the act
of defecation take place out of the sight of others, ancient Romans had no need or desire
for privacy while defecating.
If the public latrines suggest that the act of defecation was
normally carried out in the company of others (and probably with persons of both sexes),
the many shrines that decorate them indicate that people wanted the gods to smile on
this act.
A painting from the latrine in a caupona at Pompeii (IX, 7, 22) represents a
naked man defecating beside an image of Fortuna and framed by luck-bringing serpents
(agathodaemones). Above his head appears the legend: cacator cave malu(m) or Shitter,
beware of evil!
A shrine to Fortunacomplete with the inscription Fortunae Augustae
decorates the large latrine in the Barracks of the Firemen at Ostia, completed around a.d.
140. The goddess augurs good luck to the men as they relieve themselves.
In keeping
with the dignity of the public latrines is the generally high quality of their construction,
hygienic provisions, and materials. Whereas in many small latrines, such as those in
houses, a person sat on a bench suspended over a cesspit, in the large public latrines abun-
dant water running beneath the benches carried away the waste. A second stream of water
ran in front of the benches, at the users feet, to supply water to clean the sponge that

1 75
people wiped with, and to wash away spattered urine. Marble, or painted plaster over brick-
work, adorned the walls, and marble, mosaic, or brick paved the oors.
The public latrines at Ostia, rather than being dark, stinking, and hidden, were bright
and welcoming places where people met and perhaps tarried to converse. Seen in this light,
the latrine is a social space like the caupona; using the image of the latrine in the painting
of the caupona was a way to compare similar cultural practices. Just as men sat around the
latrines perimeter and talked, so they sat on stools conversing in the caupona. But whats
funny is the fact that the artist has transported the menand their conversationfrom
one social space to another: the artist has depicted the men sitting around the three walls
of the Caupona of the Seven Sages as though it were a latrine, talking about and philos-
ophizing about shitting. The tavern is a place where you ingest foodnot a place where
you evacuate it. What the paintings and texts overturn are the expectations of what the
Sages should do. Sages imparting wisdom would be an appropriate representation for cul-
tured men eating and drinking. But the artist has transported that social space into an-
other. He has mixed ingesting food and drink in reality with defecation in representation
both visual (the shitting men) and verbal (the Sages and the mens words). Here, the artist
sets the Sages against men in a latrinehe has dirtied them visuallyand has given them
dirty wisdom. In the tavern the drinkers should be talking about food, wine, and sex; or
on a higher planephilosophy, religion, and politics. Instead they vie with the Sages in
commenting on shitting.
What of the clientele of the Caupona? The only class one can rule out is the elite, who
would have entertained and have been entertained in domestic settings. The many free
citizens and freedmen who made up the bulk of Ostias population could have frequented
the Caupona of the Seven Sages. Its barrel-vaulted space (5 on the plan, g. 96) is one of
a cluster of four back-to-back barrel vaults that can still be identied within the later fab-
ric of the Baths of the Seven Sages, constructed in the 120s. Two of the barrel vaults, the
Caupona of the Seven Sages and the area now making up room 6 of the Baths, opened
onto the Street of the Lime Kiln. The other two (24 and a similar space now occupied
by the north part of rotunda 7) must have opened onto a second street or inner passageway
that later became area 2. These three additional barrel-vaulted spaces could have pro-
vided further rooms for the Caupona, suggesting that it was a relatively large establish-
ment, serving wine and food and perhaps providing rooms for sexual encounters.
though it is impossible to reconstruct the neighborhood surrounding the Caupona at the
time the paintings of the Seven Sages were commissioned (ca. 100), the subsequent de-
velopment (ca. 120140) is distinctly residential, placing the Caupona in the middle of a
residential area that boasted big and well-appointed apartment buildings rather than the
mix of warehouses and small apartments found in other parts of the city.
Were the customers literate? The answer must be a resounding yes, if we take into
account the sheer quantity of writing on the walls (about ve times the amount actually
preserved), and the fact that the only way to enjoy the humor was to read the writing. Of
1 76

course, there are degrees of literacy, and in this room it would only take one person read-
ing out loud to the others to explain the jokes; his reading would transfer the humor from
the realm of the visual and written to that of the visual and oral. Someone who could rec-
ognize the scatological words and phrases would be able to make sense of the whole
as long as he understood who the Sages were and how they gured in elite cultural pre-
tensions. One can imagine clients reading both the maxims of the Sages and the pithy
comments of the defecating men. Here was the stu of stories about the end product
of digestion even while people were having their ll of food and wine. And this kind of
humorthe kind that dirtied elite pretensionswas an assertion of power over the elite.
It turned the world of high-minded philosophy upside down, soiling what the powerful
held dear.
We get the just the oppositethe eliteapproach to the humor of mixing eating and
shitting in Petroniuss character Trimalchio. Petronius creates Trimalchio to illustrate the
wealthy freedmans bad taste and ignorance, never more boorish than when he treats his
dinner guestswho have ingested an inordinate amount of food and wineto an ex-
tended commentary on his constipation:
Youll excuse me, friend, he began, but Ive been constipated for days and the doctors
are stumped. I got a little relief from a prescription of pomegranate rind and resin in a vine-
gar base. Still, I hope my tummy will get back its manners soon. But if any of you has any
business that needs attending to, go right ahead; no reason to feel embarrassed. Theres
not a man been born yet with solid insides. And I dont know any anguish on earth like try-
ing to hold it in. Jupiter himself couldnt stop it from coming. . . . Well, anyone at table who
wants to go has my permission, and the doctors tell us not to hold it in. . . . Take my word
for it, friends, the vapors go straight to your brain. Poison your whole system. I know of
some whove died from being too polite and holding it in.
Petronius, the arbiter elegantiae (arbiter of elegance), gets his elite audience to laugh by
having Trimalchio comment on how to shit and when to shiteven while his guests
are eating. He dirties the banquet with inappropriate references to elimination. He is
also addled, whether by wine or by nature, so that his musings about constipation free-
associate moronically, leading him from his bowels misbehaving to Jupiters lack of con-
trol to thoughts of death. In every way Petronius has Trimalchio overturning the rules for
proper banquet conversation and behaviorall for the amusement of the cultured elite
The situation is quite dierent in the Caupona of the Seven Sages. It is a gathering
place for the non-elite, and the clients experiences of elimination were quite dierent
from those of the elite. Ostias richly decorated public latrines must have aorded an op-
portunity for ordinary people to socialize while relieving themselves.
Elites had slaves
bring them chamber pots whenever and wherever they wished to relieve themselves.

1 77
Although this practice did not allow privacy in modern terms, since there were servants
present, it allowed elite individuals to avoid defecating surrounded by the wrong people.
Elite practice remained relatively constant from Roman times to the nineteenth century,
when the water closet came into use. The notion of privacy for everyone came only with
the diusion of plumbing to lower-class dwellings, and with the creation of public rest-
rooms. Only at this point did common people experience, and come to expect, the privacy
of the bathroom stall in public places.
In light of ancient Romans experience of the com-
munal latrine, we should resist thinking that, in the Caupona of the Seven Sages, the
mere depiction of men sitting around the perimeter of the room and defecating was the
joke. This image merely set the stage for visual and verbal parallels that were much fun-
nier. True, it was the artists imaginative transformation of a place where you drank and
ate into one where you sat and shat that set the stage for the humor. By comparing two
kinds of sociability, that of the caupona and that of the latrine, the artist collapsed the
dierences between the consumption of food and wine and their elimination.
The crux of the humor lies in the visual and verbal parallels between Sages and shit-
ters. Although at rst Sages and shitting men resemble each other supercially, since
both are sitting, the viewer knows that the Sages are seated to hold forth their wisdom,
whereas the men are sitting to defecate. What is more, the artist depicted the Sages as
sculptures and the men below as living people. Looking up, a viewer would compare
the representations of the Sages with sculptures and paintings he had seen of them,
seated in their proper philosophers stools, set on individual bases, and endowed with
the physiognomic traits that dierentiated each of them.
Looking down, he would see
the improvised and nontraditional images of living, workaday mennot statues; per-
haps some of them were even portraits of friendsanimatedly engaging in conversa-
tion while defecating.
Equally funny, because they thwart a viewers expectations, are the written words that
convey what Sages and shitters have to say. In ancient lecture halls, libraries, and villas
of the elite, high-minded maxims often accompanied the statues of the Sages, properly
labeled in Greek like the paintings in the Caupona of the Seven Sages.
But the Sages
maxims painted high up on the wall are bogus and embarrassingly similar to the words
coming from the sitting mens mouths down below. In a real Roman latrine, the words
of the men sitting and shitting would not have been out of the ordinary; they belong in
that context. Yet transferred to the caupona these words form a humorous counterpoint
to the expertise in techniques of shitting and farting attributed to the Sages in the state-
ments written above their heads. Both Sages and men sayin all seriousnesssilly things
about bowel movements.
Grammar also comes into play. The maxims above pose as historical or factual re-
portage; they use the authority of the third person, the past tense, and the meter of iambic
senarii to disclose what each Sage is supposed to have taught about digestion. The men
below speak in the present, and they speak for themselves; the captions (as in the Cau-
pona of Salvius) appear just above each mans head. Just as the artist forced the viewer to
1 78

compare two very dierent categories of sitting (seated statues of Sages and real men sit-
ting on a latrine bench), so the written words compare everyday talk with the wisdom of
the ages. The words contrast the then of history (or the pseudohistory of the Sages) with
the now of the present for comic eect.
The paintings in both taverns have the potential to enlighten us on how Roman art ac-
commodated its audiences. By cleverly coding their imagery in narratives and scenarios
that spoke to the culture of those who frequented these taverns, the paintings entertained
with their humor and provided grist for inventive commentary and storytelling. Unlike
the bulk of ocial art, or even decorative art, nothing (save the images of the Sages) is
Because the written word constitutes an essential element that the ancient viewer had
to grasp in order to get the jokes, these tavern paintings can serve as indicators of the mix
of levels of literacy of these establishments clientele. The writing has three dierent avors:
in the Caupona of Salvius, it is vulgar Latin used to script the exchanges of the customers,
barmaid, and owner. In the Caupona of the Seven Sages the writer has cast the maxims
of the Sages in words and meter proper to their dignity; and although the comments of
the seated men include colloquialisms, they are more grammatical than those of the
Caupona of Salvius.
It is likely, but not provable, that clients of both cauponas ranged from the literate to
the fully illiterate.
If this were the case, we could imagine some drinkers amusing them-
selves, as with the help of their cronies they tried to sound out the written words to get
at the meanings. Others, fully literate, would get the jokes quite rapidly. Although the il-
literate person could understand the two scenes of the gambling and brawling man in
the Caupona of Salvius, he would need to know what the characters in the rst two scenes
were saying to get their humor. Comprehension would be quite dicult for the illiterate
viewer in the Caupona of the Seven Sages, where the Sages maxims and the defecating
mens remarks were essential elements of the humor. For this reason Calza goes so far
as to rule out an illiterate clientele in his argument that the Caupona of the Seven Sages
is a sophisticated mens club.
Even if we discount the obvious anachronism of Calzas
claim, it is hard to make this an exclusive club merely on the evidence of the paintings
and inscriptions. I propose that the partially literate viewer would have simply needed
more timeand assistance from his literate friendsto comprehend the humor. He
would probably recognize the representations of the statues of the Seven Sagesor seated
Philosopher type in generaland get the visual pun between their sitting and the scene
familiar from his own everyday experienceof men sitting at a latrine. But the sheer
quantity of the texts and their relatively complex grammar would have blocked the illit-
erate person from getting all the jokes until he heard people read them; he had to rely
upon his literate friends for enlightenment and a laugh.
Writing was everywhere in Roman cities, but most of it was formulaic: inscriptions
on the tombs you passed as you neared the city walls; on triumphal arches that marked

1 79
important passages; on statue bases and altars within the forum and temple precincts;
on temples and statue-niches.
The kind of writing we nd in our two taverns is of a
dierent kind; rather than commemorating the dead, proclaiming an emperors titles, or
telling the reader who paid for a statue, it endows painted images of human beings with
speech. And unlike the seriousness of purpose behind inscriptions on monuments, the
writing on these tavern walls was just for fun.
In proposing my interpretations of these two ensembles of tavern paintings, I have
tried to avoid reading them as illustrations of elite values as we know them from existing
ancient texts. Taken on their own terms and in context they reveal the originality of the
artists who created them; they also demonstrate the viewers visual and verbal literacy.
The artists could not rely on existing iconographic models (aside from the images of the
Sages themselves) for imagery; they had to make images that reected scenarios drawn
from the audiences world, scenarios that tted with their experiences of bar and latrine.
The artists also had to invent the captions. To get the points of the jokes viewers had to
recognize the contradictions in the visual representations as well as those in the written
words. Compared with the seemingly endless repetition of formulaic representations that
characterizes Roman high art, these tavern paintings are highly original expressions
that reveal the inventiveness, wit, and playfulness of ancient artists and viewers.
1 80

We have already considered several funerary monuments in previous chapters. The grave
stele of Longidienus and the altar of Atimetus helped us to articulate attitudes of ordi-
nary working Romans toward their professions. In the chapter on spectacle, Lusius Storaxs
tomb sculpture showed how one freedman wished to be remembered at the high point
in his life, when he was both augustalis and giver of the games. In this chapter I examine
the circumstances of display and viewing in streets of tombs, where tombs of various
types lined the roads leading out of the cityeach vying for the viewers attention, each
beckoning the passerby to stop, read the inscription, contemplate the imagery, and re-
member the occupant.
I focus on several tombs and a sarcophagus (stone con) where we know that the
occupant belonged to the lower social strata, and where his choice of imagery reveals
what he wanted the viewer to think about him. On the whole, we will nd attitudes toward
commemoration that recalleven celebratethe pleasures of life rather than pictur-
ing or symbolizing an ideal afterlife. If this seems strange to us, it is because most of
todays religions assert that there is a better life after deatha heaven waiting as a re-
ward for those who have lived according to the rules. Coupled with our conceptual dis-
tinction between earthly existence and the heavenly one is our practice of separating the
realm of the dead from that of the living. We commemorate the dead in cemeteries or
1 8 1
mausolea cut o as much as possible from the business of daily life and its trac. Noth-
ing could be farther from the Roman mentality, obsessed with prolonging a persons
memory in public: tombs are meant to be seen as often as possible and by as many people
as possible.
The architecture and decoration of tombs distinguished between two kinds of view-
ing: from outside and from within the tomb. The areas within the tombs boundary walls
addressed the familia of the persons buried there, who would likely visit the tomb four
times a year. In addition to visiting the tomb on the deceaseds death-day and birthday,
there were two public religious festivals dedicated to the commemoration of the dead:
the Parentalia (1321/23 February) and the Lemuria (9, 11 and 13 May).
During these fes-
tivals the cemeteries buzzed with activity, as families who visited the tombs cleaned and
adorned them with wreaths and owers.
They often poured libationsincluding wine,
milk, honey, oil, and the blood of animal victimsthrough tubes that reached the ashes
of the deceased to appease the spirits of the dead (the Manes or inferiae).
The family also
ate a meal at the tomb that could range from a simple picnic (the refrigerium) to a full-
edged banquet. Some tombs, especially the second- and third-century ones at Ostia, boast
masonry couches, wells, and even bake-ovens, suggesting that the funeral meal was an
elaborate banquet.
Roman law required that the dead be buried outside the citys boundaries, the pomerium,
so that tombs began where the city walls stopped, lining the roads leading out of the city.
Individuals and their families vied for the choice spots, on main roads close to the city
gates. At Pompeii and Ostia inscriptions tell us how the city government controlled the
burial plots and how the decurions often awarded the best ones to individuals who had
served their cities well. As the plots along the roads leading out from cities lled up, in-
dividuals wanting to locate their tombs near the city settled for the second row back from
the road, creating, in eect, parallel streets lined with tombs on either side (g. 98).
The tombs took many dierent forms. Cremation predominated in Roman Italy un-
til the midsecond century a.d. Urns containing the ashes of the deceased could be placed
in a great variety of architectural settings. At Pompeii we nd ash-urns placed in back of
the so-called schola, a semicircular stone bench; in the cube-shaped altars that loomed
high above the walls that enclosed them; in the bases of round temples (tholi), beneath
aediculae with portrait busts or statues in them; in the niches lining vaulted chambers,
called dovecotes (columbaria) (g. 99).
In the cemeteries of Rome, Ostia, and Isola Sacra,
the columbarium predominates. Common to all of the tomb forms was the aim of get-
ting the passerby to stop and look at the exterior imagery and the inscriptionand to re-
member the occupant. The scholas strategy was especially accommodating, since it in-
vited a passerby to stop and sit on its stone bench, resting her back against the inscription
that identied the person whom the monument honored.
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There is great variety in the tomb inscriptions. Some simply identify the person buried
there, but more often we nd the name of the person who erected the tomb, complete
with a list of his honors. Perhaps the most fascinating for the modern viewer are in-
scriptions that address the passerby and ask him to stop and read the story of the deceased.
One of these, in Pompeiis necropolis of the Nuceria gate, explains the wrongs the occu-
pant suered in life:
O traveler, stop a while if its no trouble and learn what you have to avoid. The man I hoped
was my friend accused me falsely. In court, thanks to the gods and my own innocence, I

1 83
Ostia, plan of Necropolis of the Ostia Road.
Pompeii, Necropolis of the Herculaneum Gate.
was absolved of all guilt. May my defamer be rejected by the penates [the protecting deities]
and by all the gods of the beyond.
As Giancarlo Susini and others have pointed out, tomb inscriptions t into a typically
Roman urban landscape lled with public writingmuch of it aimed at exalting the name
of a person to guarantee his or her survival in memory.
For non-elites, tombs with
inscriptionsespecially when coupled with paintings and relief sculptures that illus-
trate or allude to great deedswere a prime vehicle for advancing their social and po-
litical status.
One of the best examples of a non-elite persons use of a funerary monument to trumpet
her virtues and those of her family is that of Naevoleia Tyche. When, in the early nine-
teenth century, archaeologists uncovered the tall altar-type monument with an enclosure
wall along the Herculaneum Road, they assumed that it was her burial place (g. 100).
She appears prominentlyher bust peering out from a shuttered frame, overseeing the
grain-dole ceremony that takes place below. On the left ordinary men, women, and chil-
dren, some carrying baskets, approach a diminutive gure who seems to be scooping
grain from a sack into a basket. On the right men in togas observe the largessecertainly
that of Naevoleias freedman husband, Munatius Faustus.
Just as the visual represen-
tation emphasizes Naevoleia, so too the inscription declares her role in commissioning
the monument:
Naevoleia Tyche, freedwoman of Lucius, [erected this monument] for herself and for Gaius
Munatius Faustus, augustalis and paganus, to whom the decurions, with the agreement of
the citizens, decreed the [honor of ] the bisellium for his merits. Naevoleia Tyche constructed
this monument while alive for her freedmen and freedwomen and for those of Gaius Mu-
natius Faustus.
Naevoleia tells us that she is a freedwoman, and goes on to name her husbands honors,
including the fact that he was an augustalis (in a.d. 5657) and a paganus, meaning he
was magister pagi, an ocial in charge of a district (pagus), either of the city or of the sub-
urbs of Pompeii.
She pictures one of his honors, the bisellium, on the relief on the mon-
uments left face. As we saw in the chapter on spectacle, the city awarded the bisellium,
a double-width seat in the theater, as a special honor to prominent men. On the right face
is a ship under sail, a reference either to the familys mercantile activity or to the passage
to the other world.
Yet neither Naevoleias ashes nor those of her husband rested within the vaulted cham-
ber beneath. A century later, excavators uncovering the tombs outside the Nuceria Gate
found the simple, double tomb of Naevoleia and her husband.
The most likely scenario
1 84

is that Naevoleia survived her husband, and decided to add to her glory and that of her
family by erecting a second, more elegant monument along the Herculaneum Road. It
would serve as a cenotaph (a memorial) to herself and her husband and also as a burial
place for the couples former slaves. Unlike the modest tomb in the Nuceria Gate necrop-
olis, the rich sculptural imagery and long inscription on the cenotaph set the stage for
the careers of Naevoleias sons, born free. Naevoleia, barred by her servile origins from
public priesthoods of elite women like Mamia and Eumachia, and by reason of her sex
from being an augustalis, focused her energy and her wealth on creating a monument
that trumpeted her identity and the accomplishments of her family to all.
What is more,
the inscription announces Naevoleias generosity; she provides a ne tomb for the ashes
of the freedmen and freedwomen of both Naevoleia and Munatius. This act of homage
to the couples servile familia did double duty, for while it honored their former slaves it
declared the greatness of the familia in a permanent public memorial.
Naevoleias monuments demonstrate how important it could be for a freedwoman to ad-
vertise her wealth and status. Little wonder that building an elaborate tomb is so impor-
tant to Petroniuss ctional character, the freedman Trimalchio, whom we left in the last
chapter lamenting the state of his bowels. At the same dinner party, even further in his
cups, Trimalchio gives his friend, the sculptor Habinnas, elaborate instructions on what
his tomb is to look like. Although Trimalchios soliloquy is the stu of side-splitting com-
edy for the elite readers Petronius is addressing, the humor lies not so much in Trimal-

1 85
Pompeii, Necropolis of the Herculaneum Gate, no. 22, Monument of Naevoleia Tyche.
chios desire to be commemoratedfor every Roman wanted thisbut in his tombs ex-
aggerated size and its mishmash of iconographical references:
At the close of the reading, he turned to Habinnas. Well, old friend, will you make me my
tomb exactly as I order it? First, of course, I want a statue of myself. But carve my dog at
my feet, and give me garlands of owers, jars of perfume and every ght in Petraites ca-
reer. Then, thanks to your good oces, Ill live on long after Im gone. In front, I want my
tomb one hundred feet long, but two hundred feet deep. Around it I want an orchard with
every known variety of fruit tree. Youd better throw in a vineyard too. For its wrong, I think,
that a man should concern himself with the house where he lives his life but give no thought
to the home hell have forever. But above all I want you to carve this notice:
this monument does not pass into
the possession of my heirs.
In any case Ill see to it in my will that my grave is protected from damage after my death.
Ill appoint one of my ex-slaves to act as a custodian to chase o people who might come
and crap on my tomb. Also, I want you to carve me several ships with all sail crowded and
a picture of myself sitting on the judges bench in ocial dress with ve gold rings on my
ngers and handing out a sack of coins to the people. For its a fact, and youre my witness,
that I gave a free meal to the whole town and a cash handout to everyone. Also make me
a dining room, a frieze maybe, but however you like, and show the whole town celebrating
at my expense. On my right I want a statue of Fortunata with a dove in her hand. And oh
yes, be sure to have her pet dog tied to her girdle. And dont forget my pet slave. Also Id
like huge jars of wine, well stoppered so the wine wont slosh out. Then sculpt me a bro-
ken vase with a little boy sobbing out his heart over it. And in the middle stick a sundial
so that anyone who wants the time of day will have to read my name. And how will this do
for the epitaph?
here lies gaius pompeius trimalchio
voted in absentia an official of the
imperial cult.
he could have been registered
in any category of civil service at rome
but chose otherwise.
pious and courageous,
a loyal friend,
he died a millionaire
though he started life with nothing.
let it be said to his eternal credit
that he never listened to philosophers.
peace to him.
Despite its clearly comic purpose, many scholars have cited this passage because it is
lled with references that parallel surviving images and inscriptions. Trimalchio, of course,
is not a typical freedman: he is unusually wealthy and unusually vulgar.
Unlike most
1 86

freedmen, he inherited his wealth at the death of his patronus, so that he had no ongoing
obligations to his former master. Trimalchio embraces every clich about commemora-
tion with such indiscriminate fervor that Petroniuss elite readers wincedand then
laughed. Yet nearly every modern analysis of Roman burial practice quotes Trimalchios
soliloquy, for all of the forms that he describes appear in excavated tombs.
Some of the remarkable correspondences between Trimalchios tomb, the tomb of
Storax at Teate (chapter 5), and the tomb of Vestorius Priscus at Pompeii are listed in gure
101. If we put the imagery and inscriptions from the tombs of Lusius Storax and Vesto-
rius Priscus together, we have accounted for many of the visual and textual references in
Trimalchios tomb. We could also easily nd the other images, such as the ship under
sailone of the principal images on the cenotaph of Naevoleia Tyche. Petronius, of course,
knew the vocabulary of tomb memorials well, and by tweaking and exaggerating details,
he conjured up an image of Trimalchios excess in commemoration that matched the ex-
cess of his famous banquet.
Not listed in gure 101 are the images decorating the Tomb of Vestorius Priscuswhich
Petronius could have added to Trimalchios list (g. 102).
Vestorius Priscuss tomb takes
pride of place among the few excavated to date near Pompeiis Vesuvius Gate, so called

1 87
(Fi gs. 8488) (Pl s. 1415; Fi gs. 1025; 10915)
Portrait statue Portrait statue
Gladiatorial combat scenes Gladiatorial combat scenes Gladiatorial combat scene
Real orchard and vineyard Painting of garden
Every fruit Pomegranate tree
Ships under sail
Acting as magistrate at games Acting as magistrate at games Acting as magistrate in public
Giving out money Officials checking money-box?
Portrait of wife
Portrait of slaves Common people at the games
This monument does not pass This monument does not pass
to heirs to heirs
Augustalis Augustalis
Service in Rome Aedile in Pompeii
Died a millionaire Cost of funeral 2,000 sesterces
Never listened to philosophers
Chart comparing Trimalchio, Storax, and Vestorius Priscus.
Pompeii, Necropolis of the
Vesuvius Gate, plan of Tomb
of Vestorius Priscus, with
subjects of paintings.
Pompeii, Tomb of Vestorius Priscus in its context. Excavation photo, 1907.
because the steep street that leads up to the gate faces the volcano. Someone coming out
through the city walls at this point saw the high enclosure wall surrounding a central
structure that supported a monument in the shape of an altar (g. 103). The inscription
C(aio) Vestorio Prisco Aedil(i)
Vixit annis XXII
Locus sepulturae datus et in
funere HS
D(ecreto) D(ecurionum)
Mulvia Prisca Mater P(ecunia) S(ua)
To Gaius Vestorius Priscus, Aedile, who lived 22 years. This burial place and 2,000 ses-
terces for his funeral were given by decree of the decurions. His mother, Mulvia Prisca,
paid for this tomb with her own money.
Despite the fact that, as the inscription boasts, the decurions voted to pay for Priscuss
funeral and provided the land that the tomb stands on, he was a minor ocial and quite
young. There are clear indications that the family had only modest means. The tomb it-
self is quite small, and even so Mulvia Prisca had to build it in two stages. She could not
aord bronze or marble, but settled for stucco and fresco painting for its decoration. Vesto-
rius Priscus seems to have been aedile in a.d. 7071, and died while in oce.
The cog-
nomen Priscus is fairly common at Pompeii: Jean Andreau identies ten persons with
this last name, and concludes that they are of humble origin, although none of these
men is designated as a former slave.
The visual representations in the tomb express a
certain anxiety about status; the somewhat bewildering array of competing images that
Mulvia Prisca ordered underscores the mothers fervent desire to amplify her sons glory
and that of the familia.
The only images directly relating to death that a viewer could see from the exterior are
two stucco gures that ank the inscription. They are nude males with long hair, stand-
ing on owers and each holding a vegetal candelabrum in the right hand. They represent
the genii of death (genii mortis).
The other stuccoes that a viewer saw have no specic
death symbolism: a semi-reclining satyr (west side), a maenad ying to the left (north side),
and a maenad ying to the right (south side). Surrounding the central altar with the in-
scription and these three stucco gures on the sides are little altars; on top of each is a ser-
pent wound around an oval stone (omphalos)representations similar to the protecting
serpents we have seen at domestic altars. Little stucco cupids decorate the altars principal
faces, and the artist lled out their minor faces with images of animals; one can still make
out an eagle with a serpent and a panther in two places.
Mulvia Prisca instructed the artist
to use ordinary motifs for the tombs exteriorthose common in the paintings and stuc-
coes of houses and baths of the period (the Fourth Style, between a.d. 62 and 79). A passerby
saw nothing of the deceased or his lifes activities. It was quite a dierent story for those

1 89
who entered the tomb through its little doorway (only 1.2 0.5 m, or 3' 8" 1' 7
") at the
back, where the imagery celebrated the young Priscuss life and status.
Visitors permitted to go into the tomb enclosure were members of the extended fam-
ily of the deceased, the familia who had lived in his house and under his power as pater-
familias. Entering the tomb, the rst image a mourner saw was the young Priscus, dressed
in a toga with the red stripes of his oce (clavi). He stands in his house in the room
where he received his clients and he looks out at the viewer (g. 104). His stance, and the
folding double doors that ank him, indicate that the room behind him is the tablinum;
several excavated houses turned up wooden doors like these designed to shut o the
tablinum from the atrium when desired.
Priscus holds his right hand up, and in his left is a scroll (rotulus). A servant boy wear-
ing a green tunic stands in prole to the right. Each door folds in two parts toward the
back, the hinges out. At right and left are two couches, each with a three-legged table be-
hind. The artist took care to show their bronze legs and the net of diagonally crossed cords
stretched across the frames. On the left-hand couch is an open wax tablet with a white
lace for closing it, and behind it a spatula to smooth o the tablet to take new writing.
More writing instruments crowd the top of the table behind the left-hand couch: another
wax tablet, a rotulus, and a seal with the letters RO.
Although there are no objects on the large couch to the right, there is a pair of slip-
pers beneath it. The table behind it is crowded with objects. At the center is a large cylin-
der lled with scrolls, its cover leaning against it; there is a quill, another wax tablet, four
silver coins and a gold one. At right is a partially open scroll with a money sack in front
of it. Up high on both sides are twin scepters with bulbous handles and white tassels hang-
ing from them.
1 90

Pompeii, Tomb of Vestorius Priscus, section showing Vestorius Priscus in his tablinum
(scene 1) and garden plants and peacock (part of scene 5).
Several scholars wish to interpret this scene as Priscus standing to greet his business
clients in the daily ritual of the salutatio; but as only members of Priscuss family would
have seen this image, it must represent the young man in his role of paterfamiliasone
he took on when his own father died. Just as, in life, he met the members of his familia
in the atrium of his houseframed as he is here, by the folding doors to the tablinum
so he meets those same members as they enter his tomb. Some scholars have interpreted
the couches to either side as bisellia, but their form is wrongas is their context.
stead the artist has depicted two of the portable couches that served as needed in various
rooms of the house, here placed in the atrium at the doors to the tablinum. The writing
tools, scrolls, and even the money on the table underscore Priscuss responsibilities as
paterfamilias. A family slave looking at the representation might remember how briey
young Priscus played the role of paterfamilias; she had seen his father in that function
for many years. For surviving brothers and sisters it was an image that reminded them
of how Priscuss death had realigned their own status. For Mulvia Prisca the painting com-
memorated the son who took up her husbands responsibilitiesonly to relinquish them
with his premature death.
Banquets and symposia were central events in the lives of ancient Romans, and they
were part of the commemoration rituals for the dead.
Having looked at the scene of
Priscus as paterfamilias, a viewer would move to her right, where on the short end of the
central structure she would see a double reference to the funeral banquet. In the large
painting above appeared a literal representation of the symposium, or wine-drinking party,
and in the small painting below a metaphorical reference to such partiesimages of Pyg-
mies cavorting on the Nile.
In the image above, ve gures recline on a C-shaped couch, the sigma (g. 105). A
huge drape hanging from a ring forms a canopy over them, and twin statues of peacocks
establish the outdoor garden setting. The men are drinking wine: the second gure from
the left holds up a rhyton (drinking horn) in his right hand, as does the last gure on the
right, whose back is turned to the viewer. Unfortunately the words written above their
heads are illegible; they may have been bits of dialogue between the viewers like those
painted above the heads of drinkers in other Pompeian paintings (see plate 22). The men
are drinking wine from a crater (mixing bowl) that rests on a round table. In the left fore-
ground a tibia-player (tibicen) sits on a low stool and raises his pipes to play, while a slave
arrives from the right carrying a silver pitcher. To his right is another slave carrying a
round tray in both hands. Above him we see a servant behind a table laden with all man-
ner of silver objects. In depicting this silver-laden table, the artist deliberately repeated
at a smaller scalethe large image of a table with silver on the north enclosure wall at
number 4 (plate 14). It is a clever visual rhyme, for all a viewer need do is glance to his
right to compare the miniature table with the much larger one at 4.
Looking at the images of Pygmies below the wine-drinkers, a Roman viewer would
have made another kind of association between seemingly separate scenesthis time
not a visual rhyme but rather one of parallel meanings (plate 15). As inappropriate as it

1 91
might seem to us, Romans consistently commissioned artists to represent the outrageous
antics of Pygmies in placesespecially outdoorswhere they banqueted and drank. This
practice holds as much for tomb decoration as for the decorations in peoples houses.
Seventeen images of Pygmies occur in the houses excavated so far at Pompeii; their
contexts are listed in gure 106.
If we focus on the size and placement of each image,
an interesting prole emerges: whereas Pygmy scenes occur in all the covered rooms of
the house, in no case do they take up more than 10 percent of the wall decoration. Typi-
cally they are small decorative friezes. But in the open spaces of peristyles and gardens,
the Pygmy scenes are a major decorative focus. Two Second Style friezes (ca. 6020 b.c.),
one from the peristyle of the House of the Sculptor, the other from the open area of the
House of Ma. Castricius (VII, 16 [Ins. Occ.], 17), consisted entirely of Pygmies and black
Africans on the Nile.
In the Fourth Style gardens and peristyles, painters mixed three
distinct motifs related only by the fact that they take place out of doors, in a landscape or
riverscape setting: Pygmies cavorting on the Nile, wild-animal hunts (the so-called para-
deisos motif ), and landscapes dotted with temples and travelers (the so-called sacral-idyllic
landscapes). This is precisely the mixture that we nd in the Fourth Style garden of the
House of the Ceii, with one-third of the space devoted to each of these three genres.
the House of the Ephebe at Pompeii, the whole Nilotic programincluding the complex
sexual coupling (symplegma)decorates the large masonry banquet couch in the garden,
with a paradeisos painted on the gardens wall (g. 107).
Here the Pygmy Others per-
form for the amusement of the diners even while they symbolize the exotic life of luxury
in Egypt.
1 92

Pompeii, Tomb of Vestorius Priscus, section showing symposium scene and Pygmies on
the Nile (scene 2) and table with silver service (scene 4).
A Pompeian viewer had likely seen many gardensespecially enclosed gardens in
houses where people banqueteddecorated with images of Pygmies cavorting on the
Nile. Here, in Priscuss tomb, the artist simply juxtaposed these associated images one
below the other. He painted a river landscape with two boats and an island in the center
(see g. 105). On the left, a Pygmy on the shore tries to maintain his balance while he
shits on a big sh in the water. To the right is a big river boat under sail but without vis-
ible crew. A second boat, this time with three naked Pygmy sailors, appears on the right
side of the island; its sails are furled, carefully tied to the yard. The Pygmy at the prow
leans forward to look at three sh in the water below, while the one in the middle of the
boat dances with pairs of crossed sticks in each hand. A Pygmy tibicencounterpart to
the musician above in the symposium sceneplays the accompaniment to his comrades
Most of the scholarly debate about the paintings on this wall has focused on the mean-
ing of the scene of ve men drinking rather than on the meanings that the whole com-
position had for an ancient viewer.
Yet there are three elements: the table with fancy sil-
ver, the men around the sigma-couch, and the long, thin, Pygmy riverscape below. As we
have seen, the process of viewing called extra attention to the silver-laden table: the rst
thing to catch a viewers eye was the image of the silver vessels because it rhymes visu-
ally with the table and vessels on wall 4. This emphasis on the silver seems calculated to
underscore Priscuss wealthhes worth his weight in silver.
Next a viewer would think

1 93
Garden & Peristyle
couch 1 33 percent
one wall 2 100 percent
all walls 2 100 percent
upper zone 1 5 percent
frieze 1 5 percent
upper zone 1 5 percent
predella 1 5 percent
median zone 1 10 percent
median 2 10 percent
predella 1 5 percent
predella 1 5 percent
predella 1 5 percent
Chart showing contexts of Pygmy imagery at Pompeii.
about the event: although the remains of a roast appear on the table, it is clear that the
artist wished to represent the wine-drinking that followed the eating. Is this a funerary
banquet? The fact that the men are outdoors and that they are drinking to the accompa-
niment of music suggests a festive picnic rather than a funeral meal.
How, then, did the viewer understand the Pygmies cavortingin wilder, naughtier
ways than the drinkers above? This is not the earliest use of Nilotic imagery in a tomb.
Mulvia Prisca was following elite practice by having the painter include both the image
of the Pygmy defecating and the group of the dancer and tibicen in her sons tomb. These
images were calculated to disperseby reason of their unbecomingnessevil spirits.
In this way they safeguarded the tomb and its visitors.
The best sources for compari-
son, and the earliest in Italy, are the paintings found in the large columbarium of the
Villa Pamphili at Rome. In his 1941 publication of this columbarium, Bendinelli illus-
trates more than ten scenes of Pygmies acting much as they do in paintings from the
domestic contexts listed in gure 106.
He dates the complex to the early Augustan period
(3015 b.c.). Specically there are scenes of Pygmies taunting a crocodile; Pygmies play-
ing musical instruments and dancing; a Pygmy with two buckets on a pole over his shoul-
ders; the meeting of Pygmies in soldiers costumes; Pygmies in a boat who taunt a hip-
popotamus; a ght between Pygmies and a crane; anddirectly analogous to our
defecating Pygmya Pygmy on the prow of a boat who defecates on a hippopotamus.
Additional scenes (recorded only in Carlo Ruspis drawings of the 1850s) Bendinelli terms
orgiastic dances.
Although the protagonists were probably not Pygmies, their activi-
1 94

Pompeii, House of the Ephebe (I, 7, 11), outdoor triclinium with paradeisos painting on walls and Pygmy
painting on masonry couches.
ties place them squarely within the Nilotic repertory. In particular, one drawing shows
two dancers with crossed sticks like those of the dancer in the boat, and a woman about
to squat on the penis of an ithyphallic man while three women look onquite similar to
the scene on the masonry couch in the garden of the House of the Ephebe.
In the tomb context, these images of Pygmies wild antics served two purposes. First,
like paintings of Pygmies in domestic contexts, here in the tomb they alluded to the ex-
otic Nile and the wild pleasures acted out by the Pygmy Other. Their second function re-
quires a good deal of explanation, for it goes deep into the heart of ancient Roman be-
liefs. The Pygmies are apotropaic, that is, they guard against evil spirits. Why? Because
their antics incited laughterand Romans believed that laughter dispersed evil spirits.
The best evidence for laughters ability to disperse evil is in connection with the Evil Eye.
Ancient Romans believed that an envious person (the phthoneros or invidus) could cause
illness, physical harm, and even death by focusing his or her eye on the envied person.
Although there were many theories on just how such harm could come to a person with-
out physical contact, most ancients believed that the individual was able to focus this grudg-
ing malice through his or her eye; this Evil Eye emanated particles that surrounded and
entered its unfortunate victim.
How to guard against these dangers? One sure antidote
was to make people laugh. Ancient Romans believed that laughing at images of people
considered ugly or engaged in unbecoming acts dispelled the Evil Eye. A whole host of
visual representations, including macrophallic black Africans (the Aethiops), hunch-
backs, and Pygmies, appear where there was danger of being attacked by the Evil Eye.
Particularly dangerous spots included baths, corners, bridges, and doorways.
The un-
becomingness, or atopa, of these representations caused the laughter that drove away
the Evil Eye andby extensionevil spirits.
The images of bizarre sexual couplings in
the dressing room of Pompeiis Suburban Baths also seem calculated to incite laughter
that would dispel the Evil Eye. There the patron instructed the artist to put the little im-
ages high up on the wallnearly eight feet above the pavementand at the back of the
room, above the shelves where bathers put their clothes (g. 108). The paintings in the
front part of the room, where bathers entered, fully clothed, are standard and unre-
markable. It is only when a bather took o his or her clothes, and was putting them into
a numbered box on the shelf, that he or she would have seen the sexual pictures high
above. Knowing that it was in the dressing room that a bather, in undressing, was most
likely to be the target of the grudging envy of othersand therefore susceptible to the
Evil Eyethe patron protected him or her by getting the bathers to laugh at the little sex-
ual farces. Laughter disarms the bathersall nude and laughing at pictures of outrageous
sexual acrobatics rather than looking with evil envy at each other.
These examples from baths and houses attest to shared beliefs and traditions under-
lying visual representations that seem quite bizarre to us. In the tomb, the images of Pyg-
mies operated on two levels.
The one that is easier for us to understand is that they are
genre pictures borrowed from domestic contexts, especially those involving the festive
banquet. The less obvious meaning, to incite laughter that protects the tombs visitors

1 95
from lurking evil, communicated its message to the ancient Roman no less directly. As
we will see, comparable representations of Pygmies play a similar role in two second-cen-
tury tomb complexes near Ostia.
A viewer continuing her reading of the imagery from left to right would then turn the
corner to take in scene 3, where we see Priscus, the aedile, seated on a bronze folding
chair (sella curulis) supported by a high wooden podium or suggestus (g. 109). Two groups
1 96

Pompeii, Suburban Baths,
apodyterium 7, south and east
Pompeii, Tomb of Vestorius
Priscus, section showing
Priscus and twelve listeners
(scene 3), with altar above and
gladiators on west enclosure
wall (scene 8).
of six men in togas ank the podium. Paint losses make it dicult to distinguish all the
gures gestures and attributes. The best preserved is the man in prole immediately
to the right of Priscus. He raises his right hand and looks up at Priscus as if emphasiz-
ing an important point. One of the partially preserved gures to the right carries the
bound rods, or fasces, indicating that he is a lictor; the last gure to the left carries the
same attribute.
Nearly a centurys worth of scholarly discussion has left us with three possible inter-
pretations of this scene. Although everyone agrees that it shows Priscus in some ocial
function related to his oce of aedile, some maintain that it is a scene of judgment,
others that it is a hearing or audience scene, still others that Priscus is giving out a money
dole (largitio or congiarium).
What is important in terms of the intended viewers is to
show Priscuss performance of public duties with all the paraphernalia of his oce: the
two lictors are his appointed guards, and the curule chair on the suggestus distinguishes
him as a curule aedile. A similar desire to illustrate the prestigious civic position of the
deceased comes through loud and clear in the relief of Lusius Storax overseeing the games,
where, accompanied by two lictors and surrounded by twelve togati, he sits on an arm-
chair set up on a tribunal (see g. 87).
A viewer standing in front of this scene would also understand its relation to the in-
scription directly above (g. 110). Just as the inscription announces not only that Priscus
was an aedilebut also the fact that the decurions provided the land the tomb stands
upon and the money for his funeralthe painting below memorializes both his status
and the approval of Pompeiis elites.
In the end, the painter seems to have left deliber-
ately vague the precise event that put Priscus up on the podium. The paintings point was
to remind a viewer that Priscus had attained the status of aedile. Just as the rst scene
told a member of Priscuss familia that he had been their paterfamilias for a brief while,
scene 3 reminded her that he had exercised power in the civic realm as well.
At this point, a visitor would turn to wall 4, where she would place a container of wine
for a libation on the bench below the representation of a silver service that we have al-
ready looked at (see p. 191). Excavators found an opening in the center of the altar on top
of the central structure, with a lead tube to allow the wine to ow over the urn contain-
ing Priscuss ashes. Clearly, since this opening is 3.5 meters (11' 5") above the level of the
pavement, the libation pourer would have to climb a ladder to carry out this piety. The
representation of silver vessels on and under the table alludes to the libation only by its
association with wine serving and drinking: there is no space to set up a table within the
enclosure. More importantly, the tomb was not the place to have the drinking party that
called for such elegant silver. In the elite House of the Menander, Amedeo Maiuri exca-
vated the familys hoard of silver, a full set of drinking silver (argentum potorium) match-
ing all the shapes of the vessels that the artist pictured here.
Rather than being a dis-
play of funerary libation vessels, as one scholar has proposed,
the painting was a way
of showing o Priscuss real or imagined wealthand a way of highlighting his actual,
or wished-for, sophistication.

1 97
A viewer turning to her right, after taking in the details of the silver display, saw in
scene 5 the image of a gardena common motif in the decoration of Pompeian houses
(g. 111). Twin herms frame the central fountain on its rectangular base. Birds, mostly
destroyed, drink from its basin. This is not the kind of tomb garden that Trimalchio or-
ders up, but rather a general reference to the luxury of having a garden with fountains
and herms in your house.
Similarly, the still life (scene 6) and the representations of various animals (scene 7)
that cover the southern enclosure wall are also references to elite culturecarried out in
the inexpensive medium of fresco painting (g. 112). A viewer would place the food that
she and the other visitors had brought to honor Priscus on the little circular masonry
bench beneath the still-life. The food in this picture rhymes with the real food placed be-
low in the same way that the image of the silver service on the opposite wall refers to the
real wine placed beneath it. The artist painted two birds above the food bench, a goose
and a pheasant, as well as a trussed wild boar; a round basket with food in it resting on a
cube takes up the upper left of the painting, while the peacock belonging to this scene
occupies the east wall.
1 98

Pompeii, Tomb of Vestorius Priscus, scene 3, upper part, with
inscription above.
Wild animals in a rocky, tree-lled landscape occupy the remainder of the east wall.
The primary motif is that of a panther hunting down a deer, with other animals and birds
represented at a smaller scale surrounding this central group. The scene of animals hunt-
ing each other in a rough landscape was as familiar to excavators at Pompeii as it was to
the ancient Pompeian viewer. As we have noted, it is a stock scene that appears frequently
on the walls of gardens (like the paintings of gardens with fountains, the Pygmy scenes,
and the sacro-idyllic landscapes). Most scholars agree that they constitute a reference on
the part of houseowners of modest means to the wild-animal parks, or paradeisoi, that
Hellenistic dynasts and super-rich Romans possessed.
In the context of Priscuss tomb,
the painting repeats the allusions to wealth, and the enjoyment of the good life, that the
symposium, the silverware, the garden, and the still-life have already announced to the
viewer. It is a theme that we will also see a hundred years later in a tomb at Ostia.

1 99
Pompeii, Tomb of Vestorius Priscus, east interior wall, scene 5: garden.
Pompeii, Tomb of Vestorius Priscus, south wall, scenes 6 (still life with
goose) and 7 (paradeisos).
Pompeii, Tomb of Vestorius
Priscus, west wall, south part,
scene 8: two gladiators.
Pompeii, Tomb of Vestorius
Priscus, west wall, north part,
scene 9: aedicula.
As a viewer looked at the adjacent north wall, she saw a scene with very dierent as-
sociations: two gladiators, a standing thrax about to deliver the death blow to a hoplomachus
who has fallen on his shield (g. 113). The artist has carefully detailed each gladiators
gear, yet the motif itself isas we have seena common oneeven in domestic deco-
Two conventions signal that the fallen gladiator is asking for mercy: he has
dropped his shield and he extends the index nger of his right hand.
Although gladia-
torial combats had their origins in funeral commemoration, the customand probably
the association of the munera with the funeralhad long passed out of fashion.
As our
analysis of the reliefs of Lusius Storax demonstrated, the primary reason for represent-
ing the munus was to celebrate the prestige of the deceased. We also saw that paintings
of gladiators decorated at least one house in Pompeii, where they express the owners en-
thusiasm for the games (see gs. 91 and 92). Priscus, unlike Storax, left no record of his
ever having paid for the games.
If Priscus did present the games, the choice of this par-
ticular scene, when he was about to let o the fallen ghter with his life, demonstrated
both his nancial gifts and his noble mercifulness. Like Naevoleia Tyche, who shows her
generosity by providing a tomb for her freed slaves, Priscus demonstrates his generosity
by sparing the gladiators life. Whether or not Priscus actually presented the games, the
visual representation alludes to his civic and personal generosityand his place in a time-
honored tradition of elite Pompeians sponsoring the games.
Opposite the gladiators, on the other side of the door, the artist painted the image of
an aedicula (at 9 on the plan; g. 114). We have seen this form in representations of the
scaenae frons, as well as in paintings of lararia. Here the aedicula creates a shallow porch
with a triangular pediment held up by thin Ionic columns; at the back of the porch is a
doorway with half-open, double-batten doors. Although some scholars have wanted to
see in the half-open doors the common motif alluding to the dead persons passage to
Hades, there are no examples of artists using doors of this type in such representations;
they must have another meaning.
Given the widespread use of the aedicula in interior
decoration, the artist may have used it merely to ll the space and to mirror the repre-
sentation that faces it: Priscus framed in the architecture of his atrium. Other scholars
have suggested that the artist has represented the facade of a temple that Priscus rebuilt
on the heels of the disastrous earthquake of 62.
Whether merely decorative ll or a
representation of a public work, scene 9 is consistent with the other imagery that a viewer
had seen within the tomb: it refers to the realm of the living rather than to that of the
A viewer would have completed her left-to-right reading with the image of a pome-
granate tree on the short west wall (scene 10, g. 115). The pomegranate, the fruit eaten
by Persephone that bound her to the underworld, can symbolize Hades and the hereafter.
Even so, the artist has not dierentiated this pomegranate tree from those used in domes-
tic decoration, like the contemporary paintings with pomegranates in atrium 93 of the
Praedia of Julia Felix.

Despite the modest space provided, Mulvia Prisca insisted on packing in as many ref-
erences as possible to her sons importance, beginning with his greeting of the familia,
progressing through the banquet scene, and leading to the principal scene beneath the in-
scription: Priscus as a public ocial. From this point on the references to luxury multiply,
including the silver service, the garden, the still-life, and the paradeisos. Within the small
space of the south corridor, the visitors could set down their wine vessels, pour libations,
and eat the little meal that piety toward the dead required. Although the gladiators and the
aedicula that ank the doorway at the north could refer to public acts of municence on
the part of Priscus, it seems likely that their function was symbolic of Priscuss status rather
thanas in the case of Storaxa record of deeds accomplished.
It should surprise us neither that Mulvia Prisca chose such a complex program of dec-
oration, nor that it underscores what Priscus did in life rather than symbolizing the world
of the dead. For the mother it was essential to record both for the passersby and, in more
detail, for the familia the glory that her branch of the gens Vestoria eetingly attained
through Priscuss aedileship. Mulvia Prisca, a woman of modest means, was operating
in a social and economic environment much altered by the disastrous earthquake of 62.
Wealthy elites had for the most part left Pompeii to the working freeborn people, freed-
men, and slaves who were still trying to rebuild it when Vesuvius covered the city seven-

Pompeii, Tomb of Vestorius
Priscus, north wall, west part,
scene 10: pomegranate tree.
teen years later. Paul Zanker has shown how these ordinary people often modeled their
houses and temples on the villas of the rich.
Vestorius Priscuss tomb ts well within
this framework and provides us with an unusually personal glimpse into one mothers
use of imagery to articulate her familys glory and future aspirations.
Along the Laurentine Road that took travelers south from Ostia to Laurentium, excava-
tors in the nineteenth century found a group of tombs that had been buried some time
in the midsecond century a.d., when builders raised the level of the street dramatically,
lling in the earlier tombs.
The earliest of these originated in the late rst century b.c.
Why were the earlier tombs lled in? The midsecond century was the peak of Ostias
boom. In the city of the living, contractors razed old structures to build new ones on top
of themlling them with several meters of rubble. The same thing happened in this
city of the dead.
The tombs built at the upper level are gone; all that remains is the paving of the new
raised road (g. 116). But the lled-in tombs, today partially excavated, survive, still telling
their stories in inscriptions and images. Most interesting for our inquiry into visual rep-
resentations of non-elite Romans is the group of tombs commissioned by the freedman
Apella. Squarciapinos analysis shows that four tomb structures (16, 17, 18 and 22 on the
plan, g. 117), each of a dierent form, all date to the Augustan period (27 b.c.a.d. 14).
The fact that all of their foundations coincide and that the builders employed the same
construction techniques supports her contention that the whole group was a single fu-
nerary complex, a hypothesis also corroborated by two inscriptions.
The rst, on the long ank of tomb 17, tells us that the owner is Gaius Iulius Apella,
freedman of Gaius Iulius and Lucius Sertorius. The inscription also records the names
of those buried in the tomb: Apella, his wife Iulia Aphrodisia, freedwoman of Gaius,
and their freed slaves, Iulia Eleutheris, Gaius Iulius Latinus, and Iulia Sabbatis.
was also the owner of tomb 22, as the second inscription inserted on the center of the
enclosure wall demonstrates.
In it, Apella declares that he constructed the sepulcher
for his freedmen and freedwomen, and for their freedmen; he also mentions Gaius Iulius
Pamphilus, freedman of Cissius and (grain) measurer (mensor), and Aulus Terentius
Nicomedes, freedman of Aulus; there follow other dispositions that establish the reasons
why one could lose the right to use the sepulcher.
None of the structures of Apellas complex repeats any other: 16 is essentially a tall
marker or monumentum; 17 an enclosure giving access to 18 and 22; 18 a barrel-vaulted
space with niches for ash urns (columbarium); and 22 an enclosure for funeral banquets
with a masonry triclinium.
The only decoration to survive from Apellas original project are the ne white stuc-
coes covering the columbariums vault (g. 118).
Their resemblance to the stuccoes
found in the Villa under the Farnesina prompted Squarciapino to date them to the early

Augustan period, around 20 b.c. She called them perhaps the nest complex of stuc-
coes found at Ostia.
Here the part of the ceiling preserved, approximately one-fourth
of the vault area, includes representations of a Dionysiac dance, a male mask, a bust with
the head of Dionysus, a female gure in front of an altar, and a grouping of Dionysiac
symbols, including the pan-pipes (syrinx).

Ostia, plan of Necropolis on
the Laurentine Road, tombs
Ostia, Necropolis on the Laurentine Road.
Why did Apella want the columbariumarguably the most expensive structure in his
tomb compounddecorated in this way? For a Roman viewer, the primary meaning of
the stuccoes would likely be their association with the elegant and relatively expensive in-
teriors of large houses and villas. The Villa of the Farnesinaits ne rooms all decorated
with white stucco ceilings that closely parallel both the style and subject matter of Apellas
columbariumsat on prime land along the right bank of the Tiber, and may have be-
longed to Augustuss own daughter, Julia, married to his close friend, Agrippa.
By hir-
ing a workshop to decorate his tomb with the kind of elegant and expensive stuccoes that
elites had, Apella was making known to all his rened and discerning tastes. Since very
little survives of the houses that people lived in from the period, it is impossible to com-
pare the ceiling of Apellas tomb with contemporary stuccoes in Ostian houses. Yet if what
does survive in late Second Style decorations in Roman Italy is any gauge, Apellalike
Priscus nearly a hundred years laterwas using motifs taken from the domestic realm.
Their meanings were not principally funereal.
Dionysus and his followers belong as much in the elegant reproductions of picture-
galleries (pinacothecae) of the Villa under the Farnesina as they do in gardens, dining
rooms, and tombs. It is true that Dionysus promised his followers release from the cares

Ostia, Necropolis on the Laurentine Road, interior of columbarium 18.
of life in wine, revelry, and ecstatic dance. Initiation into the Mysteries of Dionysus prob-
ably mapped out a path that allowed the successful devotee to merge in some way with
the god. But whether there was a promise of an afterlife similar to the heaven of the Chris-
tians is doubtful. The imagery preserved on the columbariums ceiling, fragmentary as
it is, allows no reading of a narrative alluding to specic practices in Dionysuss cult. For
a viewer who could have seen similar motifs in houses and garden sculpture, the allu-
sions to Dionysus on the ceiling of Apellas columbarium evoked the god in a general
way. The rest of the decorative ensembleon the walls and perhaps the oor of the tomb
is gone, covered by later repainting and repaving; we will never know whether Apella am-
plied the Dionysian imagery further or borrowed other motifs from the contemporary
repertory of domestic decoration. What does survive signals his desire to show o his
worldly success and renement.
The Dionysiac imagery on the vault, dating to the time when Apella built and decorated
the tomb complex around 20 b.c., is a borrowing from the realm of domestic decoration
that we can readily explain. It is more dicult to understand the imagery chosen by Apellas
heirs to redecorate the tomb complex shortly before its destruction in a.d. 150.
In this
new decoration, the combination of Isis, wild animals hunting, and Pygmies playing on
the Nile announces a set of ideas that we have already seen in the Tomb of Vestorius
Priscusideas that were deeply ingrained in Roman traditions but nd little resonance
with our modern notions of appropriate tomb decoration.
Apellas heirs instructed an artist to paint an image of a priestess of the Egyptian
goddess Isis in the niche that faced passersby as they walked along the Laurentine Road
(g. 119). Today the gure is nearly illegible, so that we must rely on Squarciapinos descrip-
tion. A thin woman dressed in a red tunic and wearing a fringed mantle around her mid-
dle and over her left shoulder stands in the center of the niche; leaves and red owers
frame her gure. In her raised right hand she holds a sistrum (rattle), and she rests her
left arm on her hip. There are various creatures around her: on the left is a bird with a
long beak and green plumage; above is a little running dog that seems to be on the birds
back; below are a pomegranate, a lizard, and traces of a bird pecking at a branch with two
red owers. On the right is a big bird with reddish-brown feathers, with perhaps another
bird above it. Squarciapino identied the woman as a priestess of Isis, rather than the
goddess herself, since she lacks the goddesss diadem with lotus ower.
The artist continued the oral motif in his redecoration of the walls inside the colum-
barium. Although the Dionysian stuccoes of the vault were still in ne condition after
over a century, the patron had the artist replace the original decoration on the walls with
simple geometric divisions on a red socle. Today one can make out traces of fruits, ow-
ers, birds, and trees on the white ground of the middle and upper zones around the niches.

As we saw in Vestorius Priscuss tomb, paintings of lush gardens were stock themes al-
luding not so much to the Elysian elds as to the world of the living, where they were
synonymous with the life of luxury. The decision to announce Isis to all passersby, right
after they had read the old inscription, was a public declaration of the current patrons de-
votion to the Egyptian goddess. It also connects with the choice of imagery within en-
closure 22.
Like most of the tombs of the Laurentine Road necropolis, tomb 22 consists of a sim-
ple walled area, where relatives buried the ashes of the cremated in pots or amphoras
within the wall itself or adjacent to it. On the east wall of the enclosure, just behind the
masonry triclinium couch, Calza found part of a double frieze that must have originally
run around all four walls of the enclosure (g. 120; see also the plan, g. 117).
Calza de-
cided to have this fragment (measuring 2.4 1.7 m) removed from the tomb. It is now
restored and rests on a modern support; it is in storage in the museum at Ostia Antica.
The upper half of this frieze fragment shows a lion devouring the head of a bull or
cow from which he has already pulled o one horn (plate 16).
At the extreme left are
the front legs of another animal, perhaps a deer. The artist painted broad strokes of yel-
low and red ocher to sketch out the ground beneath the animals, and placed a small tree

Ostia, Necropolis on the Laurentine Road, tomb 18, external
niche. Priestess of Isis.
to the left of the bulls head and a rock to the right of the lion. There is little suggestion
of shadows, and the sky is simply the white plaster ground. The same white ground forms
the sky or water in the scene of Pygmies beneath. The artist lled the area around the
four preserved gural elements with grasses and aquatic plants, and he used horizontal
stripes of black and green to suggest the water. At the far left a huge duck aps its wings;
next to it a second duck is carrying a Pygmy who wears only a turbanlike headdress. He
carries a pole across his shoulder with what may be baskets at either end. Paint losses
make it dicult to determine why green sashes hang from either side of both baskets. A
little boat with a square stern and curved prow carries two Pygmies. One of them, in three-
quarters view, urinates vigorously in the water, while the other reaches toward him. Both
wear the same kind of turban as the Pygmy riding the duck. At the right of the fragment
the artist has depicted a crocodile looking at the Pygmies in the boat. The artist lled the
area beneath this scene with abundant strokes of green paint.
What would this combination of a wild animal devouring a domestic animal and
Pygmies cavorting on the Nile have meant to the ancient viewer? As we have seen, this
same combination decorates the garden of the House of the Ephebe at Pompeii, where the
Pygmy scenes decorate the masonry triclinium couch and the animal scenes are on
the garden wall directly behind it (see g. 107). Scenes of domestic animals being hunted
and devoured by wild ones (the paradeisos) constitute one of three principal themes dec-

Ostia, Necropolis on the Laurentine Road, tomb 22, south enclosure wall.
Excavation photo.
orating gardens at Pompeii; in the Tomb of Vestorius Priscus we saw how the paradeisos
decorated the wall opposite the two-tiered frieze of banqueting and Pygmies. Becatti pro-
posed that the image of the lion eating a bulls head from the Tomb of Apella was Dionysiac;
he claimed that the appearance of this same motif in one of the decorative frames of the
mosaic paving the great triclinium of the Schola of the Trajan Statue at Ostia conrmed
this Dionysian connection.
He reasoned that since members of the guild, or collegium,
banqueted there, and since there are other Dionysiac symbols elsewhere in the pavement,
the lion eating a bulls head must have had meaning for followers of Dionysus.
interpretations, however learned and ingenious, seem excessive in light of the sparse ev-
idence aorded by the remains of painting in the Laurentine Road group itself.
What can we deduce from the surviving decoration? We have the priestess of Isis sur-
rounded by ora and fauna on the exterior of 18; more ora and fauna on the interior of
18; and a double frieze, presumably running around the perimeter of tomb 22s enclo-
sure. I believe that the image of the lion devouring the bull, in the tomb context, is pri-
marily a reference to the elite paradeisos, and secondarily an image of deaths hold over
all mortal beings. The rest of the frieze, now lost, would have shown more wild beasts
hunting and devouring domestic ones, thereby amplifying these two messages. The frieze
of Pygmies beneath it, also extending around the enclosures perimeter, relates to the theme
of Egypt and to the worship of Isis introduced by the image of her priestess in the exte-
rior niche on tomb 18 (see g. 119).
We do not know whether further representations of Isiac cultsuch as images of the
goddess herself, her priests, or cult implementsdid in fact decorate other parts of the
complex, but the scenes of Pygmies activities on the Nile were a part of the repertory of
most wall painters at the time. The Pygmy scenes were an easy way for a patron to em-
phasize his connections with Egypt, and, by extension, with Egyptian religion. In the Tomb
of Vestorius Priscus we saw how the Pygmy frieze, directly below the scene of men at an
outdoor picnic, alluded both to the joys of the symposium and the apotropaic protection
aorded by the Pygmies unbecoming behavior. Here the artistwith a big space to dec-
orate and a real banquet couch within the enclosurecreated a similar message.
It is a setting that recalls the outdoor biclinium of the House of the Ephebe, where in
a garden decorated with an eclectic mix of statues and paintings, the elements closest
physically to the diners reclining on the couches were the Nilotic scenes (see g. 107).
Just as those scenes both entertained and protected diners in the House of the Ephebe,
so these the diners in the Tomb of Apella.
Dining, whether in a house or at the tomb, was an activity laden with meanings for-
eign to twenty-rst-century Euro-American culture. For instance, banqueters might pass
around a little silver skeleton as a memento mori, a reminder to enjoy lifefor it is short.
When dining in the tomb precinct, next to the remains of the dead, I believe that the ever-
cautious Romans must have also worried about potential harm from evil spirits. Because
Pygmieslike hunchbacks with large phalli and the ithyphallic Aethiopspossessed bod-

ies that were outside the acceptable norms, Romans could laugh at them with impunity.
Their physical appearance made them the inevitable targets of ridicule and laughtera
laughter that would be especially ecacious in dispelling evil spirits.
A slave of the familia who came here would have been grateful that he could laugh
with the rest as he followed the Pygmies antics around the frieze. As he placed mattresses
on the masonry couches and served the meal, he may have also read the painted in-
scriptions (now gone) that named the deceased buried in or adjacent to the enclosure wall.
He may have thought about what it would be like to be buried here, nallyhe hoped
able to put the L after his name that meant he had attained freedom. For the freedmen
and freedwomen he served, the paintings reminded them of how like a pretty garden this
tomb enclosure was; it would be a ttingly safe and elegant place to rest forever. Little did
these members of the familia know that within a few decades the whole necropolis would
be lled in, and no one would ever dine there to honor and remember them.
The boom in Ostias population that prompted the lling in of the earlier necropolis along
the Laurentine Road was also responsible for the rapid growth of another necropolis, lo-
cated along the road between Ostia and the new city of Portus. Portus grew up around
the harbor built by Trajan in a.d. 100. Guido Calza found part of this necropolis in the
early 1920s, sealed under sand dunes, and named it the Necropolis of Isola Sacra, since
it is an articial island bounded by the ancient seacoast, the natural course of the Tiber,
and the canal that Trajan built to connect his inland harbor at Portus with the Tiber.
A much fuller program of Pygmy imagerythis time in the medium of black-and-
white mosaicdecorates a portion of the pavement within the enclosure surrounding
tomb 16 (gs. 121, 122).
The mosaic measures 1.75 by 2.37 meters (5' 8" 7' 8") and
dates to the second half of the second century a.d. (g. 123).
It occupies the large open
area in front of the columbarium. Someone entering the tomb proceeded down the nar-
row corridor leading to the mosaic, where he most likely focused on its central motif. It
is a head of Oceanus, with his customary seaweed crown made up of lobster claws and
tentacles. The left side of the face is gone, leaving only the right eye, right cheek, and part
of his seaweed beard. Oceanus does not properly belong in a Nilotic mosaic. Becatti spec-
ulates that the mosaicist simply made an ad hoc association between the Nile and Ocean,
since they both signify a body of water, but then goes on to add a tantalizing observation:
that the head of Oceanus is an apotropaionthat is, his was an image that kept away evil
Herbert Cahn adds that representations of the head of Oceanus, common in the
mosaics of private houses of this period, stood for good luck, and that since the time of
Epicurus it had been a symbol of the souls peace.
All of this argues for the patron know-
ingly combining Oceanus with the antics of the Pygmies, since, like Oceanus, they en-
sure good luck, but through the mechanisms of unbecomingness (atopa).
Having observed the image of Oceanus, a viewer would then survey the imagery be-
21 0

neath the central head of Oceanus, where two Pygmies handle a at river boat. Aquatic
plants, among them lotuses, establish the setting on the Nile. The boats prow ends with
the head of an ass, the stern with the head of an ibis, where an ithyphallic Pygmy with
an oar gestures toward his companion at the prow, who is battling a crocodile with a little
square bow and a club with a spherical end. To the viewers right, along the west wall of
the enclosure, is another Pygmy carrying two buckets balanced on either end of a pole
slung across his shoulder, surely a reference to the real wellhead that he is walking

21 1
Isola Sacra, plan of tomb 16
with location of mosaic and
place for portable couches.
Isola Sacra, tomb 16, view of
mosaic from entrance.
toward. If a viewer walks in this direction, she arrives at the entrance to the covered part of
the tomb complexthe columbariumwhere the artist has placed a hippopotamus and
a single palm tree. But another, more outrageous representation may have caused the an-
cient viewer to continue her circuit around the mosaic, to the east side. Here, in another
at boat headed to the viewers right, two male Pygmies copulate. The penetrator, in the
back of the boat, holds two crossed sticks in both hands, like the dancer in the boat in
the Tomb of Vestorius Priscus (see plate 15). His right hand is lowered, his left raised (it
is now partly destroyed). He pushes his penis into the buttocks of the other Pygmy, who
is intent on poking the crocodile with a long stick and turns his head in three-quarters
view as if surprised at being penetrated.
If we see the Pygmies frolics and battles in the context of the funeral banquet, and
think how they bestowed the gift of apotropaic laughter on those who visited and ban-
queted at the tomb, the obscene couplinga male-male one at thatbegins to lose its
seemingly inappropriate air.
What of the interior of the tomb? Like the interior of the columbarium in the Lauren-
21 2

Isola Sacra, tomb 16,
overhead view of mosaic.
tine Road group, the columbarium of tomb 16 features Dionysiac representations (g. 124).
There are two stuccoes, one with a Dionysiac procession (thiasus), and another featuring
a procession with Silenus falling drunkenly o his mule.
Paintings of two Fates, or Par-
cae, appear in niches.
The best connection with the Pygmy mosaic, however, comes from
the much-eroded scene of a funeral banquet (g. 125). Here the artist is representing an
activity that took place just outside, where the Pygmy mosaic was most evident to those
who banqueted within the precinct.
The connection between banqueting and Pygmies
cavorting on the Nile is even more explicit in the Tomb of Vestorius Priscus, where the
artist painted a frieze of Pygmies directly below the image of a symposiumand the defe-
cating Pygmy set the unbecoming, apotropaic tone of the frieze.
Looking again at the plan, the best space to set up banquet couches would have been
the open space to the east of the mosaic (see g. 121). The reclining diners would have
looked toward the side of the mosaic with the scene of the male Pygmy penetrating his
The person who commissioned the decoration of this tomb wished to cre-
ate a safe place for honoring the dead, with both visits and funeral banquets, by making
sure the Pygmy mosaic caused salubrious laughter. The good-luck charm of Oceanuss
head doubled the ecacy of this apotropaic mosaic.
Unfortunately, unlike the tombs of Priscus and Apella, tomb 16 provides no inscrip-
tions to tell us who commissioned its decoration. It was probably, given the modest na-
ture of the whole necropolis, a freedperson or a freeborn working person. Although tomb
16 is smaller and less elegant than Apellas tomb complex, its decoration has a similar
avor, celebrating the joys of Dionysus, the banquet, and the salutary practice of laugh-
ing at naughty Pygmies.
There is yet another, more wide-ranging meaning in the tombs of Vestorius Priscus,
Apella, and Isola Sacra 16. In each one, with dierences in emphasis, the artists deliber-
ately combined Nilotic imagery, paradeisos imagery, and Dionysian scenes and gures.
Meanings do emerge if we lay aside the oft-repeated assertion that mosaicists and
painters mindlessly repeated stock motifs, and think of a patron actually ordering these
artists to produce precisely these images.
We can guess, then, at a desire to impress the
viewer with images of luxury: the Nilotic imagery stands out as a reference to Alexan-
dria, the animal hunts to the paradeisoi of the Hellenistic dynasts, and the Dionysiac scenes
to the delights of eating and drinking. In the case of Mulvia Priscas commission, the im-
ages may have been just so much wishful thinking, since although the family was free-
born, funds seem to have been scarce. For Apellas heirs, by this time mostly freeborn
Romans, the images of the Pygmy Other, as well as those of the paradeisos, served to pro-
mote their status and Romanness (romanitas) by imitating the use of similar represen-
tations in elite houses. We can extend this observation to tomb 16, where the owner fur-
ther enhanced his or her tomb compound by paying for a fashionable black-and-white
mosaic oor. The second century saw the artistic owering of black-and-white mosaic
both as a prized medium and a tasteful style in decoration.
Several identiable workshops

21 3
Isola Sacra, tomb 16, interior
of columbarium. Watercolor
by Maria Barosso, 1931.
Isola Sacra, tomb 16, interior
of columbarium, banqueters
stucco, detail.
provided ne mosaics in everything from big baths commissioned by the emperor to small
rooms in private houses.
In their move from the villas of the rich to these modest tombs, these images become
emblems of elite culture and acquire new meanings: they express the owners desire to
move toward upper-class status, to trumpet the dierence between themselves and the
Pygmy Other, and to celebrate the rituals of commemorative dining. To study them with
their original viewers in mind is an exercise in understanding a set of attitudes toward
death and commemoration quite dierent from ours.
We have already seen how Longidienus used an image of himself at work as one aspect
of his person that he wanted viewers to know and remember (see g. 66). But the togate
portrait of Longidienus and those of his wife and two freedmen complicated the message
and articulated his identity as a freeborn man, even while paying homage to the late-rst-
century-b.c. fashion for grave monuments bearing half-length portraits. Beginning in
the early second century, Romans began to prefer interment in stone cons over the prac-
tice of cremation and burial in ash urns. Sarcophagi, usually carved only on three sides
since they were placed against the interior walls of tombs, satised patrons desires to
make a showy monument for the deceased.
Scholars have studied every aspect of Roman sarcophagi, with special emphasis on
what we could call standard iconographies, that is, the representations of scenes that work-
shops copied endlessly for patrons who bought sarcophagi ready-made.
It is clear that
the language of the greatest part of the surviving sarcophagi is mythological rather than
biographical. The richer a patron was, the greater the size, quality of carving, and elabo-
ration of the imagery. Even the so-called Menschenleben sarcophagiloosely translated
biographical sarcophagiuse highly standard motifs that admit of only one variation:
since the workshops left the faces of the protagonists (the man and his wife) blank, the
patron could instruct the artist to ll them in with portraits.
Less well studied are sarcophagi with nonstandard imagery, where the patron instructed
the artist to create images specic to the deceased persons work, religious beliefs, or life-
The sarcophagus commissioned by Lucius Atilius Artemas and Claudia Apphias
for their friend Titus Flavius Trophimas, found at Ostia in the nineteenth century, pro-
vides an unusual amount of information about Trophimas, a foreigner living and work-
ing at Ostia who died around a.d. 120 (g. 126).
The decoration covers only the front;
its sides are roughed out, as is the interior, where the sculptor carved a pillow in relief at
the left end. A framed Greek inscription divides the front of the sarcophagus into two
gural panels: on the left a scene of work and on the right one of dance.
On the left a man wearing a long-sleeved tunic and a mantle sits on a stool; he brings
his knees together to cradle the shoe that he is holdingperhaps to put a sole on it. His

21 5
left arm and leg overlap a cabinet with two closed doors; on top of it rest two pairs of
shoes. A second man, dressed in an exomis, holds a dista in his right hand while stretch-
ing out the rope with his left arm. The nished rope hangs at the upper right. His weight
is on his left leg, and he exes his right foot so that he can press the dista against his
right thigh.
To the right of the inscription two men appearbut they are dancing, not working. A
barefoot man wearing only a loincloth holds in each hand two rods ending in long par-
allel tines. His weight is on his left leg, and he leans his body to the viewers right in an-
swer to the dance step that he is executing with his right leg. The head is destroyed. A
low table composed of a cube with a rectangular top separates him from the other dancer.
There is a ute or a single tibia on the table. The other dancer wears a long transparent
tunic with very wide sleeves (the dalmatica) and carries out a dance step similar to his
partners, while playing a large tambourine by beating on it with his right hand. Weath-
ering has destroyed his facial features.
The remarkable inscription gives names to these men and gives us a vivid picture of
Trophimas himself: We, Lucius Atilius Artemas and Claudia Apphias, [dedicate this sar-
cophagus] to Titus Flavius Trophimas, incomparable and trusted friend, who always lived
with us. We have given his body a place to be buried together with us, so that he will al-
ways be remembered and will nd rest from his suerings. The straightforward one, the
cultivator of every art, the Ephesian, sleeps here in eternal repose.
The adjectives used
to describe Trophimas tell us about his personal qualities, and that he comes from Eph-
esos (modern Seluk in Turkey). The inscription does not tell us which of the two pro-
fessions represented was his: was he a shoemaker or a ropemaker? Shoemaking and rope-
making may have taken place in the same footwear workshop, since some Roman sandals
were made of coiled rope. It is logical that the two men working are Trophimas and
Artemas, and that they are the same men who are dancing together. The names of all
three friends tell us that they are of eastern origin, probably all from Ephesos, and that
they are Roman citizens.
The unusual insistence on their lifelong friendship and co-
habitation leads one to wonder whether they were a sexual threesome as well.
21 6

Ostia, Sarcophagus of Trophimas.
Several of the adjectives Artemas and Apphias chose to describe Trophimas are un-
usual as well: they call him sylos, usually translated trusted, or trustworthy, and aplos,
meaning simple, in the sense of straightforward or frank. He is also pnmousos, a
term that underscores his interests in the arts of music, drama, and dance.
The image
of the two men working side by side is not dicult to interpret. The problematic image
is that of the two men performing their curious music and dance. What meanings would
this image have conveyed to an ancient viewer? Several scholars wish to make it into a
dance sacred to Isis, so that the men would be initiates, or mystes, of the cult.
see the image of the dancing men as a typical reference to the joys of the afterlife.
ther interpretation takes into account the unusually vivid inscription and the equally un-
usual details in the visual depictions.
Two monuments in particular provide striking parallels for the dancing men. A mo-
saic found in 1711 near S. Sabina in Rome seems to represent professional entertainers
(g. 127).
The setting is that of a banquet, for the artist has represented a semicircular
dining couch (sigma) with a Pygmy servant at a four-legged table.
He holds a wine la-
dle (simpulum); on the other side of the table is a big wine amphora supported on a stand.
It is a scene of loud music and sexy dancing. The double-pipe player (tibicen) at far left
accompanies himself with the footclapper (scabellum) to make music for a dancing woman
with large buttocks who wears a diaphanous dress. She turns her head toward him even
while she moves toward a big male dancer wearing only a loincloth knotted at the front.
Both dancers play percussion instruments. The woman plays the castanets (crotala),
while the man plays the same kind of stick ending in tines that is played by the dancer
with the loincloth on Trophimass sarcophagus. On the right are four performers, another
tibicen with footclapper, and two men dancers in loincloths playing the forked sticks. In
the mosaic from S. Sabina the woman lifts her right leg in a dance step that is similar to
the steps that both men on Trophimass sarcophagus are executing. Her arms curve in
an arc over her head.
In 1919 Roberto Paribeni found a marble relief, now in the Palazzo Altemps in Rome,
covering a body in an inhumation grave located along the via Appia, near the town of

21 7
Rome, mosaic from S. Sabina. Dancers and musicians anking a circular dining couch (sigma).
Ariccia (g. 128).
The top fourth presents various Egyptian deitiesalthough not with
great precisionframed in aediculae. Isis is recognizable from her attributes, as is the
bull-deity Apis. In the main eld below we see an ecstatic dance performed for an equally
excited audience standing on a platform and clapping their hands to keep time with the
music. At the far left, where the relief breaks o, we see a hand holding another stick-
percussion instrumentthe crossed sticks that Pygmies play in the painting from the
Tomb of Vestorius Priscus and in the mosaic from Isola Sacra. A man dressed in a kilt
somewhat longer than the ones worn in the S. Sabina mosaic turns toward this gure
and that of a Pygmy. He too plays the crossed sticks. A second Pygmy is intent on clap-
ping his hands and dancing with three women dancers, each wearing a diaphanous dress.
All three have the same full bodies and pronounced buttocks as the women in the mo-
saic, and two of them play castanets. A second clapping man wearing a kilt frames the
three dancers on the right. Given the fact that the relief covered a persons body, it is logi-
cal to see the deceased as a devotee of Isis. Alternatively, if he himself did not commis-
sion the relief, whoever buried him associated the deceased with the Isaic dance and
thought the relief a tting memorial.
With Trophimass sarcophagus we are in a better position to speculate on the mean-
ing of the representation, since the inscription so clearly indicates the special relation-
ship between Trophimas, Artemas, and Apphias. But the third party of the triad, Apphias,
has no representation other than in the inscription. There are several possibilities. If we
identify Trophimas and Artemas as the shoemaker and the ropemaker, then the two male
dancer-musicians are likely to be the same men. The curious elementone we cannot
nd in the mosaic or the relief from Aricciais a man wearing the see-through dress.
He directs his glance and gesture to the muscular and quite scantily clad man whom he
accompanies with the tambourine. The man on the right has taken over the dress that
the female dancers wearbut the man in the loincloth has taken over their sexy dance.
It is a scene of double entendreespecially for a viewer who had seen the usual way of
21 8

Ariccia. Relief with Egyptian
deities and dancers.
presenting the exotic dance, where the focus is inevitably on the woman dancers. The
man in the loincloth should be accompanying, clapping for, framing, or pursuing a woman
dancer in a diaphanous dress. Here he is the handsome center of attentionand it is a
man in a transparent dress who gazes at him and accompanies him. A viewer sees, in
eect, male-male aection: a man in a dress looking with sexual attraction at a beautiful,
nearly nude man dancing.
If Apphias saw the sarcophagusas she certainly must haveshe may have felt a bit
left outalthough it is possible that the man in a dress is a stand-in for both her and
Artemas, a way of using cross-dressing to put both of them next to their beautiful dancer
friend (lover?) for all eternity. A foreign man from the Near East looking at the sarcoph-
agus and reading the inscription in his native Greek would have recognized a pattern in
his own life and that of so many foreigners living in Ostia and Rome. Their musical and
religious culture (right side) found no resistance among the native Italians of the same
class since they belonged to, and contributed to, the economic life of their adopted city
(left side). To an elite viewer, accustomed to sarcophagi that employed the metaphors of
myth to commemorate the deceased, this kind of representation of music and dance must
have seemed unbecomingexcesses engaged in by foreigners from the East.
Yet no
one prevented these naturalized foreigners from celebrating their unusual lifestyle and
religion on their sarcophagus.
Lucius Atilius Artemas did memorialize Claudia Apphias in another form. In a frag-
mentary inscription found at Ostia he clearly names her and another unknown person,
perhaps a woman. The proigate similes and mixed-up syntax caused Kaibel, who rst
published it, to call it perverse and inept.
Even without knowing who the other per-
son was, the inscription reveals Artemass desire to praise Claudia Apphias through a lit-
erary form, no matter how inept, just as the couple celebrated Trophimas in a combina-
tion of visual and verbal representations on the sarcophagus.
Looking at how all of these men and women from diverse backgrounds wished to be re-
membered, one aspect emerges with great clarity: they wanted people to remember them
living life to the fullest. This desire led them to commission decoration and inscriptions
for their tombs that not only told a viewer who they were in life but often also showed
what they did in life. If at times the visual representations veered into the conventional
as in the images of Pygmies and the paradeisosthe way these patrons packed conven-
tional images together suggests that they were anxious to include everything that would
add prestige and apotropaic protection.
Even with the overload of imagery that characterizes these monuments, their humble
materials and mediocre workmanship underscore the fact that the patrons were not able
to pay for the more conventional tombs and sarcophagi that the rich commissioneda
fortunate fact for this study of non-elite self-representation.
What is important is that
these individuals chose to make the most of their meager resources by getting the artist
to make their nal resting places speak to the viewer about their lives.

21 9
Part 2 was concerned with the public sphere, but for Part 3 I have chosen the word
domesticnot privateto frame the analysis of visual representation in the home.
Ancient Romans never understood the home as a private refuge for the members of a
nuclear family, as a quiet place cut o from the invasions of commerce and the intru-
sions of strangers. For one thing, families rarely consisted of only mother, father, and
children. For the elite, the word familia included all the personsincluding slaves and
freedmenliving under the power of the head of the family, or paterfamilias. For another,
the house was the primary place of business. Daily visits of the paterfamiliass clients re-
quired the house to be open to everyone.
Most of the evidence for the following two chapters comes from excavated houses at
Pompeii, where plans of elite housesand most non-elite ones as wellexpressed their
fundamental relationship to the world outside. The domus was transparent to outsiders:
someone standing at the street entry could penetrate its successive spaces simply by gaz-
ing along the visual axis from atrium to tablinum to peristyle. Anyone could enter the
atrium, and depending on the business to be concluded, a client might nd himself con-
ducted to spaces that today would be kept private. Slaves acted as gatekeepers at various
points along the way.
Rather than thinking of the whole Roman house as a place of privacy, we should think
of it as a place where zones of increasing intimacy opened to the visitor, depending on
the closeness of his relation with the familia. A client would enter the atrium and speak
with the paterfamilias in the tablinum. A peer or special client might visit with the pater-
familias in a cubiculum.
Servants would guide a dinner guest to a room around the peri-
style and give her a place at the dining couch. A gradient of intimacy determined your
exploration of someones house. Who you were determined what you saw.
A houses decorative scheme distinguished between spaces that anyone might pass
through and those that required special status to enter. Mosaic and fresco decoration dier-
entiated between dynamic spaces, like the atrium or peristyle, that a visitor would merely
walk through, and static spaces, like reception and dining areas, where he would spend
some time.
It is rare to nd complex mythological pictures in dynamic spaces, just as it
is rare to nd static spaces without them.
What of the subject matter of the decoration? Scholars have analyzed the subject mat-
ter of paintings, mosaics, and sculptures within individual houses in an eort to charac-
terize the patrons status, tastes, and beliefs. Often their interpretations tell us more about
the scholar than about the ancient Roman owner. Karl Schefold, for instance, has con-
strued representations of gods and goddesses in the house as evidence for the owners
Paul Zanker has interpreted the eclectic mix of imagery in a group of late houses
at Pompeii as evidence of freedmen trying to imitate the villas of the elite;
I and others
have analyzed decorative systems at Pompeii and Ostia Antica in terms of class, gender,
and acculturation.
In what follows, I take a dierent approach. Rather than analyzing all the decoration
of a houseincluding cycles of mythological paintings, decorative statuary, and other
decorationfor clues to the owners identity, I single out individual instances of self-
representation. These are in some casesbut not alwaysportraits of the owners. The fo-
cus of my analysis is to identify the audience for these representations, to determine who
would have seen them and in what circumstances. Considering self-representation in the
Roman house in terms of message and reception, I detect a lively dialogue between home-
owners and guests and between the function of a space and how visual representations
especially self-representationsanimate that space.

Roman literature is rich in the lore of the banquet (convivium), and it reveals how much
stock people of all classes put in luxurious dining and drinking. To represent yourself re-
clining on a couch was to announce your embrace of Greek culture. It was a way of show-
ing that you had arrived in society: you had the money, servants, and good taste to en-
tertain lavishly in the Greek fashion. In the old days of the Republic, Romans dined seated
upright on chairs; but with the importation of the Greek manners, they learned to re-
cline on couches, supporting themselves on their left elbows while eating with the right
The convivium was a site of considerable anxiety in the realm of manners and morals.
Unlike the all-male Greek symposium, the Roman convivium followed Etruscan custom
in including women. Some Roman writers emphasized this dierence, attempting to take
the higher moral ground by appealing to etymology. They pointed out that the Greek word
symposium means drinking together, whereas the Latin word convivium means living
together. The convivium was a communal meal. Nonetheless, with both sexes present,
it was a place where a man could fall in loveor dally sexuallywith someone elses
wife, mistress, or boy-love. And the drinking did take placeafter the meal. For this event,
when the servants began serving wine mixed with less and less water, the Romans used
the word commissatio, the mixing. Here the participants opened themselves to the plea-
sures and perils of overindulgence: getting drunk and engaging in loose talk or actions
especially sexual ones. As we will see, artists tended to emphasize just such incidents in
their representations of the commissatio.
Where in the house did all of this take place? The convivium was a movable feast;
slaves would set up couches for guests and tables for food and drink in whatever room
the master or mistress of the house deemed appropriate. Although excavators tend to la-
bel one particular room the triclinium(a dining space suitable for three dining couches
klinai in Greek, or lecti in Latin), Romans of even moderate means had several rooms
suitable for use as triclinia, each with a dierent view, one protected from the cold for
winter use, another shaded from the sun for summer use, and so on.
In the House of
the Vettii, for example, there are at least four rooms that could be used for dining, de-
pending on the season (see g. 51). Room e is an enclosed winter dining room, easy to
heat. The twin rooms p and n look out on the garden, as does the biggest roomthat of
the cupid and psyche frieze, room q. All of these rooms, and probably room t as well,
would have been appropriate for dining. The couches were generally made of wood, al-
though sometimes of bronze. Excavators have found numerous remains of carbonized
wooden couches in the area buried by Vesuvius.
Tables of wood or bronze held the food
and drink. All of these items of furniture were portable, so that servants could set them
up in any room of the house.
If the feast was movable, the seating arrangement was not (g. 129). There was space
for nine persons on three couches, placed against the right, rear, and left walls of a room
in a U-shape.
On the right was the high couch (lectus summus), at the rear the middle
couch (lectus medius), and at the left the low couch (lectus imus). The three places on
each couch, in turn, were named with the same Latin words for high (summus), mid-

Lectus medius







Diagram of seating in a
Roman triclinium.
dle (medius), and low (imus). A person reclining on the place nearest the door on the
right-hand couch would be high on the high couch (summus in summo), the person next
to him would be in the middle on the high couch (medius in summo), and so on. The
guest of honor took the place at the right on the middle couch (as seen by someone sit-
ting on the couch)he or she was imus in medio, and the Romans called this place of
honor the locus consularis. The host reclined at the top of the low couch (summus in imo),
at the right hand of the guest of honor.
Strict etiquette surrounded the ceremony of the Roman banquet, beginning with an
invitation that assigned the guest his or her place at the table. Putting guests in the wrong
place could easily ruin a convivium. Horace constructs one of his satires around the comic
consequences of the wrong seating arrangement at a dinner party,
and the boorish host
Trimalchio has everyone in the wrong place, including himself; he overturns the rules by
reclining summus in summo.
Where you reclined also determined what you got to see. The U-shaped arrangement,
along with the fact that the guests were reclining, meant that their gazes were focused
more than ours are when we sit at table. (Of course, during a long evening diners might
shift positions for a whilea point that comes through in the artists reconstruction re-
produced in gure 130.) Since we are not resting the weight of our torso on our left arm,

Artists reconstruction of
dining Romans. Top: overhead
view. Bottom: eye-level view.
we are more free to turn alternatelyas etiquette instructsfrom the guest on our left
to the one on our right. Not so at the Roman banquet, where the guests bodies, torsos,
and gazes always tended toward the central table, or mensa. The host and the guests on
the low couch looked across the central table toward the right wall and the entrance to
the room; the diners on the middle couch faced toward the left wall and the entrance;
and those on the high couch faced the guest of honor and the hostand the imagery on
the left and back walls of the room.
The most important work of art in a roomusually a complex mythological picture
took pride of place in the center of the rear wall.
Complementing the message of this
picture would be paintings at the centers of the right and left walls. Often these three im-
ages related to each other thematicallyan indication that they encouraged the guests to
engage in the practice of ekphrasisanother borrowing from Hellenistic culture. Ekphra-
sis was a rhetorical skill, and consisted in the explanationoften quite fancifulof an
image or a series of images.
Typically the speaker elaborated on the myth represented,
lling in details of the storywhat had happened before, what happened later on. If par-
ticularly skillful, the dinner guest would wax eloquent in philosophical musings about
the lessons to be learned from the story.
This was a way for both the host and the guests
to show o their erudition and inventivenesseven while providing the evenings en-
tertainment. Of course professional entertainers would often arrive: dancers, pantomime
actors, and musicians playing a variety of instruments.
In addition to taking care to adorn the walls of the dining space, the owner took spe-
cial care to provide interesting views out of the spaceespecially for the guest of honor.
Architects positioned features such as colonnades, fountains, statuary, and canals to cre-
ate a special image framed for the guest of honor looking out from his position on the
middle couch (g. 131). Study of these framed views out of dining spaces reveals that even
people of modest means were aware of their importance; owners at Pompeii and Her-
culaneum often remodeled their houses so that they could have at least one room with a
special view that would impress the guest of honor.
The richer the owner, the greater the number of rooms that he could order to be set
up for diningeach with complex painting programs and delightful prospects. In ad-
dition to the rooms within his house there often were outdoor installations for the ban-
quet. Dining out of doors was an especially important indicator of status, to judge from
the numerous masonry couches found in gardens large and small.
This, in brief, is the physical and ideological setting for the convivium and commis-
satio. For the modern person, accustomed to the relatively restrained dining and drink-
ing practices allowed by middle-class Euro-American culture, the idea of spending a full
evening reclining on a couch, eating numerous food courses followed by hours of wine-
drinking, seems excessive. For the ancient Roman, especially the non-elite Roman, such
banquetsthe more lavish the betterdened who you were. Luxury entertainment was
an important sign of social status. It was also a way of dening your social relations with
others. Just ason a public levelseating and dress distinguished social ranks in the

theater and amphitheater, so did the seating arrangement at a convivium. You knew ex-
actly who you were in your hosts eyes the moment the servant showed you your place at
tableand you knew how he or she appraised your fellow guests status as well. It is such
relationshipsand the social and cultural values they encodethat emerge in our analy-
sis of visual and verbal representations in the dining space.
Sometimes patrons had artists paint center pictures in their dining rooms that were more
topical than the usual mythological pictures. Their subject was the banquet itself. At Pom-
peii, we can analyze pictures of the banquet found in dining rooms to trace two very dier-
ent attitudes toward the convivium. On the one hand are paintings that show the ideal
banquet: beautiful young men and women in luxurious settings. On the other hand we
ndmore rarely and only in Pompeiis last decadesimages of real people, including
the owner himself, enjoying themselves at table.
For the ideal banquet scenes the artist could turn to pattern-books that reproduced a
standard repertory that had developed in the Hellenistic period.
Although none of these
pattern-books has survived, the fact that near-exact replicas of the same compositions ap-

Pompeii, House of Octavius
Quartio (II, 2, 2). Reconstruc-
tion of the guest of honors
view from oecus h.
pear in mosaics and paintings at Pompeii and elsewhere argues for their existence. Many
scholars believe that artists used pattern-books to show their patrons what the nished
product would look like.
A case in point is the recent excavation at Pompeii of a nely
decorated triclinium (g on the plan, g. 132), where the owner, around a.d. 40, commis-
sioned an artist to provide three pictures of the ideal type of banquet. For two of the pic-
tures the artist relied on a pattern-book. The house, called the House of the Chaste Lovers
(IX, 12, 67) because of these elegant paintings, probably belonged to an elite person in
a.d. 40. Although excavation is not complete, it is clear that the house was large enough
to boast a peristyle; but by the time of the eruption someone had been turned the entire
structure into a bakery.
The triclinium, although a long, rectangular room, is slightly unusual in having its
entrance at the rooms southwest corner rather than at one end of the room. However, a
large window on the rooms south wall provided a view out to the little garden at f. The
painter created a graceful Third Style decoration by alternating red and black vertical pan-
els on a uniform black base or socle (g. 133). Little ying gures adorn the centers of the
red panels. The artist divided the red panels from each other with ribbon-thin pilasters
and framed the black panels with miniature columns.
Within each black panel the artist
painted a dierent center picture featuring men and women drinking.
The center picture on the right (east) wall is the most standard of the three: a drink-
ing contest (plate 17). Two male-female couples recline on couches placed against the back-
drop of a portico with drapes swagged between the columns. In front of the couches, on
an axis with the central column, is a round table. The artist has set up a colorful contrast
between the two mens states of inebriation. The man on the right has passed out; his
head has fallen back and his left arm dangles, barely holding on to the long-handled wine
cup (kantharos) in his hand. Behind him a servant girl fans him, in a vain attempt to bring
him to. His rival, on the other couch, is not faring much better: he wins the contest only
because his partner holds up his head and helps him aim the wine from the drinking
horn (rhyton) so that it will squirt into his mouth. He holds more wine in a kantharos in
his left hand.
The fact that the artist has put the women in charge of this drinking contest indicates
that they are hetairai, professional entertainers and sex-workers, who are central to the
Greek symposium. The Greek symposium was for citizen males, not their wives; female
companionship came in the form of various professionals: hetairai, dancers, girls who
played the double ute, and common prostitutes. In our picture the artist underscores
the Greek character of the scene through the dress and action of the hetairai. The woman
on the left is nude from the waist up, leaning on her left ank with her right knee up.
She holds her companions head up with one hand and helps him steady his rhyton with
the other. Despite her balancing act, her intense gaze at her partner reveals that she is
fully alert. The artist has framed her head with an abundant garland and given her two
gold hoop earrings. Even more alert is the hetaira at the right, who turns in prole to eye-
ball the other woman and raises her arm to point an accusatory nger at her. She wears

Pompeii, plan of House of the
Chaste Lovers (IX, 12, 67).
Pompeii, House of the Chaste
Lovers, view of room g from
south window.
a transparent dress, her hair done up in ribbons and a garland draped across her shoul-
der to fall between her breasts.
This scene of drinking excesses in the good old days must have amused the Roman
diners who came to this modest dining room to eat and drink in the Greek fashion. The
artist has relied on gural types in circulation to show four beautiful drinkers in four dier-
ent states of consciousnessfrom drunken sleep to alert vigilance.
If inspired to com-
ment on this scene, everyone reclining around the table would recognize the central joke,
that you needed professional help to win a drinking contest. The story goes further, since
a squabble may arise between the hetairai: the woman whose partner has passed out is
accusing the other of cheating by oering unusual assistance to her barely conscious part-
ner. She is holding him up bodily so that he will win, even as she squirts a bit more wine
into his mouth.
It is important to remember that although this painting of the excesses of the Greek
symposium constituted a proper decoration for this modest Pompeian dining room, con-
temporary viewers did not see it as an illustration of their own customs or behavior. The
notion of decorthat is, furnishing a room with artwork that is appropriate for the ac-
tivities taking place therewas not the same as emulatio, setting up art as examples for
viewers to follow. A woman guest in this triclinium, reclining at tableeven for the wine-
drinking partwould certainly not be bare-breasted; nor would she be saddled with the
job of getting her partner drunk. This was the province of prostitutes, not freebornor
freedwomen like herself. She would have seen the men and women in the picture as
beautiful creatures from another time and culture, appropriate subjects for conversations
about the pleasures and pitfalls of drinking too much. A Roman man viewing this pic-
ture of Greek times might compare his own experiences. He might muse about the times
he attended Roman versions of such drinking parties with prostitutes as partners
certainly in venues, such as hotels or taverns, far removed from the domestic sphere.
The central pictures on the back and left walls of the triclinium are more rened and
complex in both style and subject matter, indicating that for them the owner hired a dier-
ent, more talented artist. For these walls the patron chose two pictures that complicate
the theme of the Greek-style symposium to a greater degree than the picture we have just
looked at.
On the north wall the artist has placed two couples on couches beneath the cover of
an elegantly embroidered cloth canopy (plate 18). There are eight gures in all. A viewer
scanning the image from left to right would rst notice a woman who sits at the edge of
the left-hand couch and looks out of the picture as she raises a large cup to her lips. She
is a tibia (double oboe) player taking a break, her instrument clearly visible in her left hand.
A young woman stands behind her and turns to her in three-quarters view, her hair tied
with a ribbon, like her companions. Immediately to the right a hetaira in a yellow robe
languidly leans back on her left side as she kisses her male companion. She has lost her
left sandal, and her right arm dangles at the side of the couch.
In her left hand she holds
a little crown of owers; the man clasps her left wrist with his left hand.

The other couple ignores this moment of tenderness. The man rises, although he still
rests his left elbow on the bolster; he is looking intently to the left side of the picture,
raising his right arm to point at the standing girl ormore likelyto rouse the tibia-
player from her self-indulgent drinking so that she will get up and make more music.
His companion, crowned like him with grape leaves, holds a large kantharos in both
hands and looks at the servant pouring wine at the lower right of the picture. This gure
completes the compositions arc from left to right. She pours the wine from an amphora
into a silver mixing-bowl or crater that sits within a larger vessel of gold or bronze sup-
ported on three legs. This basin-bowl unit, specially constructed to keep the wine cool,
appears in three other wall paintings.
Silver drinking-vessels rest on the tall three-legged
The nal gure in the composition is the most enigmatic, and, unfortunately, quite
faded. It is a bearded man dressed in a long tunic who holds a gnarled stick with both
hands. He stands in the background, his head crowned with vine leaves, at the center
of the picture. All the others ignore him. Discussion of this gures identity began long
ago, thanks to another version of this same composition that has appeared in inventories
of the Naples Museum since 1819 (plate 19).
(The Naples painting omits the servant
pouring wine at the right.) Scholars have oered various explanations of the standing man
with a stick. It seems unlikely that he is the god Priapus, armed with a club to punish
trespassers in the garden, since there exist no representations of this guardian of the gar-
den with anything but his huge phallus as a weapon.
Equally untenable is the notion
that he is the father of one of the men coming to punish his son for wasting his money
on wine and hetairai, since he himself is crowned like the banqueters.
A similar gure
almost always identiable as a statue of Dionysusappears in other paintings at Pom-
peii showing scenes of the symposium beneath an awning.
One possible explanation
is that the painter has misunderstood the meaning of the statue, who should be Diony-
sus in this context;
another, more likely, one is that he has intentionally made Diony-
suss thyrsus (or wand) into a stick and animated the statue to introduce a note of levity
to the picture.
Things are, in a sense, already out of control. One couple is getting intimate, and the
ute player has given up her entertaining and turned her back on her employers: she
looks out of the scene as she takes a drinkdespite the summons of the man on the right-
hand couch.
The painter created another scenario of the symposium gone awry with the painting
on the west wall (plate 20). Here two couples, each on a beautifully draped couch, are in
the midst of drinking. Behind them appear walls and partitions painted in perspective,
with a door at the left edge of the painting. The servants have placed the couches at right
angles to each other, and on the two round, three-legged tables are drinking vessels. As
the viewers eye moves from left to right, she sees a story unfolding. At the doorway a
woman with her mantle pulled over her head, as if dressed to leave, holds up a kantharos
in her right hand while a servant boy behind her grasps her upper arm and leans into her

in an attempt to keep her upright. The couple on the couch next to them reach out their
right arms toward her. The woman on the couch, wearing a yellow gown with a reddish-
purple overskirt, stretches out her right arm, almost touching the drunken womans cup,
while she holds a big cup of wine in her left hand. Behind her, her partnerhis head
garlanded and his torso nudeturns to look at the other couple on the couch at the
right while gesturing toward the tipsy woman. The viewer looks to the right with him,
where a woman, her torso barely covered with her transparent dress, struggles to hold
herself up while she languidly dangles her empty cup from her right hand. Her partner
is the most active of the gures. His back is turned to the viewer, although his head is
in prole. He rises and gestures with his right hand in an arc that takes the viewers eye
back to the tottering woman at the left.
Looking more carefully, a viewer would see yet another gure: a man asleep on the couch
between the two couples, his right arm folded behind his head. He must be the drunken
womans partner: someone will have to rouse him and dress him if he is to leave with her.
Will she or wont she actually leave? She holds up her cup to have one for the road even
though she seems unable to focus her eyes.
Another version of this picturenow lostonce graced the east wall of a little room,
perhaps a cubiculum, in the house at IX, 1, 22 (g. 134).
Clearly this artistperhaps

Pompeii, House of Epidius Sabinus (IX, 1, 22), cubiculum z (destroyed). Couple at a
symposium with drunken woman.
the same personused the same pattern-book image for this picture, but he truncated
the image at the right, leaving out the second couple on a couch and the man passed out
in between them. In their place he inserted the gure of a little servant boy in a tunic who
seems to be responding to the mans glance and gesture. The painting in the House of
the Chaste Lovers claries the meaning of this abbreviated version of the composition.
Helbig was at a loss to determine its precise meaning, and decided that the couple on the
couch was forcibly ejecting the drunken woman.
The man on the couch, who in the full
version actually looks toward the man at the far right, seems to be asking the little boy to
do something about the drunken woman.
Both versions of the scene aim to get a laugh from the viewer. In fact, the pitfalls of
the Greek-style drinking party provide the common thread connecting the three paint-
ings in House of the Chaste Lovers. On the one hand their relatively high quality and im-
portant place in the decoration of this modest house announced to the ancient viewer the
owners understanding of Greek culture and manners. On the other hand, the paintings
narratives encouraged a viewer to laugh: these were young men and their prostitute part-
ners in other times and placesgetting into a bit of trouble. The humor depended on a
viewer seeing them and their actions as dierent from those of the Roman-style convivium
that took place in this very room.
A woman viewer of the freedman class looking at the paintings might have focused
on the hetairas status and the work she was paid to do: to make sure her male compan-
ion had a good time. The drunken hetaira of the left-hand picture has failed in this duty
and seems to be leaving without her partner. The same viewer might have seen in the
ute player on strike in the picture on the back wall the kind of rebellion that she had
contemplated while a slaverebellion that could have resulted in punishment.
Humor, then, depended on a viewer seeing the dierences between the drinking
couplesideally beautiful yet behaving improperlyand him- or herself. Only in this
way do the lighthearted scenes of the good old days make sense in the decoration of a
modest house like that of the Chaste Lovers. They t with a sizable group of symposium
paintings found in houses buried by Vesuviusall inspired by and repeating Hellenis-
tic prototypes.
For the contemporary Roman viewer, the paintings both held up a model
and permitted her the amusement of comparing that model with the real-life convivia
that took place in the modest dining rooms they decorated.
With the realistic images that patrons begin to order in Pompeiis last decades, the
strategy changes. The walls and the banqueters themselves begin to speak, in the lan-
guage of Romannot Greekideas about the banquet.
Scholars have taken very seriously the three maxims painted on the walls of a triclinium
in House III, 4, 2. Because of these maxims, they called this house, excavated in 1912,
the House of the Moralist. But consideration of the context, particularly the houses mod-

est architecture and the freedman status of the owners, suggests to me that these moral
injunctions to the guests were meant to make them laughnot to behave themselves.
The structure is really two houses joined together with two entryways, one at street num-
ber 2, the other at number 3.
The plan strays far from the canonical atrium house (g.
Stairs in 8 and 25 lead to the large, generally well-decorated rooms of the upper
story, yet the ground-oor rooms constitute a veritable rabbit-warren of ill-lit and poorly
decorated spaces.
Evidence suggests that this heterogeneous structure housed several families and in-
cluded commercial spaces. Five electoral endorsements painted on the facade of the house
name a certain E. Epidius Hymenaeus, wine merchant. Inside the house were six am-
phoras with his name in the dative, meaning that they were sent to him.
But the exca-
vator, Vittorio Spinazzola, also found a bronze seal bearing the name C. Arrius Crescens
in an unspecied room near the entryway at 3; and another amphora is addressed to T. Ar-
rius Polites. The Arrii were an old family who owned an estate near Pompeii, a brick fac-
tory, and the Insula Arriana Polliana (VI, 6), put up for rent in the citys last years.
C. Arrius Crescens and T. Arrius Polites were probably freedmen of the Arrii and per-
haps engaged in the wine trade like E. Epidius Hymenaeus.
If two or three of these men and their families shared business interests and the house,
they must also have shared the large garden (13) and the best ground-oor room of all,

Pompeii, plan of House of the
Moralist (III, 4, 2).
the triclinium (12). This, like the dining room with a loggia above it (26), looked out on
a garden that was almost half the size of the whole house (g. 136). Paul Zanker, follow-
ing Spinazzola, has proposed that the owner wished to make this garden into a sacred
wood, or lucusa feature of the great luxury villasreproduced in miniature.
tors found a little statue of a goddess that reproduces an unusual Hellenistic rendition of
Diana holding a scepter in her right hand and wearing a mantle knotted at her breast.
At the statues feet was a small incense burner in the shape of a ram, indicating that the
occupants of the house honored the goddess. Spinazzola believed that the large cylindri-
cal bronze brazier also found in the garden was for sacrices to Diana. Huge trees sur-
rounded the statue in a semicircle. In addition to providing a dramatic setting for the rites
of the goddess, the garden provided ample shade and greenery for the diners to enjoy.
Just how much a diner was to enjoy the pleasures of the banquet is the subject of max-
ims painted on the walls of the tricliniumand the reason for the name of the house
(g. 137). Couches and table, in painted masonry, ll the space. The simple, earlyFourth
Style decoration (ca. a.d. 50) consists of alternating panels in red and black with vignettes
of birds and banqueters crowns.
Above these, on three of the panels, are distichs (two-
line verses) addressing the guests quite directly.
In the panel above the outboard, or eastern end of the right-hand couchjust below
the panels top borderappears the following:
Abluat unda pedes, puer et detergeat udos;
Mappa torum velet, linea nostra cave
Let water wash your feet, and let a slave-boy dry them; Let a napkin cover the couch, be
careful of our linen.
Behind the central couch, on the rooms west wall, were four panels. Damage suered in
the accidental bombing of Pompeii in 1943 destroyed the distich painted on the second
panel from the north:
Lascivos voltus et blandos aufer ocellos
Coniuge ab alterius: sit tibi in ore pudor
Keep your sexy looks o the other mans wife and dont make eyes at her: let modesty show
in your face.
On the left, or south, wall were ve panels. The artist painted the distich at the top of the
fourth panel out from the back wall:
[Abstine discid]iis odiosaque iurgia dier
Si potes aut gressus ad tua tecta refer
Refrain from insults and avoid harsh quarrels if you can, or else go right back home.

Pompeii, House of the
Moralist. Reconstruction, with
summer triclinium and loggia
Pompeii, House of the
Moralist, view of triclinium 12.
It is interesting that the three distichs constitute a poetic unity: Vogliano, the rst
scholar to discuss them in literary terms, correctly recognized that the guests would read
the epigrams in this orderfrom right to leftand that they expressed typically Roman,
not Greek, notions of behavior.
Still, scholars have insisted on characterizing the pa-
tron who paid an artist to insert the maxims as a sti-necked moralist, someone who knew
what went on at Greek-style banquets and didnt want anything like that happening in
his triclinium.
If the house wasas seems likelya multifamily structure, the triclinium was an im-
portant, shared space: there is no other dining installation like it in the house. This fact
complicates the notion that there was one individualand a moralist at thatresponsible
for the distichs, and it casts doubt upon the modern constructions of his personality: fussy
and cheap (dont dirty our upholstery); prudish and pure (dont make eyes at anybodys
especially mywife); a milquetoast when drinkers got rowdy (dont swear or you can go
home). If we have several people commissioning the rooms decoration with the distichs,
we have to rethink their motives. Were they all fussy, prudish, and proper? What is more,
how did they expect their guests to react to the maxims? Finally, like the sayings in the
Caupona of the Seven Sages, the distichs themselves demonstrate that at least some of
the guests had to be literate.
One thing is clear: this is an unusual way of decorating a triclinium. If the triclinium
in the House of the Chaste Lovers represents the norm, it is because both the decorative
systemfocused on three center picturesand the subject matter of the paintings ts
a pattern seen in many houses of the rst century a.d. Substituting little poems about
proper behavior at the banquet puts unusual focus on the guest: each distich addresses
the reader in the imperative. This substitution also gives the guest less to look at: she sees
no visual representation of the banquet at all.
Economics also shape this commission. We know that in any campaign of wall deco-
ration, ordinary painters carried out most of the work, including decorative backgrounds
and simple gures. These pictores parietarii (wall-painters) left spaces of unnished plas-
ter where the fancy center pictures were to go. The patron then employed a specialist, the
pictor imaginarius, to do the center pictures, usually (as we saw in the House of the Chaste
Lovers) copying them from a pattern-book. The imaginarius received at least twice as much
pay as the parietarius.
The patrons who decided to substitute writing for the expensive
center pictures were saving money as well as being nonconformists. Anyone who could
write in a straight line and handle fresco painteven someone who painted the notices
of gladiatorial games and electoral slogans on the facades of Pompeiis houses (by night,
it seems)
could have painted the maxims.
In addition to economic considerations, we need to think about how a diner would
have read the distichs. The masonry couches ll the room, with little space between them
and the masonry table. Upon arrival in the room, each guests immediate concern was
to nd his place on one of the couches, and arrange himself on his left elbow. Everyone
could have read the distich on the right wall even before settling onto a couch, since the

writer located it above the end of the lectus summus. And its message directly addresses
what everyone had just experiencedfoot washingand what he or she will do next:
arrange the napkin (mappa) carefully so as not to dirty the upholstery.
Reading the second distich required more eort, since it was to the right of the mid-
dle of the rear wall. We can imagine the host reading it aloud to the other guests: Dont
make eyes at someone elses wife. With a glance or wink at a beautiful woman or man
at the table, the reader could turn the moral maxim into comedy. The guests could amuse
themselves as the object of the readers wink blushed or dgeted, self-conscious about
the power of his or her beauty to attract others.
The third distich was above the shoulders and head of the least important diner, the
person who was low on the low couch (imus in imo); he or she would have experienced
the most jostling and disruption, as servants arrived with food and wine, and guests got
up to relieve themselves or go home. This particular spot, most removed from the other
diners (see g. 129), made him or her as much an observer as a participant. The guest of
honor and the host would lead conversationsand some of them might have turned into
arguments. From this observation point, our dinera bit apartsaw the course of the
events and, if still sober, might have remembered the marching orders aimed at diners
who got into arguments or used foul language. Perhaps the diner reclining beneath this
distich turned around to read the distich aloud when discussions heated up. We can imag-
ine her intoning the lines in the midst of the din and the laughter that the words or else
go right back home provoked.
If this summer triclinium was a space that served members of a shared household,
the host who voiced the distichs could have been several peopleor dierent people
at dierent timesand the guests would have frequently been people who knew each
other quite well. Given their context, the distichs are wisecracks, not moral injunctions.
More importantly, if the patrons and audience for these little maxims consisted of for-
mer slaves, the person speaking in the maxims is really an absent persontheir former
master or mistress. How many times had they, when serving at a banquet, heard their
master worrying about sloppy guests spoiling the upholstery, or fretting that so-and-so,
loose with too much drinking, might irt with someones wife? If a ght broke out and
someone had to be escorted home (like the drunken woman in the painting we just looked
at from the House of the Chaste Lovers (plate 20), it was the slaves job to escort the wob-
bling drunkard home. The voice speaking in the distichs is that of their former masters,
not the newly free owners of this little house. And this voice, prim and stuy, is that of
an eliteespousing the old-fashioned Roman morals of Catoa far cry from the former
slaves who actually lived in this house and dined in this triclinium.
The Moralist, then, is a ctional character who tries to control the banqueters with
written language. He speaks out from the walls in two-line poems known as elegiac cou-
plets: a line of dactylic hexameter followed by a line of dactylic pentameter. For the jokes
to workas in the Caupona of the Seven Sagesthe guest must be literate. Assuming
that he is literate, he will recognize the pretentious poetic formand its inappropriate-

ness in this setting. This is the stu of schoolboys lesson-books, not a triclinium. Instead
of nding verses describing the delights of the banquetdrinking, song, and lovehe
nds stuy warnings to behave himself. If the Roman notion of decor demands that
each space be outtted with paintings and statues that t the activities that go on here,
the distichs in this triclinium turn decor on its ear in two ways. Instead of sophisticated
mythological paintingsor, as in the House of the Chaste Lovers, pictures of Greek-
style banquetingthe viewer gets homespun maxims; and their message is just the op-
posite of the pictures that should be there. Pictures should show people having fun
even too much fun. The distichs so limit the possibility of fun that they become ridiculous.
Like the paintings with their complex and contradictory captions in the Caupona of
the Seven Sages, the maxims in the little triclinium in the House of the Moralist rely on
reversing a viewers expectations. Instead of pictures of banqueters, she gets writing. In-
stead of being encouraged to enjoy herself, shes told to mind her manners. These re-
versals are the stu of humor, and must have given the freedpersons who dined and drank
here lots to talk about. The kind of ekphrasis they practiced must have included many
anecdotes about elite behavior at the conviviumbehavior they had observed in their for-
mer lives as slaves. We have no Moralist here, just ordinary people having some fun at
the expense of their former masters.
If the elegant Third Style paintings in the House of the Chaste Lovers communicate both
the look and the values of the Hellenistic symposium, it is because the artist employed
standard motifs, made his couples young and beautiful, and clothed them (or undressed
them) in Greek fashion. In the paintings that graced the dining room in the House of the
Triclinium, also at Pompeii (V, 2, 4), the owner commissioned the painter to show him-
self and his friends, wearing their own (Roman) clothes and saying what they liked to say,
for above their heads in one of the paintings the artist has written their words. Although
the excavator removed the paintings from their walls soon after their discovery in
188384, the room, r on the plan, still retains much of its Fourth Style decoration, com-
pleted before the earthquake of 62 (g. 138).
Who was the owner? Della Corte proposes that the houseat least in its last years
was a caupona, basing his hypothesis on seven grati scratched on the columns of the
portico by a man named L. Quintilius Crescens. His multiple greetings suggested to Della
Corte that Crescens was drunk, for even his signature smacks of alcohol-induced
grandeur: L. Quintilius Crescens, fuller, reigned here [L. Quintilius Crescens, fullo, hic reg-
natus est].
Crescens salutes the innkeeper (cauponi), the fullers (fullones), then the fullers
and the owl (ulula), the bird of their patron, Minerva; he goes on to celebrate the Pom-
peians (Pompeiani), then the inhabitants of Salina (Salinienses), Stabiae (Stabiani), and
Sorrento (Surrentini).
Unfortunately, Della Cortes hypothesis that the house was a

caupona is of little use to us, since the artist painted the banquet pictures when the struc-
ture was a private dwelling. Soglianos notion, that the owner had business or social re-
lationships with one or more of the fullers from the nearby fullonica across the street at
VI, 14, 22, provides a more likely explanation of Crescenss exuberant grati.
Construction technique tells us that the House of the Triclinium was built in the late
second century b.c.; excavators found traces of wall and mosaic decoration during the
intervening periods, and the high-quality lateThird Style decoration of little room q re-
veals an owner lavishing care on an interior.
It produces a cycle of mythological paint-
ings, and dates to a.d. 45. About fteen years later the patron commissioned the deco-
ration of the triclinium (g. 139). As the plan reveals, like the triclinium in the House of
the Chaste Lovers, it was not typical, since entry was from a door giving on to the three-
sided peristyle. Also unusual is the placement of the three paintings that concern us. A
large window looks out to the garden from the left-hand (south) side of the room, so
there is no center picture there. Instead, the artist placed one picture on the east wall, to
the right of someone entering the room, one on the north wall, above the high couch,
and one at the center of the rear (west) wall, where the middle couch would have been
set up.
Much in this room, as well as in the whole house, deviates from the Roman norm of
axiality, symmetry, and framed views.
The middle zone uses a system of alternating pan-
els of red and black, arranged symmetrically on either side of the center pictures. On the
north long wall and on the rear wall the painting is in the middle of the panel scheme
even though this requires halving the panels to right and left of the center picture on the
short rear wall. A door that originally took up the right half of the east wall forced the
painter to place the picture on the left half, and it remained there even though the owner
later decided to wall up that door, perhaps to isolate the room from the service corridor.
He hired a dierent painter to try to match the other panels and hide the telltale seams
in the plaster.

Pompeii, plan of House of
the Triclinium (V, 2, 4).
Other indications of eccentric planning include the corridor that circles the Third Style
cubiculum (u), with kitchen and latrine placed behind it in spaces v and v'; the refashion-
ing of the columns of the peristyle to support upper-story rooms and a sun-terrace; and
the many tiny rooms along the east side of the atrium and peristyle. The feature of a cu-
biculum next to a principal dining space is a standard one, copied from luxury houses and
villas; the notion was to create a suite of rooms dedicated to the pleasures of the banquet,
one of them large, the other intimate.
Although scholars have noticed the dierences among the three center pictures and
the ideal, Greek-style banquet scenes, they tend to shrink from reading them as idiosyn-
cratic expressions of the man who commissioned them in favor of broad, narrative in-
terpretations. Two cyclical readings have dominated the literature. Over a century ago
Sogliano proposed that the paintings portray three stages of the drinking party: the paint-
ing on the west wall representing the beginning, that on the north wall the high point,
and the one on the east wall the end. But each takes place in a dierent setting, and there
are dierent people in each.
Another cyclical interpretation would have each painting
representing a dierent season.
I believe that these paintings are the result of a specic commission on the part of the
owner: he wished to represent himself and his friends in paintings custom-made for this
space in his house. The owner wished to celebrate and commemorate his feastsas well
as announce his own understanding of the culture of the banquet.

Pompeii, House of the Triclinium, room r, west and north walls.
The rst painting an entering guest would see is the one that graced the east wall (plate
21). In that picture, the servants have set up the couches indoors, even though they have
also strewn red owers on the ground. A viewer reading the picture from left to right
would rst see a man wearing a white tunic and purple mantle sitting down so that a
small servant can take o his right shoe. A larger servant in a white tunic with thin pur-
ple stripes (angusticlavi) oers him a cup of wine. A young man in a sea-green mantle
turns to him to engage him in conversation and places his right arm around his shoul-
der. The artist has reversed this mans position for his next gure, a young man looking
in prole to the right, his torso upright as if he were getting up from the kline or arrang-
ing himself and his white mantle to settle down. Here the edge of a window frame divides
the composition vertically, and the three following gures are in front of the window.
Just to the right of the frame stands a bald-headed man wearing a long green garment,
perhaps a toga. He has pulled its edge up over his ower-crowned head. He lays his left
arm on a black boy who stands next to himperhaps a special servant. Someone has
scratched valetis, Hello, everyone, above the mans head. The last gure on the couch
is a young, almost childish male who supports himself on his left elbow while holding a
big cup in his right hand. He engages the viewer directly, looking out at her, and some-
one has scratched bibo, Im drinking, above his head. The nal pair in this unusual ban-
quet vignette is in the right foreground, where a little servant in a white tunic holds up a
much bigger man in a red mantle who is vomiting.
Scholars, hoping to explain the story in this picture, have studiously ignored the fact
that this is an all-male drinking party involving a bald, older man who seems to be the
host, three young men, a very young male drinker, and male servants of various ages.
Women are conspicuous by their absence. An ancient viewer would have recognized in
this scene the Roman version of the Greek symposiumwith the amorous targets of same-
sex passion scattered throughout in telling gestures. The most ideal male-male couple is
poised at the left, closely engaged in conversation and touching. The man to the right of
this pair is handsome, by himself, and looking to his older host, who seems to be con-
sidering what pleasure to pursue next. To an ancient viewer, his black slave-boy repre-
sented an expensive and exotic trophy, meant, like any young boy-slave, to serve his mas-
ter in every wayespecially sexually. The master may be choosing his pleasures: sex with
his own property or amorous dalliance with the handsome young man who looks his way.
The young man at right ignores the interactions within the scene and looks out to engage
the viewer. His outward gaze, like his raised wine cup, encourages the viewer to enjoy the
drinking party. Although immediate enjoyment is probably far from the thoughts of
the vomiting man, he will soon be able to rejoin the partythe mess cleaned up and the
owers perfuming the oor once more.
Unlike the paintings in the House of the Chaste Lovers, where the artist used pattern-
books for the composition and for his gural types, here the artist has mixed known im-
ages with ones he has had to invent. The artists invention must be a response to the pa-
trons wishes to portray people he knew within the scene. I believe, for example, that the

bald man is a portrait of the patron. The painting is not an allegorical representation of
the dierent ages of men: boy, young man, old man. Instead we see the variety of men
and boys that the owner may have known, someperhaps allportraits. The only ide-
ally beautiful faces are those of the three young men on the left; the remaining gures
have highly specic features. If the owner is representing himself surrounded by men
and boys at a drinking party, it is because he wants to show to all invited guests an event
he valued, and the men and boys he felt aection for. He was also revealing his full em-
brace of boy-love as well as adult male-male lovemakingan indication of his sophisti-
cation. Most Romans of the midrst centuryand not only those of the elite ranks
would have immediately recognized this representation of the all-male drinking and
lovemaking party without shock or moral indignation. Like the male-female drinking party,
it was one of lifes important and legitimate pleasures.
The picture on the north wall represents three male-female couples at the commis-
satio (plate 22). It seems at rst to be an ideal representation like those in the House of
the Chaste Lovers; looked at more closely, it becomes a kind of response to the events de-
picted in the all-male drinking party on the east wall. Looking from left to right, a viewers
eye would rst light upon a girl servant holding a casket behind a woman, naked to the
waist, who dramatically exhibits her skill at drinking: while supporting herself with her
right hand, she stretches her left arm high up to squirt wine from a rhyton into her mouth.
She tilts her head back to enjoy the draft. Her partner, also naked except for a red garland
crossing his right shoulder, supports himself and holds a cup in his left hand. He looks
out at the viewer while he puts his right arm around his partners neck.
On the middle kline a nude young man seems to be alone. He is, however, ready for
love, since the artist has represented him with his left arm crooked around his head in
the gesture of erotic repose.
On the right couch there is another pairand here a
viewer would have recognized his host again in the nearly bald man. He has turned
around on the kline, so that the viewer sees his back, nude to the buttocks, his raised
right arm, and his face in prole. He holds a silver cup in his left hand, his pose and
gesture echoing that of the woman drinking from the rhyton who dominates the left
side of the picture.
The fact that the artist has highlighted this gure in pose, (un)dress, and composition
(his gure hides all but the face of his female companion) suggests that he is the owner
of the house. To drive home the point, the artist puts words in his mouth, in phrases that
cross the painting from left to right. (The writing is not someones afterthought, scratched
into the paint surface like the words in the painting we have just looked at; the artist care-
fully painted the lettering in good fresco technique.) The bald man says: Make yourselves
comfortable, Im singing [ facitis vobis suaviter, ego canto]. Perhaps he answers his own
declaration, or someone else says: Thats right! To your health! [est ita, valea(s)].
nal gure on the right is a diminutive boy-servant holding a wine pitcher and looking
at the three-legged table at the pictures center.
Although the center picture on the tricliniums rear or west wall emerged from the

ashes badly damaged, enough remains to persuade us thatlike the other two pictures
it was far from the ideal Greek-style banquet scene (g. 140). Traces of a green awning sug-
gest that this is an outdoor party, and it is the drinking party as it draws near its nale: on
the table at the center of the picture are only drinking vesselsno foodand the drinkers
are watching a nude dancer (barely visible in front of the table) accompanied by two
diminutive ute players (in the left foreground).
The drinkers recline on two couches. Only the outlines of the head of the rst gure
on the left remain, but it is possible to see that the second gure, a man, is supporting
himself on his left elbow while tilting his head back to squirt wine into his mouth. But
these are really framing gures for the most important gure, a man dressed in red and
seated in the guest of honors place (the locus consularis). He looks out at the dancer
and hence to the viewerand claps his hands. The clapping man gains even more promi-
nence from the fact that the man next to him has passed out; the artist has depicted him
leaning out over the kline, his left hand under his chin and his right hanging o the couch.

Pompeii, House of the Triclinium, room r, west wall, center picture. Symposium.
There are only traces of the next three gures. The rst, like the clapping man, seems
to be looking out at the viewer, whereas the second turns toward him or her in three-quar-
ters view. Behind the couch stands a woman who may be preparing to go home. The
last gure on the right is a woman seen from behind who supports herself with her left
arm and crooks her right arm over her head in the gesture of erotic repose. Framing the
scene on the right is a bronze statue of a nude youth holding a big tray. Although sim-
ilar statues of youths holding lamps have emerged from excavations, in 1977 excavators
found a statue in the House of Julius Polybius with the exact features of the statue in
the painting.
A guest invited to dine and drink here would have immediately noticed how with this
painting the artistcertainly in keeping with the patrons wisheshad created a clever
visual rhyme; the clapping man at the place of honor appears just behind where the real
guest of honor reclined. Enough remains of this mans face and hair to tell that us he is
not the bald man who is the protagonist in the other two pictures. Perhaps the patron
wished to recall a particular moment and had the artist paint a portrait of a friend whose
enthusiasm for the dancing and music disregarded the fact that the party was drawing
to a close. Although the music and dancing seem to be continuing, this mans clapping
is unlikely to rouse the man next to him, slumped over the couch; it is just as unlikely
that the drinkers about to make their way home will tarry.
All three pictures in the House of the Triclinium veer far from the idealized Greek-
style banquets that artists and patrons generally favored in the rst century. The pictures
build their humor, and hold the viewers interest, by replacing the ideal couples and stereo-
typed scenarios handed down through pattern-books with scenes of ordinary people par-
tying in their own way. The artist is also willing to abandon the rules of perspective that
govern the ideal banquet picture; in the scene on the west wall, for instance, he dimin-
ishes the size of the dancer and the musicians in order to pack more particulars into the
scene. The owners portrait in at least two of the pictures is another non-ideal feature; the
presence of this portrait suggests that some of the other banqueters reproduce the like-
nesses of the owners friends. Finally, it is likely that the artist constructed the events in
the paintings not from pattern-books but from stories that the owner related.
In the following chapter I investigate further the question of owners putting portraits of
themselves and their families in their houses. In contrast to the strict rules governing the
practices of Roman elites, we nd ordinary people using portraiture with great freedom
and a certain degree of fantasy.

Many of us have a place in our homesa wall, table, or albumwhere we exhibit photo-
graphs of family. Its a way to tell guests, through pictures, something about ourselves. What
we choose to show them is important: we might show, for instance, key moments in our
own lives: graduation, marriage, pictures of our children, and so on. Or we might opt for
old pictures that stress our ancestry: parents, grandmothers, and great-grandfathers.
Where we display these images is equally telling. It is one thing to give them pride of
place over the mantel in the living room, but quite another to place them on a corner table
in the study or on a dresser in the bedroom: the circumstances surrounding the display
of such images are important indicators of the residents sense of self and her social
and economic class. Medium is also revealing. Photography is an inexpensive medium;
in the homes of the wealthy, portraits might be oil-on-canvas or even bronze or marble
Clearly, display of portraiture in the home provides a rich eld for analysis of cultural
practices in our own world. The same is true for the ancient Roman worldbut with im-
portant dierences. For one thing, before photography, making a likeness of a person to
display in the home was complicated. The patron had to make decisions about medium,
engage a painter or sculptor, and spend considerably more money than we do for photo-
graphs. For another, both sculptures and fresco paintings were relatively permanent ad-
ditions to the home. The only way to remove paintings was to chip them o the wall;
sculpture could be movedwith some dicultybut could leave awkward gaps in ar-
chitectural ensembles.
In this chapter I investigate images that depict the owners and occupants of ancient
houses in an eort to chart some of the attitudes that non-elite Romans had toward rep-
resenting themselves. I choose cases where either the images themselves or archaeolog-
ical evidence tell us something about the owners social class. As in other chapters, I imag-
ine the reactions of dierent hypothetical viewers in an eort to understand the messages
that the patrons wanted to communicate.
Pompeii saw its greatest prosperity in the second century b.c., when it was a city domi-
nated by wealthy Oscan-speaking landowners and merchants who built the great town-
houses to the north of the forum (g. 141).
Their contacts with the eastern Mediterranean
gave them a taste for Hellenistic luxuries: the houses often boasted large gardens sur-
rounded by colonnaded walkways (peristyles), rooms decorated with precious marble revet-
ment (imitated in the molded and painted plaster of the First Style), mosaic pictures on
the oors, and rened bronze and marble statues. The House of the Faun (VI, 12, 2), the
largest and most luxurious of these houses of Hellenized Pompeii, covered an entire city
block (insula), a total of 2,940 square meters (31,000 square feet).
Complementing its
elegant First Style walls were mosaic copies of famous paintings set into the oor. Artists
went so far as to imitate the brushstrokes of the painted model by laying tiny shaped stones
(tesserae) in strands that followed the contours of gures and objects.
The pice de r-
sistance was the huge Alexander mosaic, a copy of a famous painting of 300 b.c. Com-
posed of perhaps four million tesserae, it covered the entire oor of one of the houses
main reception spaces.
If the owners of the House of the Faun chose to trumpet their wealth and Hellenistic
culture by making their house the largest and most ostentatiously decorated in the city,
the owners of the contemporarybut much more modestHouse of the Figured Cap-
itals (VII, 4, 57) put themselves on display right on the street.
Located directly across the
street from the House of the Faun, the House of the Figured Capitals is half its width and
less than half its depth, about 800 square meters in size. Although we do not know their
names or precise social status, the relatively small size of their house and its lack of costly
elementsgural mosaic insets, marble colonnades, and statuesindicates that the own-
ers were people of moderate means.
The facade of their house, like that of all the houses
built in this period (about 120 b.c.), is a sober one, consisting of rows of carefully carved
tufa blocks. Yet the capitals that top the piers framing the entrance to their house present
anything but sobriety: they represent the owners enjoying the pleasures of the banquet
in the company of Satyrs and Maenads.

The artist set up both visual and ideological correspondences between the realm of
the mythical devotees of Dionysus and that of the owners. On the side of each capital
viewed from the street (the north side) a viewer saw a bearded, drunken Satyr and a Mae-
nad. On the left capital a Satyr dressed with only a lion skin over his shoulders reaches
for a Maenads right arm: her hair ies wildly around her face and her brief tunic slips
o her right shoulder (g. 142). She is in the act of turning toward the Satyr, who xes
her with a drunken stare. The pursuit of wine and sex continues on the right-hand capi-
tal (g. 143). It is another Maenad-Satyr pair, and to signal the Satyrs state the artist has
him holding his crooked right arm over his ivy-wreathed heada pose signaling sexual
readiness or erotic repose.
He clutches a wineskin in the crook of his left arm. Although
his companions upright pose indicates alertness, she too wears a wreath in her hair, and
her thin garment has slipped down her shoulder.
By moving from the street sides to the vestibule sides of both capitals, a viewer would
have been able to compare the dissolute world of these Dionysian demigods with the more
staid partying of two human couples. The inner side of the left-hand capital has suered
signicant losses, so that only the outlines of the womans head remain (g. 144). She is
turning toward the man and reaches around his neck to rest her left hand on his left shoul-
der. Although he looks away from her, he grasps her right hand in his left. Opposite them,
on the right side of the vestibule, is the capital that seems to represent the owner and his
wife (g. 145). Here the matron of the house looks out at the viewer standing in the
vestibule, raising her right arm in a gesture of greeting, the visual equivalent of the word
haveHellothat we nd on sidewalks in front of houses and in the pavements of

Pompeii. Plan showing distribution of expensive houses (in black) in the second century b.c.
Pompeii, House of the Figured Capitals (VII, 4, 57), east capital, north side. Satyr and Maenad
with torch.
Pompeii, House of the Figured Capitals, west capital, north side. Maenad and drunken Satyr.
thresholds throughout Pompeii.
In fact, a pebble mosaic on the sidewalk in front of the
entrance to the House of the Faun, just across the street, spells out have. Such greetings
at entryways were necessary to ensure the visitors good luck as he passed from the realm
protected by the city gods and into the house, under the dual protection of the household
gods and the owner himself.
In this context, the image of the owners wife greeting the
visitor takes on special meaning. It is a way of fullling her duty to greet the visitor while
protecting him from harm, and it ts with the many novel schemes for surprising some-
one entering a houses vestibule and the faucesthe deep tunnel-like space leading into
the atrium.
Dress as well as gesture distinguishes the materfamilias. Unlike the Maenads, she wears
a short-sleeved tunic and has her veil pulled modestly over her head. If the Maenads and
Satyrs on the street sides of the two capitals look at each other drunkenly and with de-
sire, the woman of the house looks out soberly toward her guests. As the Maenad on the
outer face of this capital looks at the Satyr, so the head of the house looks at his wifea
visual parallel the astute viewer may have noticed. Like the Satyr, he wears a banqueters
crown on his head and is nude to the waist, but his hand on her shoulder is a gesture of
solidarity or partnership, not of sexual advance.
If the couple on the right-hand capital are the owners of the house, who are the cou-
ple on the left? They may be the owners heir with his wife; this oldest son, although cur-
rently under the power of the his father, would assume his duties at his fathers death.
Another plausible alternative is that the couple represent guestsfollowing the hosts in
celebrating the pleasures of the Dionysian banquet.
A viewer looking at these capitals in 120 b.c., when they were freshly carved, would
have spoken Oscan and Greeknot Latinand would have felt at home with the Hel-
lenistic culture that predominated in the area, thanks to trade and conquest.
the fact that the Romans had by then brought the Mediterranean under their control, many
of them were still resisting the luxurious lifestyle that the successors of Alexander the
Great had cultivated in centers like Pergamon and Alexandria. We read in Athenaeus of
the splendid banquets and pageants in Ptolemaic Alexandria that featured Dionysus and
his retinue; yet at Rome the many elites avoided such excessesor avoided admitting to
Oscan Pompeii, on the other hand, riding on a wave of prosperity that came from
successful trade with these very areas of the Mediterranean, had no such scruples. The
owners of the House of the Figured Capitals addressed viewers who, like themselves, saw
in the wine-drinking party a way to make some part of that world of luxuria (the Greek
tryphe) their own. By placing themselves visually in Dionysuss retinue they announced
to all that they valued and embraced the luxury of the banquet, one of the pleasures that
money could buy. The use of self-portraits in the capitals anticipates their use in the paint-
ings of the owner and his friends that decorated the House of the Triclinium (see plates
21 and 22, and g. 140). Yet the contrast between the abandon of the Satyrs and Maenads
with their own controlled poses told the viewer that the owners revelry was of a dier-
ent sort, a sophisticated hospitality with rational limits. In its contrasts between the world

Pompeii, House of the Figured Capitals, east capital, west side. Woman and man at banquet.
Pompeii, House of the Figured Capitals, west capital, east side. Master of the house and his wife.
of Dionysian demigods and that of its the real-life owners, the entry to the House of the
Figured Capitals sent mixed messages in a way that betrayed the owners tentative em-
brace of Hellenistic culture. They were not Romans, nor were they Hellenistic Greeks.
Their self-representation to passersby expresses this cultural dierence, and veers widely
from the use of portrait images in elite Roman practice.
For elite Romans, display of portraits of ancestors was not just a choice but a right and a
duty: the ius imaginum, literally the right of images.
The historian Polybius, a Greek
who lived with the family of Scipio Aemilianus between 166 and 149 b.c., wrote with fas-
cination about the customs of elite Romans. In particular, his description of funeral rites
demonstrated the importance of imageswax masks of illustrious family membersin
the cultural formation of young men:
After the burial and all the usual ceremonies have been performed, they place the likeness
of the deceased in the most conspicuous spot in his house, surmounted by a wooden canopy
or shrine. This likeness consists of a mask made to represent the deceased with extraordi-
nary delity both in shape and color. These likenesses they display at public sacrices
adorned with much care. And when any illustrious member of the family dies, they carry
these masks to the funeral, putting them on men whom they thought as like the originals
as possible in height and other personal peculiarities. And these substitutes assume clothes
according to the rank of the person represented: if he was a consul or praetor, a toga with
purple stripes; if a censor, whole purple; if he had also celebrated a triumph or performed
any exploit of that kind, a toga embroidered with gold. These representatives also ride them-
selves in chariots, while the fasces and axes, and all the other customary insignia of the
particular oces, lead the way, according to the dignity of the rank in the state enjoyed by
the deceased in his lifetime; and on arriving at the Rostra they all take their seats on ivory
chairs in their order. There could not easily be a more inspiring spectacle than this for a
young man of noble ambitions and virtuous aspirations. For can we conceive any one to
be unmoved at the sight of all the likenesses collected together of the men who have earned
glory, all as it were living and breathing? Or what could be a more glorious spectacle?
If Polybius description of how Romans used the masks seems strange to us, it is be-
cause most of us do not share their belief in the power of the portrait egy to evoke the
spirits of the dead andmore importantto get them to help the living. The wax death-
masks, displayed in the atrium, constituted both a proclamation of the longevity of the
gens or clan and a projection of its continuity.
For elite Romans, portraiture in marble and bronze were substituted for the original
death-masks as a gens expanded; scholars repeatedly cite the so-called Barberini Togatus,
a statue of a man in a toga holding the portrait busts of his father and grandfather, to
drive home this point.
The problem is that both are busts rather than wax masks.

dictably, excavations have yielded no secure traces of the wax imagines, since both the masks
themselves and their supports were made of perishable materials: wax and wood. Maiuri
claimed to have found the impressions of two busts in his excavations of the House of
the Menander at Pompeii (g. 146).
Finding hollows in the volcanic material, he poured
plaster-of-Paris into the cavities. The casts that emerged were clearly two Lares, and
less clearlytwo miniature busts. His explanation of their diminutive sizethat repeated
copying resulted in ever-smaller masksis hardly logical. As Harriet Flower has recently
demonstrated, the best evidence for elite display of ancestor portraits comes from analy-
sis of the literature, especially Plinys references to the entrance and the reception areas
of the Roman house.
There a viewer would nd the wax face masks kept in cupboards
in the atrium, portraits painted on the wall or on a panel as part of a family tree, images
of famous ancestors with trophies located around the entrance to the house, and shield
portraits, the so-called imagines clipeatae.
But we are concerned with non-elite Romans self-representation in the home. We saw
that the Oscan owners of the House of the Figured Capitals, as relative outsiders to Ro-
man elite culture, chose an unusual form of self-representation to announce their values
to passersby and visitors. Looking for portraits of ordinary Romans takes us back to Pom-
peii, but in the citys last decades, when it was fully Romanized. As we might expect, both

Pompeii, House of the Menander (I, 10, 4), lararium 25, west wall.
Shrine to ancestors and Lares.
the types of portraits and the circumstances surrounding their display are quite dierent
from their counterparts among the elite. It seems that the only limits on self-represen-
tation in the homes of ordinary Pompeians were the imagination of the owner and his
ability to pay the picture-painters fees.
Two portraits of children in the house of the aedile Marcus Lucretius Fronto, a boy and a
girl at about age ten, have provoked a great deal of speculation among scholars (gs. 147
and 148).
Most recently, Willem J. Th. Peters and Eric Moormann, in their denitive
publication of the house, proposed that the two little round pictures represent Lucretius
Frontos deceased children.
The portraits are on opposite sides of the entrance to room
i, the girl to the right as someone enters, the boy to the left (g. 149). But they are not the
principal images in this long, narrow room. Two gural paintings of some complexity
adorn the long left (north) and right (south) wall. Once a viewer had taken them in and
deciphered them, she would have seen the children on her way out.
Even though we know the identity of the owner who commissioned the Fourth Style
decoration in this house, it sheds little light on the purposes of the portraits or the iden-
tity of the sitters. The fact that Lucretius Fronto was a candidate for public oces should
perhaps disqualify the paintings from consideration in this book about ordinary people.
Yet the fact that the house itself is quite small and modest in its furnishings and the clar-
ity of the context surrounding these unique paintings of children tempt me to think fur-
ther about what meaning they might have had for contemporary viewers.
In Houses of Roman Italy I followed an idea rst put forth by Mariette de Vos, that room
i, at the right ank of the houses elegant Third Style tablinum, was a cubiculum, or bed-
room, for the children. I proposed a reading of the whole painting program as a moral
lesson for the children who slept there.
De Kind, who rst suggested that the portraits
represented dead children, has pointed out that the boy is dressed as the god Mercury,
with the attributes of traveling hat (petasus) and wand (caduceus). Mercury is the god who
escorts the dead to the underworld. De Kind also proposes that the tondo, or roundel form,
carries funerary meanings. Further, the rooms location, just to the right of the tablinum,
suggests a space that is formal, like the tablinum, and perhaps commemorative.
this interpretation is the fact that, in houses, Mercury always appears as the god of com-
merce and nancial prosperitynot of death. What is more, why would an ocial of even
moderate wealth commemorate his dead children in so cheap a mediumand in such
an informal wayas in the frescoed decoration of a room? Far more appropriate would
be marble or bronze busts; add to this the fact that there are no precedents for com-
memorating deceased children in Roman houses.
When Roman children do appear in a civic, as opposed to a tomb setting, they always
participate in religious or state programs. We considered briey the children of Augustuss

Pompeii, House of Lucretius
Fronto, room c, west wall,
south part. Portrait of a girl.
Pompeii, House of Lucretius
Fronto, room c, west wall,
north part. Portrait of a boy in
the dress of Mercury.
family on the Ara Pacis, where they walked in procession with their parents and relatives
to celebrate the dedication of the altar (see g. 5). A viewer understood how their pres-
ence expressed their education in the virtue of piety (pietas)and therefore provided an
example for all citizens to emulate in raising their own children. The children also stood
for the continuity of the de facto dynasty that Augustus had founded and wanted to pro-
mote. Their bodies carried the blood and seed for future Julio-Claudian emperors, priests
and priestesses, senators, generals, and matrons. Just as the images implied that Augustus
and Livia, contrary to fact, were fertile, so the citizen body should produce new Romans
to carry on the Republic.
The children represented on the Arch of Trajan at Beneventum provide an excellent
response to the Ara Pacis even while they update imperial propaganda about children.
The arch dates to a.d. 118 and commemorates Trajans victories over the Parthians. Bene-
ventum lies along the road that took the Roman armies across the mountains from near
Naples to the great harbor at Brindisium. In her recent article, Sarah Curries explana-
tion of why Trajan represented children on this triumphal arch parallels my own reasoning
about why he emphasized barbarians in the Forum and on his Column. She points out
that the growth of human beings was essential to an Empire, and that just as barbarians
became slaves, loyal subjects, and citizens, so children were to grow up to be good citi-
zens and soldiers. On the Arch at Beneventum, the images of childrenmale and fe-
male, slave and free, Italian and barbarianconstituted a visual expression of the impe-
rial process: The childs body upon Trajans arch was fashioned to convey a wildly idealized
conception of empire. It was one which demanded for its fulllment, through feeding
and disciplining, the molding of real childrens bodies.

Pompeii, plan of House of Lucretius Fronto (V, 4, a).
Even though temporally distant, the images of children on the Ara Pacis and the Arch
of Trajan at Beneventum are bearers of meanings that go beyond recording specic events
or ocial acts. Do the childrens portraits in Lucretius Frontos house carry similar ideo-
logical freight? Dating to about a.d. 70, they occupy a period between the two imperial
monuments, but more importantly they addressed a select audience: Lucretius Frontos
family, friends, and perhaps an occasional client. Among family members there may
have been the viewers who would have identied most with these unique portraits: chil-
dren. Whether they were children who recognized, with delight, their own features in
the little boy and girl, or whether they saw there relatives who had died, it is worthwhile
following the process a ten-year-old viewer might go through in taking in the rooms
A child of this age would certainly know the myth of Narcissus, depicted in an inept
but serviceable painting on the rooms left wall (g. 150). Here was a youth who, spurn-
ing the love of the beautiful nymph, Echo, fell in love with himself, stupidly believing that
the image he saw in the waters reection was another beautiful boy. He died, pining away
for an illusion. The childs nurse or mother may have recounted the tale in one of the ver-
sions in circulation at the timeperhaps that of Ovid. The moral of the story was clear:
vanity kills.
Our same child viewer might have considerably more trouble with the painting op-
posite Narcissus (g. 151).
For one thing, the story was more complex: a daughter visit-
ing her father, condemned to starve to death in prison, overcomes her sense of shame to
feed him from her own breast. For another, the written Latin verses on the painting might
have caused some diculties for a ten-year old:
Quae parvis mater natis alimenta parabat
fortuna in patrios vertit iniqua cibos.
Aevo dignum opus est. Tenui cervice seniles
asp[ice, ia]m ut venae lacte me[ante micant.
Admoto]q[ue] simul voltu fri(ca)t ipsa Miconem
Pero: tristis inest cum pietate pudor.
What food the mother was accustomed to oer to her newborns,
unkind Fortune turned to food for her father.
It is a task t for eternity. Look how the slender veins
of the old mans neck grow large with the ow of milk.
Pero herself draws her face close to Micon and caresses him:
a sad sense of shame together with piety is present (in this picture).
But diculties aside, the message was a clear one, and as appropriate for a child as
the tale of Narcissus. Filial pietylove and sacrice for your parentssurpassed all other
virtues. Leaving the room after taking in these appropriate, if somewhat heavy-handed,
messages, a little girl would see two children xed there within the paint on the walls.

Pompeii, House of Lucretius
Fronto, room c, north wall,
center picture. Narcissus
contemplating his own
Pompeii, House of Lucretius
Fronto, room c, south wall,
center picture. Pero and
Their bright faces communicated health and security just as their gazes returned hers.
If not a moral lesson, what else?
For an adult viewereven one of the very children depicted on the walls, now grown
upthe rooms painted imagery projected the patrons values. Marcus Lucretius Fronto,
who held the important oce of ve-year duumvir (duumvir quinquennalis) in the years
7379, belonged to a family steeped in the values espoused by Augustus; it seems that
the Lucretii were among the families that the Emperor himself installed in Pompeii dur-
ing his reign to expedite his political and cultural reforms in the colony.
Central to Au-
gustuss program was, as we have seen, the promulgation of Republican virtues
especially as they related to the family and the rearing of children.
Would a viewer have
seen in this room a somewhat heavy-handed, if not old-fashioned, version of that old
propaganda; or a new variation reecting the neo-Republicanism of the Flavian emperors
(a.d. 6996)? We will never know for sure, but the idea is tantalizing, since it connects
us in a unique way with a highly originaland utterly Romanconception of childhood
and virtue.
The owner of the little house at VII, 3, 30, rather than having the artist paint portraits of
himself or his family, chose a painting that showed him carrying out an act of public
municence. Like the patron of the Riot in the Amphitheater picture, he had a modest mo-
ment of glory, and wished to commemorate it forever with a painting (plate 23).
subjects of the two paintings could not be more dierent, however. For the member of
the fanclub, the moment was one of deant civil disobedience; for the owner of the house
at VII, 3, 30, it was an event that represented the utmost he could do to win the respect
of his peers: when he was able to provide bread for all Pompeii.
The rst description of the picture, in 1864, identied the subject as a breadseller.
Thereafter the painting (cut out and removed to the Naples museum) illustrated many a
survey on everyday life, supposedly showing how a baker went about selling bread. Re-
cently scholars have questioned this identication, noting how every detailfrom the
original location of the painting to the composition itself and the clothing and gestures
of the protagonistssuggests that the painting commemorates a special occasion rather
than recording the banal commonplace of buying bread.
As the plan reveals, the painting came from a modest house with just the essential
spaces; there is, for example, no peristyle (g. 152). A visitor entering the house through
the fauces (a) would proceed through the atrium to the small but deep tablinum (e). Lack
of space for proper corridors to either side of the tablinum meant that it was also a pas-
sageway space to the little garden at k and to the adjoining storage room at i, which was
found complete with the remains of little cabinets. The Bread Dole, then, had to grace the
tablinums only continuous wall, the left one.

The rest of the houses decoration, now mostly gone, dates to the last decades of Pom-
peiis life: it is a rather bland version of the Fourth Styleall the more reason for the
owner to commission this very special picture as the centerpiece of the tablinums banal
yellow-ground decoration.
The paintings composition emphasizes the dierences between giver and receivers
in several ways. Unlike scenes of sales where the counter allows direct exchange between
buyer and seller, as in the relief of a saleswoman from Ostia (see g. 69), here the artist
fashioned a dole station in perspective. It provides plenty of space to show the abun-
dance of bread and to separate the donor from the group of two men and a boy in the
lower left corner of the picture. Vertical wooden posts and horizontal boards make up the
substantial stand, looking much like the platform (suggestus) in the Tomb of Vestorius
Priscus (see g. 109). The artist shows the details of its construction, including the nails
that hold the boards in place and the edges of the high shelf behind. Big loaves of bread
just like those found, carbonized, at Herculaneum and Pompeiill the counter and the
shelves. A basket with small buns sits to the magistrates right.
Clothing, too, dierentiates giver and receivers. It is not clear whether the man above
is wearing a toga, but the contrast between his white, full-cut garment and the dark-colored
clothing of the two men and the boy below is clear. The two men receiving bread wear
dark tunics with hoodsmuch like those of Verecunduss wool combers (see g. 60),
and the boy who turns to them with both arms dramatically raised wears a similar, slightly
shorter garment. The only color accent is a yellow cape draped over the shoulders of one
of the men.
Gestures also emphasize the importance of the sceneat least for the man giving out
the bread. He is seated, calm but intent on reaching toward the man with the yellow cape.
In contrast to the boys seeming agitation (jubilation?), the artist gave the man reaching
high up for the bread an especially solid stance, feet together and bearded head turned
in full prole.

Pompeii, plan of House of the
Baker (VII, 3, 30).
This, then, is what we can know from the painting. The house tells us a little more. It
is too modest to be that of an elite citizen of Pompeii. We should not be fooled by the
mans white robes or his seated position to think that he belonged to the decurion class
and that he is an aedile. The most likely scenario is that he was a bread baker who at a
prosperous moment in his life decided to give free bread to the populace. Although this
might have been a step toward running for a minor oce at Pompeii, nothing in the mans
house indicates that he achieved any oce.
What might have been a viewers reaction to this painting? The small size of the house
makes it unlikely that the owner had extensive business interests. He would not have
needed to meet daily with the people who worked for him (in the ritual of salutatio). Vis-
itors would have been people of his own relatively modest social status, and perhaps em-
ployees and slaves who worked in his bakery. A social equal might remember the special
occasion when the owner doled out bread to the people of Pompeii. He might atter his
host on the artists accurate rendering of the details of the wooden structure (perhaps one
that his friends helped him to build) and the correctness of the mans features. Perhaps
the owner had the artist also paint the features of friends he knew in the three recipients.
Recognition of people, setting, and the specic event were central to the paintings suc-
cessful eect on a man or woman who knew the owner. And the artist adjusted perspective,
gestures, and composition to enhance this kind of recognition.
Proudly displayed in his
little house, the painting records a deed that enhanced his social status and revealed, per-
haps, his hopes for greater prestige in the future.
In their search for realistic portraits of ancient Romans, scholars have repeatedly returned
to the remarkable painting from the house at VII, 2, 6 (plate 24). It is unique for several
reasons. Nearly all of the portraits preserved from antiquity are sculptures, and when we
do nd paintings that seem to be portraits, analysis usually reveals that they are stock
types, idealized to the point of erasing individual traits.
Not so with this arresting im-
age of a man and his wife, gazing intently at the viewer while they hold emblems of their
literacy and learning: she a two-leaved writing tablet spread with wax (diptych) and a sty-
lus to write on it; he a scroll (rotulus) with a red seal. The realisticeven unattering
rendering of their features suggests that they are specic individuals. Archaeological
evidence demonstrates that a specialist painter executed this portrait in the last years
of Pompeii to adorn the best room of the living quarters within a bakery complex.
The owner carried out substantial structural modications to an earlier house that oc-
cupied the southeast corner of the block; he installed a bakery in the largest part but re-
served a portion for a small dwelling that communicated directly with the bakery (g. 153).
The street entrance is at number 6, leading to a large vestibule (a), fashioned out of a
former streetside shop; and the vestibule opens into the atrium (b). The atrium could
also be reached from the bakery (entered at 3 and comprising rooms a through s) by the

corridor m. Small rooms on the north side of the atrium became reception spaces, and it
is in the central one of these, room g, that the patrons instructed the artist to paint their
portrait. It is signicant that this location is directly opposite the corridor m rather than
facing the entry at a: it seems that the owners wanted people coming in from the bakery
area to see it. For over a century scholars have incorrectly called this little room a tablinum,
that is, a space where the paterfamilias received clientseven though its orientation and
size are wrong for this purpose.
Much scholarly debate has surrounded the identication of the sitters. Giulio De Pe-
tra, who excavated the house in 1868, identied them as the aedile Paquius Proculus and
his wife, on the basis of electoral slogans found on one of the exterior walls.
In 1926
Della Corte reanalyzed the grati and slogans, inventing two brothers belonging to the
gens Terentia, one a bread baker (pistor) and the other a lawyer (studiosus).
It is the lawyer,
he suggests, that we see in the portrait, appropriately dressed in the toga and holding a
scroll. Unfortunately, Della Cortes identication does not hold up to scrutiny; although
the identication of the sitters as Terentius Neo and his wife has entered the literature,
the designation is entirely conventional.
The most reliable information comes not from
analysis of grati and electoral slogans, but from analysis of the picture itself in its orig-
inal context.
There was considerable industrial activity in the neighborhood. In addition to the bak-
ery in the southeast corner of the block, there was a large dyeworks directly to the north
of the living quarters (VII, 2, 1112).
Another, slightly larger pistrinum, directly across
the street to the east (at IX, 3, 1012), may have belonged to the same baker.
Within this
busy, noisy, and smelly environment, it would be hard to make a case for the couples be-

Pompeii, plan of House of
Terentius Neo (VII, 2, 6).
longing to Pompeiis decurion class. Whoever the man and his wife are, the painting con-
stitutes a case of art ennobling the lives of two ordinary Pompeians.
Soft light falls from the viewers left on the two bust-length gures. The woman has a
distinctly oval face, turned in three-quarters view so that we see more of the right side of
her face, whereas the mans pose is nearly frontal. The womans complexion is pinker and
fairer than her mates. She wears her hair parted in the middle and held close to her head
with a band, tiny serpentine curls framing her forehead and cheeks, and a few curls de-
scending down her neck. Bushy eyebrows arc in two strong curves that meet across the
bridge of her nose; they frame large brown eyes that gaze steadily to the viewers left. The
painter took care to represent the peculiarities of her large nose: he used highlights to
show the variations in its widthhow it becomes bulbous at the end and stops quite a
bit above her full but regular lips. The artist indicated the undulations of the mans nose
with a single wavy highlight line that ares considerably at the nostrils and stops just short
of his full lips. His head is larger, blockier, and broader than his wifes, with eyes and eye-
brows set farther apart. His gaze meets the viewers straight on.
Parallel gestures connect the sitters heads with their literary attributes. Just as the
woman raises the stylus that she holds in her right hand to her lips, so the man grasps
the rotulus so it just touches his lightly bearded chin. He wears the white toga, a sign that
he is a citizeneither freeborn or freedman. She wears a pinkish-red tunic and mantle.
Attempts to date these images on the basis of hairstyles have produced somewhat con-
tradictory results. The fact that the woman wears her hair in a fashion popular around
the year 50 does not mean that the painting dates from that period. For one thing, women
often kept a favorite hairstyle long after it had passed out of fashion in imperial or elite
circles. For another, it seems that the painting had just been completed around the time
of the eruption, since the decoration of the rest of the house was still in progress.
The paintings that are closest stylistically are the Egyptian portraits from the area of
the Fayum, painted in encaustic or tempera on wooden tablets to be inset over the face
of a mummy.
There is no evidence that the mummy portraits saw double use, rst set
up in the owners house, then later inset over his or her mummy. Only one Fayum por-
trait created specically for domestic display survives; it retains its original frame and is
too small to have served as a mummy portrait.
Domestic display is clearly the purpose
of the portrait of Terentius Neo and his wife: they had the artist paint their likenesses in
true fresco directly and permanently on the wall. Yet the Fayum portraits and that of our
Pompeians have in common their frontal poses, their direct gaze at the viewer, and their
attention to physiognomic peculiarities and details of hairstyle. Rather than making their
subjects into fashionable reections of court portraitsidealized minor gods and
goddessesthe Fayum artists paid attention to details that belong only to the sitter. The
patrons desire to be recognizedeven with their imperfectionstells us that they val-
ued their dierences from prevailing ideals of masculine and feminine beauty, and that
recording these dierences forever was more important than looking like the elite.
The only portrait from Pompeii to convey the same kind of attention to non-ideal traits

of a persons face is much earlier. It was found set into the pavement of a little room in a
tavernprobably not its original setting (g. 154).
It is, like the mosaics found in the
House of the Faun, made of tiny tesserae imitating brushstrokes. Like the portrait of Te-
rentius Neo and his wife, the mosaic, executed around 100 b.c., must be a portrait of a
specic individual: note the irregularity of the womans features and the attention to un-
usual details of her face and jewelry. Specialized mosaicists made this little mosaic to or-
der for a patron, laying out the tiny tesserae on a terracotta tray. The owner then had it
set into a oor paved in much larger mosaic tesserae. In its original setting, probably in
a reception space in the owners house, the womans portrait would clearly have been
that of his wife (perhaps deceased) or an important female ancestor. By the time the tav-
ern owner acquired it, 150 years after its creation, he used it as a centerpiece set into the
best pavement in his establishmenta cut-marble oor. Viewers must have wondered,
as they contemplated this nely crafted relic from the past, about the identity of the sit-
ter. They had in all likelihood no rmer answers than we do: it had become a collectors
item and a conversation piece, admired for its technique but no longer a portrait of any-
one the viewers knew.
The case was quite dierent with the double portrait on its wall in the house at VII, 2,
6. Given the layout of their little house, with its special passageway to the bakery, it seems
obvious that the sitters were the owners of the bakery. Someone coming into the house
from the street entry at 6 would enter the atrium, and see ahead of her the triclinium
with its adjacent kitchen. Only by turning to the right would she see the trio of small rooms,
with room g, dominated by the double portrait, in the middle. Yet someone coming in
from the corridor memerged into the atrium directly facing room g, and as he drew nearer
the room, Terentius and his wife xed him with their gazes (g. 155). The privileged view,
then, is the one from the bakery corridor, suggesting that the owners of the bakery put
special stock in addressing the bakerys slaves, employees, and clients with their double
The original painting ensemble on the wall that held the portrait communicated two
very dierent kinds of messages to the viewer: one concerns the couples status, the other
their mutual aection. Looking at the portrait itself, it is immediately evident that Te-
rentius Neo and his wife wished a viewer to understand that they knew how to read and
write: he holds a rotulus; she seems to be musing on what her stylus will put down next
on her diptychshe is in the act of writing. Scholars have pointed out parallels with other,
ideal portraits that show the protagonist in the act of writing or painting and have ques-
tioned whether the couple were in fact literate or whether they simply wanted to elevate
themselves through art. Again, it is impossible to know. Della Cortes overly optimistic
reading makes Terentius Neo into nothing less than a lawyer; Ward-Perkinss pessimistic
reading makes him and his wife into pretentious, illiterate commoners.
What is sure
is that the couple valued literacy and instructed the artist to encode reading and writing
into their image.

Pompeii, House VI, 15, 14,
mosaic emblema. Portrait of a
Pompeii, House of Terentius
Neo, view of room g through
corridor m.
The other messagetheir mutual love for each otherthey expressed in the picture
above their portrait. It is an unusual image of Amor and Psyche, now removed to the
Naples Museum but originally located directly above the portrait in the walls upper zone
(g. 156). This celebrated couple, the divine son of Venus and the most beautiful mortal
girl, are locked in a passionate embrace. Psyche, after her long trials, has achieved im-
mortality; Jupiter in his wisdom has given her the nectar of the gods and has wed her to
Psyches buttery wings signify her divine status, the counterpart of Amors bird
wings. Yet to achieve this passionate embrace and kiss, the artist had to stretch his mod-
est talents. Amor sits on a rock at the center of a deep window dened by a coered ceil-
ing above. Although the artist had plenty of ready-made models for seated gures, he was
hard put to nd one for Psyche. For her, he adapted a cartoon for a ying female gure
(a ubiquitous image in Fourth Style decorations). Both the charms and the incongruities
of the artists adaptation are evident: Psyches drapery still ies even though she is sup-
posed to be at rest, her body hardly ts into her lovers embrace, and her legs dangle into

Pompeii, House of Terentius Neo, room g, north wall, upper zone, center.
Amor and Psyche.
More important, we see the patrons insistence on this particular image, aligned with
their own. If the double portrait communicates the couples equality and solidarity in in-
tellectual or poetic pursuits, it is because the artist has coupled realism with revealing
attributes. And if the image of Amor and Psyche tells a viewer anything further about the
baker and his wife, it is clear that the moment in the myth that the patrons chose to por-
tray communicates their own passion for each otherand perhaps their wish to have
that love go on forever.
The location of the paintings invites speculation about the gazein two directions.
On the one hand, the baker and his wife are looking both at the viewer and to the corri-
dor leading to their bakery. If their attitudes are those of the learned reader and writer,
their gaze is a proprietary onethe gaze of owners surveying their domain. The other
gaze is that of the viewers. Since the paintings location suggests that the principal view-
ers were workers in the bakery and ordinary people who bought baked goods, it is worth
speculating about the messages the painting might have conveyed. For slaves or freeborn
workers, the portrait of the baker and his wife pointed to their own potential success as
owners of a similar establishment. They saw a double portrait representing their employers
removed from the noise and toil of the bakery, enjoying the calm, rened activities of
reading and writing.
In these examples of self-representation in the home, all from Pompeii, we see, above all,
individual patrons ordering nonstandard imagery to communicate specic messages to
viewers. As we saw in the previous chapter, some Pompeians turned away from ideal,
Greek-style representations of the banquet in favor of paintings that showed just what
they looked like and how they behaved at their parties. None of the images we have looked
at qualies as a masterpiece, yet all of them remain intriguing because they reveal so much
about the people who proudly placed them in their homes. They also tell us that ordinary
artists were able to invent extraordinarily original portraits. Whether of bread-giver or baker,
child Mercury or matron at the banquet, these portraits give us a vivid sense of individ-
ual people proclaiming their identities and values in a way that elite representations
bound as they are by the conventions of imperial portraiturerarely do.
Accidents of preservation have blocked us moderns from knowing how the kinds of
non-elite self-representation we have seen in houses at Pompeii developed and changed
in the centuries after the eruption of Vesuvius. As it turns out, most of the art that sur-
vives in Roman Italy consists of portrait busts and mosaics found in houses of individu-
als belonging to the upper strata. These works of art tell us how elite people formed and
modied their images over timeinevitably in accord with Imperial modelswhereas
the houses and apartments of ordinary people at Rome and Ostia have yielded few in-
stances of self-representation that we can securely tie to non-elite patrons and viewers.
We can only extrapolate from the much more richly documented areas of public life that
we have looked at in part 2 to imagine that, for their homes, ordinary people continued
to commission artists to show them as they wished their peers, friends, and guests to see

them. I believe that these lost images had little to do with mimicking idealized Imperial
forms; their aim was to create likenesses of the patron and his friends and in recording
events in his life.
It was an art of life as lived by real people.
Emperors dominated the public monuments we considered in part 1, and it was only
by considering how non-elites might have read these monuments that we could trace their
presence there. By contrast, the representations commissioned by ordinary Romans for
public spacestheir places of work, their taverns, and their tombsfocus on themselves,
their activities, and their favorite gods and goddesses. This sense of ownership of imagery
comes through even more clearly in the representations we have seen in their houses.
Perhaps the quintessential expression of the spirit of non-elite representation is the im-
age of Terentius Neo and his wife greeting their guests while gazing appreciatively down
the corridor to the source of their new-found stature: their bakery. The painting is a haunt-
ing image that reminds us how art never imitates life. It tries to create life.

The premise of this book is that analysis of visual representation in context can help re-
veal the tastes, beliefs, attitudes, desiresin a word, the cultureof ordinary Romans.
To situate ordinary Romans within elite culture, we rst looked at how four imperial mon-
uments in Rome represented (or failed to represent) non-elites, including the freeborn
poor, noncitizens in the army, foreigners (peregrini), and barbarians. I asked what mes-
sages ordinary viewers might have gotten from these big, image-laden complexes within
Romes urban fabric. Substituting non-elite viewers for the omniscient scholar-viewer, I
tried to imagine what aspects of the monuments imagery might have engaged them. I
based my imaginings on the assumption that viewers looking at visual representations
decipher them by seeking out the familiar: compositions, motifs, and details that they can
identify from their own experience. If Augustuss Altar of Peace spoke to commoners in
the symbolic language of vine scrolls, allegorical gures, and foundation myths, Trajan
found a concrete way to speak to non-elite viewers. He focused much of his Forums im-
agery on the army and the barbarian to dene a social organization that paralleled the
stratied civic structure at Rome. Imagery aimed at the non-elite included the impres-
sive architectural forms themselves as well as the specic representations of two non-
elite groups: barbarian men, women, and children; and the great variety of auxiliary troops.
In an age of crisis, the same story of army and barbarian suppressed the humanity of
both to emphasize Marcus Aureliuss transcendent leadership. By the time Constantine
erected his Arch, artists had found a language that expressed a social hierarchy so rigid
that the common people literally become the little peopletheir social status determin-
ing their size and place in the reliefs. The style of imperial art in Rome changed in step
with the new messages to its viewers: form followed content.
In the second and third parts of the book the patron changed. Although we continued
to track the responses of non-elite viewers, it was not the emperor but ordinary individ-
uals who paid for the art. Most of the art was intimate in scale, the materials humble, the
execution routine. Yet the personalities of the patrons and the viewers emerged in as-
tounding variety. From a vast array of possible themes in the public sphere, I focused on
religion, work, spectacle, tavern-going, and burial. Here we saw ordinary Romans com-
missioning artists to create representations that featured themselves, their associates, and
their activities with great specicity.
For humble lararia as well as for shop facades, patrons hired sculptors and painters
to show just how they worshiped: what they, their families, and their friends looked like
sacricing to the lares, celebrating Cybele and Venus, carrying their gods through the
streets in religious pageants. Although artists relied on established compositions for scenes
of sacrice, the patrons insisted on showing the particulars of their religious observance.
These images put a face on religion, revealing its pervasiveness in peoples lives, and often
showing how far it veered from the rites of the state; in contrast to the endlessly repeated
stock scenes found in the images of the state religion, these modest paintings were any-
thing but standard.
Images of work revealed how ordinary people, whether free, freed, or still slaves, took
pride in the professions that gave them a special identity. Why else go to the trouble to
show all the steps of the fulling process, or the mechanics of felt-makingespecially when
you put yourself in the picture, as did Verecundus and his wife? Or the various tasks that
grain measurers carried out? We do this work, and here we are the inscriptions tell us.
Even in tombs, pride in the work that bought you your freedomand earned you enough
money to have a ne monumentoften meant showing a viewer just what you did or
the products you made.
Representations connected with spectacles and tavern-going gave us a glimpse of how
the lower strata enjoyed their leisure. Public shows both emphasized social dierences
and created spaces of transgression. Even wall paintings derived from theater sets en-
coded enthusiasms as well as anxieties about viewing and being viewed. For a rich augus-
talis like Storax, putting on the games was his lifes greatest accomplishmentso much
so that he went to enormous expense not only to get a sculptor to represent this moment
but also to cram it with as many details as possible. No holding back here. The same will-
ful exuberance about the gamesand about making historyinspired a Pompeian fan
to put the almost perverse painting of the riot of a.d. 59 into his peristyle.

The notion of overturning expectationsespecially those of the ruling elite
constitutes an important theme, whether we nd it in paintings that decorate houses or
taverns. In houses the representations break the rules governing behavior at theatrical
and amphitheatrical spectacle. In taverns the kinds of upset range more widely, from
ordinary men ghting over dice to Sages holding forth about shitting and farting. Com-
mon to all these visual representations is the way they encode what ordinary viewers
knew or thought they knew about proper behavior. These paintings made the viewers
laugh by showing improper behavior toward their proper subjectsshowing philoso-
phers in the scaenae frons, spectators brawling in the amphitheater, the Sages holding
forth about defecation.
But in the tavern paintings it was not just visual representation that induced laughter, it
was also textual representation. With the tavern paintings a new theme came to the fore:
how written language gured in the lives of non-elites. This theme surfaced with equal
intensity in the case studies of tombs and those of the banquet, for everywhere we looked,
we found writing. Were our ordinary Romans literate? If they were not, they would not
have gotten the jokes in these humble taverns; they would have found little to interest
them in the profuse tangle of names and relationships on the streets of tombs; they would
have been excluded from the fun of the banquet room. And if they were illiterate, why
would they have paid an artist to create such complex things to read?
Someone unable to read could have gotten half of the humor in the Caupona of Salvius
just from looking at the pictures, but he would have gotten quite lost with the elaborate
written jokes in the Caupona of the Seven Sages. The relatively complex two-line verses
in the humble House of the Moralist pointed to rather astute readerspeople comfort-
able enough with the written language to make it the focus of their laughterand also
comfortable enough to comprehend and contemplate the complex expressions of com-
memoration and grief written on tombs and sarcophagi. From this investigation it is clear
that to understand much of the art of the non-elite also meant being able to read rather
wellor at least having someone to read to you.
In tombs where we knew that the patrons were from the lower strata, both texts and vi-
sual representations aided a viewers interpretation. Inscriptions on tombs multiplied
references by spelling out interrelationships among blood relations, freedmen and freed-
women, slaves, and friends. Burial among ordinary people was not only a way to trum-
pet ones wealth and sophistication (real or invented), but also an opportunity to exhibit
your alliances and friendships. If Apellas inscriptions demonstrated the breadth of this

inclusion, the text on Trophimass sarcophagus gave us a glimpse of the variety of living
and loving arrangements among three friends who were assimilated foreigners.
We also found a kind of anxiety about visual representation. On the one hand, it came
through in Mulvia Priscas exaggeration of her sons accomplishmentseven if the paint-
ings depicting him as an ocial were visible only to the family members who got to go
inside his little tomb. On the other hand, it surfaced in the multiplication of references
to the pleasures and possessions of the elite: banquets, silver services, elaborate gar-
dens, wild-animal parks. Freedmen like Apella and his heirs were happy to mix reli-
gious references with the bawdy antics of pygmies on the Nileall in a desire to show
their sophistication.
Another multiple reference within tomb imagery is in the dual signicance of the pyg-
mies activities. Scenes of pygmies on the Nile referred to the exotic realms conjured up
in Hellenistic genre painting (and employed liberally in the domestic sphere). But the
pygmies were also Others who performed unbecoming activities to incite laughter and
keep away evil spirits. These representations made sense only in the context of similarly
rude images that Romans placed in other dangerous spaces: the baths, street corners,
doorways, and gardens.
In the third part of this book, I chose two aspects of visual representation in the home
that had the greatest potential for revealing the culture of ordinary people: the banquet
and portraiture. None of the images we considered tted elite conceptions in either their
form or their presentation.
Banquet pictures in rooms where ordinary people ate and drank revealed the most
when they veered from the pattern-books. If the pictures in the House of the Chaste Lovers
used time-tested vignettes of handsome Greek revelers, the man who commissioned the
paintings in the House of the Triclinium wanted the here-and-now. He used the paint-
ings to reveal his tastes and to give us images of himself and his friends enjoying them-
selves. We even had him speaking a few lines to encourage everyone to have a good time.
The banqueting couple in the House of the Figured Capitals playfully addressed visi-
tors from high above the vestibule; the portraits of children in the House of Lucretius
Fronto surprised a viewer leaving the little cubiculum; the double portrait of Terentius
Neo and his wife greeted workers and customers coming in from their bakery. All occu-
pied unusual places in the house and avoided stereotypical, classicizing portrait styles in
an eort to show what the sitters actually looked like.
In contrast to the trickle-down models espoused by many scholars, who expect freed-
men and foreigners to embrace elite models to represent themselves, the representations

we have considered stood out by virtue of their dierences from ocial art in both style
and content. For example, although many former slaves chose tomb portraits that mim-
icked eliteor even imperialmodels for everything from costume to facial types and
hairstyles, many others insisted on showing themselves as they were and engaging in the
work or rituals that meant most to them in life. There were choices.
If not trickle-down, then what? In introducing this book, I discussed how scholar-
ship on so-called Roman popular, plebeian, or freedman art tried to explain its anom-
alous style: How to t nonimperialor better, nonstandardartforms into the history
of Roman art? This book should demonstrate how wrongheaded it is to try to under-
stand non-elite art as an expression of a particular group or class. In the end, there is
no such thing as folk, plebeian, or freedman art: there is only art at the service of ordi-
nary people who might choose standard images for their house, shop, or tombor might
I believe, and have used as a working premise, that artists responded to their pa-
trons wishesand patrons got more or less what they wanted from the artists. If the
patron chose standard representations, the artist interpreted the existing models to the
best of his ability, as we saw in the paintings from the House of the Chaste Lovers. If
he or she chose a representation that had no specic iconographical model, the artist
invented the image, combining direct observation with stock gural types that he knew
how to execute. This was the case with most of the images considered in this book, like
the riot in the amphitheater, the scene of the bread dole, or the painting of the Sarno
Art historians concerned with formal problems have focused on the incorrect aspects
of such representations: imperfect perspective, gures of dierent scale within the same
scene, infelicities of gural proportion, frontality, and so on. To explain these character-
istics they would like to create a special category of folk, plebeian, or freedman art. I think
this study demonstrates that there is no special category within Roman art that consciously
went against the grain of Hellenistically inspired imperial art. Instead, when patrons called
upon artists of ordinary (or less-than-ordinary) skills to create an original representation,
the product often failed to look like imperial art. The fact that artists rose to the challenge
and satised their patronseven with less-than-correct paintings and sculptures
enriches us enormously, for these artworks reveal the lives of ordinary people in a way
that correct art cannot.
And even though the visual representations commissioned by the non-elite are often
unique, this does not mean that elites and non-elites had completely dierent world views.
Rather, it is clear is that both elites and non-elites shared certain values that motivated
them to commission works of art. Both groups wanted to represent themselves in the pub-
lic sphere; both insisted on setting out their accomplishments in publicwhat the em-
peror or an elite called his res gestae. An elite man might scorn a shipbuilder, but not the
shipbuilders need to show what he had accomplished. Both the wealthy man and the
person of modest means attempted to gain a kind of immortality by erecting monuments
that recorded their life stories. There were shared values and anxieties in the realm of re-

ligion as well. Both elites and non-elites wished to keep on the good side of the gods. Both
emperor and felt-maker believed that divine forces surrounded them, and that it was pru-
dent to honor them and to appease them.
In my introduction, I pointed out that scholars had begun to research the other 98
percent of Roman society. This book has taken some steps to recover, through the study
of visual representation, the histories and identities of part of that 98 percent. But it can-
not account for the majority of Romes non-elite population. All of the monuments I
have considered in this book come from cities and towns, commissioned by people who
had nancial meanshowever great or meagerto commission works of art. Yet we
know that a large part of the total population were not townspeople but rural folk en-
gaged in subsistence agriculture. In relation to rural folk, the city-dwelling non-elites
lived in relative wealth; although outside the true and traditional elite, they were still
among the wealthier in a society composed primarily of peasant farmers. The dual con-
ditions of being city-dwellers and possessing a modicum of wealth might account for
the shared values that come through in some of the non-elite visual representations I
have considered.
Study of Roman art and culture is undergoing a sea-change. It stems from curiosity about
the other Romansthe ones excluded from elite circles by reason of birth, prestige, or
money; the ones who are silent because they wrote no literature; the ones historically mar-
ginalized because scholars have wanted to create a better Romepopulated by emperors
and senators who were acceptable models. Perhaps our curiosity about these silent and
previously invisible Romans comes from the realization that the historian must recog-
nize, rather than erase, complexity and contradiction.
In the introduction I explained why the ancient Romans were not just like us, and the
variety of Roman people we have come to know through their art elucidates this theme.
At this point, however, I can turn this statement around: if we understand the ancient
Romans in all their diversityof ethnicity, social standing, religious beliefs, language,
and so onthey are like us in many ways. As a result of imperialisms success, all Ro-
mans had to negotiate an increasingly complex cultural environment. Despite the ap-
pearance of social homogeneity that legal, military, and economic institutions projected,
the reality was one of people of highly diverse cultural formation learning to live together
in spite of their deep dierences.
Today, nancial and cultural imperialism has created a similar set of contradictions.
Rapid communication, rather than creating an ideal homogeneity, has given voice and
imagenationally and globallyto the innite variety of human dierences. No single
model of family, belief, or governance canor shouldmediate them. How can the his-
torian handle such dierences? One way is to investigate societies, like that of ancient
Rome, that for better or worse found ways to manage social and cultural diversity.

There are, of course, no answers in history, just the discovery of better ways to ask
questions about ourselves. I have enjoyed getting to know these ordinary Romans who
lived so long ago. I am glad they insisted that they be seen and heard, for they have forced
me to ask new questions about myself and the world I live in. I hope they will do the same
for you.

1. One exception is the poet Sulpicia, in the poems listed up to now as Tibullus 4.712; schol-
ars now agree that this poet was a woman rather than a man writing in a womans per-
sona. See Holt N. Parker, Sulpicia, the Auctor de Sulpicia, and the Authorship of 3.9 and
3.11 of the Corpus Tibullianum, Helios 21 (1994): 3962; Judith P. Hallett, Feminist
Theory, Historical Periods, Literary Canons, and the Study of Greco-Roman Antiquity,
in Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz and Amy Richlin, eds., Feminist Theory and the Classics (New
York, 1993), 61, 64.
2. For an excellent historiography of Roman art through 1952, see Otto Brendel, Prole-
gomena to a Book on Roman Art, Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 21 (1953):
971, expanded in Prolegomena to the Study of Roman Art (New Haven, 1979), 1137.
3. Alois Riegl, Die sptrmische Kunstindustrie (Vienna, 1901), English trans. by Rolf Winkes,
Late Roman Art Industry (Rome, 1985).
4. Overview in Brendel, Prolegomena; see also Karl Lehmann, Die Trajanssule: Ein rmi-
sches Kunstwerk am Beginn der Sptantike (Leipzig, 1926); Max Wegner, Die kunstgeschicht-
liche Stellung der Marcussule, Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archologischen Instituts 46 (1931):
61174; Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli, Inizio e caratteri della tarda antichit (Lecture
notes, University of Florence, 1952).
5. Gerhart Rodenwaldt, Rmische Reliefs: Vorstufen zur Sptantike, Jahrbuch des
Deutschen Archologischen Instituts 55 (1940): 12, n. 1, provides a bibliography of his work
on popular art as the basis for the Late Antique; of these, see The Transition to Late
Classical Art, Cambridge Ancient History 12 (2nd ed., Cambridge 1939), 54470, where
he uses the English terms great and popular. For a redenition of Rodenwaldts terms,
see H. Gabelmann, review of Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli, Rom, das Zentrum der Macht
(Munich, 1970), in Bonner Jahrbuch 171 (1971): 70913.
6. Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli, Rome: The Center of Power, trans. Peter Green (New York,
1970); and Rome: The Late Empire, trans. Peter Green (New York, 1971).
7. Anthony Corbeill (personal correspondence) points out that Bianchi Bandinellis the-
ory is quite similar to a once commonly held theory that the vulgar Latin that we see
in Plautus became buried during the Golden Age of Latin literature, only to reappear
in the late rst century a.d. in authors like Petronius. Instead of a decline in Latin af-
ter the Golden Age, real Italic expression, unaected by Greek usage, reemerged. See
Leonard R. Palmer, The Latin Language (London, 1954), 14880.
8. Giovanni Becatti, La colonna coclide istoriata: Problemi storici iconograci stilistici (Rome,
1960), 82, was perhaps the rst to point out that although in Bianchi Bandinellis scheme
the local and popular in Roman art pass from a secondary to an ocial position with
the death of Marcus Aurelius, many important expressions of classical culture remained
in the art of the third and fourth centuries.
9. Paul Zanker, Grabreliefs rmischer Freigelassener, Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archolo-
gischen Instituts 90 (1975): 267315; for a review of the full literature, see Valentin Kockel,
Portrtreliefs stadtrmischer Grabbauten: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte und zum Verstndnis
des sptrepublikanisch-frhkaiserzeitlichen Privatportrts (Mainz, 1993), 114.
10. See especially the following essays in Klassiche Archologie: Eine Einfhrung, ed. Adolf H.
Borbein, Tonio Hlscher, and Paul Zanker (Berlin, 2000): Tonio Hlscher, Bildwerke:
Darstellungen, Funktionen, Botschaften, 14765; Marianne Bergmann, Reprsenta-
tion, 16688; Natalie B. Kampen, Gender Studies, 189204; Paul Zanker, Bild-Rume
und Betrachter im kaiserzeitlichen Rom, 20526.
11. Fergus Millar, The Crowd in Rome in the Late Republic (Ann Arbor, 1998), 411, em-
phasizes the diculty of categorizing the Roman political system of the late Republic,
where adult male citizens, including freed slaves, elected men to public oce; Millar
reevaluates evidence for democratic elements in Republican politics and contends that
they are more prominent than is normally appreciated.
12. Digesta; See also Peter Garnsey, Social Status and Legal Privilege in the Roman
Empire (Oxford, 1970), 22122, 267; Natalie B. Kampen, Image and Status: Roman Work-
ing Women in Ostia (Berlin, 1981), 2032.
13. Averil Cameron, The Later Roman Empire: a.d. 284430 (London, 1993), 3046.
14. Garnsey, Social Status and Legal Privilege, 22232 and 258. Romans also valued and priv-
ileged noncitizens of high birth and great wealthespecially those from the eastern
provincesand imperial freedmen who had held prestigious positions in the admin-
istration. These two groupsalthough lacking one of the prerequisites dened below
would likely be included among the honestiores in the eyes of the law, whereas someone
born free (the ingenuus) but poor might be classed with the humiliores.

15. Gza Alfldy, A Social History of Rome, trans. David Braund and Frank Pollock (rev. ed.,
Baltimore, 1988), 1078.
16. Susan Treggiari, Roman Freedmen during the Late Republic (Oxford, 1969), 2031; on mo-
tives for freeing slaves, see Keith R. Bradley, Slaves and Masters in the Roman Empire: A
Study in Social Control (New York, 1997); Keith R. Bradley, Slavery and Society at Rome
(Cambridge, 1994); Moses I. Finley, Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology (New York, 1980).
17. Brent Shaw, Social Science and Ancient History: Keith Hopkins in Partibus Indelium,
Helios 9 (1982): 3438.
18. See the essays in Institut Franais de Naples, Centre Jean Brard, Les bourgeoisies munici-
pales italiennes aux II
et I
sicles av. J.-C. (Naples, 1983), especially Jean-Paul Morel, Les
producteurs de biens artisanaux en Italie la n de la rpublique, 2139, and Paul Zanker,
Zur Bildnisreprsentation fhrender Mnner in mittelitalischen und campanischen
Stdten zur Zeit der spten Republik und der julisch-claudischen Kaiser, 25166.
19. Zanker, Grabreliefs rmischer Freigelassener, 267315; idem, Die Villa als Vorbild
des spten pompejanischen Wohngeschmacks, Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archologischen
Instituts 94 (1979): 460523; the latter article is slightly revised in Paul Zanker, Pom-
peii: Public and Private Life, translated by Deborah Lucas Schneider (Cambridge, Mass,
1998), 135203, where Zanker modies his position in a note on 22223: [L]ate Pom-
peian taste in domestic interiors should be seen as a general phenomenon and not be
linked quite so directly with the specic outlook of freedmen, as I conclude in the present
20. Diana E. E. Kleiner, Roman Group Portraiture: The Funerary Reliefs of the Late Republic and
Early Empire (New York, 1977); idem, Roman Imperial Funerary Altars with Portraits: Ar-
chaeologica 62 (Rome, 1987); idem, Roman Sculpture (New Haven, 1992), passim.
21. Eve DAmbra, A Myth for a Smith: A Meleager Sarcophagus from a Tomb in Ostia,
American Journal of Archaeology 92 (1988): 85100, 311; idem, Roman Art (New York,
1998), passim.
22. See especially Lauren Hackworth Petersen, Questioning Roman Freedman Art: An-
cient and Modern Constructions (Ph.D. diss., University of Texas at Austin, 2000); see
also Margaret Laird, Evidence in Context: Public and Funerary Monuments of the Se-
viri Augustales at Ostia (Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University, 2001).
23. Kleiner, Roman Sculpture, passim; DAmbra, Roman Art, passim.
24. On the status of slaves and freedmen between the late rst century b.c. and the late sec-
ond century a.d. see Sandra R. Joshel, Work, Identity and Legal Status at Rome: A Study
of the Occupational Inscriptions (Norman, Okla., 1992).
25. Arnaldo Momigliano, Patronus, Oxford Classical Dictionary (2nd ed., Oxford, 1970), 791.
26. John Berger, Ways of Seeing (London, 1972); David Freedberg, The Power of Images: Stud-
ies in the History and Theory of Response (Chicago, 1989).
27. Jas Elsner, Art and the Roman Viewer: The Transformation of Art from the Pagan World to
Christianity (New York, 1995), limits his study to the elite viewer; see my review in Jour-
nal of Roman Archaeology 9 (1996): 37580.
28. Norman Bryson, Semiology and Visual Interpretation, in Visual Theory: Painting and
Interpretation, ed. Norman Bryson, Michael Ann Holly, and Keith Moxey (New York,
1991), 72.
NOT E S T O P AGE S 4 1 0

29. See also Paul Mattick, Jr., Context, in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nel-
son and Richard Shi (Chicago, 1996), 7086.
30. Ovid Ars Amatoria 1.21928, trans. Peter Green, in Ovid, The Erotic Poems (Harmonds-
worth, England, 1982). The original reads:
Atque aliqua ex illis cum regum nomina quaeret,
Quae loca, qui montes, quaeve ferantur aquae,
Omnia responde, nec tantum siqua rogabit;
Et quae nescieris, ut bene nota refer.
Hic est Euphrates, praecinctus arundine frontem:
Cui coma dependet caerula, Tigris erit.
Hos facito Armenios; haec est Danaia Persis:
Urbs in Achaemeniis vallibus ista fuit.
Ille vel ille, duces; et erunt quae nomina dicas,
Si poteris, vere, si minus, apta tamen.
I wish to thank Anthony Corbeill for this citation.
31. Mary Beard, The Triumph of the Absurd: Roman Street Theatre, in Cosmopolis, ed.
C. Edwards and G. Woolf (Cambridge, forthcoming). I thank Professor Beard for shar-
ing this excellent essay.
32. Elsner, Art and the Roman Viewer, 2428, 35.
33. Petronius Satyricon: Trimalchio interprets the zodiac in an elaborate dish served to his
guests (39), and oers a ridiculous iconographic explanation of the imagery in his sil-
ver vessels (52).
34. Andrew F. Stewart, Art, Desire and the Body in Ancient Greece (New York, 1997), 3, and
235, with a bibliographic note on the Russian and Czech Formalist denition of litera-
ture and art as a defamiliarization or a making strange (ostranenie) of objects; Stew-
art also cites Fredric Jamesons discussion of ostranenie in The Prison-House of Language
(Princeton, 1972), 4854.
1. John R. Clarke, Just Like Us: Cultural Constructions of Sexuality and Race in Roman
Art, Art Bulletin 78, 4 (1996): 599603.
2. See James E. Packer, Politics, Urbanism, and Archaeology in Roma Capitale, a Troubled
Past and a Controversial Future, American Journal of Archaeology 93 (1989): 13741.
3. Wendy Stedman Sheard, Antiquity in the Renaissance, exh. cat., Smith College Museum of
Art, April 6June 6, 1978 (Northampton, Mass., 1979), esp. Introduction and Portrai-
ture, cat. nos. 7888 (unpaginated); Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Taste and the
Antique: The Lure of Classical Sculpture, 15001900 (New Haven, 1981), for a brief overview.
1. Richard Billows, The Religious Procession of the Ara Pacis Augustae: Augustus sup-
plicatio in 13 b.c., Journal of Roman Archaeology 6 (1993): 8092, argues that of the

NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 0 1 9
ve interpretations of the event depicted (dedicatio or constitutio of the altar; inaugurat-
ing the templum which is to be its site; a disguised triumph; the festival of Augustus
elevation to Pontifex Maximus; a supplicatio or public rejoicing), the exterior friezes rep-
resent the last.
2. For a detailed description, see Inez Scott Ryberg, Rites of the State Religion in Roman Art,
Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 22 (Rome, 1955), 4048.
3. Barbara Kellum, What We See and What We Dont See: Narrative Structure and the
Ara Pacis Augustae, Art History 17 (March 1994): 40, n. 11, for a review of the contro-
versy. For the intentional ambiguity of all the imagery on the Ara Pacis, see Karl Galin-
sky, Augustan Culture (Princeton, 1996), 14455.
4. Varro De Re Rustica 2.1718; Dionysius of Halicarnasssus 1.56; Varro De Lingua Latina
5.144; Ferdinando Castagnoli, Lavinio, Enciclopedia Virgiliana, vol. 3 (Rome, 1987), 151;
although this is Aeneass principal mission in the Aeneid, Virgils epic does not bring
us to this scene.
5. For discussion of the meanings of this decoration, see David Castriota, The Ara Pacis
Augustae and the Imagery of Abundance in Later Greek and Early Roman Imperial Art
(Princeton, 1995), 2932.
6. Diane Favro, The Urban Image of Augustan Rome (New York, 1996).
7. See Nicholas Purcell, Tomb and Suburb, in Rmische Grberstrassen: Selbstdarstellung,
Status, Standard, ed. Henner von Hesberg and Paul Zanker (Munich, 1987), 2541, on
the Hellenistic roots of the suburban tomb-park.
8. Penelope J. E. Davies, Death and the Emperor: Roman Imperial Funerary Monuments from
Augustus to Marcus Aurelius (Cambridge, 2000), 4967.
9. Michael Schtz, Zur Sonnenuhr des Augustus auf dem Marsfeld, Gymnasium 97
(1990): 43642.
10. Edmund Buchner, Solarium Augusti und Ara Pacis, Rmische Mitteilungen 83 (1976):
11. Schtz, Sonnenuhr des Augustus, 43257. Buchner answers some of Schtzs objec-
tions in Horologium Augusti, Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae (Rome, 1996)
12. Hanns Gabelmann, Rmische Kinder in toga praetexta, Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archo-
logischen Instituts 100 (1985): 497541; C. Brian Rose, Princes and Barbarians on the
Ara Pacis, American Journal of Archaeology 94 (1990): 45367.
13. The next major imperial monument to feature children is the Arch of Trajan at Bene-
ventum, discussed in chapter 9.
14. Paul Zanker, The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus, trans. Alan Shapiro (Ann Ar-
bor, 1988), 15659.
15. Ryberg, Rites of the State Religion, 42, 47; Jas Elsner, Cult and Sculpture: Sacrice in
the Ara Pacis Augustae, Journal of Roman Studies 81 (1991): 5061.
16. Castriota, Ara Pacis Augustae, 12; Kellum, What We See, 2829.
17. Kellum, What We See, 2932.
18. Castriota, Ara Pacis Augustae, passim.
19. Giles Sauron, Le message symbolique des rinceaux de lAra Pacis Augustae, Comptes
rendus des sances de lAcadmie des inscriptions et belles-lettres (1982): 81101.
NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 9 2 8

20. John E. Stambaugh, The Functions of Roman Temples, in Aufstieg und Niedergang der
rmischen Welt, II, 16, pt. 1, ed. Wolfgang Haase (Berlin, 1978): 58587; Timothy P. Wise-
man, A Stroll on the Ramparts, in Horti romani, Atti del Convegno Internazionale,
Rome, 46 May 1995, ed. Maddalena Cima and Eugenio La Rocca (Rome, 1998), 1322;
Ann Kuttner, Looking Outside Inside: Ancient Roman Garden Rooms, Studies in the
History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes 19 (1999): 2830.
21. Kellum, What We See, 3237, notes 3979, provides many ancient textual sources
reecting elite understanding and interpretation of this lore.
22. Tim G. Parkin, Demography and Roman Society (Baltimore, 1992), 5; Julius Beloch, Die
Bevlkerung der griechisch-rmischen Welt (Leipzig, 1886), 392412, estimates 800,000
inhabitants, including slaves and peregrini, in the year 5 b.c., and considers that num-
ber stable through the rst three centuries; but see F. G. Maier, Rmische Bevlkerungs-
geschichte und Inschriftenstatistik, Historia 2 (1953): 31851, James E. Packer, Hous-
ing and Population in Imperial Ostia and Rome, Journal of Roman Studies 67 (1967):
8095, and Moses I. Finley, review of Pierre Salmon, Population et dpopulation dans
lEmpire romain (Brussels, 1974), in Population Studies 28 (1974): 545.
23. James E. Packer, The Forum of Trajan in Rome: A Study of the Monuments, 3 vols. (Berke-
ley, 1997).
24. Pausanias 5.12.6, 10.5.11; Dio Cassius 68.16.3; Ammianus Marcellinus 16.10.1516; Cas-
siodorus, Variae 7.6; Venantius Fortunatus, Poems 3.23.
25. For the earlier reconstructed views, see Packer, Forum of Trajan. The Getty Museum in
Los Angeles created the rst of the three-dimensional computer models of the Forum
of Trajan as part of its inaugural show (199799). Seen at the museum in a video, this
model, framed by some of the major architectural fragments from the Forum, indicated
to visitors the original positions of the exhibited fragments. Dean Abernathy and Lisa
Snyder, under the direction of professors Bill Jepson and Diane Favro of the University
of California at Los Angeles, realized this model. Kevin Sarring and James Packer served
as consultants. Stills and abridged virtual-reality tours from this model may currently
be seen at the Getty Museums ArtsEdNet web site: http://www.getty.edu/artsednet/
Exhibitions/Trajan/index.html. Stills from the second model, by John Burge and James
Packer, appear in The Forum of Trajan in Rome: A Study of the Monuments in Brief, by
James Packer (Berkeley, 2000), 202, g. 156; 20411, gs. 15665; 21314, gs. 16768;
217, g. 171.
26. In what follows, I adhere to the traditional view, that the viewer entered the complex
from the south and progressed along its axis toward the north. Recently Roberto Mene-
ghini has proposed that a viewer encountered the Column rst as he or she came in
from a propylon (a kind of pronaos-cum-colonnade in place of the octostyle Temple of
the Divine Trajan) north of the Column: Roberto Meneghini, Templum Divi Traiani,
Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma 97 (1996): 4788; Roberto
Meneghini, Larchitettura del Foro di Traiano attraverso i ritrovamenti archeologici pi
recenti, Rmische Mitteilungen 105 (1998): 12748.
27. Excavations have proved that the triumphal arch that scholars have placed here, on the
basis of numismatic evidence, did not form the entrance to the forum. On the heroon,
see Silvana Rizzo, Fori Imperiali, Archeo 15, 12 (December, 1999): 45; James E. Packer

NOT E S T O P AGE S 2 8 3 1
(personal communication, July 2000), believes, unlike Rizzo, that the heroon took the
form of the triumphal arch.
28. This gure does not include the Temple of Divine Trajan and its precinct: Packer, Forum
of Trajan, Portfolio, folio 24.
29. Ultimissime giugno 1999: LEquus Traiani, Roma Archeologica (June 1999), unpagi-
nated; Rizzo, Fori Imperiali, 4345.
30. Packer, Forum of Trajan 1:471, concludes that the Roman foot in the Forum of Trajan
equalled 0.2938 m. The height of the Column alone, including its capital and base, is
29.777 m, 100 Roman feet. The Roman foot, at 11.65 in., is slightly shorter than the En-
glish foot.
31. Packer, Forum of Trajan, Portfolio, folios 24 and 25.
32. Penelope J. E. Davies, The Politics of Perpetuation: Trajans Column and the Art of Com-
memoration, American Journal of Archaeology 101 (1997): 4165.
33. Mary Beard, John North, and Simon Price, Religions of Rome, vol. 1, A History (Cam-
bridge, 1998), 18081.
34. Packer,Forum of Trajan 1:283, lists the following statues of Trajan: in the six chariot groups
on the three triumphal arches; on the eight pedestals along the entry stair to the Basil-
ica; in the recesses in the East and West Hemicycles; in the tribunals in the apses of the
Basilica Ulpia; on top of the Column, ca. 4 meters (13
feet) high; on the pediment of
the Temple, and in its interior.
35. Packer, Forum of Trajan, 1:99.
36. Packer, Forum of Trajan, 1:220.
37. Packer, Forum of Trajan, 1:42627.
38. The Column becomes a kind of trophaeum, the scarecrow-like post decorated with cap-
tured enemy arms. In this way the benefactions of Trajanand Trajan himself at the
topgrow out of this trophy. I thank Anthony Corbeill for this observation.
39. Aulus Gellius 1.15.13 records these inscriptions.
40. Giuseppe Lugli, Fontes ad topographiam urbis Romae pertinentes, vol. 6, part 1 (Rome,
1965), 85, no. 354: [/c]oh. X[] / urb(ana); no. 355 (a): Leg(io) X [];
no. 355 (b): [Leg(io)] XI Cl[audia]; no. 355 (c): [] Valer(ia) Vict(rix); leg XV [Apol
(linaris)]; no. 356: [Le]g(io) II August(a); no. 357 Coh(ors) / Roman[a] /Palatina;
no. 358: [Coh(ors) Ro]mana Palatina.
41. Lino Rossi, Trajans Column and the Dacian Wars (London, 1971), 98120, attempts,
though not entirely successfully, to identify the names of legions and cohorts from analy-
sis of the devices on shields and standards represented on the column.
42. Giovanni Agosti and Vincenzo Farinella, La fortuna della Colonna, in La Colonna Tra-
iana, ed. Salvatore Settis, Adriano La Regina, Giovanni Agosti, and Vincenzo Farinella
(Turin, 1988), 54797.
43. Dio Cassius, Historia Romana 6.115.1. For a translation combining both Excerpta and
Epitome, see Julian Bennett, Trajan Optimus Princeps: A Life and Times (Bloomington,
Ind., 1997), 21418.
44. Lehmann, Die Trajanssule.
45. Franz Wickho, Roman Art: Some of Its Principles and the Application to Early Christian
Painting, trans. and ed. A. Strong (New York, 1900), proposed that the continuous style
NOT E S T O P AGE S 3 1 3 4

was an invention of Roman art. Lehmanns discovery of the stock scenes disproved
Wickhos thesis.
46. Scene XCIX, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pl. 179.
47. Scene LXXV, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pls. 12731.
48. Scenes XCLIICXLIV, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pls. 26466.
49. Scene CXLV, Settis, Colonna Traiana, 268. The artist enlarges and isolates the gure of
Decebalus committing suicide, presumably to make it more visible.
50. Scene CXLVII, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pl. 272.
51. Kurt Weitzmann, Illustrations in Roll and Codex (Princeton, 1947), 2324, 32.
52. Scene LXXVIII, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pl. 137.
53. The most recent drawing, in Packer, Forum of Trajan, 2: pl. 56.1, gives 5.37 m or 17
54. Settis, Colonna Traiana, 45.
55. Packer, Forum of Trajan, 1:27576, notes that the upper part of the Column was only
visible from the north terrace of the Basilica.
56. Peter J. Holliday, Roman Triumphal Painting: Its Function, Development, and Recep-
tion, Art Bulletin 79 (1997): 13047.
57. Werner Gauer, Untersuchungen zur Traianssule, vol. 1, Darstellungsprogramm und knst-
lerischer Entwurf (Berlin, 1977), 7678.
58. Lehmann, Trajanssule, 14546; Wegner, Marcussule, 103; Gauer, Traianssule 1:910;
4548; Vincenzo Farinella, La colonna Traiana: Un esempio di lettura verticale,
Prospettiva 26 (July 1981): 29; Richard Brilliant, Visual Narratives: Storytelling in Etruscan
and Roman Art (Ithaca, N.Y., 1984), 90116; Settis, Colonna Traiana, 21219.
59. Davies, Trajans Column, 4547, g. 6.
60. Brilliant, Visual Narratives, 116: The imagistic code relies on the tableau as the princi-
pal form of immediate visual communication, creating a series of shifting visiones that
convey the illusion of historical continuity and satisfy the need for proof without losing
sight of Trajan as the dramatis persona.
61. Settis, Colonna Traiana, 86255.
62. Burkhard Fehr, Das Militr als Leitbild: Politische Funktion und gruppenspezische
Wahrnehmung des Traiansforums und der Traianssule, Hephaistos 7/8 (198586):
63. I thank Gina Tarver, who suggested this approach in her unpublished paper, Barbar-
ians in the Forum: Images of the Other in the Forum of Trajan, written in my gradu-
ate seminar, Narrative Structures in Roman Art, at the University of Texas, 1998.
64. Suetonius, Domitian 6.1316.
65. For example, the heroic Dacian in scene CXV, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pl. 216, who ghts
with both arms raised, standing on a heap of his dead countrymen.
66. Scene CXXCXXI, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pls. 22730, where the Dacians drink poi-
son from a big bowl; in scene CXL (Settis, Colonna Traiana, pl. 258), other Dacians choose
suicide by the sword.
67. Bennett, Trajan Optimus Princeps, 101.
68. Keith Hopkins, Conquerors and Slaves (Cambridge, 1978), 126; Joshel, Work, Identity and
Legal Status, 3235, argues that we need to be careful about this general assumption.

NOT E S T O P AGE S 3 4 3 8
69. Technically slaves freed by Romans were citizens. Their children were citizens regard-
less of geography. The most useful characterization of the Roman libertinus from writ-
ten sources is that of Joshel, Work, Identity, and Legal Status. For visual representation,
see Zanker, Grabreliefs rmischer Freigelassener, 267315; Petersen, Questioning
Roman Freedman Art; Laird, The Augustales and the Reception of Roman Imperial
70. Anna Maria Liberati, Lorganizzazione dellesercito romano nei rilievi della colonna Tra-
iana, in Traiano: ai conni dellimpero, exh. cat., Ancona, October 19, 1998January 17,
1999, ed. Grigore Arbore Popescu (Milan, 1998), 115.
71. I. A. Richmond, Trajans Army on Trajans Column. Papers of the British School at Rome
13 (1935): 1718; Rossi, Trajans Column, 96.
72. On their retirement, auxiliary soldiers received Roman citizenship as their reward; there
were two records, one in Rome and a copya bronze diploma given to the soldier and
recording the privileges issued: see Brian Campbell, The Roman Army, 31 b.c.a.d. 337:
A Sourcebook (New York, 1994), 19394.
73. On armor, arms, and heavy weapons such as the ballista, onager, and battering ram, see
Rossi, Trajans Column, 8485, and passim.
74. Scene XXIV, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pls. 2930; XXXVIIXXXVIII, Settis, Colonna Tra-
iana, pls. 5253; LXX, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pls. 11415.
75. Their commander Lusius Quietus confers with Trajan as they ride into victorious bat-
tle: scenes LXIIILXIV, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pls. 9698.
76. Richmond, Trajans Army, 16; scene LXVI, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pl. 105; CVIIICIX,
Settis, Colonna Traiana, pls. 200201.
77. Scene LXVI, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pl. 105.
78. Scene XXIV, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pl. 28; LXXII, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pls. 11920.
79. Settis, Colonna Traiana, 4956.
80. I wish to thank James E. Packer for this observation.
81. Robert F. Renz, The Legal Position of the Soldier and Veteran in the Roman Empire
(Ph.D. diss., Fordham University, 1972), 196: Even with these restrictions military ser-
vice for the non-citizen provided a sure means of obtaining the benets of citizenship
for himself and several members of his family.
82. Rossi, Trajans Column, 9496.
83. This is Packers view, Forum of Trajan, 1:5, 8, g. 130, based on the early third-century
marble map of Rome, the Forma Urbis, Gianlippo Carretoni, ed., Forma Urbis Romae:
La pianta marmorea di Roma antica (Rome, 1960), 1:8990, cat. no. 29; 2: pl. 28. The
ancient written sources are scant, late, and unreliable: Historia Augusta Commodus 2.1;
Sidonius Apollinaris Carmina 2 (To Anthemius) 55445. For other characterizations and
locations of the Atrium Libertatis, see J. C. Anderson, Jr., The Historical Topography of the
Imperial Fora, Collection Latomus 82 (Brussels, 1984), 162166, 177; Filippo Coarelli,
in Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae, ed. Eva Margareta Steinby (Rome, 1993),
1:13335, with bibl. 135; Nicholas Purcell, Atrium Libertatis, Papers of the British School
at Rome 61 (1993): 125155.
84. J. B. (Brian) Campbell, The Emperor and the Roman Army (Oxford, 1984), 18384; Rossi,
Trajans Column, 15456, Auxiliary soldiers are bowing before the emperor while they
NOT E S T O P AGE S 3 8 3 9

receive from his own hands their gifts (and, implicitly, the Roman citizenship); they then
embrace and greet one another with joy.
85. Scenes CLIICLIV, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pls. 28285.
86. Scene LXXXVI, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pls. 15254; see also the view of Drobeta, Scene
XCIXC, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pls. 18082, which also boasts an amphitheater.
87. Scenes LXXXIXXCI, Settis, Colonna Traiana, pls. 16063.
88. Introduction at n. 11.
89. Bennett, Trajan Optimus Princeps, 56: By the time of Hadrian the distinction between
the honestiores . . . and the humiliores . . . had been legally recognized, and it had be-
come common to apply one class of penalties to the one group and more extreme sanc-
tions against the other.
90. Gza Alfldy, The Social History of Rome (3rd ed., London 1985), 108.
91. Fehr, Militr als Leitbild, 53; for high-level slave professions, see Hopkins, Conquerors
and Slaves, 52.
1. Wegner, Marcussule, 61174, oers the fullest treatment of the formal and compo-
sitional innovations of the Column of Marcus Aurelius; see also Becatti, Colonna coclide
istoriata, 7982.
2. Mary Beard, The Spectator and the Column: Reading and Writing the Language of Ges-
ture (forthcoming). I thank Professor Beard for sharing this thoughtful essay with me.
3. Giuseppe Gatti, La Columna Divi Marci nelle sue caratteristiche architettoniche e nel
suo ambiente, in C. Caprino et al., La Colonna di Marco Aurelio (Rome, 1955), 2228,
gs. 4 and 5. See also Guglielmo Calderinis reconstruction, in Eugen Petersen, Alfred
von Domazewski, and Guglielmo Calderini, Die Marcus-Sule auf piazza Colonna in Rom
(Munich, 1896), 3538, pl. 2.
4. A. M. Colini and Carlo Pietrangeli, Piazza Colonna, exh. cat. (Rome, 1955), 56; A. M. Co-
lini, Vicende della colonna dallantichit ai nostri giorni, in C. Caprino et al., La Colonna
di Marco Aurelio (Rome, 1955), 3142.
5. Caprini et al., Colonna di Marco Aurelio, 42, frontispiece, and pl. 2, g. 3.
6. John Spike, ed., The Illustrated Bartsch, vol. 30, Italian Masters of the Sixteenth Century:
Enea Vico (New York, 1985), Enea Vico, no. 418-I; later impressions (no. 418-II) are in-
scribed La Colonna Antoniniana and bear the legend Ioannes Orlandi excudit Giovanni
Orlandi printed (this). Orlandi was an engraver and dealer active in Rome 15851638;
see G. K. Napler, Die Monogrammisten (1919, Niewkoop, 1966), 3:16, no. 50. There is
a reversed copy engraved by an anonymous artist (no. 418-Copy), with the obelisk at
left; this engraving shows the reliefs of base and column as they were, with the spirals
ascending to the viewers right. Heinrich Fuhrmann, Ein Fragment des verlorenen
Reliefs am Sockel der Marcussule, Rmische Mitteilungen 52 (1937): 26165, con-
vincingly argues that a fragmentary relief of a suppliant barbarian came from the base
7. John Morris, The Dating of the Column of Marcus Aurelius, Journal of the Warburg and

NOT E S T O P AGE S 3 9 4 5
Courtauld Institutes 15 (1952): 3347, argues for Commoduss presence in the helical frieze;
Becatti, Colonna coclide istoriata, 4851, n. 95, convincingly refutes Morriss arguments.
8. Becatti, Colonna coclide istoriata, 4853.
9. For a review of the evidence and a convincing argument that Commodus commissioned
the Column, see Davies, Death and the Emperor, 4648.
10. For an exhaustive treatment of the documents and controversies surrounding the dat-
ing of the column, and whether it represents both German campaigns, see Hartmut
Wol, Welchen Zeitraum stellt der Bilderfries der Marcus-Sule dar? Ostbairische
Grenzmarken. Passauer Jahrbuch fr Geschichte, Kunst und Volkskunde 32 (1990): 929.
11. Paul Zanker, Das Trajansforum in Rom, Archologischer Anzeiger 85 (1970): 53037, pro-
vides convincing arguments in favor of Trajans planning to be buried in the column,
followed most recently by Davies, Death and the Emperor, 2934, who also provides a
review of recent literature and controversies.
12. V. Jolivet, Les cendres dAuguste. Note sur la topographie monumentale du Champ de
Mars septentrionale, Archeologia Laziale 9 (1988): 9096; Davies, Death and the Em-
peror, 16571.
13. Petersen, Marcus-Sule, scenes LXXXII and XCIV.
14. Lehmann, Trajanssule, 40, distinguishes between eleven scenes of building that exclude
other activities and eight scenes where building activities take place in the background.
15. Petersen, Marcus-Sule, scene XI.
16. Petersen, Marcus-Sule, scene XVI.
17. W. Eugene Kleinbauer, ed., Modern Perspectives in Western Art History (New York, 1971),
18. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, ed. A. S. L. Farquharson, with English trans. and com-
mentary (2 vols, Oxford, 1952).
19. Sonia Maei, La felicitas imperatoris e il dominio sugli elementi, Studi Classici e Ori-
entali (1990): 32967.
20. Anthony R. Birley, Septimius Severus: The African Emperor (rev. ed., New Haven, 1989),
11720; Sheldon A. Nodelman, Severan Imperial Portraiture, 193217 (Ph.D. diss.,
Yale University, 1965), 6668.
21. Richard Brilliant, Arcus: Septimius Severus (Forum), in Lexicon Topographicum Urbis
Romae, ed. Eva Margereta Steinby (Rome, 1988), 1:1035.
22. Mark Wilson Jones, Genesis and Mimesis: The Design of the Arch of Constantine in
Rome, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 59 (March 2000): 6570, for
the formal and conceptual relationships between the two arches; see also Sandro De
Maria, Gli archi onorari di Roma e dellItalia romana (Rome, 1988), 18085, for the Arch
of Septimius Severus; 197203 for the destroyed arcus novus of Diocletian, also a model
for the Arch of Constantine.
23. Earlier imperial monuments, including the two decursiones reliefs on the base of the
Column of Antoninus Pius and many of the gures on the Column of Marcus Aure-
lius, anticipated some aspects of the Late Antique gural style. See Wegner, Mar-
cussule, passim; Lisa Vogel, The Column of Antoninus Pius (Cambridge, Mass., 1973).
24. Per Gustav Hamberg, Studies in Roman Imperial Art (Uppsala, 1945), 14549; Richard
Brilliant, The Arch of Septimius Severus in the Roman Forum, Memoirs of the American
NOT E S T O P AGE S 4 5 5 4

Academy in Rome 29 (Rome, 1967), 41, 24450; John R. Clarke, Roman Black-and-white
Figural Mosaics (New York, 1979), 95.
25. Recent scholarship has emphasized that despite the quick turnover of emperors, there
is no good evidence that the third-century empire as a whole was a world in crisis.
See especially Christian Witschel, Krise-Rezession-Stagnation? Der Westen des rmischen
Reiches im 3. Jarhundert n. Chr. (Frankfurt, 1999), who demonstrates that the cities, the
rural economy, and the defense of the frontier stayed intact during the third century,
despite the crises in leadership.
26. Cameron, Later Roman Empire, 89, 3132, 4142, 4546; H. P. LOrange, Art Forms
and Civic Life in the Late Roman Empire (Princeton, 1965), 3768.
27. Tenney Frank, An Economic Survey of Ancient Rome (Baltimore, 1940), appendix, with
translation of the Edictum Diocletiani de pretiis rerum venalium by Elsa Rose Graser,
5: 33839.
28. Cameron, Later Roman Empire, 3638, 4546.
29. LOrange, Art Forms and Civic Life, 2627, 1014.
30. Mats Cullhed, Conservator Urbis Suae: Studies in the Politics and Propaganda of the Em-
peror Maxentius (Stockholm, 1994).
31. For an overview of the meanings of the spoliated sculpture and of the inscriptions in
relation to Constantines aims, see De Maria, Archi onorari, 20311; Wilson Jones, Gen-
esis and Mimesis, 6972; see also Niels Hannestad, Roman Art and Imperial Policy
(Arhus, 1986), 31826; Alessandra Capodiferro, Arcus Constantini, in Lexicon Topo-
graphicum Urbis Romae, ed. Steinby, 1: 8691.
32. Maria Letizia Conforto, Alessandra Melucco Vaccaro, Pietro Cicerchia, Giuliana Calcani,
Angela Maria Ferroni, eds., Adriano e Costantino: Le due fasi dellArco nella Valle dell Colosseo
(Milan, 2001), propose that the Arch of Constantine is a rebuilt and remodeled version
of an arch commissioned and built by Hadrian on the same site, a hypothesis proposed
more than once in the past. In my opinion Wilson Jones, Genesis and Mimesis, 5057,
convincingly refutes this hypothesis, as do Patrizio Pensabene and Clementina Panella,
eds., Arco di Costantino tra archeologia e archeometria (Rome, 1999).
33. Philip Peirce, The Arch of Constantine: Propaganda and Ideology in Late Roman Art,
Art History 12 (December 1989): 387418, proposes that the recut heads of Constan-
tines companion represented his father, Constantius Chlorus.
34. Wilson Jones, Genesis and Mimesis, 6972, with bibl. on spolia nn. 9698.
35. Sandra E. Knudsen, Spolia: The So-called Historical Frieze on the Arch of Constan-
tine, American Journal of Archaeology 93 (1989): 31314, proposes that even the small
frieze was appropriated from an earlier monument of Maxentius.
36. Bernard Berenson, The Arch of Constantine or the Decline of Form (New York, 1954);
Bianchi Bandinelli, Late Empire, 76: What we have is not decadence or incapacity (as
critics have alleged), but a new beginning. For a review of the recent literature, see Peirce,
Arch of Constantine, 387418.
37. Dale Kinney, Rape or Restitution of the Past? Interpreting Spolia, in The Art of Inter-
preting, ed. Susan C. Scott (University Park, Pa., 1995), 5368.
38. I wish to thank Jane McFadden for suggesting this line of inquiry in her unpublished

NOT E S T O P AGE S 5 5 5 7
seminar paper, The Reception of Form: Reconsidering the Context of the Arch of Con-
stantine, May 1998.
39. Wilson Jones, Genesis and Mimesis, 69.
40. Simon Price, Rituals and Power: The Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor (Cambridge,
1984), 14243.
41. H. P. LOrange, Ein tetrarchisches Ehrendenkmal auf dem Forum Romanum, Rmi-
sche Mitteilungen 53 (1938): 134; Henning Wrede, Der Genius Populi Romani und das
Fnfsulendenkmal der Tetrarchen auf dem Forum Romanum, Bonner Jahrbcher des
Rheinischen Landesmuseums in Bonn und des Vereins von Altertumsfreunden im Rheinlande
181 (1981): 12142.
42. Cairoli F. Giuliani and Patrizia Verduchi, Larea centrale del Foro Romano (Florence, 1987),
16163, gs. 23233; 18187; Franz Alto Bauer, Stadt, Platz und Denkmal in der Sptan-
tike: Untersuchungen zur Ausstattung des entlichen Raums in den sptantiken Stdten
Rom, Konstantinopel und Ephesos (Mainz, 1996), 1018; Michael L. Thomas, Constructing
Dynastic Legitimacy: Imperial Building Programs in the Forum Romanum from Au-
gustus to Diocletian (Ph.D. diss., University of Texas at Austin, 2001).
43. For the interpretation of the Constantinian frieze, I follow Armin von Gerkan and Hans
Peter LOrange, Der sptantike Bildschmuck des Konstantinsbogens (Berlin, 1939).
44. Bianchi Bandinelli, Late Empire, 73.
45. Kleiner, Roman Sculpture, 45052.
46. Heinz Khler, Constantin 313, Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archologischen Instituts 67 (1952):
47. LOrange, Art Forms and Civic Life, 99, n. 15.
48. LOrange, Art Forms and Civic Life, 1024, 12425; H. P. LOrange, Apotheosis in Ancient
Portraiture (Oslo, 1947), 11617.
49. For the textual evidence, see Peter Brown, Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity (Madi-
son, Wis., 1992).
50. Richard Brilliant, Gesture and Rank in Roman Art, Memoirs of the Connecticut Acad-
emy of Arts and Sciences 14 (New Haven, 1963), 172, n. 28.
51. Sabine G. MacCormack, Art and Ceremony in Late Antiquity (Berkeley, 1981), 177204.
52. Wulf Raeck, Modernisierte Mythen: Zum Umgang der Sptantike mit klassischen Bildthe-
men (Stuttgart, 1992), 1523.
53. imp caes constantino maximo
p f augusto s p q r
quod instinctu divinitatis mentis
magnitudine cum exercitu suo
tam de tyranno quam de omni eius
factione uno tempore iustis
rempublicam ultus est armis
arcum triumphis insignem dicavit.
54. Jones, Genesis and Mimesis, 72, an interpretation rst put forward by Jos Ruysschaert,
Essai dinterprtation synthtique de larc de Constantin, Atti della Ponticia Accade-
mia Romana di Archeologia, Rendiconti 35 (196263): 79100.
NOT E S T O P AGE S 5 8 6 7

1. Ettore De Ruggiero, Dizionario epigraco di antichit romana (Rome, 1924) 3: 94959,
s.v. honores.
2. For a useful survey of imperial representation, see Ryberg, Rites of the State Religion.
3. Attilio Mastrocinque, Laren, in Der neue Pauly Enzyklopdie der Antike 6 (Stuttgart,
1999), 114750 with up-to-date bibl.
4. Thomas Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder in den Vesuvstdten: Untersuchungen zur
volkstmlichen pompejanischen Malerei, Rmische Mitteilungen, supplement 32 (Mainz,
1991), 16769.
5. Although the origins of the Penates are unknown, they were probably the guardian spir-
its of the household storeroom. At Pompeii and Herculaneum, the term includes all
deities worshipped in the home. David G. Orr, Roman Domestic Religion: A Study of
the Roman Household Deities and Their Shrines at Pompeii and Herculaneum (Ph.D.
diss., University of Maryland, 1973), 3444.
6. George K. Boyce, Corpus of the Lararia of Pompeii, Memoirs of the American Academy
in Rome 14 (Rome, 1937); Orr, A Study of the Roman Household Deities, passim;
David G. Orr, Roman Domestic Religion: the Evidence of the Household Shrines, Auf-
stieg und Niedergang der rmischen Welt, pt. 2, vol. 16, 2, ed. Wolfgang Haase (Berlin 1978):
155791; Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder.
7. Onelia Bardelli Mondini, I 13, 2: Casa di Sutoria Primigenia, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici 2
(Rome, 1990), 86080, with bibl., 861; Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 261, L 29.
8. Excavators found a similar representation in the kitchen of the House of Sulpicius Ru-
fus (IX, 9, c): August Mau, Rmische Mitteilungen (1889): 11617; Notizie degli Scavi
(1889): 12930; Boyce, Corpus of the Lararia, 468; Irene Bragantini, Mariette de Vos,
and Franca Parise Badoni, Pitture e Pavimenti di Pompei, Repertorio delle fotograe del
Gabinetto Fotograco Nazionale. Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione,
part 3 (Rome, 1986), 542, where the kitchen is lettered k.
9. Arnold de Vos, I 14, 7: Casa del Larario del Sarno, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici 2 (Rome,
1990), 938; isolated examples include the houses at I, 12, 7; I, 13, 2; I, 13, 7; I, 14, 3 and
the House of the Sarno Lararium (I, 14, 7); Arnold and Mariette de Vos, Pompei Ercolano
Stabia (Bari, 1982), 33234.
10. Mariette de Vos, La bottega di pittori in via di Castricio, in Pompei 17481980: I tempi
della documentazione, exh. cat., JulyOctober 1981 (Rome, 1981): 11930.
11. Pompeii: Houses VI, 8, 22; VI, 8, 23; VI, 14, 43; VII, 4, 56; Herculaneum: House of Nep-
tune and Amphitrite.
12. Strabo 5.4.8.
13. Mau, Pompeii, 1011, identied the harbor with a group of buildings found about a third
of a mile from the Stabian Gate; but see also Hans Eschebach, Die stdtebauliche Entwicklung
des antiken Pompeji, Rmische Mitteilungen, supplement 17 (Heidelberg, 1970), 910, g.
2; and most recently Paolo Sommella, Urbanistica pompeiana, in Neapolis, vol. 2, Temi
progettuali, ed. Ministero per i beni culturali e ambientali (Rome, 1994), 163218.
14. Columella, De re rustica 12.10.1, refers to the Pompeian onion, or the caepa pompeiana;

NOT E S T O P AGE S 7 5 8 0
Amedeo Maiuri, Navalia pompeiana: Il ume Sarno e un nuovo larario pompeiano,
Rendiconti della Accademia di archeologia, lettere e belle arti, Napoli, new series, 33 (1958):
12, pl. 2; Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 263, n. 29.
15. On the gardens west wall is a tiny niche-shrine painted directly on the wall, and pro-
tected by two roof tiles; a third roof tile, placed below the painting of a female gure re-
clining on a couch, forms a little platform, perhaps for oerings. Maiuri, Navalia pom-
peiana, 9, pl. 1.
16. C. Robert Phillips, Lares, Oxford Classical Dictionary (3rd ed., Oxford, 1996): 81516;
M. Hano, A lorigine du culte imprial: Les autels des Lares Augusti, in Aufstieg und
Niedergang der Rmischen Welt, II, 16, 3 (Berlin, 1986), 233381; Richard J. King,
Dancers in the Columbarium of Villa Doria-Pamphili, in I temi gurativi nella pittura
parietale antica (IV sec. a.C.IV sec. d.C.), Atti del VI Convegno Internazionale sulla Pit-
tura Parietale Antica, ed. Daniela Scagliarini Corlita (Bologna, 1997), 7780.
17. Capitoline Museum inv. 855. Erika Simon, in Wolfgang Helbig, Fhrer durch die
entlichen Sammlungen klassischer Altertmer in Rom, ed. Hermine Speier, 4th ed., vol.
2 (Munich, 1966), 51820, no. 1741; Giuseppina Pisani Sartorio, Compitum Vici
Aesc(u)leti, in Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae, ed. Steinby, 1:316; Silvio Panciera,
Ancora tra epigraa e topograa, in LUrbs: Espace urbain et histoire (I
sicle av. J.-C.
sicle ap. J.-C.), Collection de lcole Franaise de Rome, 98 (1987): 6273 (recon-
struction of three inscriptions pertaining to an architrave presumably from the aedic-
ula housing the altar); Giuseppina Pisani Sartorio, Compita Larum: edicole sacre di Roma
antica, in Edicole sacre romane (1990), 65 (reconstruction of the form of the aedicula).
18. Augustuss division of Rome into 14 regions and 265 vici began perhaps in 745 in the
Roman calendar, and was completed in 747 (= 8 b.c.). Dio Cassius, Historia Romana
55.8; Pliny, Naturalis Historia 3.66; Suetonius, Divus Augustus 30; L. Preller, Die Regio-
nen der Stadt Rom(Jena 1848), 83; Augusto Fraschetti, Regiones Quattuordecim(Storia),
in Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae, ed. Steinby, 3:19799.
19. Zanker, Power of Images, 12636.
20. On Augustus and the symbolism of laurel, see Marleen B. Flory, Octavian and the Omen
of the Gallina Alba, Classical Journal 84 (1989): 34356.
21. On the importance of the cult of the Lares and the honor of having two lictors: Asco-
nius, In Pisonem 4.8; Cassius Dio 55.8.7.
22. Giuseppe Gatti, Scoperte recentissime, Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Co-
munale di Roma 16 (1888): 329; Ryberg, Rites of the State Religion, 60.
23. On the style of this and other altars to Lares of the Augustan period, see Paul Zanker,
ber die Werksttten augusteischer Larenaltre und damit zusammenhngende Pro-
bleme der Interpretation, Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma
82 (197071): 14755.
24. Simon, Fhrer 2: 519, no. 1741 believes the leash is actually the knife used to kill the
25. In 27 b.c. the senate honored Augustus with the corona civica and the clipeus virtutis for
his virtus, clementia, iustitia, and pietas; they also gave him the right to hang laurel
branches over the door to his house and honored him with laurel trees anking his door-
way: Augustus, Res Gestae 34.
NOT E S T O P AGE S 8 1 8 4

26. Panciera, Ancora tra epigraa e topograa, 72.
27. There is some disagreement about the restoration of the two names on the front of the
altar; Christian Hlsen, in Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (hereafter CIL) 6:30957, sub-
stantially follows the excavator, Gatti, Scoperte recentissime, 328: [r]OSCIUS C M
/ MANIUS C [l. iu]STUS. Panciera, Ancora tra epigraa e topograa, 69, oers a
more conservative reading (which I corroborated through examination of the newly
cleaned monument in January, 2000): []+scius / [l(ibertus) vel f(ilius)]++ntus and
C.M[] / C. [l(ibertus) vel f(ilius)]+us. It is signicant for our purposes that all schol-
ars restore the names as liberti.
28. The four vicomagistri were Felix, Florus, Eudoxsus, and Polyclitus. They record their
names according to the usage for slaves of the Augustan period: the masters names,
in the genitive case, follow the slaves names. The year and date of the erection of the
altar is 18 September 2 b.c., under the consuls named on the monument: L. Caninius
Gallus and C. Fuus Geminus. No gures appear on the altar (H 0.68 W 0.45 m): in-
stead the corona civica (oak crown) appears on the front, the patera on the back, and lau-
rel branches substitute for the laurel-carrying Lares on the sides. On slaves as magistri
and ministri of the Genius of Augustus, see Yvon Thbert, The Slave, in The Romans,
ed. Andrea Giardina, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (Chicago, 1993), 163.
29. Gatti, Scoperte recentissime, 330.
30. Of Augustuss 265 vici only the names of about 100 are known: Joachim Marquardt,
Rmische Staatsverwaltung (2nd ed., Leipzig, 1885) 3:207, names 307 in the midrst
century a.d.; Fraschetti, Regiones Quattuordecim, 3:19799.
31. Discovered in 1827, bibl. in Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 32021; see also Irene
Bragantini, VI 7, 8.12: Bottega del Profumiere, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici 4 (Rome, 1993),
32. Reproduced in Bragantini, VI 7, 8.12, 392, g. 2.
33. Bragantini, VI 7, 8.12, 393, g. 3, provides an incorrect illustration of this lost paint-
ing. The watercolor, dated 1828, reproduces the full gure of Fortuna at an altar from
the facade of the nearby House of the Dioscuri (VI, 9, 67), reproduced in Frhlich,
Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 321, g. 9. Bragantini also reverses the positions of the im-
ages of Mercury and the attributes of Fortuna.
34. Enrico Giuglielmo Schultz, Rapporto intorno gli scavi pompeiani negli ultimi quattro
anni, Annali dellInstituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica 10 (1838): 16869.
35. Aline L. Abaecherli, Fercula, Carpenta, and Tensae in the Roman Procession, Bollet-
tino dellAssociazione Internazionale Studi Mediterranei 6 (193536): 128, for an overview;
several ferculum bearers in a procession on either side of a temple of Venus appear in
a frieze on the north wall of oecus 9 of the House of the Wedding of Hercules (VII, 9,
42): Valeria Sampaolo, VII 9, 47: Casa delle Nozze di Ercole, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici
7 (Rome, 1997), 37375, gs. 3235.
36. Eve DAmbra, Private Lives, Imperial Virtues: The Frieze of the Forum Transitorium(Prince-
ton, 1993).
37. Bianca Maria Felletti Maj, La tradizione italica nellarte romana, Archeologica 3 (Rome,
1977), 335.

NOT E S T O P AGE S 8 4 8 6
38. There is a close parallel in the two diminutive gures on a ferculum carried in the pro-
cession on the Pompeii Gladiators Relief, a stone slab that decorated an unidentied
tomb. Abaecherli, Fercula, Carpenta, and Tensae, 2, pl. 2, 1, believes that the proces-
sion represents a guild; Bianca Maiuri, Rilievo gladiatorio di Pompei, Rendiconti del-
lAccademia nazionale dei Lincei, Classe di scienze morali, storiche e lologiche, ser. 8, 2
(1947): 49798, proposes that they are smiths, and in fact they are seated at either side
of an anvil, with the gure at the right holding up a hammer; she also rightly points out
that the gures are part of the gladiatorial procession, the pompa; see also Ryberg, Rites
of the State Religion, 1013; Mario Torelli, Il monumento di Lusius Storax: Il frontone,
Studi Miscellanei 10 (196364), 74, n. 10, pls. 4041; Alan Pizer, The Pompeian Glad-
iatorial Relief at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples: A Sacricial Narra-
tive (M.A. thesis, University of Texas at Austin, 1995); Adriano La Regina, ed., Sangue
e Arena (exh. cat., Rome, Colosseum, June 22, 2001January 7, 2002; Milan, 2001), 359,
cat. no. 74, with bibl.; compare the pompa in the relief from Amiternum (Chieti, So-
printendenza Archeologica dellAbruzzo, inv. 4424a) where men carry statues of Jupiter
and Juno on fercula: La Regina, Sangue e Arena, 358, cat. no. 73.
39. Eric M. Moormann, La pittura parietale romana come fonte di conoscenza per la scultura
antica (Assen, 1988), 170, cat. 198e, interprets the gure on the ground as perhaps a
statue sculpted by Daedalus.
40. Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.23659; Iphigenia Levanti, Perdix, Lexicon Iconographicum
Mythologiae Classicae 7, 1 (Zurich, 1994): 31718.
41. This is the subject of the painting on the north wall of room p in the House of the Vet-
tii, discussed in John R. Clarke, The Houses of Roman Italy, 100 b.c.a.d. 250: Ritual,
Space, and Decoration (Berkeley, 1991), 22227, and of a painting from the House of the
Ancient Hunt (VII, 4, 48) now in the Naples Museum, inv. 8979: Penelope M. Allison,
VII 4, 48: Casa della Caccia antica, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici 7 (1997), 26, g. 31.
42. DAmbra, Forum Transitorium, 4759.
43. IX, 7, 1; bibl. in Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 63.
44. Reported by Giovanni De Petra, Pompei: Scavi di antichit, Notizie degli Scavi (1912),
110, g. 7; 138, g. 1; Vittorio Spinazzola, Pompei alla luce degli scavi nuovi di Via del-
lAbbonzanda (Rome, 1953) 1: 21342, gs. 144, 145, 241, 242.
45. Spinazzola, Pompei alla luce, 1: 21617.
46. Spinazzola, Pompei alla luce, 1: 229; de Vos and de Vos, Pompei Ercolano Stabia, 111.
47. Also seen in the dress of Persians in the painting in oecus g, west wall, west part, of the
House of Octavius Quartio. Spinazzola, Pompei alla luce 1: gs. 26263.
48. For a fragment of a relief from Capua with Cybeles ferculum bearers using canes, Spinaz-
zola, Pompei alla luce, 1: g. 261.
49. Spinazzola, Pompei alla luce, 1: 23435.
50. For the complex hierarchy of priests and priestesses in the cult of Cybele, see Henri
Graillot, Le culte de Cyble, mre des dieux Rome et dans lEmpire Romain, Bibliothque
des coles franaises dAthnes et de Rome, fasc. 107 (Paris, 1912), 22661; he provides
a long list of priestesses, 24849, n. 1, known from preserved inscriptions.
51. Spinazzola, Pompei alle luce, 1:235.
NOT E S T O P AGE S 8 6 9 1

52. Erika Simon, Kybele, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, supplement,
74446, esp. bibl., 746.
53. Plato Republic 3.399399c.
54. Livy 34.54; alternatively, following Livy 36.36, in 191 b.c.
55. Lucretius, On the Nature of Things 2.60028; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman An-
tiquities 2.19.35; Juvenal, Satires 6.51121.
56. Catullus 63; A. D. Nock, Essays on Religion and the Ancient World (Oxford, 1972) 1: 712;
Erika Simon, Menander in Centuripe, Sitzungsberichte der Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft
an der Johann Wolfgang GoetheUniversitt Frankfurt am Main 25, 2 (1989): 6061.
57. Beard, North, and Price, Religions of Rome 1:261, n. 49.
58. Tran Tam Tinh, Essai sur le culte dIsis Pompei: Images et cultes (Paris, 1962), passim;
Sharon K. Heyob, The Cult of Isis among Women in the Graeco-Roman World, tudes
prliminaires aux religions orientales dans lEmpire romain 51 (Leiden, 1975), 97102;
Michel Malaise, Les conditions de pntration et de diusion des cultes gyptiens en Italie.
tudes prliminaires aux religions orientales dans lEmpire romain 22 (Leiden, 1972);
Beard, North, and Price, Religions of Rome 1:298300.
59. See Ermanno A. Arslan, ed. Iside: Il mito, il mistero, la magia, exh. cat., Milan, Palazzo
Reale, FebruaryJune 1997 (Milan, 1997), esp. 290523, Diusione del culto isiaco in
60. Mau, Pompeii, 170; Petersen, Questioning Roman Freedman Art, chapter 4, Public
Identity: Rebuilding the Temple of Isis at Pompeii, 13377.
61. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Alla ricerca di Iside: analisi, studi e restauri del-
lIseo pompeiano nel Museo di Napoli (Rome, 1992), 45, cat. no. 1.21; Valeria Sampaolo,
Le pitture, in Le collezioni del Museo Nazionale di Napoli (Rome, 1986) 1:162, no. 278,
Naples inv. 8923.
62. Matteo Della Corte, Case ed abitanti di Pompei (3rd ed., Naples, 1965), nos. 567 and 573.
63. De Vos and de Vos, Pompei Ercolano Stabia, 110.
The epigraph is from a grato found at Pompeii in 1951, at II, 4, 10, to the left of doorway 10:
[ded]uxisti octies. Tibi superat ut (h)abeas sedecies. Coponium fecisti, cretaria fecisti, salsamentaria
fecisti, pistorium fecisti, agricola fuisti, aere minutaria fecisti, propola fuisti, laguncularia nunc facis.
Si cunnum linxseris, consummaris omnia. Della Corte, Case ed abitanti, 39597, no. 851 dm
(not published in CIL).
1. Gerhard Zimmer, Rmische Berufsdarstellungen (Berlin, 1982), 612; Gerhard Zimmer,
Rmische Handwerker, in Aufstieg und Niedergang der rmischen Welt, pt. 2, vol. 12,
no. 3 (Berlin, 1985), 217.
2. Arnaldo Momigliano, Patronus, Oxford Classical Dictionary (2nd ed., Oxford, 1970),
791, with bibl.
3. See especially Joshel, Work, Identity and Social Status, for a well-reasoned account of the
importance of work in the formation of slaves and freedmens identity.
4. Valeria Sampaolo, II 4, 3: Villa di Giulia Felix, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici 3 (Rome, 1991),

NOT E S T O P AGE S 9 2 9 6
248, g. 108; Christopher C. Parslow, Additional Documents Illustrating the Bourbon
Excavations of the Praedia Iuliae Felicis in Pompeii, Rivista di Studi Pompeiani 7
(199596): 11532.
5. In Praedis Iuliae Sp.f. Felicis/ locantur/ balneum venerium et nongentum, tabernae, per-
gulae,/ cenacula ex idibus Aug(ustis) in idus Aug(ustas) sextas, annos/ continuos quinque/
S(i) Quinquennium) D(ecurrerit) L(ocati) E(rit) N(udo) C(onsensu). (To let, for the
space of ve years, from the thirteenth day of next August to the thirteenth day of the
sixth August thereafter, the Venus bath, tted up for the best people, shops, rooms
over shops, and second story apartments in the property owned by Julia Felix, daugh-
ter of Spurius. With the expiration of the contract at the end of the ve-year period.)
Mau, Pompeii, 490, notes that the word nongentum means knights since the nine
hundred were what people called the knights colloquially; a bath for the nine hun-
dred would be designedas Julia Felixs wasto attract the patronage of the best
6. Moormann, Pittura parietale, 160, cat. no. 179/1; Sampaolo, Villa di Iulia Felix, gs.
115, 121, 122, 124 (equestrians), 122 (reading), 121 (magistrate), 114 (conversing), 124
(promenading), 120 (spanking).
7. Sampaolo, Villa di Iulia Felix, gs. 113, 116; quadrupeds abound in the so-called sacral-
idyllic friezes that begin to appear in wall painting of the mature Second Style, for ex-
ample in the yellow frieze in room 3 of the House of Livia: Giulio Emanuele Rizzo, Le
pitture della Casa di Livia, Monumenti della pittura antica scoperti in Italia, sec. 3, Roma,
fasc. 3 (Rome, 1936), pls. 510; Moormann, Pittura parietale, 232, cat. no. 317/2.
8. Sampaolo, Villa di Iulia Felix, gs. 115, 117, 118, 123.
9. Helen H. Tanzer, Common People of Pompeii: A Study of the Grati (Baltimore, 1939),
10. For this complete redecoration of her enormous property, Julia Felix employed the same
lackluster workshop of via Castricio that executed the Sarno lararium: de Vos, La bot-
tega di pittori, 126.
11. For an overview of the iconography, see Nolle Icard-Gianolio, Psyche, Lexicon Icono-
graphicum Mythologiae Classicae 7 (Zurich, 1994), esp. 57273.
12. Jean Andreau, Les Aaires de Monsieur Jucundus, Collection de lEcole Franaise de Rome
19 (Rome, 1974), 172, 205.
13. Steven E. Ostrow, Augustales along the Bay of Naples: A Case for Their Early Growth,
Historia 334 (1985): 64101.
14. Clarke, Houses of Roman Italy, 20835; more recently David Fredrick, Beyond the Atrium
to Ariadne: Erotic Painting and Visual Pleasure in the Roman House, Classical Antiq-
uity 14, 2 (1995): 26687.
15. Willem J. Th. Peters, La composizione delle pareti dipinte nella Casa dei Vetti a Pom-
pei, Mededeelingen van het Nederlands Instituut te Rome 39 (1977): 1025, 12123; de Vos
and de Vos, Pompei Ercolano Stabia, 170, propose that the central paintings had not yet
been executed at the time of the eruption.
16. For instance, to conclude from the frieze showing the making of wine that the Vettii
were winemakers: Mikhail Rostovtze, The Social and Economic History of the Roman
Empire, 2d ed. (Oxford, 1957), 92, followed by Robert Etienne, La vie quotidienne Pom-
NOT E S T O P AGE S 9 7 1 00

pi (Paris, 1962), 151; against this interpretation see Della Corte, Case ed abitanti, 70 n. 2,
and Andreau, Monsieur Jucundus, 229.
17. Antonio Sogliano, La Casa dei Vettii in Pompei, Monumenti antichi dellAccademia dei
Lincei 8 (1989): cols. 27071.
18. There is room for an additional but tiny predella panel under the image of Hermaph-
roditus discovered by Silenus on the west spur wall of the south entry; see Clarke, Houses
of Roman Italy, 213, g. 123 (where Silenus is incorrectly labeled Pan).
19. Spinazzola, Pompei alla luce 2:777.
20. Umberto Pappalardo, Die Villa Imperiale in Pompeji, Antike Kunst 16, 4 (1985): 4,
13, g. 4: psyches as sellers, cupids making perfume.
21. For Pompeii, see Karl Schefold, Die Wnde Pompejis (Berlin, 1957), 41, 50, 100, 14041,
14748, 161, 19394, 207, 234, 24850, 272, 284, 290; Herculaneum: Sampaolo, Le
pitture, 154, nos. 22429.
22. Clarke, Houses of Roman Italy, 20835.
23. Spinazzola, Pompei alla luce, 1: 189210; the images date to before a.d. 72, when the
earliest of the four men named in electoral slogans painted at the edges and on top of
the paintings, Vettius Firmus, was a candidate for aedile: see James L. Franklin, Jr., Pom-
peii: The Electoral Programmata, Campaigns and Politics, a.d. 7179, Papers and Mono-
graphs of the American Academy in Rome 28 (Rome, 1980), 68, chart 6.
24. There are only two shop signs that leave out the gods and are thus purely profane: the
painted bronze vessels of the taberna vasaria (IX, 11, 4) and the cloth handler of the dye-
works at VII, 2,11; see Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 64.
25. Pompey had elephants drawing his chariot in a triumph at Rome, with disastrous re-
sults: Plutarch Pompey 14.4.
26. de Vos and de Vos, Pompei Ercolano Stabia, 110.
27. For images of Mercury and temple on coins, see Wol, Marcus-Sule, 1415.
28. Spinazzola, Pompei alla luce 1:18994; Walter O. Moeller, The Wool Trade of Ancient Pom-
peii (Leiden, 1976), 15; J. P. Wild, Textile Manufacture in the Northern Roman Provinces
(Cambridge, 1970), 24.
29. Hugo Blmner, Technologie und Terminologie der Gewerbe und Knste bei Griechen und
Rmern (Leipzig 1875), 1: 21114; Zimmer, Rmische Berufsdarstellungen, 2728; Moeller,
Wool Trade, 27.
30. Pliny, Naturalis Historia 8.192, reports that adding vinegar to the sizing makes felt so
strong that it resists steel.
31. Similar boilers are found in nearby workshops, I, 12, 4, and IX, 3, 16; see Walter O.
Moeller, The Felt Shops of Pompeii, American Journal of Archaeology 75 (1971):
32. Spinazzola, Pompei alla luce 1:194, believes Verecundus is holding a horse blanket. Com-
pare the relief, now in the Uzi Gallery in Florence, of two men holding up a large
piece of cloth, probably a toga, for a seated customer: Felletti Maj, Tradizione italica, 322,
pl. 62, g. 153.
33. CIL 4:3130; Della Corte, Case ed abitanti, 15455, rejects the attribution of the house to
M. Gavius Rufus; see also Valeria Sampaolo, VII 2, 1617: Casa di M. Gavius Rufus,
Pompei: Pitture e mosaici 6 (Rome, 1996), 53085.

NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 00 1 09
34. CIL 4:9083.
35. Andreau, Monsieur Jucundus, 107, 284, 289 n. 3, 292, 323.
36. Moeller, Wool Trade, caption to pl. 10, incorrectly reads the legs and trestles of this table
as a drying rack; evidently he saw the fresco when the paint depicting the table surface
and the objects on it had disappeared.
37. Zimmer, Rmische Berufsdarstellungen, 130, cat. no. 45, proposes that the man is hold-
ing a shoe in his right hand.
38. Mau, Pompeii, 396; Andreau, Monsieur Jucundus, 23, 5456, 58, 60, 6264, 6970, 229,
28184, 29599.
39. The emperor Vespasian is famous for the installation of public urinals in Rome, and
the fact that he taxed urine (Suetonius, Vespasianus 23) suggests that fullers bought the
urine: Moeller, Wool Trade, 96.
40. Moeller, Wool Trade, 1827; Loredana DOrazio and Ezio Martuscelli, Il tessile a Pom-
pei: tecnologia, industria e commercio, in Homo Faber: Natura, scienza e tecnica nel-
lantica Pompei, ed. Annamaria Ciarallo and Ernesto De Carolis (exh. cat., Naples, Museo
Archeologico Nazionale, 27 March18 July 1999), 9294.
41. The excavator noted that the other piers were unnished, and like the Naples pier, rec-
tangular rather than square in section. These piers replaced the original, light colon-
nade, providing greater support for the drying terrace constructed where the peristyles
roof had been. Spinazzola found that the owner had transformed the peristyle of the
fullonica on the Street of Abundance (I, 6, 7) in the same way, using heavy piers to sup-
port the at roof of the drying terrace: Spinazzola, Pompei alla luce, 1:772, g. 757.
42. Naples, inv. 9774; Real Museo Borbonico (Naples, 182457) 4: pls. 4950; Wolfgang Hel-
big, Wandgemlde der vom Vesuv verschtteten Stdte Campaniens (Leipzig, 1868), no. 1502;
Otto Jahn, ber Darstellungen des Handwerks und Handelsverkehrs auf antiken
Wandgemlden, Abhandlungen der Deutschen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig
(1867), 305 ., pl. 4, 14; Blmner, Technologie 1:183 ., gs. 7073; Valeria Sampaolo,
VI 8, 20: Fullonica, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici 4 (Rome, 1993), 60410; further bibl. in
Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 23031 n. 1296.
43. William Gell, Pompeiana: Topography, Edices and Ornaments of Pompeii, The Result of
Excavations since 1819 (London, 1832) 1: pl. 50, facing 190.
44. The excavator replaced the pier taken to Naples with a modern one, still in situ. Sam-
paolo, VI, 8, 20, 605, locates the pier incorrectly at the southern corner of the east
side, and her plan omits the pier and fountain installation.
45. I wish to thank Chris Jones and Ian Sutherland for their help in measuring and ana-
lyzing this complex; see also Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 230, who follows
Pompeianarum Antiquitatum Historia, ed. Giuseppe Fiorelli (Naples, 1862) 2:138,
14448. The excavator describes the marble shell that received the water from the pipes
that ran along the little walls in his rst report (20 August 1825), Pompeianarum An-
tiquitatum Historia 2:138.
46. In his report of 23 February 1826, Pompeianarum Antiquitatum Historia 2:144, the ex-
cavator describes the area more fully, correcting several errors: un Fiume sedente con
anfora nella sinistra mano, dalla quale scorre copia di acqua, l una Venere in leggiadro
atto, il cui volto ora tutto cancellato. But the fullest description is that of Gell, Pom-
NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 09 1 1 4

peiana 2:12223: Plate L. represents a fountain, at an angle in the court of this edice,
dierent from those yet observed either in the streets or private houses. It is placed be-
tween two square piers, and consists in an elegantly shaped tazza, supported by a uted
pedestal like those commonly used for ancient circular tables, and is of white marble.
From the piers two projections are seen, painted red and ornamented with plants and
birds. These projections serve to conceal certain pipes which spouted water into the basin.
The gure upon the pilaster, too small to be clearly represented in this view, is of Venus.
On the other pilaster is a river god.
47. Eric M. Moormann, La pittura parietale romana come fonte di conoscenza per la scultura
antica (Assen/Maastricht, 1988) 173, no. 199, compares this image of Venus with one
in room h of House I, 3, 25, at Pompeii (Moormann, Pittura parietale, 14243, no. 146).
48. Boyce, Lararia of Pompeii, 49, no. 171; Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 23031.
49. Clarke, Houses of Roman Italy, 15758, n. 44.
50. Spinazzola, Pompei alla luce 1:773, g. 758.
51. Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 232.
52. Also represented in a grave relief in Forl: Zimmer, Rmische Berufsdarstellungen,
12829, no. 43.
53. Pompeianarum Antiquitatum Historia, 2:14647.
54. Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 234.
55. Grave relief from Forl: Zimmer, Rmische Berufsdarstellungen, 12829, cat. no. 43; grave
relief from Sens: Zimmer, Rmische Handwerker, 212, pl. 11, 2, bibl. 227; Pompeii,
House of the Vettii, oecus q, east wall, north part: Clarke, Houses of Roman Italy, 215,
g. 126.
56. The Fullonica Stephani (I, 6, 7) is directly across the street from the shop of Verecun-
dus; Spinazzola, Pompeii alla luce, 2:77778, g. 765.
57. Spinazzola, Pompei alla luce, 2:777; Blmner, Technologie, 1:177, g. 22. Frhlich, Lararien-
und Fassadenbilder, 323, raises the unlikely possibility that the woman is buying cloth
from the man.
58. Grave reliefs: Zimmer, Rmische Berufsdarstellungen, 12127, nos. 3541; Margot Baltzer,
Die Alltagsdarstellungen der treverischen Grabdenkmler, Trierer Zeitschrift fr
Geschichte und Kunst des Trierer Landes und seiner Nachbargebiete 46 (1983), 9496, nos.
117, gs. 3853.
59. Kampen, Image and Status, 13334.
60. Sampaolo, VI 8, 20, 610, g. 9, reproduces a drawing of this painting.
61. Helbig, Wandegemlde, no. 338.
62. Helbig, Wandegemlde, nos. 223, 1216.
63. Hermann G. Gummerus, Darstellungen aus dem Handwerk auf rmischen Grab- und
Votivsteinen in Italien, Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archologischen Instituts 28 (1913):
63126; Zimmer, Rmische Berufsdarstellungen, 146; Zimmer, Rmische Handwerker,
64. Natalie B. Kampen, Image and Status of Roman Working Women: Second and Third
Century Reliefs from Ostia (Ph.D. diss., Brown University, 1976); Kampen, Image and
65. Ravenna, National Museum, inv. 7, H 2.66, W 0.90, D 0.44 m. At some undetermined

NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 1 4 1 1 8
time, builders used it as a block in Ravennas city wall near the PortAurea, where ex-
cavators found it in 1588. In this reuse, the stele lost part of its tympanum, and the re-
lief on the left side and back; see Guido Mansuelli, Le stele romane del territorio raven-
nate e del basso Po (Ravenna, 1967), 12527, no. 12; Zimmer, Rmische Berufsdarstellungen,
14344, cat. no. 62.
66. Mansuelli, Stele romane, 103.
67. Zimmer, Rmische Handwerker, 216, n. 36, reads the image on the chest as a castle,
symbol of the wealth Longidienus attained through his work.
68. Here I disagree with Zimmer, Rmische Handwerker, 216, who characterizes the
scene as a common image of woodworking that is symbolic for the whole shipbuild-
ing process.
69. I thank Frank Fisher for pointing out nautical particulars of this relief.
70. P(ublius) Longidienus / P(ublii) f(ilius) / ad onus / properat; for the sense of properat see
Zimmer, Rmische Berufsdarstellungen, 143.
71. Hans Rupprecht Goette, Studien zu rmische Togadarstellungen (Mainz, 1990), 2627,
type Ab or type Ac.
72. P(ublius) Longidienus P(ublii) f(ilius) Cam(ilia tribu) / faber navalis se vivo constit / uit et
Longidienae P(ublii) l(ibertae) Stactini.
73. Kockel, Portrtreliefs stadtrmischer Grabbauten, 4950.
74. P(ublius) Longidienus P(ublii) l(ibertus) Ruo / P(ublius) Longidienus P(ublii) l(ibertus)
Piladespotus / inpensam patrono dederunt.
75. Kleiner, Roman Sculpture, 7880, bibl. 118.
76. Rome, Vatican Museums, Galleria Lapidaria, inv. 9277, H 1.33, W 1.00, D 0.90 m, ac-
quired from the Villa Negroni-Massimo in the nineteenth century. Front: inscription;
left side: scene of toolmaking, H 0.37 W 0.40 m; back side: guttus (pitcher) and pa-
tera, H 0.35 W 0.43 m; right side: sales scene, H 0.42 W 0.40 m; deep cylindrical
cutting in top for an ash urn. See Zimmer, Rmische Berufsdarstellungen, 18183, cat. no.
114, with bibl.
77. L(ucius) Cornelius / Atimetus / sibi et L(ucio) Cornelio / Epaphrae lib(erto) / benemerenti
/ ceterisq(ue) libertis / lib(ertabus) posterisque / eorum. (Lucius Cornelius Atimetus [ded-
icates this altar] to himself and to Lucius Cornelius Epaphra, his meritorious freedman,
and to the rest of his freedmen and freedwomen and to their descendants.)
78. Kampen, Image and Status, 9798.
79. There are numerous iconographical parallels to this scene, especially the fragment of a
stele from Aquileia, National Museum, inv. 166: Zimmer, Rmische Berufsdarstellungen,
18687, cat. no. 122; and Naples, National Museum, inv. 6575: Zimmer, Rmische Berufs-
darstellungen, 18586, cat. no. 121.
80. Zimmer, Rmische Berufsdarstellungen, 181; Spinazzola, Pompei alla luce, 1: gs. 22526,
incorrectly proposes that these are the instruments represented at the top of the pecti-
nariis combing columns in the painting from Verecunduss shop facade.
81. Zimmer, Rmische Berufsdarstellungen, 181.
82. Kampen, Image and Status, 100101; Kampen, Image and Status, 9798.
83. Discussed in Bianchi Bandinelli, Rome: Center of Power, 5268; Zanker, ber die Werk-
sttten augusteischer Larenaltre, 147155; Zimmer, Rmische Handwerker, 21617.
NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 1 8 1 2 3

84. Kampen, Image and Status, 5259, 139 cat. no. 3, Ostia Museum, inv. 134, from Ostia,
Regio III, in a building on the via della Foce, near the Serapeum, H 0.21 W 0.54 m.
85. Raissa Calza and Ernst Nash, Ostia (Rome, 1960), 74, pl. 103; Raissa Calza and Maria
Floriani Squarciapino, Museo Ostiense (Rome, 1962), 20, no. 8, inv. 134; Bianchi
Bandinelli, Rome: Center of Power, 6264, pl. 69; Kampen, Image and Status, 14044,
no. 2.
86. J.M.C. Toynbee, Animals in Roman Life and Art (London, 1973), 56; W. C. McDermott,
The Ape in Antiquity (Baltimore, 1938), 59 and 280.
87. Calza, Museo Ostiense, 20, makes a curious suggestion about the owners ethnicity. Cit-
ing Juvenal, but without giving the precise passage, she asserts that the antics of trained
monkeys were the preferred spectacle of audiences of oriental extraction; she then im-
plies that the shopowner was of oriental origin, citing as further evidence the fact that
the womans shop was near the temple of Serapis, an Egyptian deity. No passage in
Juvenal makes the connection between an oriental audience and monkey shows, and
the proximity of the relief s ndspot to the Serapeum is inconclusive. See Toynbee,
Animals, 5560, for all the pertinent citations regarding monkeys in ancient Roman
88. Kampen, Roman Working Women, 12529; Natalie B. Kampen, Rmische Straen-
hndlerinnen: Geschlecht und Sozialstatus, Antike Welt 16, 4 (1985): 2342.
89. Russell Meiggs, Roman Ostia (2nd ed., Oxford, 1973), 31136.
90. One of the collegias names reects this devotion: Mensores frumentarii Cereris Augustae
Grain measurers of the Augustan Ceres. See J. P. Waltzing, tude historique sur les cor-
porations professionnelles, vol. 2 (Louvain, 1896), 62; L. Paschetto, Ostia colonia romana,
storia e monumenti (Rome, 1912), 217; Daremberg-Saglio, Dictionnaire des antiquits grec-
ques et romaines (Paris, 18731919), s.v. mensor, 172627.
91. Giovanni Becatti, Scavi di Ostia, vol. 4, Mosaici e pavimenti marmorei (Rome, 1961), 36;
Clarke, Mosaics, 96.
92. Becatti, Mosaici, 34; another calculator appears in the painting from Ostia of the ship
Isis Geminiana, now in the Vatican: Bartolomeo Nogara, Le Nozze Aldobrandini e i pae-
saggi con scene dellOdissea e le altre pitture murali antiche conservate nella Biblioteca Vati-
cana e nei Musei Pontici (Milan, 1907), 7172, pl. 46.
93. Compare, for instance, the contemporary mosaic showing the sacrice of bulls in the
Augusteumof the Firemens Barracks at Ostia: Becatti, Mosaici, 6062; Clarke, Mosaics,
4445, gs. 55, 92. Further parallels to the sacrice may be seen in the worker with the
sack striding in from the left, like the assistant who brings in the animal to be slain at
the altar; the boy, who is like the camillus; and the man with the empty sack (next to the
head of the collegium), who is in the position of the tibicen.
94. Becatti, Mosaici, 35.
95. imo / statvam / lavrentio vp

/ [patro] no corpo mensorm

/ [o] b contem-
platione meritor

/ [univ] ersvm corpvs animis exvltantibvs / [dign] issimo

collocavit. (The whole collegium of the Grain Measurers with joyful hearts placed
this statue to Laurentius, most perfect man [and most meritorious] patronus of their
collegium, to honor his benefactions [lit., for the contemplation of his deserving deeds].)
Becatti, Mosaici, 35. The same collegium is mentioned in a fragmentary inscription on

NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 2 3 1 2 8
a marble plaque found in front of the Epagathiana Warehouse: decvrioni /
[cor]/ pvs mesorvm / [ fru] mentar ostiens / patrono et q

perpetvo /
ob plvrima eivs benec / in rem pvblic svam conlata. (The Ostian col-
legium of Grain Measurers [dedicates this monument] to the decurion, patronus and
lifetime quinquennalis, for his many benefactions to the city.) Becatti, Mosaici, 35.
96. Sarah C. Bisel, The Human Skeletons of Herculaneum, International Journal of An-
thropology 6 (1991): 120.
97. The canal that Trajan built from his harbor to the Tiber bypassed Ostia, and although
Ostia already possessed huge warehouses and residences, it was simply more ecient
to build more of the same at Portus. Ostias decline was slow, but its signs are already
evident in the abandonment or retting of residential buildings during the later third
century. In the fourth century, wealthy merchants were able to buy whole apartment
blocks and ret them into grand houses for themselves. See Giovanni Becatti, Case
ostiense del tarde impero, Bollettino dArte 33, 2 (1948): 10328, and Bollettino dArte 33,
3 (1948): 197224.
The epigraph is from Paul Zanker, Der Kaiser baut frs Volk, Gerda Henkel Vorlesung 10 No-
vember 1995 (Opladen, 1997), 30.
1. On the development of the Roman theater building, see Margarete Bieber, The History
of the Greek and Roman Theater (Princeton, 1939), 32655; Hazel Dodge, Amusing the
Masses, in Life, Death, and Entertainment in the Roman Empire, ed. David S. Potter and
David J. Mattingly (Ann Arbor, 1999), 20824.
2. Richard C. Beacham, The Roman Theatre and Its Audience (London, 1991), 8384.
3. Natalie B. Kampen (personal communication) questions the notion that women of high
status or wealth actually sat with slaves and the poor at the top of the theater. She doubts
that the lex Iulia was in fact rigidly enforced to the humiliation of mothers and wives
even those of theater donors.
4. Zanker, Pompeii, 113; E. Rawson, Discrimina ordinum: The lex Julia theatralis, Papers
of the British School at Rome 55 (1987): 83114.
5. On the curule chair, see Thomas Schfer, Imperii insignia: Sella curulis und fasces zur
Reprsentation rmischer Magistrate (Mainz, 1989).
6. M. Holconio M.f. Rufo, II.v.i.d. quinquiens, iter[um] quinq[uennali], trib[uno] mil[itum] a
p[opolo], amini Aug[usti], patr[ono] colo[niae], d[ecurionum] d[ecreto]. For the identication
of the cuttings as supporting a curule chair, see J. Bauer, Municentia privata pom-
peiana, (masters thesis, University of Munich, 1988): 5253.
7. Mau, Pompeii, 14849; Michaela Fuchs, Untersuchungen zur Ausstattung rmischer The-
ater in Italien und den Westprovinzen des Imperium Romanum (Mainz, 1987).
8. Martial records spectators in white togas in both the theater (2.29.14) and the am-
phitheater (4.2.4, 14.135); Calpurnius Siculus, 7.2629, distinguishes between people
wearing white togas in the Colosseums lower levels and the pullati in its highest rows;
see Erik Gunderson, The Ideology of the Arena, Classical Antiquity 15 (1996): 12326;
NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 2 8 1 3 3

Florence Dupont, Lacteur-roi ou le thtre dans la Rome antique (Paris, 1985), emphasizes
how the theatrical dimension pervades Roman society; Holt N. Parker, The Observed
of All Observers: Spectacle, Applause, and Cultural Poetics in the Roman Theater Au-
dience, in The Art of Ancient Spectacle, Studies in the History of Art 56, Symposium
Papers 34, ed. Bettina Bergmann and Christine Kondoleon (New Haven, 1999),
9. Rainer Graefe, Vela Erunt: Die Zeltdcher der rmischen Theater und hnlicher Anlagen
(2 vols., Mainz, 1979).
10. Beacham, Roman Theatre, 127.
11. A well-known painting from Herculaneum, Naples, inv. 9019, shows an actor prepar-
ing to go on stage. Carl Weber, the excavator, found this painting, along with three oth-
ers, out of place, lying on the oor of a room in the Palaestra. Presumably the owner
prized these paintings so much that he had them removed from their original Third-
Style walls and intended to reinsert them in a new decorative ensemble. For an account
of all four paintings, see Agnes Allrogen-Bedel, Dokumente des 18. Jahrhunderts zur
Topographie von Herculaneum, Cronache Ercolanesi 13 (1983): 13958. Two mosaic em-
blemata from the Villa of Cicero at Pompeii, both signed by the mosaicist Dioskourides
of Samos, reproduce scenes from comedies of Menander: inv. no. 9987 reproduces a
scene from the Synaristosai; inv. no. 9985 the Theophoroumene. See Sraphim Chari-
tonidis, Lilly Kahil, and Ren Ginouvs, Les mosaques de la Maison du Mnandre
Mytilne, Antike Kunst, suppl. 6 (Bern, 1970), 4144, cat. no. T6 (Synaristosai); 4649,
cat. no. T8 (Theophoroumene).
12. See, for example, the House of the Theatrical Pictures in Pompeii: Mariette de Vos, I
6, 11: Casa dei Quadretti teatrali, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici 1 (Rome, 1990), 362, 37181.
13. David S. Potter, Entertainers in the Roman Empire, in Life, Death, and Entertainment
in the Roman Empire, ed. D. S. Potter and D. J. Mattingly (Ann Arbor, 1999), 27275.
14. Apuleius, Metamorphoses 10.31.
15. On the vicissitudes of Pylades relationship with Augustus: Suetonius, Divus Augustus
45; Cassius Dio 55.10.11.
16. Lucian, De Saltatione 3761; trans. A. M. Harmond, Lucian, Loeb (Cambridge, Mass.,
1936), 24865.
17. Caligula: Suetonius, Gaius Caligula 11, 36, 5456; Cassius Dio 59.2.5, 59.5.5. Claudius:
Tacitus, Annales 11.4, 11.36; Cassius Dio 60.28.35, 60.31.5. Nero: Tacitus, Annales 14.15;
Lucian, De Saltatione 63.
18. Beacham, Roman Theatre, 12829.
19. For a full treatment of the structure, with bibliography through 1936: Tatiana Warsher,
Codex Topographicus Pompejanus, Regio VI, ins. 10, pars 1 (typescript, American Acad-
emy in Rome, 1936).
20. Engravings of two of the erotic pictures appeared for the rst time in Csar Famin, Muse
Royal de Naples: Peintures, bronzes et statues rotiques du Cabinet Secret, avec leur explica-
tion (Paris, 1836); they were reprinted in M. L. Barr, Herculanum et Pompi, recueil gnral
des peintures, bronzes, mosaques, etc. dcouverts jusqu ce jour et reproduits daprs le anti-
chit di Ercolano, il Museo Borbonico et tous les ouvrages analogues, vol. 8, Muse Secret
(Paris 1877); Barrs moralizing comments on the erotic imagery epitomize the attitude

NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 3 3 1 3 4
of the period in regard to sex. A facsimile with Spanish text: Frente de Armacin
Hispanista, Museo Secreto del arte ertico de Pompeya y Herculano (Mexico City, 1995);
Italian text with catalogue: Laurentino Garca y Garca and Luciana Jacobelli, eds., Louis
Barr: Museo Segreto, 2 vols. (Naples, 2001).
21. Nicholas Horsfall, The Cultural Horizons of the Plebs Romana, Memoirs of the Amer-
ican Academy in Rome 41 (1996): 114; R. W. Reynolds, The Adultery Mime, Classical
Quarterly 40 (1946): 80; Scriptores Historiae Augustae Heliogabalus 25.4.
22. Amy Richlin, The Garden of Priapus: Sexuality and Aggression in Roman Humor (rev. ed.,
New York, 1992), 910.
23. Valerius Maximus, 2.10.8, mentions C. Mosius as aedile, presumably the aedile of
55 b.c., making this Cato Uticensis (the Younger); Martial, book 1, introduction, repeats
the story but does not specify the Cato. Martial also implies that Cato entered the the-
ater precisely because he wanted to spoil the peoples fun:
Epigrams are written for those who are accustomed to look at the Games of Flora (Flo-
rales). Let no Cato enter my theatre, or if he enters, let him look on. I think I may justiably
close my epistle in verse:
You knew the rites to jocund Flora dear,
The festive quips and licence of the rout;
Why on our scene, stern Cato, enter here?
Did you then enter only to go out?
Martial Epigrams, trans. Walter C. A. Ker
(Cambridge, Mass., [1919] 1968), 2931
24. Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 21718 places his gure 88, the tightrope walk-
ers in this position; Bragantini, VI 10, 1, places a dierent picture there, i.e., Salomon
Reinach, Rpertoire des peintures grecs et romaines (Paris, 1922), 267, no. 12.
25. Beacham, Roman Theatre, 132.
26. Helbig, Wandgemlde, no. 1503.
27. Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 21718.
28. This subsection is a reworking of my essay Living Figures within the Scaenae Frons:
Figuring the Viewer in Liminal Space, in I temi gurativi nella pittura parietale antica
(IV sec. a.C.IV sec. d.C.), Atti del VI Convegno Internazionale sulla Pittura Parietale
Antica, ed. Daniela Scagliarini Corlita (Bologna 1997), 4345.
29. Bianchi Bandinelli, Rome: Center of Power, 11014, gs. 115 and 116.
30. Dorothea Michel, Bemerkungen ber Zuschauerguren in pompejanischen soge-
nannten Tafelbildern, in La regione sotterrata dal Vesuvio: Studi e prospettive, Atti del
convegno internazionale, 1115 November 1979, ed. Alfonso de Franciscis (Naples,
1982): 53798. See also Andrew Feldherr, Spectacle and Society in Livys History (Berke-
ley, 1998).
31. The use of the scaenae frons as a way of organizing wall-decorative schemes begins in
the midrst century b.c. and reappears in the late Third Style of the 40s. Compare
oecus 23 from the Villa of Oplontis, ca. 40 b.c. (Clarke, Houses of Roman Italy, 117, g.
45) with the tablinum of the House of Lucretius Fronto, ca. a.d. 40 (Clarke, Houses of
Roman Italy, 15253, pls. 8 and 9). In Second Style schemes the artist uses the scaenae
NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 3 4 1 3 9

frons to open up the wall with bold perspectives; in Third Style schemes the architec-
tural elements of the scaenae frons are thin and the perspectives unconvincing.
32. Moormann, Pittura parietale, 230, no. 310/12.
33. Arnold de Vos, III 4, 4: Casa di Pinarius Cerialis, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici 3 (Rome,
1991), 46073, gs. 3141.
34. John R. Clarke, Looking at Lovemaking: Constructions of Sexuality in Roman Art, 100
b.c.a.d. 250 (Berkeley, 1998), 222, notes 5354; Parker, Spectacle, Applause, and Cul-
tural Poetics, 16770.
35. Catharine Edwards, Beware of Imitations: Theater and the Subversion of Imperial Iden-
tity, in Reections of Nero: Culture, History, and Representation, ed. Jas Elsner and Jamie
Masters (Chapel Hill, 1994), 8493.
36. I do not claim that all viewers felt the same toward the actor; his position was highly
contested in antiquity. See Shadi Bartsch, Actors in the Audience: Theatricality and Dou-
blespeak from Nero to Hadrian (Cambridge, Mass., 1994).
37. K. J. Neumann, Augustales, Pauly-Wissowa Real-Encyclopdie, vol. 2, pt. 2 (Stuttgart,
1896): 234961; Ostrow, Augustales on the Bay of Naples,; James B. Rives, Augustales,
Oxford Classical Dictionary (3rd ed., New York, 1996): 215.
38. Potter, Entertainers in the Roman Empire, 30724.
39. J. C. Edmondson, Dynamic Arenas: Gladiatorial Presentations in the City of Rome and
the Construction of Roman Society during the Early Empire, in Roman Theater and So-
ciety: E. Togo Salmon Papers, ed. William J. Slater (Ann Arbor, 1996), 1:82: Audiences
too were a cross section of Roman society: from emperor to slave, from senator to peas-
ant, from citizen soldier to foreign tradesman, from vestal virgin to common prostitute.
They were thus microcosms of not just the Roman citizen body but of Roman society
as a whole. See also 8695.
40. Edmondson, Dynamic Arenas, 8486.
41. Donald G. Kyle, Spectacles of Death in Ancient Rome (New York, 1998), 34100; Shelby
Brown, Death as Decoration: Scenes from the Arena on Roman Domestic Mosaics,
in Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome, ed. Amy Richlin (New York, 1992),
42. Potter, Entertainers in the Roman World, 3057.
43. Alison Futrell, Blood in the Arena (Austin, 1997), passim; Augustine, Confessions 6.8.
44. Kathleen M. Coleman, Fatal Charades: Roman Executions Staged as Mythological En-
actments, Journal of Roman Studies 80 (1990): 4473.
45. Coleman, Fatal Charades, 4449; Zanker, Der Kaiser baut frs Volk, 3031; Kath-
leen M. Coleman, Informers on Parade, in The Art of Ancient Spectacle, Studies in the
History of Art 56, Symposium Papers 34, ed. Bettina Bergmann and Christine Kondoleon
(New Haven, 1999), 23145.
46. For a discussion of announcements of gladiatorial contests at Pompeii, see Patriza
Sabbatini Tumolesi, Gladiatorum paria: Annunci di spettacoli gladiatorii a Pompei,
Tituli 1 (1980).
47. Mau, Pompeii, 22324; for the gestures used to communicate the verdict, see Anthony
Corbeill, Thumbs in Ancient Rome: Pollex as Index, Memoirs of the American Acad-
emy in Rome 42 (1997): 121.

NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 3 9 1 4 5
48. The denitive publication remains Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli, Mario Torelli, Filippo
Coarelli, and Antonio Giuliano, Il monumento teatino di C. Lusius Storax nel Museo
di Chieti, Studi Miscellanei 10, pt. 3 (196364): 55102; more recently: Felletti Maj,
Tradizione italica, 36270; Adriano La Regina, ed., Sangue e Arena, exh. cat., Rome, Colos-
seum, June 22, 2001January 7, 2002 (Milan, 2001), 357, cat. no. 72; Gabriele Iaculli,
Necropoli e monumenti funerari, in Larcheologia delle popolazioni italiche tra formazione
delle identit etniche e romanizzazione, Atti del Convegno Celano-LAquila, December
1999, ed. Maria Jose Strazzulla (forthcoming). I wish to thank Dr. Iaculli for providing
me with his text.
49. C. Lusius C. et Iuniae l. S[t]orax Ro[ma]niensis sevir sibi et Lusiae C. et Iuniae l. Oecumeni
et Lusiae [C. et Iu]niae l. Philinnae coniugibus suis vivos f [e]cit. H(oc) m(onumentum)
h(eredem) n(on) [s(equetur)]. (G. Lusius Storax Romaniensis freedman of Gaius and
Iunia, sevir, made this monument while still alive for himself and for his wives, Lu-
sia Oecumenis, freedwoman of Gaius and Iunia, and Lusia Philinna, freedwoman of
Gaius and Iunia. This monument will not pass to their heirs.) Torelli, Le iscrizioni,
Studi Miscellanei 10 (196364): 62, no. 1.
50. Torelli, Le iscrizioni, Studi Miscellanei 10: 6171, esp. 6670 for Torellis prosopogra-
phy, based on analysis of the gens names in the freedmens trinomina.
51. Giuliano, Il supposto ritratto di Storax, Studi Miscellanei 10 (196364): 100102.
52. Coarelli, Il rilievo con scene gladiatorie, Studi Miscellanei 10 (196364): 8587. Ettore
Ghislanzoni, Il rilievo gladiatorio di Chieti, Monumenti Antichi 19 (1908): 540614,
proposes putting the triangular blocks into a pediment above the gladiatorial frieze, but
the t is not right.
53. Coarelli, Il rilievo con scene gladiatorie, Studi Miscellanei 10: 90; the Thracian wears
high greaves on both shins and a tall plumed helmet.
54. Coarelli identies them, without evidence, as incitatores, whose job was to spur the
ghters on: Coarelli, Il rilievo con scene gladiatorie, Studi Miscellanei, 10:90.
55. Torelli, Il frontone, Studi Miscellanei 10: 77, followed by Iaculli, Necropoli e monu-
56. Ettore De Ruggiero, Honoraria summa, Dizionario epigraco di antichit romane,
57. I owe this reading of the scene to Anthony Corbeill. A less likely interpretation is that the
writer is inscribing the names of the new quattuorviri, or of the new seviri, on the tablet.
58. Another funerary relief, the banquet scene from Amiternum, seems to represent two
such colleges, twelve persons divided into two tables with six seviri at each: Torelli, Il
frontone, Studi Miscellanei 10: 78.
59. Petronius, Satyricon 30.12; Trimalchio has enormous bronze fasces at the entrance to
his triclinium with the inscription: C. Pompeio Trimalchioni, seviro Augustali, Cinnamus
dispensator (To Gaius Pompeius Trimalchione, sevir of Augustus, from Cinnamus, his
60. Bianchi Bandinelli, Dati generali e studi precedenti, Studi Miscellanei 10: 60, calls it
capsized perspective (a prospettiva ribaltata); LOrange, Art Forms and Civic Life,
94104, esp. 99, n. 15, analyzes in detail this deployed perspective in discussing li-
beralitas and oratio reliefs on the Arch of Constantine.
NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 4 5 1 5 1

61. Natalie B. Kampen (personal communication) suggests an alternative interpretation,
that the woman may be a mourner.
62. Felletti Maj, Tradizione italica, 367, proposes that this is no brawl, but a representation
of enthusiastic fans gesticulating in favor of this or that gladiator.
63. Naples, inv. 112222; most recently see Valeria Sampaolo, I 3, 23: Casa della Rissa nel-
lAnteatro, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici 1 (Rome, 1990), 7781, with bibl.
64. G. De Petra, Lanteatro pompeiano rappresentato in un antico dipinto, Giornale degli
scavi di Pompei, new series, 1 (186869): 18586, pl. 8; F. Matz, Scavi di Pompei, Bul-
lettino dellInstituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica (1869): 24042; Antonio Sogliano,
Le pitture campane scoverte negli anni 18671879 (Naples, 1879), 124, no. 604.
65. Tacitus, Annales 14.17:
Sub idem tempus levi initio atrox caedes orta inter colonos Nucerinos Pompeianosque
gladiatorio spectaculo, quod Livineius Regulus, quem motum senatu rettuli, edebat.
Quippe oppidana lascivia in vicem incessentes probra, dein saxa, postremo ferrum
sumpsere, validiore Pompeianorum plebe, apud quos spectaculum edebatur. Ergo deportati
sunt in urbem multi e Nucerinis trunco per vulnera corpore, ac plerique liberorum aut
parentum mortes deebant. Cuius rei iudicium princeps senatui, senatus consulibus per-
misit. Et rursus re ad patres relata, prohibiti publice in decem annos eius modi coetu Pom-
peiani collegiaque, quae contra leges instituerant, dissoluta; Livineius et qui alii seditionem
conciverant exilio multati sunt.
About the same date, a trivial incident led to a serious aray between the inhabitants of
the colonies of Nuceria and Pompeii, at a gladiatorial show presented by Livineius Regu-
lus, whose removal from the senate has been noticed. During an exchange of raillery, typ-
ical of the petulance of country towns, they resorted to abuse, then to stones, and nally
to steel; the superiority lying with the populace of Pompeii, where the show was being ex-
hibited. As a result, many of the Nucerians were carried maimed and wounded to the cap-
ital, while a very large number mourned the deaths of children or of parents. The trial of
the aair was delegated by the emperor to the senate; by the senate to the consuls. On the
case being again laid before the members, the Pompeians as a community were debarred
from holding any similar assembly for ten years, and the associations which they had
formed illegally were dissolved. Livineius and the other fomenters of the outbreak were
punished with exile.
Trans. John Jackson, Loeb (Cambridge, Mass., 1937)
66. Extended discussions of the artists perspective rendering: Frhlich, Lararien- und Fas-
sadenbilder, 24445; Graefe, Vela Erunt, 1048, pls. 11213 (with special attention to
the mechanics of the velum).
67. CIL 4: 2993 x and y; Sabbatini Tumolesi, Gladiatorum paria, 2527, pl. 1, gs. 12; Au-
gusta Hnle and Anton Henze, Rmische Amphitheater und Stadien: Gladiatorenkmpfe
und Circusspiele (Zrich, 1981), 13435, g. 115.
68. Paavo Castrn, Ordo Populusque Pompeianus: Polity and Society in Roman Pompeii
(Rome, 1975), 108, 18586, no. 227: 5 and 12; Sabbatini Tumolesi, Gladiatorum paria,
2425, 2732, nos. 58.
69. Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli, Tradizione ellenistica e gusto romano nella pittura pom-
peiana, Critica dellArte 6 (1941), 13; Helga von Heintze, Rmische Kunst (Stuttgart, 1969),

NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 5 1 1 5 4
128, 133, g. 116; Bianchi Bandinelli, Rome: Center of Power, 6664, pl. 70; Felletti Maj,
Tradizione italica, 3078, 312, 33032, g. 162; Fausto Zevi, Die volkstmliche Kunst,
in Pompejanische Wandmalerei, ed. Maria Giuseppina Cerulli Irelli et al., trans. Christina
Callori-Gehlsen (Zurich, 1990), 275.
70. Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 247.
71. Matz, Scavi di Pompei, 240, describes paintings on two walls of peristyle n that were
already ruined at the time of excavation. They had been painted on an earlier plaster layer
than the Riot picture with its anking pictures of gladiators on the west wall, where the
painter created a new plaster layer. On the wall to the right of someone entering (pre-
sumably the north wall), Matz saw a table with a palm on it and incomplete remains of
athletes gures with names above written in Greek: Sokrion, [ . . . ]perdis, Teimeas, Apate.
72. Reproduced in Theodor Schreiber, Atlas of Classical Antiquities, trans. W.C.F. Anderson
(London, 1895), pl. 28, 34; Reinach, Rpertoire des peintures, 285, 5.
73. Clarke, Houses of Roman Italy, 21920; Clarke, Looking at Lovemaking, 15361.
74. Daniela Corlita Scagliarini, Spazio e decorazione nella pittura pompeiana, Palladio
2325 (197476): 1920; Clarke, Houses of Roman Italy, 16, 237, 367.
75. This evidence was recently reviewed, with the addition of a newly discovered painting in
the House of the Chaste Lovers at Pompeii: Antonio Varone, Scavi recenti a Pompei lungo
via dellAbbondanza (Regio IX, ins. 12, 67), in Ercolano 17381988: 250 anni di ricerca
archeologica, Atti del Convegno Internazionale Ravello-Ercolano-Napoli-Pompei, 30
ottobre5 novembre 1988, ed. Luisa Franchi DellOrto (Rome, 1993), 61740; see also
sixteen articles from the symposium, Mani di pittori e botteghe pittoriche nel mondo romano:
Tavola rotonda in onore di W. J. Th. Peters in occasione del suo 75.mo compleanno, ed. Eric M.
Moormann, Mededeelingen van het Nederlands Instituut te Rom 54 (1995), 61298.
76. Zanker, Der Kaiser baut frs Volk, 2831.
77. Giuseppe Fiorelli, Descrizione di Pompei (Naples, 1875), 56; Della Corte, Case ed abitanti,
26768, nos. 534 and 535: he would attribute the house to Actius Anicetus, a gladiator,
an attribution properly rejected by Castrn, Ordo Populusque Pompeianus, 248.
78. Sabbatini Tumolesi, Gladiatorum paria, 2526.
79. Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 247.
80. Amedeo Maiuri, Pompei e Nocera, Rendiconti dellAccademia di archeologia, lettere, e
belle arti di Napoli, new series, 33 (1958): 39.
81. CIL 4: 1216, 2380, 5059; Lawrence Richardson, Jr., The Casa dei Dioscuri and Its Painters,
Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 23 (Rome, 1955), 8893; Walter O. Moeller,
The Riot of a.d. 59 at Pompeii, Historia 19 (1970): 8495.
82. The usual translation is Campanians, in (the same) victory you perished with the Nuce-
rians, it being assumed that the Campani were the inhabitants of the northwest quar-
ter of the city, the vicus Campanus, who fought on the Nucerian side: Della Corte, Case
ed abitanti, 29394; Mau, Pompeii, 492; Tanzer, Common People of Pompeii, 73.
83. In an attempt to explain why the ten-year ban did not seem to hold, Richardson, Casa
dei Dioscuri, 8891, and Moeller, Riot, 9194, propose that the riot broke out not
during the usual gladiatorial games but during an exhibition match organized by elite
youths belonging to collegia iuvenum from Pompeii and Nuceria: only these matches,
not regular gladiatioral contests, were forbidden by Rome. But Castrn, Ordo Populusque
NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 5 4 1 5 8

Pompeianus, 33, 11112, convincingly rejects one of the building blocks of Richardsons
and Moellers argument, Della Cortes conjecture that there was a collegium iuvenum
called Iuvenes Venerii Pompeiani (Matteo Della Corte, Iuventus [Arpino, 1924], 36); see
also the interpretation of Sabbatini Tumolesi, Gladiatorum paria, 2527.
84. Zanker, Villa als Vorbild, 460523; Zanker, Pompeii, 135203.
1. Livy 3.29.5; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Antiquitates Romanae 7.72.11.
2. Martial, introduction to book 1 of the epigrams (Floralia); Martial 7.8 (triumph); Mar-
tial 11.2, 11.15 (Saturnalia), discussed in Richlin, Garden of Priapus, 611.
3. There is a vast modern literature on the carnival in European culture as a populist in-
version of high culturean empowerment of the non-elitederiving for the most
part from Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and his World, especially following its rst English
translation by Helene Iswolsky (Cambridge, Mass., 1968). For a careful review of this
literature, see Peter Stallybrass and Allon White, The Politics and Poetics of Transgression
(London, 1986), 126, who point out that since carnival is a licensed release, it can also
be a form of social control of the low by the high (13).
4. Richlin, Garden of Priapus, especially chapter 1, Roman Concepts of Obscenity, 131;
Anthony Corbeill, Controlling Laughter: Political Humor in the Late Republic (Princeton,
1996), especially Introduction, 313.
5. John H. DArms, Commerce and Social Standing in Ancient Rome (Cambridge, Mass.,
1981), 97120.
6. Richlin, Garden of Priapus.
7. Pedro Paulo Abreu Funari, Graphic Caricature and the Ethos of Ordinary People at Pom-
peii, Journal of European Archaeology 2 (1993): 13147; Barbara Kellum, The Phallus
as Signier: The Forum of Augustus and Rituals of Masculinity, in Sexuality in An-
cient Art: Near East, Egypt, Greece, and Italy, ed. Natalie B. Kampen (New York, 1996),
17083; Anne Helttula, Epigraphical Laughter, in Laughter Down the Centuries, ed.
S. Jkel and A. Timonen (Turku, 1995), 2:14559.
8. Two caricatural friezes appear in the House of the Menander, one dating to the late Sec-
ond Style in the atriolo of the bath, the other to the early Fourth Style in oecus 11: Amedeo
Maiuri, La Casa del Menandro e il suo tesoro di argenteria (Rome, 1933), 12839 (atriolo),
6474 (oecus 11); Clarke, Houses of Roman Italy, 18588. For caricature in literature and
art: Jean Pierre Cbe, La caricature et la parodie dans le monde romain antique, des ori-
gines Juvnal (Paris, 1966).
9. Amedeo Maiuri, La Parodia di Enea, Bollettino dArte 35 (1950): 10812; Giovanni Be-
catti, Caricatura, Enciclopedia dellArte Antica, vol. 2 (Rome 1959), 34248; F. Tiradritti,
Caricatura (Egitto), Enciclopedia dellArte Antica, 2nd suppl., vol. 1 (Rome 1994),
88587; Cbe, Caricature, passim.
10. For a penetrating analysis of the problems surrounding the use of the term popular
art, and other equivalents such as Italic art, volkstmliche Kunst, and arte ple-
bea, see Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 1320.

NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 5 8 1 6 1
11. Giuseppe Fiorelli, Pompei, Notizie degli Scavi (1876): 19395; August Mau, Scavi di
Pompei, Bullettino dellInstituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica (1878): 19194; Tatiana
Warsher, Codex Topographicus Pompejanus, Regio VI, Insula 14, part 2 (typescript,
American Academy in Rome, 1939), nos. 13138; Irene Bragantini, VI 14, 35.36: Caupona
di Salvius, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici 5 (Rome, 1994), 36671. Casellium Aed / Salvius
rog(at), an electoral recommendation found on the exterior wall to the north (left) of the
western entrance, 36, accounts for the name Caupona of Salvius: CIL 4:3493; Della
Corte, Case ed abitanti, 8183, no. 107.
12. Naples National Museum, inv. 111482. See CIL 4:3494 for the various readings of the
captions to the pictures; Mau, Scavi di Pompei, 194, gives the readings I accept.
13. Space for such dalliance was on the upper oor; behind room 1 was a small kitchen,
with a staircase leading to the upper oor.
14. Bragantini, Caupona di Salvius, 36671, reproduces both the old photographs and
color reproductions of Presuhns watercolors.
15. Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 213, sets forth the attractive, but now untenable,
hypothesis that these gures were two eeminate men (cinaedi) in long dresses kissing,
and that the following three scenes pictured these same cinaedi, in a narrative sequence.
16. F. A. Todd, Three Pompeian Wall-Inscriptions, and Petronius, The Classical Review 53
(February 1939): 59, proposed that both gures were women, making this a female-
female assignation. I found his arguments convincing, and expanded upon them
erroneouslyin an article written before the cleaning was complete: Look Whos Laugh-
ing: Humor in Tavern Painting as Index of Class and Acculturation, Memoirs of the
American Academy in Rome 43/44 (199899): 2748.
17. Ewen Lyall Bowie, Novel, Greek, in Oxford Classical Dictionary, ed. Simon Hornblower
and Antony Spawforth (3rd ed., Oxford, 1996), 104950.
18. See especially essays in Roman Sexualities, ed. Judith P. Hallett and Marilyn Skinner
(Princeton, 1998).
19. Plautus, Curculio, 3538: dum ted abstineas nupta, vidua, virgine,/ iuventute et pueris liberis,
ama quid lubet; my translation.
20. Holt N. Parker, The Teratogenic Grid, in Roman Sexualities, ed. Judith P. Hallett and
Marilyn Skinner (Princeton, 1998), 4765.
21. Richlin, Garden of Priapus, 2028, commentary on Juvenal 6.
22. For example: Petronius, Satyricon, 2425 (Quartilla), 12633 (Circe, Chrysis), 13438
(Oenothea, priestess of Priapus).
23. Martial 7.67, 1.90; Clarke, Looking at Lovemaking, 22829.
24. Hero Granger-Taylor, Dress, in Oxford Classical Dictionary, ed. Simon Hornblower and
Antony Spawforth (3rd ed., Oxford, 1996): 49798.
25. Paint losses make it impossible to determine the length or type of the sleeves on either
the mans tunic or the womans dress.
26. Anthony Corbeill points out that the mia est could suggest a sexual advance with the fem-
inine adjective: She is mine, with the barmaid responding with appropriate ambiguity.
27. Todd, Three Pompeian Wall Inscriptions, 6; the grato, CIL 4:1422, misspells the
gladiators name Oceaneanus.
28. Martial 3.95.10, 5.23.4, 5.27.4, 6.9.2.
NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 6 1 1 6 5

29. The artists method was to cover what he had painted with a new stratum of white that
extends on the left from the head to the bottom of the stool and on the right from the
shoulder to the mans lap; he then repainted this area with the gure as he appears now.
30. Amy Richlin, Not before Homosexuality: The Materiality of the Cinaedus and the Ro-
man Law against Love between Men, Journal of the History of Sexuality 3, 4 (1993):
31. Della Corte, Case ed abitanti, 82, translates orte as the vocative of the name Ortus; Todd,
Three Pompeian Wall Inscriptions, 8, oers the much likelier construction oro te, with
the meaning of come o it! or look here! Orte appears with this meaning in sexual
vignettes decorating relief medallions on Gaulish vases: see Clarke, Looking at Love-
making, 26062.
32. Despite losses to the lower right-hand side of this panel, the outlines of the innkeepers
head, body, and feet are still visible.
33. Most notably, Della Corte, Case ed abitanti, 81, who proposes an improbable interpreta-
tion for scene one: the woman ees Myrtalis and whispers to a man (rather than kiss-
ing him), asking him to protect her. He is none other than the innkeeper Salvius, who
makes her the puella of his inn. On the general modern tendency to see ancient Ro-
mans anachronistically, see John R. Clarke, Just Like Us,: Cultural Constructions of
Sexuality and Race in Roman Art, Art Bulletin 78, 4 (1996): 599603.
34. Bakhtin, Rabelais. I thank Sandra Joshel for suggesting this line of inquiry.
35. Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 21422, esp. 22122; Irene Bragantini, VI 10, 1:
Caupona della Via di Mercurio, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici 4 (Rome, 1993), 100528, bibl.
1005; Clarke, Looking at Lovemaking, 20612.
36. Someone scratched da fridam pusillumGive me a little cold water (CIL 4:1291) on the
painting on the far east part of the north wall showing a male servant pouring wine for
a soldier; the middle picture of the ve on the south wall has a man asking a male ser-
vant for wine. Above his head a person scratched the words adde calicem setinumGive
me a glass of wine from Sentinum (CIL 4:1292). Since wine from Sentinum was highly
esteemed, perhaps the writer of the grato is poking fun at the low quality of the es-
tablishments wine, like someone asking for French champagne in an ordinary beer-
drinkers bar.
37. A good literary parallel is Petroniuss Satyricon; scholars have argued that it is an odyssey
in which the main character, Encolpius, searches for an erection to restore his male-
ness: see Niall W. Slater, Reading Petronius (Baltimore, 1990), 4041.
38. See Andrew M. Riggsby, Lenocinium: Scope and Consequences, Zeitschrift der Savigny-
Stiftung fr Rechtsgeschichte: Romanistische Abteilung 112 (1995): 42327.
39. Rudolph Horn, Ostia, Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archologischen Instituts 51 (1936):
46267; Guido Calza, Die Taverne der Sieben Weisen in Ostia, Die Antike 15 (1939):
40. Stephan T.A.M. Mols, I Sette Sapienti ad Ostia antica, in I temi gurativi nella pittura
parietale antica (IV sec. a.C.IV sec. d.C.), Atti del VI Convegno Internazionale sulla Pit-
tura Parietale Antica, ed. Daniela Scagliarini Corlita (Bologna 1997), 9091, proposes
that the door on the east wall had been lled in, leaving only a window, by the time the
paintings of the Seven Sages were executednot earlier than the Hadrianic period. He
31 0

NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 6 5 1 7 0
proposes an asymmetrical arrangement, with one Sage painted on the east wall and two
each on the other three, with the only doorways on the south, where the present door-
way is, and a little doorway on the west side of the north wall, where there is a niche to-
day. For further details of the painting phases in the entire insula, see his excellent ar-
ticle: Stephan T.A.M. Mols, Decorazione e uso dello spazio a Ostia. Il caso dellInsula
III x (Caseggiato del Serapide, Terme dei Sette Sapienti e Caseggiato degli Aurighi),
Mededeelingen van het Nederlands Instituut te Rome 58 (1999): 247386; here Mols also
enriches the analysis of the building by Thea L. Heres, La storia edilizia delle Terme
dei Sette Sapienti (III x 2) ad Ostia Antica: Uno studio preliminare, Mededeelingen van
het Nederlands Instituut te Rome 5152 (199293): 76113. Richard Neudecker, Die Pracht
der Latrine: Zum Wandel entlicher Bedrfnisanstalten in der kaiserzeitlichen Stadt (Mu-
nich, 1994), 3538, wishes to make the room of the Seven Sages a latrine, but without
adducing any new evidence other than the content of the paintings.
41. Mols, Sette Sapienti, 338, gs. 35.
42. A grato at Pompeii found in a caupona communicating with the Casa dellOrso (VII,
2, 45) illustrates popular appreciation of Falernum: Assibus (singulis) hic bibitur; dupun-
dium si dederis, meliora bibes; qua[rtum] (assem) si dederis, vina Falerna bibes. You can
drink here for one as, for two, youll drink better. If you pay four asses, youll drink Faler-
num. CIL 4:1679.
43. Calza, Sieben Weisen in Ostia, 1047; Karl Schefold, Die Bildnisse der antiken Dichter,
Redner und Denker (Basel, 1943), 154, pl. page 155, 2, 3, 6; P. E. Arias, Sette Sapienti,
Enciclopedia dellArte Antica 7:22325; Mols, Sette Sapienti, 91, with bibl. in notes 2430.
44. Edward Courtney, Musa Lapidaria: A Selection of Latin Verse Inscriptions (Atlanta, 1995),
87, no. 70A, provides the following translations: To have a good shit, Solon rubbed his
stomach. Thales instructed the constipated to strain. Crafty Chilon taught how to fart
45. ivdici (?) vergilivm legis(se) pveris (?)
or(di) na (?)
46. Nitor, a deponent verb meaning to strain with physical exertion, is used actively, as
often happens to deponent forms in colloquial speech. I thank Anthony Corbeill and
Andrew Riggsby for the translation.
47. verbose tibi
dicit dum priscianu(s)
(?) (u)taris xylosphongio nos
(?a) quas
48. Neudecker, Pracht der Latrine, 36.
49. According to J. N. Adams, The Latin Sexual Vocabulary (Baltimore, 1990), 249, the mean-
ing of vissire or visire is peditum ventris sine crepitu emittere, to fart without mak-
ing a sound.
50. Heikki Solin, Analecta epigraphica XIII: Griechische Grati aus Ostia, Arctos, new
series, 7 (1972): 198 notes that invenib Bias is a phonetic substitution for invenit Bias.
Mols, Decorazione e uso dello spazio a Ostia, 307, reads . . . enis Bias. I wish to thank
NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 7 1 1 7 2

31 1
Alvaro Ibarra, who helped me conrm Solins reading at the site in 2001. The canoni-
cal Seven Sages, established rst in Plato, Protagoras 343 A, and reiterated in Plutarch,
Moralia: Convivium septem sapientium14664, and Diogenes Laertius, Thales 35, were:
Thales of Miletus, Pittakos of Mytilenai, Bias of Priene, Solon of Athens, Kleobulos of
Lindos, Myson of Chenai, and Chilon of Sparta; see Bruno Snell, Leben und Meinungen
der Sieben Weisen (Munich, 1971).
51. Werner A. Krenkel, Fellatio and Irrumatio, Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Wilhelm-
Pieck-Universitt Rostock 29 (1980): 7788; Amy Richlin, The Meaning of irrumare in
Catullus and Martial, Classical Philology 76 (January 1981): 4046; Neudecker, Pracht
der Latrine, 35.
52. Anthony Corbeill points out (personal correspondence) that this may be an oblique ref-
erence to the fact that the majority of doctors were Greeks, and were both hated and
feared. The reader who sees the Sages mocked in the Caupona could also read further
mockery of the Greeks in this utterance: just as the real Sages dont care about bodily
functions (but should), so too doctors rely on hocus-pocus rather than on the basics of
bodily functions, for example, that one should shit well. On Roman intolerance for
Greeks, see J. P. V. D. Balsdon, Romans and Aliens (London, 1979), 3236; on mistrust
for doctors, see John Scarborough, Roman Medicine (Ithaca, 1969), 96.
53. The missing three Sages would be Pittakos of Mytilenai, Kleobulos of Lindos, and Myson
of Chenai.
54. Neudecker, Pracht der Latrine, 10210.
55. Stallybrass and White, Transgression, 2122.
56. The Caupona of Salvius is rooess, but beam-holes visible in the south wall suggest a
maximum ceiling height of 4 m. The frieze, located above the doorway on the north
wall, began at a height of 1.85 m.
57. The Sages lines are included in the Carmina Latina Epigraphica, recently revisited by
Joan Gmez Pallars, Carmina Latina Epigraphica musiva et depicta Zarkeriana, Faven-
tia 1213 (199091): 37477, nos. 13; Gmez Pallars also includes Vergilium legis(se)
pueris, 380, no. 6, as does Paolo Cugusi, Aspetti letterari dei Carmina Latina Epigraphica
(Bologna 1985), 25051. See also Courtney, Musa Lapidaria, 87, no. 70A.
58. Neudecker, Pracht der Latrine, 2139.
59. Plutarch, Moralia: Convivium septem sapientium159B, trans. Frank C. Babbitt, Loeb (Cam-
bridge, Mass., 1927). Later on (160A) we nd: Indeed, it is possible to enumerate more
pains than pleasures derived from food; or rather it may be said that the pleasure aects
but a very limited area in the body, and lasts for no long time; but as for the ugly and
painful experiences crowded upon us by the bother and discomfort which wait upon di-
gestion, what need to tell their number? Plutarch (b. ca. a.d. 50, d. ca. 120) was roughly
contemporaneous with the paintings of the Caupona of the Seven Sages.
60. Neudecker, Pracht der Latrine, 35.
61. Calza, Sieben Weisen in Ostia, 11213.
62. Gmez-Pallars, Carmina Latina Epigraphica, 37577, recognizes the humorous con-
tent of both images and texts in his analysis, as does Mols, Sette Sapienti, 9192, who
proposes that the paintings parody the elites self-representation as intellectuals in sculp-
tural ensembles.
31 2

NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 7 2 1 7 5
63. Emily Gowers, The Anatomy of Rome from Capitol to Cloaca, Journal of Roman Stud-
ies 85 (1995): 2332, for how Roman authors related the citys sewers to human excre-
ment literally and metaphorically; Stallybrass and White, Transgression, 12548, on sew-
ers in nineteenth-century London and Paris.
64. Alex Scobie, Slums, Sanitation, and Mortality in the Roman World, Klio 68 (1986): 429.
65. It is clear that ancient Romans also wished the gods to protect them and bring them
fullment in sexual acts. A painting of Priapus oversees the Lupanar (whorehouse) at
Pompeii (Clarke, Looking at Lovemaking, 199200), and a painting of an owl overlooks
the three scenes of copulation in the cooks bedroom in the House of the Vettii (Clarke,
Looking at Lovemaking, 174).
66. Naples, inv. 112285; discussed in Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 40, 59, 29697,
cat. L. 106, pl. 10, 1, and Neudecker, Pracht der Latrine, 24, pl. g. 5.
67. Neudecker, Pracht der Latrine, 56, 108, 162, no. 74.
68. Neudecker, Pracht der Latrine, chart, g. 72, and catalogue, 15767; Ann Olga Koloski-
Ostrow, Cacator cave malum: The Subject and Object of Roman Public Latrines in Italy
during the First Centuries b.c. and a.d., in Cura Aquarum in Sicilia. Proceedings of
the Tenth International Congress on the History of Water Management and Hydraulic
Engineering in the Mediterranean Region, ed. Gemma C. M. Jansen Bulletin Antieke
Beschaving, suppl. 6 (Leiden, 2000), 28995, points out that many latrines were less
than luxurious and hygienic.
69. I wish to thank Michael Thomas and Michael Larvey for their help in analyzing the con-
struction of the original caupona.
70. Giovanni Becatti, in Scavi di Ostia: Topograa generale, ed. Guido Calza (Rome, 1953)
1:126, 147; see also Carlo Pavolini, Ostia (Rome, 1983), 13237.
71. Petronius, Satyricon 47, trans. William Arrowsmith (Ann Arbor, 1959); Peter Toohey,
Trimalchios Constipation: Periodizing Madness, Eros, and Time, in Inventing Ancient
Culture: Historicism, Periodization, and the Ancient World, ed. Mark Golden and Peter
Toohey (New York, 1997), 5065.
72. But note the cautions against generalizing the luxury and social function of the public
latrine in Ann Koloski-Ostrow, Finding Social Meaning in the Public Latrines of Pom-
peii, in Cura Aquarum in Campania, Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress
on the History of Water Management and Hydraulic Engineering in the Mediterranean
Region, ed. Nathalie de Haan and Gemma C. M. Jansen, Bulletin Antieke Beschaving,
suppl. 4 (Leiden, 1996), 7986.
73. Gemma C. M. Jansen, Water Systems and Sanitation in the Houses of Herculaneum,
Mededeelingen van het Nederlands Instituut te Rome 50 (1991): 14547, has identied sixty-
two private toilets at Herculaneum, but these were cesspit latrines, not continual ush
74. Scobie, Slums, Sanitation, and Mortality, 42930, on the modern need to have pri-
vacy for defecation and sexual intercoursewhat he calls the sex-elimination amal-
gam; see also Alexander Kira, Privacy and the Bathroom, in Environmental Psychol-
ogy, ed. Harold M. Proshansky (New York, 1970), 26975; Barry Schwartz, The Social
Psychology of Privacy, American Journal of Sociology 73 (1968): 749; Norbert Elias, His-
tory of Manners (New York, 1982), passim.
NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 7 5 1 7 8

31 3
75. The closest visual parallels are in the gures of the seated Sages in a mosaic from Mrida
(Augusta Emerita), Spain, and dated to a.d. 35060: Jos Mara Martnez, Museo na-
cional de arte romano (Mrida, 1988), 58; Marie-Henriette Quet, Banquet des Sept Sages
et sagesse dHomre: La mosaque des Sept Sages de Mrida, Bulletin de liaison de la
Socit des amis de la Bibliothque Salomon Reinach 5 (1987): 4755.
76. Mols, Sette Sapienti, 9192.
77. Herms with the typical sayings of the Sages found at the Villa of Brutus near Rome:
Gisela Richter, The Portraits of the Greeks (London, 1965), 1, g. 329; the sayings of all
the Sages accompany their portrait busts in the mosaic of the Seven Sages from Baal-
bek, Lebanon (a.d. 250300): Maurice H. Chhab, Le Banquet des Sept Sages, Bul-
letin du Muse de Beyrouth 1415 (195859): 3649; Socrates appears with the Seven Sages
in a mosaic from Apamea, Syria, dated to the midfourth century a.d.: Jeanine Balty,
Mosaques antiques de Syrie (Brussels, 1977), 7879.
78. William V. Harris, Ancient Literacy (Cambridge, Mass., 1989), proposes that only 510
percent of Romans could read and write in this period; for a more optimistic assess-
ment based on the study of electoral notices at Pompeii, see essays in Literacy in the Ro-
man World, ed. John H. Humphrey (Ann Arbor, 1991), esp. Nicholas Horsfall, Statis-
tics or States of Mind? 5976; James Franklin, Jr., Literacy and the Parietal Inscriptions
of Pompeii, 7798; Mireille Corbier, Lcriture en qute de lecteurs, 99118; see also
Stephen L. Dyson, Community and Society in Roman Italy (Baltimore, 1992), 19092.
79. Calza, Sieben Weisen, 104: Man wrde sagen, ein distinguiertes Lokal, nicht fr Last-
trger und Fischer des Hafenviertels, sondern fr ein weniger einfaches, gebildeteres
Publikum, fr eine Gesellschaft von Genieern, die Sinn hatten fr den Spott und frechen
Witz der Gemlde und darber zu lachen verstanden; eine Kneipe nicht fr alle, son-
dern exklusiv und besucht von den Bohemiens der Zeit. (One might say that this was
a distinguished pub, not for the porters and shermen of the harbor quarter, but for a
less simple, more cultivated public, for a community of bon vivants who had a taste for
the irony and the impertinent wit of the paintings and knew how to laugh about them;
a tavern not for all, but an exclusive one sought out by the bohemians of the period.)
80. Giancarlo Susini, Spelling Out Along the Road: Anthropology of the Ancient Reader,
or Rather, the Roman Reader, Alma Mater Studiorum 1, 1 (1988): 124; Michael Koort-
bojian, In commemorationem mortuorum: Text and Image Along the Streets of Tombs,
in Art and Text in Roman Culture, ed. Jas Elsner (Cambridge, 1996), 21033.
1. Henner von Hesberg and Paul Zanker, eds., Rmische Grberstraen: Selbstdarstellung,
Status, Standard, Kolloquium in Mnchen vom 28. bis 30. Oktober 1985 (Munich, 1987).
2. Parentalia: Ovid, Fasti 2.533 .; Lemuria: Ovid, Fasti 5.419 .
3. Ovid, Fasti 2.5.33370; Varro, De Lingua Latina 6.13; Jocelyn M. C. Toynbee, Death and
Burial in the Roman World (Ithaca, 1971), 51, 6264; Keith Hopkins, Death and Renewal
(Cambridge, 1983), 233.
4. Arnobius 7.20; they also oered various fruits, bread, salt, and eggs: Juvenal 5.84.
31 4

NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 7 8 1 8 2
5. Russell Meiggs, Roman Ostia (2nd ed., Oxford, 1973), 46061.
6. Two cippi (stone markers) from Pompeii with identical inscriptions, one at the Vesu-
vius Gate, the other at the Nucercia Gate, reveal the citys recourse to the emperor Ves-
pasian to remove encroachments on the pomerium: By the authority of the emperor
Caesar Vespasian Augustus, the tribune Titus Suedius Clemens, after an investigation
and having checked the measurements, restored the public property occupied by pri-
vate persons to the public administration of Pompeii. Ex auctoritate imp(eratoris) Cae-
saris Vespasiani Aug(usti) loca publica a privatis possessa T. Suedius Clemens tribunus cau-
sis cognitis et mensuris factis rei publicae Pompeianorum restituit. CIL 10:1018; de Vos and
de Vos, Pompei Ercolano Stabia, 15456, 178.
7. Purcell, Tomb and Suburb, 2541; Petersen, Questioning Roman Freedman Art,
8. Valentin Kockel, Die Grabbauten vor dem Herkulaner Tor in Pompeji (Mainz, 1983), 1543.
9. Hospes paullisper morare / si non est molestum et quid evites/ cognosce. Amicum
hunc quem speraveram mi esse abeo mihi accusato / res subiecti et iudicia instaurata
deis / gratias ago et meae innocentiae omni / molestia liberatus sum; qui nostrum men-
titur / eum nec di penates nec inferi recipiant. Tomb 23 Southwest: Stefano De Caro,
23 OS, in Antonio DAmbrosio and Stefano De Caro, Un impegno per Pompei: Foto-
piano e documentazione della necropoli di Porta Nocera (Milan, 1983), n.p. The tomb was
excavated in 1954. For the legal aspects of the inscription, see Pio Ciprotti, Studia et do-
cumenta historiae et iuris (1963), 29, 27980.
10. Susini, Spelling Out Along the Road, 124; Koortbojian, Text and Image along the
Streets of Tombs, 21033.
11. Kockel, Grabbauten, 1045.
12. Naevoleia L. l. Tyche sibi et C. Munatio Fausto Aug(ustali) et pagano, cui decuriones con-
sensu populi bisellium ob merita eius decreverunt. Hoc monumentum Naevoleia Tyche liber-
tis suis libertabusque et C. Munati Fausti viva fecit. CIL 10:1030.
13. Kockel, Grabbauten, 107.
14. Zimmer, Rmische Berufsdarstellungen, 209, cat. no. 157, argues that the man at the rud-
der is C. Munatius Faustus.
15. C(aius) Munatius Faustus / Augustal(is) et pagan(us), D(ecurionum d(ecreto), sibi et /
Naevolaeiae Tyche coniugi. Gaius Munatius Faustus, augustalis and paganus, (erected this
tomb) for himself and his wife, Naevoleia Tyche, by decree of the decurions. De Caro,
9 ES, in DAmbrosio and De Caro, Necropoli di Porta Nocera, n.p.
16. Mamia, priestess of the cult of Venus in the Augustan period, built Pompeiis Temple
of the Genius of Augustus along the east side of the Forum; her schola tomb next to the
Herculaneum gate underscores her importance: M[a]mia P(ublii) f (iliae) sacerdoti pub-
licae locus sepultur(ae) datus decurionum decreto (To Mamia, daughter of Publius, public
priestess, this burial place was given by decree of the decurions). CIL 10:998; Kockel,
Grabbauten, 5759. Mamias contemporary, Eumachia, also a priestess of Venus, built
the enormous multiuse edice at the southeast corner of the Forum next to Mamias
temple. Eumachias tomb in the necropolis of the Nucerian Gate, the largest in Pom-
peii, bears a simple inscription on two plaques at either side of the enclosure wall. The
one to the left reads: EVMACHIA / L F (Eumachia Daughter of Lucius); that on the
NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 8 2 1 8 5

31 5
right: SIBI ET SVIS (For herself and her familia). See De Caro, 11 OS, in DAm-
brosio and De Caro, Necropoli di Porta Nocera, n.p.; on the benefactions of Mamia and
Eumachia, see Margaret Woodhull, Building Power: Women as Architectural Patrons
During the Early Roman Empire, 30 bce54 ce, (Ph.D. diss., University of Texas at
Austin, 1999), 13193.
17. Petronius, Satyricon 71, trans. William Arrowsmith (Ann Arbor, 1959), 7072; John
Bodel, The Cena Trimalchionis, in Latin Fiction: The Latin Novel in Context, ed. Heinz
Homann (London, 1999), 3851, reconstruction of Trimalchios epitaph, g. 2.1.
18. DArms, Commerce and Social Standing, 97120; Jean Andreau, The Freedman, in The
Romans, ed. Andrea Giardina, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (Chicago, 1993), 17598.
19. In what follows I draw heavily on the denitive modern publication, Stephan T.A.M.
Mols and Eric M. Moormann, Ex parvo crevit: Proposta per una lettura iconograca
della Tomba di Vestorius Priscus fuori Porta Vesuvio a Pompei, Rivista di Studi Pom-
peiani 6 (199394): 1552, bibl. 4950, n. 1.
20. G. Spano, Pompei: Relazione degli scavi eseguiti negli anni 1908 e 1909, Notizie degli
Scavi (1910), 402, not yet published in the CIL.
21. This is the conclusion of Mols and Moormann, Tomba di Vestorius Priscus, 38, with
full consideration of the epigraphical and prosopographical evidence.
22. Jean Andreau, La vie nancire dans le monde romain (Rome, 1987), 336; Iiro Kajanto,
The Latin Cognomina (Rome, 1982), 2231, 71, 288.
23. Mols and Moormann, Tomba di Vestorius Priscus, 1920.
24. Mols and Moormann, Tomba di Vestorius Priscus, 22, gs. 1415.
25. Wooden partitions were found in Herculaneum, in the House of the Wooden Partition:
Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum (Princeton,
1994), g. 4.12.
26. G. Spano, La tomba delledile C. Vestorio Prisco in Pompei, Memorie. Atti della Ac-
cademia nazionale dei Lincei, Classe di scienze morali, storiche e lologiche 7, 3 (1943): 276;
against which Mols and Moormann, Tomba di Vestorius Priscus, 41.
27. For the signicance of funeral banquets, see F. Ghedini, Ragurazioni conviviali nei
monumenti funerari romani, Rivista di Archeologia 14 (1990): 3562.
28. Mols and Moormann, Tomba di Vestorius Priscus, 28, n. 22, gs. 20b, 20c.
29. I base my chart on the entries on Pygmies in Irene Bragantini, Mariette de Vos, and
Franca Parise Badoni, Pitture e pavimenti di Pompei, Repertorio delle fotograe del Gabi-
netto Fotograco Nazionale, Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione, 4
vols. (Rome, 198192); for a synoptic table for Nile landscapes, gardens, and paradeisoi
of all structures at Pompeii, including the Tomb of Vestorius Priscus, see Arnold and
Mariette de Vos, Die Wanddekorationen der Stabianer Thermen, in Hans Eschebach,
Die Stabianer Thermen in Pompeji (Berlin, 1979), 92; see also discussion in P.G.P. Mey-
boom, The Nile Mosaic of Palestrina: Early Evidence of Egyptian Religion in Italy (Leiden,
1995), 8283.
30. House of the Sculptor: Amedeo Maiuri, Una nuova pittura nilotica a Pompei, Me-
morie, Accademia nazionale dei Lincei 7, series 8a (1956): 6580; Bragantini, de Vos, and
Parise Badoni, Pitture e pavimenti di Pompei, 3: 36970; Valeria Sampaolo, VIII 7, 24:
Casa dello Scultore, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici 8 (Rome, 1998), 71831. House of Ma. Cas-
31 6

NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 8 6 1 9 2
tricius: I. Sgobbo, Un complesso di edici sannitici e i quartieri di Pompei per la prima
volta riconosciuti, Memorie, Accademia nazionale di Napoli 6 (1942): 2341; Bragantini,
de Vos, and Parise Badoni, Pitture e pavimenti di Pompei, 3:25253; Irene Bragantini, VI
16 (Ins. Occ.), 17: Casa di Ma. Castricius, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici 7 (Rome, 1997),
31. Mariette de Vos, I 6, 15: Casa dei Ceii, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici 1 (Rome, 1990), gs.
32. Arnold de Vos, I 7, 11: Casa dellEfebo o di P. Cornelius Tages, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici
1 (Rome, 1990), gs. 16587.
33. Spano, Vestorio Prisco in Pompei, 280, 284; J.-M. Dentzer, La tombe de C. Vesto-
rius dans la tradition de la peinture italique, Mlanges de lEcole franaise de Rome, An-
tiquit 74 (1962): 549; Felletti Maj, Tradizione italica, 328, and Ghedini, Ragurazioni
conviviali, 4853, see the banquet as a funeral celebration; E. Jastrzebowska, Les scnes
de banquet dans les peintures et sculptures chrtiennes des IIIe et IVe sicles, Re-
cherches augustiniennes 14 (1979): 390, sees it as a scene of everyday life, as do C. Com-
postella, Banchetti pubblici e banchetti funebri nelliconograa funeraria romana,
Mlanges de lEcole franaise de Rome, Antiquit 104 (1992): 681, 689, and Frhlich,
Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 180, 227.
34. John H. DArms, Performing Culture: Roman Spectacle and the Banquets of the Pow-
erful, in The Art of Ancient Spectacle, Studies in the History of Art 56, Symposium Pa-
pers 34, ed. Bettina Bergmann and Christine Kondoleon (New Haven, 1999), 31112.
35. For the terms of this debate, see the discussion in Mols and Moormann, Tomba di Vesto-
rius Priscus, 4142, with extensive bibl.
36. Cbe, Caricature, 350. The shitting Pygmy in the frigidarium of the Sarno Baths (VIII,
2, 1721) may also be apotropaic: Valeria Sampaolo, VIII 2, 1721: Complesso a sei
piani delle Terme del Sarno, Pompei: Pitture e mosaici 8 (Rome, 1998), 110, g. 26.
37. Goredo Bendinelli, Le pitture del colombario di Villa Pamli, Monumenti della pittura
scoperti in Italia, vol. 3, Roma, fasc. 5 (Rome, 1941); Roger Ling, The Paintings of the
Columbarium of Villa Doria Pamphili in Rome, in Functional and Spatial Analysis of
Wall Painting, Proceedings of the Fifth International Congress on Ancient Wall Paint-
ing, ed. Eric M. Moormann, Bulletin Antieke Beschaving, suppl. 3 (Amsterdam, 1993),
12735, with current bibl.
38. King, Dancers in the Columbarium of Villa Doria-Pamphili, 7780, proposes that they
represent erotic dances at the crossroads, or compita.
39. De Vos, Casa dellEfebo, gs. 18687.
40. M. W. Dickie and Katherine M. D. Dunbabin, Invidia rumpantur pectora: The Iconog-
raphy of Phthonos/Invidia in Graeco-Roman Art, Jahrbuch fr Antike und Christentum
26 (1983): 1011. There is a vast literature on the Evil Eye in all periods and societies:
see Thomas Rakoczy, Bser Blick: Macht des Auges und Neid der Gtter: Eine Untersuchung
zur Kraft des Blickes in der griechischen Literatur (Tbingen, 1996); Pierre Bettez Gravel,
The Malevolent Eye: An Essay on the Evil Eye, Fertility and the Concept of Mana (New York,
1995); Alan Dundes, ed., The Evil Eye: A Folklore Casebook (Madison, 1981).
41. Carlin A. Barton, The Sorrows of the Ancient Romans: The Gladiator and the Monster
(Princeton, 1993), 17172: There were places and points of passage where one was es-
NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 9 2 1 9 5

31 7
pecially vulnerable: corners, bridges, baths, doorways. The liminal areas were highly
charged, dangerous.
42. John R. Clarke, Hypersexual Black Men in Augustan Baths: Ideal Somatotypes and
Apotropaic Magic, in Sexuality in Ancient Art, ed. Natalie B. Kampen (Cambridge, 1996),
18498; Clarke, Looking at Lovemaking, 11942; Nathalie de Haan, Nam nihil melius
esse quam sine turba lavari: Privatbder in den Vesuvstdten, Mededeelingen van het Ne-
derlands Instituut te Rome 56 (1997): 215.
43. John R. Clarke, Look Whos Laughing at Sex: Men and Women Viewers in the Apody-
terium of the Suburban Baths at Pompeii, in The Roman Gaze, ed. David Fredrick
(Baltimore, 2002), 14981. Luciana Jacobelli, Le pitture erotiche delle Terme Suburbane
di Pompei (Rome, 1995), 98102, and Clarke, Looking at Lovemaking, 21240, inter-
pret the paintings as simply humorous, without references to their possible apotropaic
44. Meyboom, Nile Mosaic of Palestrina, appendix 13, Pygmies and Dwarfs in Nilotic Scenes,
15054, stresses that Pygmies and dwarfs were associated with the god Ptah, giving them
apotropaic powers, and with Bes, god of fertility: they represent revelry and luxury
45. Spano, Tomba di Vestorio Prisco, 289, 292; Lawrence J. Richardson, Jr., The Tribunals
of the Praetors in Rome, Rmische Mitteilungen 80 (1973): 221; Lawrence J. Richardson,
Jr., Pompeii: An Architectural History (Baltimore, 1988), 97, n. 8; Fausto Zevi, Larte popo-
lare, in La pittura di Pompei, ed. Maria Giuseppina Cerulli Irelli (Milan, 1991), 270.
46. Frhlich, Lararien- und Fassadenbilder, 22829; Thomas Schfer, Die Honor Biselli,
Rmische Mitteilungen 97 (1990): 331; Schfer, Imperia insignia, 389, where he describes
the scene as cura and liberalitas; Compostella, Banchetti pubblici, 681.
47. Mols and Moormann, Tomba di Vestorius Priscus, 46.
48. Amedeo Maiuri, La Casa del Menandro e il suo tesoro di argenteria (Rome, 1933), 1:33234,
g. 129; see also Ernst Knzl, Le argenterie, in Pompei 79, ed. Fausto Zevi (Naples,
1979), 22128.
49. Spano, Tomba di Vestorio Prisco, 272.
50. Bianchi Bandinelli, Rome: Center of Power, 4143, g. 45; Zanker, Villa als Vorbild, 519;
Stefano De Caro, Zwei Gattungen der pompejanischen Wandmalerei: Stilleben und
Gartenmalerei, in Pompejanische Wandmalerei, ed. Maria Giuseppina Cerulli Irelli et
al. (Zurich, 1990), 268; Zevi, Volkstmliche Kunst, 277. John Tamm, Argentum Po-
torium in Romano-Campanian Wall-Painting (Ph.D. diss., McMaster University, 2001),
has compared this painting of the silver service with extant pieces, demonstrating that
the painter was not closely copying extant pieces, whether earlier or contemporary; some
pieces have no parallels at all. The Priscus service is eclectic, combining realistic ele-
ments to make an unrealistic whole rather than constituting an exact record of a real-
world silver service.
51. Clarke, Houses of Roman Italy, 16263, with bibl. n. 53; Eric M. Moormann and W. J. Th.
Peters, Le decorazioni di IV stile, in La Casa di Marcus Lucretius Fronto a Pompei e le
sue pitture, ed. W. J. Th. Peters (Amsterdam, 1993), 34049.
52. Shelby Brown, Death as Decoration: Scenes from the Arena on Roman Domestic Mo-
31 8

NOT E S T O P AGE S 1 9 5 2 01
saics, in Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome, ed. Amy Richlin (New York,
1992), 180211.
53. Corbeill, Pollex as Index, 1011. There is a parallel scene of fallen shield and gladia-
tor raising his index nger on the relief of Storax from Chieti: see p. 146, g. 85, center.
54. Georges Ville, La gladiature en occident des origines la mort de Domitien, Bibliothque
des Ecoles franaises dAthnes et de Rome, fasc. 245 (Rome, 1981), 11618, 15859,
55. A much more extensive cycle of gladiatorial paintings decorated the so-called Tomb of
Umbricius Scaurus in the necropolis of the Herculaneum Gate, again without any proof
that the occupant (actually N. Festius Ampliatus) even produced the munera. See Kockel,
Grabbauten, 7585, pls. 1821.
56. Britt Haarlov, The Half-Open Door: A Common Symbolic Motif within Roman Sepulchral
Sculpture (Odense, 1977).
57. Mols and Moormann, Vestorius Priscus, 46, n. 89.
58. Sampaolo, Villa di Iulia Felix, 293.
59. Zanker, Villa als Vorbild; Zanker, Pompeii, 135203; Paul Zanker, Pompeji: Stadtbilder
als Spiegel von Gesellschaft und Herrschaftsform (Mainz, 1988), 4142.
60. For an earlier version of this interpretation of the Tomb of Apella and Isola Sacra, tomb
16, see John R. Clarke, Sex, Death, and Status: Nilotic Tomb Imagery, Apotropaic Magic,
and Freedman Acculturation, in Actes du VII
Colloque de lAssociation Internationale
pour la Peinture Murale Romaine, ed. Alix Barbet (Paris, 2001), 8591.
61. Maria Floriani Squarciapino, La necropoli lungo la via Laurentina, in Scavi di Ostia,
ed. Maria Floriani Squarciapino (Rome, 1958), 3:95.
62. C(aius) Iulius C(ai) (Iuli) et L(uci) Sertori l(ibertus) Apell(a), / Iulia C(ai) l(iberta) Aphro-
disia, / Iulia C(ai) et (mulieris) l(iberta) Eleutheris, / C(aius) Iulius C(ai) et (mulieris) l(iber-
tus) Latinus, / Iulia (mulieris) l(iberta) Sabbatis (Gaius Iulius Apella, freedman of Gaius
Iulius and Lucius Sertorius; Iulia Aphrodisia [his wife], freedwoman of Gaius; Iulia
Eleuthereis, freedwoman of Gaius and his wife; Gaius Iulius Latinus, freedman of Gaius
and his wife; and Iulia Sabbatis, freedwoman of his wife).
63. C(aius) Iulius C(ai) (Iuli) et L(uci) Sertori l(eibertus) Apella / sepulchrum inferundi hu-
mandi leiberteis / leibertabusque sueis et leibertorum leiberteis / et C(aio) Iulio Cissi l(ei-
berto) Pamphilo mensori et A(ulo) Terentio / A(uli) l(eiberto) Nicomedi dat. / Seiquis lei-
bertorum meorum conleibertum / suom aut eorum quem quei s(upra) s(cripti) s(unt) inferri
prohibuerit / ei ipsi qui prohibuerit eo inferundei ius / potestasque ne esto (Gaius Iulius Apella,
freedman of Gaius Iulius and Lucius Sertorius, provides this tomb for the burial of his
freedmen and freedwomen and for their freedmen and freedwomen and for Gaius Iulius
Pamphilus, the mensor, freedman of Cissius and for Aulus Terentius Nicomedes, freed-
man of Aulus. If anyone should prohibit the burial of my freedmen and their freedmen
whose names are written above, for the one who shall have prohibited, let there be no
right or power of burial here. I thank Andrew Riggsby for this translation.
64. G. Barbieri, Le iscrizioni delle necropoli, in Scavi di Ostia, ed. Maria Floriani Squar-
ciapino (Rome, 1958), 3:15051.
65. Squarciapino, Necropoli lungo la via Laurentina, g. 44 and pls. 1315; Harald
NOT E S T O P AGE S 2 01 2 03

31 9
Mielsch, Die Rmische Stuckreliefs, Rmische Mitteilungen, suppl. 21 (Heidelberg, 1975),
2526, 115, K 11.
66. Squarciapino, Necropoli lungo la via Laurentina, 88; Mielsch, Rmische Stuckreliefs,
155, K 11, dates them 2010 b.c.
67. Hendrik G. Beyen, Les domini de la Villa de la Farnesine, Studia varia Carolo Guilielmo
Vollgra a discipulis oblata (Amsterdam, 1948), 321, attributes the villa to Agrippa and
Julia, followed by Peter von Blanckenhagen and Christine Alexander, The Paintings from
Boscotrecase, Rmische Mitteilungen, supplement 6 (1962), 60, but Frdric Bastet and
Mariette de Vos, Proposta per una classicazione del terzo stile pompeiano, Archeologische
Studin van het Nederlands Instituut te Rome 4 (The Hague, 1979), 89, question the
date of the closely related Villa of Agrippa at Boscotrecase, and Robert B. Lloyd, The
Aqua Virgo, Euripus, and Pons Agrippa, American Journal of Archaeology 83 (1979):
193204, attributes the Villa under the Farnesina to A. Crispinus Caepio.
68. Squarciapino dated the niche-painting of the priestess of Isis to 50 a.d. Its Egyptian
subject matter, however, relates it to the Nilotic part of the double frieze from the walls
of enclosure 22 (plate 16), dated by Calza and Borda to about 150 on the basis of style:
Guido Calza, Ostia: Sepolcreto lungo la via Laurentina, Notizie degli Scavi (1938): 62;
Maurizio Borda, La pittura romana (Milan, 1958), 285. Since both the columbarium, 18,
and the enclosure, 22, belonged to the same owner, and since they share their Egyptian
subject matter and are equally styleless, it is likely that the two paintings also date to
the same period. I propose a date of a.d. 150 for both.
69. A well dating from the period after a.d. 150 cuts through this couch. Around that time
the raising of the Laurentine Road by some two meters caused all the tombs to be lled
in; new tombs were erected at the higher level.
70. Bernard Andreae, in Wolfgang Helbig, Fhrer durch die entlichen Sammlungen klas-
sischer Altertmer in Rom, ed. Hermine Speier (4th ed., Tbingen, 1972), 4:14647, no.
71. Giovanni Becatti, Rilievo con la nascita di Dioniso e aspetti mistici di Ostia pagana,
Bollettino dArte 36 (1951): 12.
72. Becatti, Aspetti mistici, 1213, attempts to push further for this image, however, con-
necting it with the neo-Pythagorean ight from violence, killing, and bloodshed, and
wonders whether it might symbolize the opposite of the pure unity and indestructibil-
ity of the eternal monad. He then muses that the accompanying Pygmy frieze below
could be considered a symbol of the battle against the anti-Dionysiac element, repre-
sented by the ducks and by the crocodile.
73. Katherine M. D. Dunbabin, Sic Erimus Cuncti . . . : The Skeleton in Graeco-Roman Art,
Jahrbuch des deutschen archologischen Instituts 101 (1986): 185212.
74. Guido Calza, Necropoli del porto di Roma nellIsola Sacra (Rome, 1940); Carlo Pavolini,
Ostia, Guide archeologiche Laterza 8 (Rome, 1983), 25874.
75. For the development of the group of tombs around tomb 16, see Ida Baldassare, La
necropoli dellIsola Sacra, in Rmische Grberstrassen: Selbstdarstellung, Status, Standard,
ed. Henner von Hesberg and Paul Zanker (Munich, 1987), 133, g. 29.
76. Calza, Isola Sacra, 17273; Becatti, I mosaici, 3067.
77. Becatti, I mosaici, 308.

NOT E S T O P AGE S 2 04 2 1 0
78. Herbert A. Cahn, Oceanus, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, 8:914; for
sea creatures as symbols of immortality, see Karl Schefold, Die Bedeutung der kreti-
schen Meerbilder, Antike Kunst 1 (1958): 5.
79. Calza, Isola Sacra, g. 56.
80. Calza, Isola Sacra, gs. 5758.
81. In Isola Sacra tomb 26 there is a Nilotic scene in a burial recess: Calza, Isola Sacra, 150,
color pl. 152, pl. 5; Meiggs, Roman Ostia, pl. 35.
82. The Romans may have inherited the belief in the apotropaic value of images of defeca-
tion and sexual coupling from the Etruscans. R. Ross Holloway, The Bulls in the Tomb
of the Bulls at Tarquinia, American Journal of Archaeology 90 (1986): 449, n. 14, points
out that the shitting man in the Tomb of the Jugglers is an apotropaion (illustrated in
Mario Moretti, Nuovi monumenti della pittura etrusca [Milan, 1966], pl. 26); with good
reason Holloway, 44849, also interprets the two sexual couplings (one male-male, the
other male-female) in the Tomb of the Bulls as apotropaic, as does Larissa Bonfante,
Etruscan Sexuality and Funerary Art, in Sexuality in Ancient Art, ed. Natalie B. Kampen
(New York, 1996), 15569, who provides an up-to-date survey with bibliography.
83. For example, Ling, Columbarium of Villa Doria Pamphili, 12735, asserts that the ex-
tensive Pygmy motifs have no particular meaning.
84. Clarke, Roman Black-and-White Figural Mosaics, 58.
85. John R. Clarke, Mosaic Workshops at Pompeii and Ostia Antica, in Fifth International
Colloquium on Ancient Mosaics (Bath, England, September 512, 1987), ed. Peter John-
son, Roger Ling, and David J. Smith (Ann Arbor, 1994): 89102.
86. The ongoing corpus of ancient Roman sarcophagi, Die Antiken Sarcophagreliefs, begun
in 1870, generally devotes a volume to each standard iconographical motif. See Akten
des Symposiums 125 Jahre Sarkophag-Corpus, Marburg, 47 October 1995, ed. Guntram
Koch (Mainz, 1998).
87. Jane K. Whitehead, Biography and Formula in Roman Sarcophagi (Ph.D. dissertation,
Yale University, 1984); Hanns Gabelmann, Die Werkstattgruppen der oberitalischen
Sarkophage (Bonn, 1973).
88. Rome, Museo Nazionale Romano, inv. 184, H 0.50, W 1.86, D 0.55 m. The sarcophagus
was found out of place in the area in front of the present museum at Ostia. See Silvia Al-
legra Dayan, Luisa Musso, and Paola Lombardi, Sarcofago di T. Flavius Trophimas con
ragurazione di artigiani, Museo Nazionale Romano, vol. 1, pt. 2, Le sculture (Rome, 1981),
14850 with bibl.; Zimmer, Rmische Berufsdarstellungen, 13233, cat. no. 47.
89. My translation. The Greek text:
G. Kaibel, Inscriptiones Graecae, vol. 14, no. 929
90. Lombardi, Sarcofago di Trophimas, 150.
NOT E S T O P AGE S 2 1 0 2 1 6

91. In a famous epitaph of the late second century a.d., Allius, the patronus, fondly memo-
rializes Allia Potestas, whom he shared sexually with another man. Allius writes: She
while she lived so managed her two lovers / That they became like the model of Py-
lades and Orestes. / One home contained them and there was one spirit between them.
See Nicholas Horsfall, CIL VI 37965 = CLE 1988 (Epitaph of Allia Potestas): A Com-
mentary, Zeitschrift fr Papyrologie und Epigraphik 61 (1985): 26567; with examples
of other mnages, 266.
92. For this term see Louis Robert, review of Monumenta Asiae Minoris Antiqua, vol. 8, in
Hellenica 13 (1965): 5657, and Luigi Moretti, Nuovi epigrammi greci di Roma, Epi-
graphica 37 (1975): 69.
93. Most recently Musso, Sarcofago di Trophimas, 14950.
94. Andreae, in Helbig, Fhrer durch die entlichen Sammlungen 3:317.
95. Vatican Museums, octagonal courtyard, inv. 137; Bartolomeo Nogara, I mosaici antichi
conservati nei palazzi pontici del Vaticano e del Laterano (Milan, 1910), 67, pl. 9, 5;
Marion E. Blake, Roman Mosaics of the Second Century in Italy, Memoirs of the Amer-
ican Academy in Rome 13 (1936): 17475, pl. 42, 6; Gnter Fleischhauer, Etrurien und
Rom, Musikgeschichte in Bildern (Leipzig, 1954), 2:124, g. 71; Klaus E. Werner, Die
Sammlung antiker Mosaiken in der Vatikanischen Museen (Rome, 1998), 4354, where
the illustration of the mosaic is printed in reverse.
96. Nogara, I mosaici, sees it as an awning or an outdoor pergola; for the sigma couch, see
Katherine M. D. Dunbabin, Triclinium and Stibadium, in Dining in a Classical Con-
text, ed. William J. Slater (Ann Arbor, 1991), 12148.
97. E. Fernique, Crotalum, in Dictionnaire des antiquits grecques et romaines, ed. Charles
Daremberg and Edmond Saglio, vol. 1, 2 (Paris, 18731919), 1571.
98. Rome, National Museum, inv. 77255, W 1.12 H 0.50 m, ca. a.d. 100. Roberto Paribeni,
Ariccia: Rilievo con scene egizie, Notizie degli Scavi (1919): 10612, with pl., 107; Katja
Lembke, Das Iseum Campense in Rom: Studien ber den Isiskult unter Domitian (Hei-
delberg, 1994), cat. no. 1, 17476, pl. 3, 1, with bibl.
99. An alternative interpretation would make the man in the diaphanous dress a trans-
vestite Psyche, a representation common to several third- and early fourth-century sar-
cophagi. See Lszl Berczelly, The Soul After Death: A New Interpretation of the For-
tunati Sarcophagus, Acta ad archeologiam et artium historiam pertinentia 6 (1987):
5990. I thank Anthony Corbeill for this reference.
100. For an insightful study of the use of myth and metaphor on Roman sarcophagi, see
Michael Koortbojian, Myth, Meaning, and Memory in Roman Sarcophagi (Berkeley, 1995).
101. The inscription reads, in English:
Lucius Atilius Artemas
[ for . . . ]a and Claudia Apphias his partner
. . . as he/she has done no harm to anyone
. . . and nothing irreverent to the gods and as they alone (feminine)
. . . have accomplished all which will remain indelible forever
As a matter of fact, the greatest ones were more capable and could do no more than
the old ones, not . . .
. . . not Osiris, who showed profuse as rst of all fruits

NOT E S T O P AGE S 2 1 6 2 1 9
to the people, not Dionysus, who made war on the Indians, not Ch[ . . .
. . . not are comparable . . . ager, who killed many people . . . ]ades, not the
impiety of Klytemnestra to Agamemnon
. . . not . . . Ios of Pyrrhos [son of Pynlios] to Polyphemos, not . . .
. . . not the piety [of Penelope toward Odysseus] not the love of Thisbe and
[Pyramus . . . not]
. . . [not] authority [of the great kings], not of King Cyrus.
I thank Eric Moormann for help with this translation. The original text is from G. Kaibel,
Inscriptiones Graecae, vol. 14, no. 929:
. . - c ` c o ,] . p - [ o ,
]o oc K`ooc o .[-]Acooc c[3c o
o -c oo : o -oc, -po ,] o o :o -c (i.e. -c) - -po-oc o [:opo -o:
o o o c3, o o]: -[p]o , -o , oo , oc o -c o [:oc
cpoc :oc] c cc : o oc c , o :o: ( i.e. oco :o) co[:-oc
o :(c -`o
o o p c(o: o o : -o : o poco: oc po-cc]-oc po-co: -cc[- oco:, o
o Occpc,, o ,] -po -o, op-o , -o:-o, [o :oc(:
-oc , o :opo-oc,, o Jco :co,, o, -po , ]o, -o`c I:oo,, o X[
o o c3`-o c-c ]opo o `o, o , -o``o , o `[c:
]oo:, o K`-c-po, o c [3co -po ,
o ]o, 1 ppo -po , 1o`(::, o
o 1:`o-, -po , Oocco] c3co, o Ac`c o occ3, oc 1[poo, o
o -o : o `o: 3occ`c]o : -c cc,, o Kpo Eocc`o, [-`
102. The highest-quality work considered in this chapter is the Ariccia relief. The slab, al-
ready broken, was reused to cover a mans body. Scholarly conjecture would make him
a devotee of Isis, whom pious relatives covered with a beautifulbut brokenrelief
honoring the goddess.
1. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum (Princeton,
1994), 118.
2. Annapaola Zaccaria Ruggiu, Spazio privato e spazio pubblico nella citt romana, Collec-
tion de lEcole franaise de Rome 210 (Rome, 1995), 397409; Andrew Riggsby, Pub-
lic and Private in Roman Culture: The Case of the Cubiculum, Journal of Roman Ar-
chaeology 10 (1997): 3656.
3. Daniela Corlita Scagliarini, Spazio e decorazione nella pittura pompeiana, Palladio
2325 (197476): 344; Clarke, Houses of Roman Italy, 3277.
4. An exception is the suite of mythological paintings in the atrium of the House of the
Tragic Poet at Pompeii. See Bettina Bergmann, The Roman House as Memory The-
ater: The House of the Tragic Poet at Pompeii, Art Bulletin 76 (June 1994): 22557.
5. Karl Schefold, La peinture pompienne: essai sur lvolution de sa signication, Collection
Latomus 108 (Brussels, 1972).
NOT E S T O P AGE S 2 1 9 2 2 2

6. Zanker, Villa als Vorbild, 460523; Zanker, Pompeii, 135203.
7. Clarke, Houses of Roman Italy; David Fredrick, Beyond the Atrium to Ariadne: Erotic
Painting and Visual Pleasure in the Roman House, Classical Antiquity 14, 2 (October
1995): 26687; Bettina Bergmann, Rhythms of Recognition: Mythological Encoun-
ters in Roman Landscape Painting, in Im Spiegel des Mythos: Bilderwelt und Lebenswelt,
ed. Francesco de Angelis and Susanne Muth (Wiesbaden, 1999), 81107.
1. Martial 5.70 ridicules Maximus Syriscus for not reclining at table while indulging his
gluttony; Plutarch, Vitae Parallelae Cato Maior 56, claimed that the Younger Cato reclined
only to sleep and sat to dine in his grief over the defeat at Pharsalus.
2. Alan Booth, The Age for Reclining and Its Attendant Perils, in Dining in a Classical
Context, ed. William J. Slater (Ann Arbor, 1991), 10520.
3. Wallace-Hadrill, Houses and Society, 55: The essence of the Roman suite is that it provides
an ample context for a crowded social life, allows guests to pass in astonishment from one
ne room to another, and enables the master to hold court wherever the whim of the sea-
son or moment takes him. See also Dunbabin, Triclinium and Stibadium, 124, n. 22.
4. Stephan T.A.M. Mols, Wooden Furniture from Herculaneum: Form, Technique and Func-
tion (Amsterdam, 1999).
5. Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights 13.11.2, quotes Marcus Varro, who in his Menippean Satires
says the number of guests should be no more than the Muses (nine) and no fewer than
the Charites (three). See also Vitruvius, De architectura 6.5.6. On the invariability of hav-
ing no more than nine in the Republic and early Empire, and the changes to large din-
ing spaces in the second century and beyond, see Dunbabin, Triclinium and Stibadium,
12336. Matthew Roller notes that most paintings of convivia show two couples per
couch, and often two couches placed at right angles to each other (personal communi-
cation; see plates 1720).
6. August Mau, Convivium, Pauly-Wissowa Reallexikon, vol. 4 (1901), 12018; A. Hug.,
Triclinium, Pauly-Wissowa, vol. 7A (1948), 92101; Mols, Wooden Furniture from Her-
culaneum, demonstrates that the physical evidence corroborates textual descriptions of
the placement and form of lecti.
7. Horace, Satirae 2.8.1841.
8. Petronius Arbiter, Cena Trimalchionis, ed. Martin S. Smith (Oxford, 1975), 6667, com-
mentary on 31.8.
9. Several houses at Pompeii adopt dierent strategies, notably the House of the Tragic
Poet; see Bettina Bergmann, The Roman House as Memory Theater,22557.
10. Shadi Bartsch, Decoding the Ancient Novel: The Reader and the Role of Description in He-
liodorus and Achilles Tatius (Princeton, 1989), 813, 31, n. 13.
11. Karl Lehmann, The Imagines of Philostratus the Elder, Art Bulletin 23 (1941): 16
44; Mary Lee Thompson, Programmatic Painting in Pompeii (Ph.D. diss., New York
University, 1960); Mary Lee Thompson, The Monumental and Literary Evidence for
Programmatic Painting in Antiquity, Marsyas 9 (196061): 3677; Brilliant, Visual Nar-
ratives, 7173; Elsner, Art and the Roman Viewer, 2428.

NOT E S T O P AGE S 2 2 2 2 2 6
12. Clarke, Houses of Roman Italy, 1618; Lise Bek, Towards Paradise on Earth: Modern Space
Conception in Architecture: A Creation of Renaissance Humanism, Analecta romana Insti-
tuti danici, suppl. 9 (Rome, 1980), 194; Franz Jung, Gebaute Bilder, Antike Kunst 27
(1984): 71122.
13. For Pompeii, see P. Soprano, I triclini allaperto di Pompei, in Pompeiana (Naples,
1950), 288310; Wilhelmina Jashemski, The Gardens of Pompeii 1 (New Rochelle, 1979),
346, n. 1, listing those discovered since Soprano, a total of 56.
14. For the parallel development in the Hellenistic period of a similar standard repertory
of scenes of lovemaking, see Clarke, Looking at Lovemaking, 1955.
15. Roger Ling, Roman Painting (Cambridge, 1991), 12829, 21213, 21720, bibl. 23435.
For a collection of essays on how painting workshops functioned, and much comment
on the question of pattern-books, see Mani di pittori e botteghe pittoriche nel mondo ro-
mano: Tavola rotonda in onore di W. J. Th. Peters in occasione del suo 75.mo compleanno,
ed. Eric M. Moormann, Mededeelingen van h