Cities of Vesuvius



- Syllabus Content -


Public Buildings: basilicas, temples, fora, theatres, palaestra, amphitheatres

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Palaestra, Pompeii
Palaestra


See: "Developing the Body and Playing Sport" p.139.

Sports area / gymnasium.

Pompeii


  • The large palaestra is in Region II, next to the amphitheatre.
  • 141 x 107 metres.
  • Portico on three sides.
  • Shade trees.
  • Surrounding wall.
  • Swimming pool in centre (35 X 22 metres).

There was also a palaestra in the Stabian Baths, and the so-called Samnite Palaestra (VIII. 7. 29). These were smaller and older exercise areas than the large palaestra.
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Palaestra and Amphitheatre
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Amphitheatre from the Palaestra

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Palaestra

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Palaestra

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Outside wall of the Palaestra




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Herculaneum

  • 110 x 70 metres.
  • A cross shaped swimming pool (5.5 metres wide, 1.1 metres deep – length of arms: 50 metres and 30 metres). At the centre was a bronze fountain, a five headed serpent around a tree; each head emitted a jet of water. This pool was probably a decorative feature.
  • Another pool 30 X 5 metres was probably for swimming, though it was not in use at the time of the eruption.
  • The sports area was surrounded by trees.
  • A grand and imposing entrance like the cella of a temple. Deiss: there was probably a statue of Hercules here.
  • A room on the western side has a large apse and a table in front of it. This may have been for the display of prizes.


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The small pool in the Herculaneum Palaestra
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The grand entrance of the Palaestra

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The room with apse on the western side of the Palaestra




Collegia of young people 11-17 years (Iuventus Pompeiana in Pompeii) competed in youth games (Ludi Iuventus)
Iuventus Pompeiana possibly trained in the Schola Armaturarum nearby.

Probable activities were running, discus and javelin though there is no evidence of these.