Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Paestum, ancient Poseidonia

Monday, August 9, 2010


Matthew enjoying the Greek temples at Paestum

Today our group of teachers on a Vergilian Society tour spent the day in Paestum, ancient Poseidonia, originally a Greek colony. 

Anne Haeckl lectures as part of our tour
 New for me this time was the Ekklesiasterion, a public assembly space for Greek-style elections and political meetings. The Romans covered it over when they took over, probably because they wanted to set up a space for more Roman-style systems of government. 

The Ekklesiasterion

Model of the Greek ekklesiasterion

It is the only Ekklesiasterion in Italy. We don't know if there were more, destroyed by the Romans or otherwise. This is the only one that has been found. It looks like a rounded amphitheater. 

Christopher Gregg, our other guide and lecturer

We also spent some time examining the tomb paintings of the Lucanians, an Italic people. There are definite interests there in blood sports and chariot racing, perhaps foreshadowing the rise in interest in arenas and circuses in Rome and the prevalence of gladiatorial training schools in Southern Italy. I purchased a small model of the lid of the Tomb of the Diver at the gift shops here for use in my classroom. 

Tomb of the Diver
For more pictures of Paestum, visit this set on Flickr.

Tomorrow we go to Herculaneum and climb Mt. Vesuvius. I am hoping my knee will feel good enough to allow me to reach the summit this time.

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