Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2006.03.24

Stephan T.A.M. Mols, Eric M. Moormann, Omni pede stare. Saggi architettonici e circumvesuviani in memoriam Jos de Waele. Studi della Soprintendenza archeologica di Pompei 9.   Naples:  Electa Napoli and Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, 2005.  Pp. 344.  ISBN 88-510-0265-7.  €130.00.  



Reviewed by Jean MacIntosh Turfa, University of Pennsylvania Museum (jturfa@sas.upenn.edu)
Word count: 2407 words

Table of Contents

This lavish and generously illustrated volume in honor of Jos de Waele (who died in an accident in 2001) is a special edition of the elegant series of Studi della Soprintendenza archeologica di Pompei. Its 34 articles are divided evenly between studies of Classical architecture and Pompeiana, reflecting the wide interests, projects and personality of de Waele. These are recounted by Roger J.A. Wilson (pp. 9-17), who notes de Waele's research on ancient metrology, architecture, and the sites of Agrigento and Heraclea Minoa; his last project was at Pompeii. De Waele's practicality and spirit of enquiry have inspired the tone of many of the articles here; his published works are listed on pp. 16-17.

Architecture and metrology of the Greek and Roman worlds dominate Part One; the topics are so diverse that scholars who do not usually consult the Pompeiian literature risk missing some gem. Edmund F. Bloedow (pp. 21-38) discusses "Aspects of Cimon's Cultural Legacy," with potential evidence for his involvement in the architectural and aesthetic programs of Athens, ranging from fortifications through the predecessors of the Parthenon and Erechtheion, perhaps even to the Marathon mural in the Stoa Poikile.

Harrison Eiteljorg ("The Attic Foot as the Basic Unit of the Propylaea," pp. 39-44) emphasizes the need for scholars to think practically when analyzing ancient buildings; it is usually easiest to approach this by measuring blocks, but his study of the Propylaea shows that the construction process was one of continual adjustment by surface trimming. We should not assume that surviving elements preserve the exact measurements of the original plan, or that builders expected such rigorous precision.

A. Trevor Hodge (pp. 45-52) offers "Bosses Reappraised," emphasizing the variety of applications of the so-called lifting bosses that were suffered to remain on numerous ancient structures, including rather ornamental items such as statue bases in the sanctuaries at Olympia and Nimes, where functional options seem to have outweighed aesthetics.

Burkhardt Wesenberg ("Retractio oder Proiectura? Zur Diskussion um den Entwurfsdurchmesser ionischer Säulen," pp. 53-64) further develops his study of the Vitruvian proportional system for Ionic and Corinthian temples. He makes a plea for future excavators and analysts to pay attention to the measurements of the bottom diameter of columns as a module in the design of Roman monumental buildings.

Henning Fahlbusch ("Wasserwirtschaftliche Anlagen des antiken Priene," pp. 65-84) provides a thorough and well-illustrated description of the water system of Priene, noting that it was planned in the fourth century B.C. when the city was established, although flush toilets were probably a Roman addition. The sophisticated grid of water supply and drainage included masonry water basins for easy cleanup around the agora.

Several articles offer new findings on the Greek colonial world. Oscar Belvedere and Emanuela Termine (pp. 85-92, "L'urbanizazzione della costa nord-orientale della Sicilia e la struttura urbanistica di Tindari") discuss the famous orthogonal plan of Tindari (founded by Dionysius in 396 B.C.) as the climactic event in the urbanization of Sicily. Beneath its Roman and late antique configuration, the Greek city's 3-meter-wide streets and wide insulae, with the agora at one end of the residential sector, show the planning principles it shared with the Eastern Mediterranean and Punic worlds (cf. Solunto).

Malcolm Bell (pp. 93-100) makes the case that certain affluent Sicilian residences with special rooms divided by a screen wall and fitted with stone basins were "Bankers' Houses in Soluntum and Agrigentum," making additional reference to a Public Office, perhaps for tax collection, in the Morgantina agora.

Douwe Yntema (pp. 101-110) discusses "Cosmos and chaos in the architecture of pre-Roman southern Italy in the first millennium B.C." Ancient authors emphasized the conflict between Greek settlers and indigenous peoples, but we must temper this with archaeological and architectural evidence. Metaponto and Siris show native-style huts and are not orthogonal in their earliest layout, while orthogonal plans can be detected in the big native centers such as Serra di Vaglio and Amendolara. He detects patterns of tribal organization in the circular layout of the recently excavated site of Muro Tenente.

Giovanni Colonna ("Tra architettura e urbanistica. A proposito del tempio di Mater Matuta a Satricum," pp. 111-118) discusses the Mater Matuta temple and sanctuary at Satricum, from the so-called sacellum built ca. 640 atop an Iron Age hut through Temples I, II, and III (ca. 550-540 through ca. 490-480 B.C.), noting points of comparison with the Sant'Omobono temple site in Rome, and encouraging us to follow excavator Marianne Maaskaant-Kleibrink in recognizing the sacellum as the first temple.

Patricia S. Lulof and Riemer R. Knoop provide "Bulls on the Roof: addenda to the Campanian roof at Satricum" (pp. 119-128), identifying antefixes with bulls or gorgons upstanding across the façade ("pediment"), mutulus and columen plaques with the Perseus story, and a crowning acroterion that is probably "Eos." A new fragment of raking sima confirms the roof slope at 17-18 degrees (consonant with the angles of most Etruscan and Italic monumental buildings).

Roger J.A. Wilson writing "On the origin of the Roman civic basilica: the Egyptian connection" (pp. 129-140), reviews textual evidence in conjunction with such structures as Ptolemy's palatial thalamegos to suggest that the basilica Fulvia-Aemilia, the trend-setter for the famous Roman form, was inspired by M. Aemilius Lepidus' sojourn in Alexandria, and all that entailed.

Nathalie de Haan ("Sic calet tamquam furnus. Fornaci e ipocausti," pp. 141-146) points out the happy coincidence of the development of brick technology and the emergence of the hypocaust in third-century South Italian baths, and their similarities to kilns, as attested at the site of Hellenistic Velia.

Jan. H. Brouwers analyzes the literary evidence of Propertius for the exceptionally lavish marble structures built for Apollo at Rome ("Properz über den Apollotempel und die porticus Phoebi in Rom [El. 2.31]," pp. 147-152).

Volker Michael Strocka ("Das Fassaden-Motiv des Venus Genetrix-Tempels in Rom: Bedeutung und Nachwirkung," pp. 153-168), questioning the dating of the so-called Vespasian temple at Pompeii, discusses the decorative appearance of the Roman temple in the light of Pompeian paintings that depict monumental structures.

Ernesto De Miro ("Agrigento. Tempio romano di età imperiale nell'area del Foro. Note di urbanistica e di architettura," pp. 169-176) describes the major terracing and construction program of the Augustan period and its second-century enhancements.

Pierre Gros ("La basilique d'Hérode à Jérusalem. Une lecture de Antiquités Judaiques 15.413-417," pp. 177-182), noting the recent discoveries of Hasmonean and Herodian structures in Jerusalem, offers a description of the Herodian basilica, which may constitute potential evidence for the lost building projects of Agrippa in Rome. He suggests that Herod's architectural consultants came from Italy and were probably familiar with Vitruvius.

Klaus Grewe (pp. 183-191) responds to critics of the eighth-century Hezekiah's Tunnel from Jerusalem to Siloam with a comparison of the Roman tunnel at Les Taillades (Fontvielle), and the challenge, "'Ungeschickt wirkt ein Projekt...' War der erste Grosstunnel der Geschichte ein misslungenes Bauwerk?" The seeming wrong turns and dead ends were part of the engineering technique for working underground: dig a segment and then stop and measure it against plan; the setbacks could then serve as work/storerooms.

Part Two (Circumvesuviana) reflects many current interests in Pompeian scholarship, especially engineering, waterworks and pre-Flavian planning, as well as domestic architecture and painting. It ends with some points on the post-catastrophe history/revival of Pompeii, in Pietro Giovanni Guzzo's contribution on "L'anello di Carlo di Borbone, re di Napoli e di Sicilia" (pp. 331-334) and editor Eric M. Moormann's summary, "The Sense of Time in Early Studies on Pompeii" (pp. 335-342). The ring with a gem depicting a theatrical mask, supposedly excavated at Pompeii, and given to King Charles of Bourbon, has no close parallels in Pompeii (for instance among the stock of C. Pinarius Cerealis) but acquired historical significance through his gesture of placing it in the Naples Museum when he left to take the throne of Spain. Moormann's article surveys the attitudes of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scholars toward a favored present day topic, the study of the pre-destruction history of Pompeii and Herculaneum; he shows that the early accounts may still be profitably read by modern scholars.

Lucia Amalia Scatozza Höricht presents some sixth-century B.C. "Frammenti di un capitello fittile da Pompei," (pp. 195-196) found near the Tempio Dorico, but possibly from the Apollo temple: if so, the process by which they traveled from their original site would be of great interest.

The article from Kees Peterse and Jos de Waele outlines "The Standardized Design of the Casa degli Scienziati (VI 14,43) in Pompeii" (pp. 197-220). The elite houses of Regio VI, including the famous Casa del Chirurgo and Casa del Naviglio, were developed from a fourth-century Oscan plan with Tuscan atrium and stone construction, but were finished to the orders of individual buyers.

Richard E.L.B. de Kind offers "Observations on the building history of insula V in Herculaneum. A general overview of the allotment" (pp. 221-228). Insula V has many famous homes; it seems that building plots had been gradually developed, beginning from the northern and western sides of the block, in the period 450-350 B.C., with major changes in the "Samnite Building Period" of ca. 200-80 B.C.

Paul G.P. Meyboom and Henk H.J. Brouwer have found cousins, in design if not nature, for the fragmentary "Il gatto ladro a Leida" (pp. 229-242), said to have come from Capri to Leiden sometime before 1809. They date the famous mosaic cat-emblema from the Casa del Fauno to 90-80 B.C., and suggest that the source of all such mosaics was a workshop in Puteoli that supplied Campania and shipped as far as Ampurias in Spain.

Editor Stephan T.A.M. Mols ("Il Primo Stile 'retro': dai Propilei di Mnesicle a Pompei?" pp. 243-246) discusses the apparent recurrence of First Style long after 80 B.C. whenever patrons needed to repair earlier walls or reinforce the connotation of prisci mores for their buildings.

Erika Simon presents "Zwei Trapezophoren in Greifenform" (pp. 247-250), now in the Vatican and in a private collection, in the Pompeian tradition of ornamental marble tables that once had valuable counterparts in fine woods. The griffins, selected for symposium imagery, were made in serial production in a workshop somewhere on the Bay of Naples. Anton van Hooff offers a modern history lesson in his explication of the fresco in the House of the Priest Amandus that depicts a mounted warrior labeled "Spartaks" in the Oscan inscription ("Reading the Spartaks fresco without red eyes," pp. 251-256). Although read in Stalinist Bulgaria as the historical Spartacus, he probably portrays a gladiatorial type, the Thracian, who is pursued here by "Pheliks Pompaians" -- the "Lucky Pompeian" -- in a composition that records famous, actual funeral games.

Wolfgang Ehrhardt, "Zur Geschichte des 'rhodischen Peristyls': Das Peristyl R der Casa delle Nozze d'Argento in Pompeji" (pp. 257-270) discusses the Vitruvian element of the so-called Rhodian peristyle in which the northern porticus (and atrium) rise like a tower above the rest of the house. He suggests that this was a second-century Campanian plan inspired by the Hellenistic East, not a Fourth Style or Neronian remodeling.

Roger Ling considers "Street fountains and house fronts at Pompeii" (pp. 271-276): most fountains intrude little upon the thoroughfare or adjacent homes, but on the corner of the Insula of the Menander (Insula I,10), the house had to be cut back to accommodate a large fountain installed when the Serino aqueduct was linked. While it was rare for citizens to yield space in this way, the homeowner there built a shop in the recess to take advantage of the traffic the fountain could bring him/her.

Gemma Jansen (pp. 277-290) offers a very thorough and fascinating survey of "Water and Water Technology in the Pompeian Garden." While commercial gardeners relied on rainwater, homeowners connected to the tap system developed elaborate fountain systems and more. Still, the streets were probably awash with waste-water most of the time, and toilet septic tanks in the gardens betray a threshold of aesthetic tolerance quite different from modern tastes.

Christoph Ohlig ("'Du must die Füsse finden!' Zum praktischen Nutzen metrologischer Überlegungen," pp. 291-300) presents lead fittings used in the plumbing of the cold water systems at Pompeii, including the aqueducts, where large gates, gratings and the like have been plundered at various times. Scraps that might have been overlooked offer exceptional detail on Roman engineering.

H. Paul M. Kessener's "Reflections on the Pompeian castellum divisorium" (pp. 301-309) identify a complicated system for regulating the pressure supply of water from the Pompeian aqueducts, including an elegant method for measuring water flow, possibly indicated by the quinaria cited by Frontinus.

Lukas de Blois presents a case of the Roman emperor making use of military talent in dealing with local disputes, in "Titus Suedius Clemens and Pompeian Loca Publica" (pp. 310-314). The military tribune whose inscriptions have been found at four gates and the Suburban Baths (where private persons had clearly usurped public facilities) seems to have survived or escaped the eruption, since an inscription names him in Egypt in 80 A.D.

Antonio Varone ("Convivere con i terremoti. La travagliata ricostruzione di Pompei dopo il terremoto del 62 d.C. alla luce delle nuove scoperte," pp. 315-324) addresses the issue of the earthquake of 62, concluding that there is ample evidence for subsequent seismic activity, especially in the days preceding the Plinian eruption: odd hoards combining statues and valuables, piles of plaster, and open septic tanks etc., show that the populace was not paralyzed with malaise over 17 years, but in 79 was responding vigorously and on an almost daily basis to fresh quake-damage. (This article cross-references with those of de Blois and Strocka.)

Tadashi Asaka amd Vincenza Iorio present evidence of imports from the various routes to India ("... lucroque India admota est. Contatti tra l'India e l'area vesuviana," pp. 325-330). These include Roman Campanian wine amphorae in Sri Lanka and along the sea routes, and rock crystal, pearls and sapphires in the Vesuvian region. Sea shells, materia medica, and cotton probably also came from the East, as did an ivory figurine/mirror-handle depicting the goddess Lakshmi.

It would be a pity if scholars overlooked some of these articles because they assumed that Omni pede stare encompassed only Pompeii, Roman architecture, and classical metrology. I have cited page references to aid any who may need to request isolated articles; relevant bibliography is included in each entry. In variety, interest and technical acumen as well as lavish format, this medley is a fitting tribute to a scholar whose own work touched upon so many fields.

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