Greek and Egyptian influence in Pompeii

By Ruth Coleman,2014-05-06 12:24
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Greek and Egyptian influence in Pompeii

    Greek and Egyptian influence in


    - Greek influence in architecture: Temple of Apollo, 'Doric' temple in

    the Triangular Forum.

    - Themes of statues, vase paintings and mosaics were of Greek mythology. - Triangular Forum had the shape of the Greek acropolis

    - A Greek did the original planning of Pompeii

    - Layout of Pompeii and Herculanuem both reflect a Greek style with the

    patterned and ordered streets

    - Statues copied Greek masterpieces

    Volumes of Papyri, compromising a collection of works by Philodemus in the

    first century BC, were found in a Villa in 1787. These were mostly written

    in Greek but a few were in Latin.

    - The theatre had paintings of actors reflecting a Greek style that was very

    different to those performances actually performed there. - Greek columns used in building the temples:

    Orders of columns:

    Doric: House of silver wedding Pompeii,

    - House of tragic poet, Pompeii forum (lower level

    - Ionic:

    - Upper level of Pompeii forum, columns surrounding temple of Apollo,

    house of Galba Herculaneum.

    - Corinthian:

    - Peristyle courtyards in private homes Pompeii, temple Fortuna Augusta. - The Peristyle courtyards where also of Greek influence. (Peristyle

    meaning open aired)

    - The design of the theatre in Pompeii is of Greek influence because it

    follows the lay of the land as opposed to the theatre of Herculanuem that

    is separated structure from the ground it is built on.

    - The inclusion of a Palaestra in the baths complexes- following the Greek

    athletic tradition.

- Various Egyptian and Greek mosaics- e.g. in the house of the fawn a

    mosaic of the battle of Alexander and Darius- a replica/remake of the one

    found at Vergina in Greece.

    - Believed to be copy of a painting described by Pliny. Original thought to

    thbe painted in the 4 century BC for King Cassander of Macedon.

    - In great detail and depth. Two million pieces of miniscule tesserae. - Placed to the back of the house. People had to be invited to see it.

    Importance of paintings and owner of house.

    - The philosophic tradition from Greece seen in the villa of the papyri. - Dependence on Greek paintings

    - Imagery do not often reflect everyday life in Pompeii and Herculaneum - Reflect interest in and admiration of Greek culture

    - Mosaics are very expensive and labour intensive.

    - Most good mosaics came from Greece.

    - Greek culture very influential on Roman mosaics.

    th- 6 century BC, Greek pebble mosaics. Designed to protect floor from

    rubbish and food.

    - Mosaics were placed were floors were in danger of being soiled. i.e. under

    tables and entrances

    - Mosaics used in gardens to create grottos with images of shells and

    seaside themes.

    - Many mosaics are copies of Greek mosaics

    - Standardized

    - Appreciated is the shading of features and the new colours - Greeks made of tesserae, square tiles

    - Under paintings for the placement of tiles

    - Most Pompeian mosaics were on the floor, in reception rooms and dining


    - Pliny the Elder describes famous mosaics. What is good about it? - Finest mosaics were prefabricated in Greece and brought from traders.

    Local tilers would imbed the section in the floors

    - Most of mosaics were not Pompeian in origin. Were mostly copies of

    copies of Greek paintings and Greek in origin

    - Many depictions of leisure activities were Greek in origin. Pastimes were

    common around the Mediterranean. Cock-fighting mosaic example

- Interest in theatre shown by the depictions of Greek theatre in paintings

    and mosaics

- Egyptian influence strong possibly because of trade contacts

    between Alexandria & the Bay of Naples

    - House of the Large Fountain is of Eastern/Egyptian design i.e. of

    birds mosaics

    - Temple of Isis the Egyptian goddess...

    - There is a mosaic of the Nile, showing hippos, crocodiles, duck as well in

    one of the houses.

    - Interest in Egypt due to recent conquering of Egypt and Egypt as the

    main source of grain

    - ‘Flavour of the month’

    - Interest in exotic animals; hippopotamus, cobras, lions, crocodiles. Not

    many depictions of everyday life.

    - Depictions of mythological stories/tales, exotic animals, fish


    As for religion:

    - Mystery cults: Isis, Dionysus, Mithras

    - Cults introduced into Italy with Rome's conquest & brought back by

    merchants/slaves/soldiers; offered the promise of resurrection after death - Greek- Dionysus, Apollo.

    - Cult of Isis was brought to Pompeii by Italian merchants via the Aegean

    - In Campania, the cult drew worshippers from all levels of society. - Offered a closer and more emotional bond with god. - Established before Pompeii became a Roman colony. - Temple at Pompeii open every day at dawn

    - Two services; one at dawn and another in the afternoon - Egyptian influenced decoration in the Temple.


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