My So-Called Roman Life
A. Outline: I. Introduction A. Pompeii B. Material Culture II. Garnsey and Saller A. The Privatization of Displays of Status B. The Change in the Status of Women 1. More Status 2. More Restrictions 3. Fulvia vs. Octavia III. Tour of the House of the Tragic Poet A. Roman Houses Are Divided by Status B. The Four Sections of the House: Entryways, Atrium, Tablinum, Garden C. Wall Hangings in the Atrium B. Quotes from the Tour of the House of the Tragic Poet: I. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum. The visitor...was confronted by a succession of signs...The green-and-red-clad porter, shelling peas in the entrance into a silver bowl; the golden birdcage suspended above the threshold; the startling watchdog painted by the porter's cell, followed by a biographical frieze representing the master's rise to fortune; the shrine displaying silver lares (protective spirits of the hearth), a marble Venus, and a golden box, the Homeric and gladiatorial pictures too multifarious to be taken in at once, all these were a prelude to the approach to the triclinium, where ultimately, after much further ado, the great man would greet his visitors (3). II. The Panels in the Atrium of the House of the Tragic Poet (see floorplan on reverse): Hera and Zeus Aphrodite and unrecognizable male Briseis and Achilles Helen and Paris Achilles and Agamemnon Amphitrite and Poseidon III. Bettina Bergmann, "The Roman House as Memory Theater"--Panel of Hera and Zeus: The first panel that would have been seen on the right upon entering the atrium depicts the Olympian couple Zeus and Hera on Mount Ida....Their arms entwined, Zeus persuades his modest bride to reveal her face, which she turns suggestively to the viewer. This canonical scheme, seen in a metope from Hera's fifth-century B.C. Temple at Selinus..., celebrates the liminal passage in a woman's life from invisibility to exposure, from virginity to marriage (232). IV. Bettina Bergmann, "The Roman House as Memory Theater"--Panel of Briseis and Achilles: Next on the right, the quintessential Greek hero Achilles sits before his tent and reluctantly release his concubine, Briseis, whom his friend Patroclus, seen from behind, leads off to the king of the Greeks, Agamemnon....Holding up her veil to dry a tear, Briseis also turns her glance outward (232). V. Bettina Bergmann, "The Roman House as Memory Theater"--Panel of Helen and Paris: Helen, unveiled, but like Briseis with lowered head, takes the momentous step from her homeland onto the ship that will carry her to Troy...thus completing yet another pairing of a seated male and female in transition (232). VI. Bettina Bergmann, "The Roman House as Memory Theater"--Panel of Iphigenia (garden): Removed from the peristyle was a panel showing another premature death of a woman and, as in the atrium, a decisive moment before the Trojan War...Iphigenia, in vulnerable nudity, is about to be sacrificed by her father, Agamemnon (234-35). C. Key: 1. Fauces (corridor) 9. Corridor 2. Tabernae (shops) 10. Porticoes and Perstyle 3. Atrium (central hall/ (pleasure garden) reception room) 11. Aedicular Lararium (shrine to 4. Atriensis' Room (slave/ the household gods usher in charge of atrium) 12. Possibly another cubiculum 5. Vestibulum (entryway) and 13. Kitchen with Latrine Storeroom 14. Cubicula 6. Cubicula ("bedrooms") 15. Entertainment Room 7. Ala (alcove) 16. Posticum (minor entrance) 8. Tablinum (dining and entertainment room) D. Selected Bibliography: Bergmann, Bettina, "The Roman House as Memory Theater: The House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii," The Art Bulletin. LXXVI (2) June 1994: 225-56. Clarke, John R. The Houses of Roman Italy: Ritual, Space, and Decoration. Berkeley: U. of Calif. P., 1991. Culham, Phyllis, "Did Roman Women Have an Empire?" Inventing Ancient Culture, ed. Golden and Toohey. London: Routledge, 1997. Delia, Diana, "Fulvia Reconsidered," Women's History and Ancient History, ed. Sarah Pomeroy. Chapel Hill: U. of N. Carolina P., 1991. Dixon, Suzanne, "Continuity and Change in Roman Social History," Inventing Ancient Culture, ed. Golden and Toohey. London: Routledge, 1997. Etienne, Robert. Pompeii: The Day a City Died. NY: Harry Abrams, 1992. Kampen, Natalie. Sexuality in Ancient Art. NY: Cambridge U.P., 1996. Laurence, Ray. Roman Pompeii: Space and Society. London: Routledge, 1996. Richardson, L. Pompeii: An Architectural History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U.P., 1988. Vitruvius. The Ten Books on Architecture, tr. Morris Morgan. NY: Dover, 1960. Wallace-Hadrill, Andrew. Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Princeton: Princeton U.P., 1994. Wolf, Robert. Pompeii and Herculaneum: The Living Cities of the Dead. NY: Harry Abrams, 1975.