Pompeii is important to our understanding of ancient Rome and ancient history from a variety of perspectives. The unusually complete remains of the city together with all the personal belongings and objects of daily life are clearly very fascinating, but even more so, are other aspects of Roman life which would otherwise be difficult for us to observe in any detail:
- Religion – and the relatively open way in which Romans colonised foreign peoples. Freedom of religion is plain to see.
- Economics – clear visibility of the distribution of wealth across the city and the infrastructure which permitted daily trade.
- Functioning of ancient Roman farms and villa rusticate which were a significant component of local life and economics.
- Effects of Romanisation: The integration of Roman culture with that of the people they conquered.
- Social structure and politics – we can see the different living quarters as well as range of daily activities and even electoral graffiti. The libertus made rich with his bakeries and running for political office comes all the more alive to us. As do the many associations and guilds and their involvement in the city’s politics.
- Art in ancient Rome. The art found at Pompeii was sufficient to enable a classification into four major styles and epochs. Clearly it is not a complete classification because it stops half way through the first century AD.
These broad aspects of pompeii have been drilled into greater depth in the following articles: