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Andrew Wallace-Hadrill

Herculaneum was a small settlement situated on a tufaceous spur of Vesuvius on the coastal road between Neapolis (8 km, 5 miles) and Pompeii (14 km, 9 miles). Its name was attributed in legend to the visit of Hercules, who was supposed to have moored in its safe haven. Strabo (5.4.8) gives it the same history as Pompeii, passing from the Oscans to the Tyrrheni (Etruscans) and Pelasgi, then the Samnites, and finally the Romans. While Pompeii has produced many traces of occupation in the Archaic period, Herculaneum to date has revealed none, and archaeological evidence before the third century is extremely scarce. Its name and the orthogonal grid of its layout point to close contact with Greek Neapolis, but there is no evidence of a direct connection or of a language other than Oscan before Roman occupation. Together with other members of the Samnite league centered on Nuceria, it joined the rebellion against Rome in the Social War, and like Pompeii was captured after a siege by Sulla’s troops under Titus Didius in 89 bce: a fragment of the historian Sisenna mentioning the siege calls Herculaneum a small town between two rivers, neither of which has been located, though indeed the steep slopes of Vesuvius are riven by many gullies in this area.


Dimitris Plantzos

After a long hiatus following the collapse of the palatial civilizations of the Bronze Age, wall and panel painting was reintroduced to Greece during the Early Iron Age. The first archaeological finds date from the advanced 7th century bce and include mural fragments and clay plaques used to decorate temples. Early examples (down to the early 5th century bce) are polychrome, with strong outlines and flatly painted surfaces without any sense of volume or depth of field. Their themes are often taken from myth, contemporary warfare, and religious rituals; inscriptions are customarily used to name the figures or scenes depicted.A series of breakthroughs occurred in the 5th century bce. Composition became more sophisticated, an innovation attributed to Polygnotus of Thasos; shading and tonal contouring were introduced toward the end of the century, allegedly invented by Apollodorus of Athens. Painters often acquired high social status, as we may infer from stories about Zeuxis of Heraclea or Parrhasius of Ephesus. According to later authorities, the 4th century bce saw the greatest achievements of Greek painting and some works from this era, mostly from burial monuments, survive.


D. L. Bomgardner

The earliest surviving permanent amphitheatres are found in Campania, the well-preserved example at Pompeii (see figure 1), called spectacula (amphitheatre) by its builders (CIL 10. 852), being the only precisely datable example (c. 70bce). It is likely, however, that this construction replaced an earlier building. Golvin has now suggested that a pre-Roman lozenge-shaped monument preceded the Roman construction, postulating the later Roman addition of stone elliptical seating in the lowest zone of the cavea.1

Capua, a renowned centre for gladiatorial excellence in the late republic, had an early amphitheatre, datable to the republican period (Gracchan or at least the second half of 2nd century bce); this has recently been excavated (see figure 2).

Welch examines the earliest permanent amphitheatres, linking the majority closely with the foundation of Sullan veteran colonies.2 However, see also Hufschmid for important critiques of this survey and its methodology.


Jean Andreau

An auction is a type of sale consisting of a public competition between several buyers; whoever bids the highest price obtains the object being sold. Such auctions existed in the Greek as well as in the Roman world. Some were organized by the public authorities, while others were organized by individuals selling some of their goods at auction. In Roman Italy, these private auctions served a commercial function. In addition, they facilitated the sale of guarantees for unrepaid loans; likewise, they facilitated the management of private inheritance and estates. Between the 2nd century bce and the 3rd century ce, professional bankers regularly participated in these private auctions by providing credit to the buyers.An auction is a procedure consisting of a public competition between several potential buyers. It was a common practice in Greco-Roman antiquity. The object being sold was awarded to the highest bidder, and he alone paid the object’s full price to the seller. Scholars do not know when auctions first began. They are well attested in the Classical Greek period, as well as in the Hellenistic world and in Rome. In Roman Italy, Plautus and Cato the Elder (in .