The connections between Pompeii, Naples and the Greek world are the focus of the exhibition in the archaeological site’s Palestra Grande.
Laid out in a sequence of seven rooms, each in a different color and incorporating audiovisual panels into its narrative, the exhibition traces Greek craftsmen, architects, artists and decorative styles in Pompeii and surrounding towns in order to bring out the “multiple and contradictory identities” present in a typical Roman urban conglomeration.
The idea that Pompeii was a mono-cultural Roman settlement is false, they go on to point out: it was “a city founded on an Italic substratum bound together by Etruscan institutions and subject to widespread Greek influences”.
The Greek language would still have been used in Roman-era Pompeii in certain religious rites, in literary circles, when talking of love and sex, and even when referring to female beauty treatments and bodycare.
Among the over 600 objects on display are ceramics, weapons, silverware, jewellery, sculptures from Pompeii, Stabiae, Herculaneum and other locations, inscriptions in Greek and other pre-Roman languages, and a helmet donated to the sanctuary of Olympia in Greece by Hieron, the Tyrant of Syracuse, in thanks for the naval victory of Cuma (the first Greek colony established in the Bay of Naples) over an Etruscan fleet in 474 BC.