Pompeii and Herculaneum Streetsscapes

Topic: SocietyHistory
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Last updated: June 7, 2019

Herculaneum and Pompeii were built in the Campania area at the bottom of Mount Vesuvius. They were both quite small Herculaneum being smaller then Pompeii covering only 12 hectares while Pompeii covered 66 hectares.

Many of the urban characteristics for both Pompeii and Herculaneum were very much Greek influenced especially with the architecture because they used the grid pattern of insulae’s, this would divide the city by narrow straight streets into 30-90 metre blocks (insulae’s. ) In the insulae’s is where all the houses and shops were built. The location of these two spots was flowing with volcanic rock called basalt or tufa.

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The tufa was used to make the polygon blocks to build the roads and footpaths of the towns. There was sewage which would overflow the gutters at times so to prevent people from walking in this stepping stones were built and they are shown in the source 1. 8 this showed advancement in the architecture of the Romans, although Pompeii’s sewage system wasn’t quite as good as Herculaneum. In source 1. 8 the street looks wide enough for traffic to go both ways and the Roman law was that the streets had to be no smaller then 5 metres wide and you can see that is what Pompeii abided by.In Herculaneum some of the streets were rather small some only 2 and a half metres wide but then others were around 7 to 8 metres wide and in Pompeii the main road was approximately 8. 5 metres wide but some other streets varied in size. The Romans were very advanced because the put small white stones in the roads between the blocks which at night made the street more easy to follow because they were lighter then the dark stones and reflected from any source of light at night.

There were many gates in these towns the streets were usually named after these gates that appeared on the main thoroughfare. There was the Herculaneum gate, Nola gate, Marine Gate and the Stabaie gate in Pompeii and there were two main roads, the Via Stabliana, Via Dell Nola, via dell Abbondanza, these were also some of the main roads in Pompeii. The direction of the way these streets went were either called Decumani meaning from east to west and Cardinies from north to south.The public buildings had a lot to do with administration, commerce and religion and were rather close to the forum , this is where meeting were held to discuss issues like trade and commerce.

According to the historian Sisenna she records that in Pompeii there used to be in early history a 3. 2 km defensive stonewall with eight gateways and twelve towers, this was built to stop intruders from coming in unwanted. These walls came down in the 1st century AD under Roman rule but when these were torn down more insulae’s were built to accommodate more people so it was both positive and negative thing.There was also a seawall around Herculaneum to prevent costal attacks. In Herculaneum the main road was used as a forum and some for the streets were used only for pedestrians. . In Pompeii the forum was separate and was at the intersection of the main roads coming from Stabaie, Neopolis and Nola.

These two towns are very much Greek based but the use of the sources they have used to build these town is very much advanced and they very much influence on today’s society.

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