chapter  8
62 Pages

Commercial Life

Pompeii offers us a unique opportunity to appreciate the energy with which the occupants of a small harbour town engaged in commercial activities. Pompeii was ideally situated to act as an intermediary for inland areas towards Nuceria (A7). It also hosted one of the region’s weekly markets (H3-4). Some of the inhabitants expressed their enthusiasm for making money in floor mosaics displayed prominently in their houses (H38, H58-59) and there was no shortage of opportunities for doing so. Inscriptions of many kinds (electoral notices, tombstones, and graffiti) reveal a wide range of occupations practised in the town (H80-97). Money-making took many forms, from trade to renting out property, from education to prostitution (H58-79). It is also possible to uncover the distribution pattern of fountains, bars, and bakeries in much of the town, which (much like the distribution of electoral notices, F29) gives an impression of the relative levels of activity in different parts of the town (H116).