Social Structure In Pompeii And Herculaneum

782 words - 4 pages

Cities of Vesuvius, Social Structure

In the third and second centuries B.C. Pompeii was a Samnite town, but by AD 79 it had become a Roman town for almost two hundred years. Herculaneum had become a popular Roman resort, the area was strongly romanised and the social structure reflected this .

There are three primary divisions of the population in a Roman area, was made up of three broad groups, Citizens (or freeborn), Slaves, and Freedman (Slaves who have been granted or bought their freedom).

The Freeborn citizens from Italic towns were granted Roman citizenship several centuries before 79 A.D, and as a result, adopted Roman social practices . All citizens had the right to vote ...view middle of the document...

On agricultural villas, slaves worked in the fields, ploughing and harvesting . It is suggested that slaves made up 20-33% of the Roman population, indicating how crucial they were to the society.

Many high class houses had slaves in various professions and services. They had slaves as cooks, tutors, nurses, washers and servants. However if the slave had a high level of education, they would work as secretaries or tutors and were more privileged than those who do manual labourers. Evidence for slave activity can be found at Villa Regina at Boscoreale in the form of slave chains. Even in art, frescoes show slaves depicted as being smaller, to indicate their status, as seen in this banqueting scene source C.

In Roman societies such as Pompeii and Herculaneum wealth was less important than birthright. Even the wealthiest freedman/woman could not aspire to be a citizen, but their descendants could . However there is evidence of social mobility prior to the A.D 79 eruption. Such as the House of Vetti in Pompeii, in which two freedmen gained wealth through wine trade, their house reflected this .

Freedmen also were known to of owned their own slaves, The Vetti Brothers are suggested to of had slaves. As well as a waxed tablet...

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