Public Life - Pompeii

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  • Created on: 24-11-13 17:11
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Public life in Pompeii
A position in local government you had a high social status
Valued very highly
Political structure
There were 3 political institutions
- comutuim (council/assembly ­ elect magistrates)
- Odro decuriorium (legislative body ­ decision
- Magistracy/magistrates (implemented decisions
made by ordo)
Types of Magistrate
1. Junior magistrate (called aediles) 2 of these places
2. Senior magistrates (called duumvir) 2 of these
3. Then the became an ordo
Aedile first step on the political ladder so places were
very competitive
Achieving office/position in local government was the
height of politics/their social career.
We have evidence of elections preserves in graffiti ­ unique
record of politics in Pompeii - We have about 2,800
examples layered on top of each other.
Some prominent citizens were re-elected as a duumvir a
number of times, such as Marcus Holconius Rufus ­ had a
statue (built in his honor) in the center of Pompeii, the
inscription tells us he was duumvir 5 times and
quinquennalis 2 times.
Obligations and Rewards

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Holding public office/position of magistrate held
substantial financial obligations
Candidates were expected to be able to `pay their way'
(property/financial qualifications)
Elected officials were expected to give generously and
spend money on the local community PUBLIC
The ordo would grant land/space but magistrates would
have to pay for it

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Wealthy freedmen
Trying to buy popularity/public office/position in politics
for sons or next generation
Could not reach a political position of power themselves
(although they could be voted in a priest of the imperial cult
­ can pay for buildings/make donations in order to buy
power for future generations (who will be free born and
therefore eligible)
E.g.. Numerius Popidius Celsinus ­ paid for the restoration
of the temple of Iris in his sons name
Another e.g.…read more

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Herm ­ much more simple bit like a headstone
Gives us an idea of family size
The families of the deceased visited them every year
Honored the dead by using offerings usually wine liquid
offering was called a libation
Tombs were located outside the city gates as they believed
that an unhappy spirit would cause trouble/no space in the
city/disease and hygiene
If you were a public benefactor you may have a bisellium
offered in your memory.…read more

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What do tombs tell us?
Constructs an image of the decease
-Chosen by themselves/family members
Biographical information
-Who they were
- How they died
-Dates ­ birth and death
-Status within the community
Advertisements of a persons status
-Size of tomb
-Impressive tomb added prestige of deceased as well
as family/living descendants
- Even after they're dead they want to show off what
they had/what they had benefited/achievements
Shows how important status was
Cross section of society
Gives us an insight…read more

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