Social Structure in Pompeii and Herculaneum

Cities of Vesuvius, Social Structure

In the third and second centuries B.C. Pompeii was a Samnite town, but by AD 79 it had become a Roman town for almost two hundred years. Herculaneum had become a popular Roman resort, the area was strongly romanised and the social structure reflected this .

There are three primary divisions of the population in a Roman area, was made up of three broad groups, Citizens (or freeborn), Slaves, and Freedman (Slaves who have been granted or bought their freedom).

The Freeborn citizens from Italic towns were granted Roman citizenship several centuries before 79 A.D, and as a result, adopted Roman social practices . All citizens had the right to vote but not all were eligible for political office. So within this group there was a distinction between those who had prestige, wealth and who had privileges such as being eligible for political office, and ordinary citizens. This can be seen at the theatre, where the privileged sat near the front and the non-privileged sat behind them. The theatre is a good example of segregation between the social classes.

The status of roman citizens can be seen by their cloths. The privileged wore the Toga and the non-privileged wore clothing of a loosely belted tunic was not differentiated from that of slaves . Source B was originally seen as bakery selling bread, however the puzzling thing about this source is the mans cloths seem too formal to be that of a baker, as well as no sign of ovens or mills of a bakery. Rather the fresco is now interpreted as a candidate for a local election, giving out free bread to win more votes.

In both Pompeii and Herculaneum there is a considerable amount of evidence to support their widespread presence in the region. Slaves were used in a wide variety of enterprises, such as commercial businesses. Slaves were part of the familia or household and worked in the home, workshop or in the shops of their owners. On agricultural villas, slaves worked in the...