Economy of Pompeii and Herculaneum and Pompeii

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  • Created by: Alice
  • Created on: 08-04-13 01:27

The economy of Herculaneum

(much less is known)

Fishing Village (no evidence of fullery, bakery etc)

  • fish hooks discovered, bronze tools to repaid nets and an overturned boat

Large shop excavated outside palaestra - most likely a thermapolium

Cucumas Shop found: 4 different coloured and the different wine prices

  • Semo Sancus (diviaty) on top - said to protect businesses
  • Archeologists think it could be a Canpona (inn)

Customary to buy food out - not many houses had kitchens (problems of open fires)

Mauri completed an excavation in 1930s - constructed in Augustan period

Evidence of textile manufacture: Lanarius (wool)

Evidence of Bakery (Sextus Patalcus Felix) + carbonised timber

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The economy of Pompeii - Agriculture

  • More economically important to Herculaneum
  • Fertile; drained volcanic soil and mild climate gave Pompeii great advantages in terms of agriculture
  • many successful entrepreneurs gave their success to health of fertility
  • Local goods were exported in exchange for lamps imported from Northen Italy, pottery from Gaul and oil and win from Spain
  • Pompeii excavated food stuffs to a large proportion of the surrounding areas - evidence for agriculture includes farmsteads and working farms (villa Rusticate)
  • Over 140 farming villas have been discovered

          - Destroyed after insignificant analaysis and removed of wall paintings

          - 2 surviving - Villa Regina, Villa Pisarella

  • Sold in regular food markets (macellum)
  • Forum market build after AD 62 (forum clitorio)
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Common form of retailing and was open at least once a week

Mensa Ponderaria: Official set of height + measures so goods could be accurately tested

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Vineyards + Wine Production

Both Villa Pisanella and Villa Regina were involved in wine production - wine storage area - 18 storage jars, 10 000L Capacity

Viticulture: Production of Wine


  • Transformed our picture of land use within Pompeiis walls
  • Plaster casts of vine root systems (identified specific plants)

Evidence to suggest pompeii produced more wine than it consumed - EXPORTS

Wine quality differed greatly

We must remember that Pompeiians didn't drink to get drunk, they druhnk wine because its was than their water - they also diluted it with water

It is suggested that only wealthy people (old money) could grow olive trees because they took generations to yeild anything + cost of oil + olive presses, but it was very profitable

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The Oil Industry

Produced wine = also produced oil

Villa Pisanella (storage jars for 5910L of Oil)


  • cooking
  • Lighting
  • Personal hygiene (rubbed into body)
  • Manufacture of Perfume

Presses were made of lava stone (trapeta) + mostly done of estates

Officinar Oleariae = retained oil

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Garum: fermented fish sauce and hugely popular made of entrails of fish, dried and salted

Aulus Umbricius Scarus

  • Chief manufacturer in Pompeii
  • made varying quality
  • some of his garum found in Herculaneum

Only a single garum shop has been excavated, evidence that it possibly has not produced within city walls because of the smell

  • Most likely location Port on the River Surno

Also imported garum from Spain

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Fullery = Commercial laundary (more than 15 found in Pompeii) e.g. Fullery of Stephanus is the most famous


  • 1. Seeped in a mix of potash, soda and wee
  • 2. pots were placed outside for people to contribute to urine
  • 3. Rinsed with water from aqueduct
  • 4. press to wring out wet garmets
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Trades, arts and crafts

- workshops produced metal, glass and leather wares

- prelim sketches found in the House of Chaste Lovers

- Archeitects are named in inscriptions

- Marcus Artorius Primus - Oversaw restoration of Pompeiian theatre in Augustan times

- Frescoes depict carpentors at work

- Graffeti + election notices shed light on common trade and occupations

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150 carbonised wax tablets found in house of freedman banker Lucius Caecilius Jucundus

  • Contain receipts for loans, rent payments and other business transactions
  • Well preserved reciepts
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Offectors = dyer

Coloured clothes with veggie dyes

boiling water with Ammonium to get colours

  • Bark of maple = brown
  • root of Anchusa = pine
  • chamomile flowers = green
  • Safflower = red

6 dye shops identified

Fullers guild was heaps important

  • Mainly libertini participating others not seen around 'dirty professions'

As the number of fuller and dye shops exceeded demand thought major nibet activity in sake if textile production

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Pistrina - Bakery

  • Pumice rocks to make break
  • 81 loaves of carbonised bread bakers in Modestus
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