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WEBINAR: Living with the dead: Urbanism in the Suburbs of Pompeii

April 23, 2020 @ 6:30 pm PDT

WA United States

AIA Society: Spokane

Please note–this lecture has been replaced by a live WEBINAR by Dr. Allison L.C. Emmerson (Tulane University), the link for registration is as follows:

GoToWebinar Registration URL:


Abstract:  Pompeii was a bounded city, surrounded by barriers both physical and conceptual. The fortification walls, the edges of the orthogonal street grid, and the natural contours of the lava plateau on which Pompeii sat clearly demarcated its edges, while less tangible boundaries like customs and religious borders might also have confined it. All of these came together to distinguish the urban from the non-urban, to define the city versus everything beyond it. The dead made up the primary group regulated by such boundaries, and at Pompeii—as in cities across the Roman empire—all tombs stood outside the city proper. Given the apparent emphasis on separating the dead from the living, a curious phenomenon occurred in the second half of the first century BCE: Pompeii began to develop suburbs, densely urban neighborhood located outside its various boundaries. Here, houses and shops, workshops and temples, rubbish dumps and public buildings jostled cheek-to-jowl with the tombs of the dead, which grew increasingly monumental in the same period. This lecture examines the suburbs of Pompeii, calling on recently revealed as well as long overlooked evidence to reconstruct such neighborhoods, which effectively urbanized the dead and tied them into patterns of daily life. Considering the factors that led to the development of suburbs, I argue that tombs were key; these were not simply passive memorials, but active spaces that both facilitated and furthered the social and economic life of the city.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Purcell, N. 1987. “Tomb and Suburb.” In Römische Gräberstraßen: Selbstdarstellung—Status—Standard, edited by H. von Hesberg and P. Zanker, 25-41. Munich: Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.

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April 23, 2020
6:30 pm PDT
Event Category:


WA United States


Andrew Goldman
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