In the Footsteps of Poets and Painters, Proletarians and Princes: Rediscovering the Bay of Naples in Greek and Roman Times


July 11 - 23, 2016

Ann Koloski-Ostrow, Brandeis University
Steven Ostrow, M.I.T

Across the fertile terrain and enchanting land- and seascapes of the Bay of Naples and throughout the region of Campania, ancient Greeks and Romans experimented for centuries with building towns and cities, tilling their farms and tending their flocks, and pursuing their daily lives at every level of society.  The world's earliest archaeological laboratory at Pompeii and Herculaneum (buried by the eruption of Vesuvius), and innumerable other sites across the region, offer a uniquely rich showcase of Graeco-Roman approaches to living both in town and across varied rural settings.  Whether it's the nitty-gritty level of plebeians shopping and electioneering in the local streets (and refreshing themselves in pubs, fountains, and latrines);  the splendor of suburban and countryside villas enjoyed by top-level Roman aristocrats, like the palatial digs of Emperor Tiberius at Capri and Sperlonga; monumental temple complexes like those of Cumae or Paestum, and Capua's underground cult-cavern of the Persian god Mithras; the gleaming marble-clad shopping mall at Pozzuoli and colossal amphitheater arenas of Pompeii, Pozzuoli, and Capua; or, finally, the vineyards of Boscoreale and the quiet sheep and cattle paths near distant Saepinum in the mountains:  All these put on vivid display the ingenuity with which Greeks and Romans (and their lesser known Etruscan, Samnite, and Lucanian neighbors) faced the pressures and pleasures of daily life.  We will sample them all, as we explore how these ancient folk tried to make sense of life as individuals, and as members of communities large and small.

Overnight accommodation will be in the Society's own Villa Vergiliana at Cuma, except for our two-night stay on Capri.  All meals included, EXCEPT 2 lunches on Capri.

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July 11 Mon.

Assemble in Rome, Depart for Cumae by way of:
Terracina (“Jupiter Anxur” Sanctuary: Roman cult-&-concrete, & the Queen of Roman Roads: the Via Appia)
Sperlonga (Villa & Grotto of Tiberius: the Emperor at rural leisure)

July 12 Tues.

Cumae (Acropolis: temples, "Sibyl's Grotto": Greek religion, Vergil's poetry, Augustan promise)
Lake Avernus (Aeneas enters the world of Hades)
Pozzuoli (Puteoli: Macellum, Harbor, Amphitheater: Roman boom times)
The Solfatara (the living geology of the "Phlegraean Fields")

July 13 Wed.

Pompeii: public life (Forum, theaters, baths, shops, brothels, temples), and private (housing for rich & poor, in town, & "suburbia")

July 14 Thurs.

Naples (Archaeological Museum: spoils of the great "Treasure Hunt"; walking tour of central Naples)

July 15 Fri.

Paestum (Poseidonia: mighty Greek temples, Lucanian tomb paintings, Roman town planning)

July 16 Sat.

Capua (Museum, Amphitheater, Mithraeum: Etruscan metropolis, Samnite conquest, prosperous Romans take all)
Caserta (the Reggia: a Neapolitan Versailles)

July 17 Sun.

Beneventum (Arch of Trajan: Roman power & colonization intrude upon Samnite Italy)
Saepinum (the rural domain: tending the cattle and sheep, in a quaint & tidy Roman town)

July 18 Mon.

Herculaneum (mansions for the rich, tenements for the poor; bathing in public; a frat house for wealthy ex-slaves)
Mt. Vesuvius (volcano of doom, & bounty; ascent by bus & foot)

July 19 Tues.

Boscoreale (Villa Regina: Roman farming, vine-tending)
Oplontis (Torre Annunziata: housing for an empress?)
Isle of Capri (by hydrofoil, from Naples Harbor: Emperors at play, and in self-imposed exile)

July 20 Wed.

Capri (Villa Jovis: Emperor Tiberius in ultimate retreat; and optional excursions: Blue Grotto, Villa San Michele, Monte Solaro chairlift...)

July 21 Thurs.

Capri (at leisure on the island; late-day return to Villa Vergiliana)

July 22 Fri.

Baiae, Bacoli, Misenum: Western Edge of Naples Bay (Baian Baths, Piscina Mirabile: watery delights of the Roman ruling class; watery needs of the Roman poor and of the Roman sailor)

July 23 Sat.

Naples (National Art Gallery of Capodimonte: Roman inspiration, & modern masterpieces)
Afternoon departure for Rome