chapter  9
13 Pages


Up to this point, the discussion has focused on space and the spatialisation of social action, whether the action of building new monuments, the collection of water from public fountains, the places of production, the provision of services, the organisation of private buildings. Now, in this chapter, attention shifts to the temporal aspect of social action, a subject that has entered into the debates and discussion by archaeologists with regard to understanding the materiality of human existence (e.g. Barrett 2004; Gosden 2004). The problem for understanding time and the temporalities in Pompeii is one of evidence. Essentially any study of time in the Roman world depends on the reading of literary evidence produced by the elite, who were mostly not born in Rome but tended to focus their attention on the temporality of the city of Rome. For example, Riggsby (2003) has demonstrated with reference to Pliny, a senator born in Como and expressing in his letters for publication the temporalities of villa and life in the city of Rome, that he utilised the same expression of temporality in both locations. What is implicit here is that the temporality of Rome was something that was shared by members of the elite across Italy and was also present in towns such as Pompeii. More importantly, in the Sulpicii Archive of legal documents discovered at Murecine, just outside the city of Pompeii, we nd a convergence of the use of time whether at Rome or Puteoli on the Bay of Naples. As we shall see, the temporal framework also coincides with that found in literary texts (see Table 9.1; Camodeca 1999 for texts; Andreau 1999: 71-9 for introduction to the material). These factors justify the use of literary sources that chart the temporalities of activities in the city of Rome for our understanding of the temporal logic of space at Pompeii.