Infrastructure in Late Ancient Pompeii w. Dr. Eric Poehler

Pompeii presents an opportunity to understand the dynamics of city infrastructure better in the ancient period. Professor Eric Poehler, Department of Classics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, joins the show to explore Pompeii’s infrastructure in the later period of its existence.

Some topics explored

  • What city infrastructure is in this context
  • The focus of the conversation is on the period from 79 CE (the Mount Vesuvius eruption) about 150-200 years earlier
  • How large Pompeii was (640,000 sq. metres)
  • The estimated population of Pompeii (consensus is an average of 12,000-18,000 people)
  • Challenges with knowing: the number of buildings, how many people living in the buildings and how many second floors are missing
  • Urban planning and why certain decisions were made
  • Pompeii having approximately 17 kilometres of streets in the city
  • The western part of the city having streets that are more curved and present more dead ends; the east more closely following a grid pattern
  • If traffic was predominantly pedestrian or wheeled
  • Beaten ash in the east; stoned pavements in the west
  • The streets on the east being replaced on a generational; the streets in the west lasting longer
  • What stepping stones are and their use in the western part of the city; not the east
  • How water was accessed by inhabitants
  • Aqueduct, wells, cisterns, fountains
  • Most inhabitants being within 50-60 metres of a fountain
  • Pompeii’s sewerage system
  • Water entering and existing homes
  • How Pompeiians handled household garbage
  • Government and administration of infrastructure in Pompeii including the use of public slavery and the degree to which bureaucracy and municipal services may have existed

Listen to the episode

The episode can be streamed below and is also available on major podcast apps: Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Amazon Music.

Show Notes

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