chapter  32
19 Pages

THE LOSS OF INNOCENCE: Pompeian economy and society between past and present

ByWillem M. Jongman

After more than two centuries of excavations, Pompeii continues to fire theimagination of scholars and tourists alike. From the beginning, the cruel fate of the city enhanced the excitement of discovering objects and remains of Roman life not normally found elsewhere. In Pompeii, visitors could walk through streets, peek into private houses, bars and brothels, and could imagine that real individuals had lived there. They could see wall paintings in vivid colours when other sites had rarely offered more than a few faded fragments. They could see household objects of luxury and refinement. Moreover, in Pompeii they could be excited by eroticism in commonplace art and crafts. Wealth, debauchery and punishment by an act of God are powerful ingredients to kindle interest (cf. Foss, Ch. 3).