Monday, May 23, 2011

Herculaneum. Past and Future. PART 5: Herculaneum’s Public Buildings

In Chapter 6, “The Public Face of the Town,” Wallace-Hadrill offers an overview of the principal civic buildings excavated at Herculaneum. In this entry, I won’t summarize his discussion of each of these, partly because doing so would essentially amount to copying verbatim the already crisp prose. I would like to highlight, however, a few compelling suggestions and offer a reaction.

After a survey of Herculaneum’s baths, the seaside collection of temples, and the Palestra, the chapter turns to the three public buildings situated on the Decumanus Maximus. The Basilica Noniana, which the Herculaneum Conservation Project has explored as part of a program of cleaning, continues to bring interesting material to light. Bases of statues have emerged; they almost certainly hosted portraits of Balbus’ family that were taken during the Bourbon tunneling and are now in the Naples museum. Also recently uncovered are two marble slabs with faint traces of painted or inked names. These may have been part of temporary complements to the incised lists (probably of the city’s citizens, it now seems) that Maiuri found in front of this building.

More at Blogging Pompeii

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