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Pompeii - Local Political Life

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Jennifer Au

on 10 December 2012

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Transcript of Pompeii - Local Political Life

Political Positions Pompeii, as a Roman colony, was a self-administering municipality and its form of local government followed the standard rules laid down in a law of Julius Caesar, the Lex Lulia Municipalis, and subsequent legislation.
There was a system set up where the law specified both how a town council would be established and how councillors, would be chosen.
It stipulated how local magistrates and the principle town officials, would be elected by the Roman citizens in a township.
Herculaneum was governed in the same manner as a muncipium, with its own town council and elected officials. Political propaganda The walls of the houses in Pompeii are frequently covered with inscriptions: these are electoral propaganda messages which urge the citizens to vote for one or other of the candidates.
At times an entire category of workers (goldsmiths, marble-cutters, bakers, blacksmiths) holds the candidacy. At other times an aspiring magistrate puts himself forward to the people for a particular office.
They are written in red or in black and for the most part in capital letters. There are around three thousand electoral inscriptions in Pompeii and most of them can be dated to the city's final year of existence, given that it was customary to rub out the old inscriptions to make way for new ones.
Herculaneum's walls contain some graffiti but not to the extent of Pompeii. Pompeii and Herculaneum Local Political Life Political Buildings Politics was a major aspect of Pompeii and this can be seen in the large presence and dedication that went towards buildings of the political use.
Firstly this is evident due to the large area they take up in the forum.
Then also the huge work gone into the architecture and scope of the three buildings; basilica, curia and comitium. Therefore the importance of political life to the ancient society of Pompeii was very great.
The basilica was the place of law court, the comitium was the voting place and the Curia is suggested to be the seating place for the town magistrates to commence their business Questions: Magistracy - four elected decuriones March elections of the two duumviri iure dicundo and the two aediles, who would then take up office on the first of July. The Duumviri were the town's highest ranking magistrates and were responsible for the political running of the town and the administration of justice.
Lesser but nevertheless important tasks were carried out by the aediles who were responsible for organising the works and activities needed for the daily running of the town. Municipal Government Fresco depicting a wax tablet: Here a woman is depicted holding a wax tablet which was used to vote although women were not allowed to vote.
Voters (men only) were required to write down the name of the chosen candidate on a waxed tablet which was then placed in the ballot box. The candidates that had attained the relative majority of votes in the most electoral constituencies would be elected. Eumachia At Pompeii, the corporation of fullers erected a statue in honour of the public priestess Eumachia who provided, at her own expense, a new building to the forum in her own name and in that of her son.
She reveals the role of women in the political society and as they weren’t allowed to participate in the magistrates they were allowed to hold religious authority roles. Comitium The Comitium, in the corner between the Forum and Via dell'Abbondanza, served as a polling station where the electorate (men only) would go during elections with their tesserula, a sort of polling card attesting to the voter's identity. On the southern side of the building we find a podium where the magistrates sat when presiding over the electoral proceedings, while the other two walls contained niches housing honorary statues Basilica The Basilica was the oldest and most important public building in Pompeii. In the beginning, it was a covered market, a meeting place; however, during the earthquake of A.D. 62 the roof fell in. It then became an open-air market and finally the seat of the judicial system.
It served the administration of justice, and for meetings of business men to discuss their affairs. The Basilica was one of the busiest places in Pompeii. Curia The Council Building, or Curia, was located in one of the buildings of the south side of forum at Pompeii.
Its location close to the basilica is in favour of this identification. It is a rectangular hall with an apse in the end wall. In front of this at floor level lies a moulded marble slab which can be seen as the place for the chairman of the assembly. Political Positions:

1. What did the Lex Lulia Municipalis establish?
2. What role did women have in the political life in municipal Pompeii and Herculaneum?
3. How did the role of the duumviri and the aediles differ? Political Buildings:

1. What were the major roles of the political buildings?
2. Where were they located within the city?
3. Give an explanation of why these buildings are the centre of activity in Pompeii.
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