Lecture 28

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Lecture 28: Oplontis (Torre Annunziata)


  1. Location: 20 miles south of Naples, 3 miles north of Pompeii


  1. Peutinger Map- shows the town of Oplontis
  2. 13th century copy of a first century Roman road map


B. Excavations- Alfonso de Franciscus, director, Naples Museum  1964- 1984


C. Struck on midday August 24, A.D. 79

    1. Volcanic plume above Vesuvius plus tremors

    2. Southeast winds drop pumice in area and roof collapses

    3. 1 a.m. Aug. 25 – major effects of powerful pyroclastic

        surge dropping on town


D.Several villas found- the rustic one may belong to Lucius   

   Crassius Tertius- 1974

     1. Bodies found

     2. Gold and silver hoard of coins, gold jewelry

     3. Baths nearby may belong to consul Marcus Crassus Frugi


E. Elegant villa- 180 feet square,

   l. Porticoes and gardens

   2. Atrium

   3. Baths

   4. Villa of Poppaea Sabina? 2nd wife of Nero (A.D. 30-65)

       a. Killed by the emperor as a result of a kick to the

           abdomen A.D. 65

     b. She was pregnant at the time- Suetonius—buried in

      Mausoleum of Augustus

     c. Born in Pompeii! Her mother a famous beauty with same

         name was a suicide hounded to death by Messalina          

       d. Her father was a consul and governor

       e. She first wed Rufrius Crispinus, chief of praetorian

           guards, then Otho

     f. Became Nero’s mistress and Agrippina Younger, Nero’s mom, hates her so he kills his mom and divorces Claudia Octavia his first wife and banishes her to Panditeria


 5.Second and third styles- mid 1st century B.C. and enlarged 1st century A.D.


 6. Restoration was in progress

F. Discoveries

    1. 18th century excavation by Francesco La Vega, limited 19th century digs
    2. 1970s excavation unearths huge swimming pool
    3. Wilhelmina Jashemski studies gardens and reconstructs
    4. 45 sculptures found and discussed by Stefano De Caro
    5. Paintings studied by John Clarke of Texas-Austin


For a copy of the PowerPoint for this lecture please click here.