|The Forum looking towards the Temple of Jupiter © Kim Traynor|
Now I know there are some pretty iffy bits to the Romans ranging from slavery to military conquest and a fairly ruthless system of government under the Empire.
But much the same can be said of many societies in the past including our own.
“AD 79. In just 24 hours, two cities in the Bay of Naples in southern Italy were buried by a catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
|A street in Pompeii, © Paul Vlaar|
From the bustling street to the intimate spaces of a Roman home, this major exhibition will take you to the heart of people’s lives in Pompeii and Herculaneum.”
And if like me you don’t fancy the trip to London, then the film of the opening will be shown in cinemas across the country on June 13th introduced live by British Museum Director Neil MacGregor and featuring Mary Beard, Rachel de Thame, Giorgio Locatelli and Exhibition Curator Paul Roberts who bring extraordinary objects to life in this unique event.
“The exhibition will give visitors a taste of the daily life of the people of Pompeii and Herculaneum, from the bustling street to the family home. The domestic space is the essential context for people’s lives, and allows us to get closer to the Romans themselves.
This exhibition will explore the lives of individuals in Roman society, not the classic figures of films and television, such as emperors, gladiators and legionaries, but businessmen, powerful women, freed slaves and children.
|The baker Terentius Neo with his wife|
The emphasis on a domestic context also helps transform museum artefacts into everyday possessions. Six pieces of wooden furniture will be lent from Herculaneum in an unprecedented loan by the Archaeological Superintendency of Napels and Pompeii.
These items were carbonized by the high temperatures of the ash that engulfed the city and are extremely rare finds that would not have survived at Pompeii – showing the importance of combining evidence from the two cities. The furniture includes a linen chest, an inlaid stool and even a garden bench. Perhaps the most astonishing and moving piece is a baby’s crib that still rocks on its curved runners.
|Detail from a wall in the Hall of the Mysteries © Lord Pheasant|
Sponsored by Goldman Sachs”**
Pictures; the Forum looking towards the Temple of Jupiter, by Kim Traynor, July 2012, A street in Pompeii, by Paul Vlaar, June 2003, the baker Terentius Neo with his wife. Italian National Archaeological Museum of Naples (cat. no. 9058 ) & detail from a wall in the Hall of the Mysteries by Lord Pheasant November2006