chapter  4
59 Pages

Leisure

Pompeii’s Amphitheatre is the oldest surviving building of its kind in the Roman world. Its dedicatory inscription shows that it was built in c.70 BC (B12), and other inscriptions reveal later phases in its building history (D1-5). It was repaired and reinforced following earthquake damage during the last years of the town’s existence, perhaps under the supervision of the Cuspii Pansae (D6-7). The arena wall inside the Amphitheatre was originally painted with scenes of wild beasts; these were recorded in excavation reports, but were destroyed by frost damage soon after they had been uncovered (D10). Despite the Amphitheatre being the venue par excellence for various sorts of shows, some were still being performed in the Forum in the Augustan era, several decades after the Amphitheatre had been built (D11). The reason for this was that these games were an integral part of the festival to honour Apollo, whose temple stood adjacent to the Forum. By contrast, Herculaneum had no Amphitheatre, although this did not stop games from being held in a different venue in the town, perhaps in the Forum (D12, D53).