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In this programme Robert Erskine, who is well known as a collector and broadcaster, presents some of the evidence on which our knowledge of the Romans at work is based. He concentrates on the Roman... townsman, the small trader and artisan, rather than the farmer, although it becomes clear that agriculture and industry are often closely linked. The aim is to give a general picture of working conditions, and material has been drawn from all over the Empire. Pompeii and Herculaneum provide a wealth of archaeological material and a large part of the programme was shot on location there. We look in some detail at a pistrinum (bakery) and fullonica (fuller's workshop). Another important site is Ostia, the port of Rome, where mosaics and inscriptions provide useful information as to the extent and variety of Roman trade. Other sources of information mentioned in the programme include coins, pottery, tombstones and wall paintings. This will be a valuable programme for classical students who do not have ready access to such material. It is attractively presented and should also appeal to a general audience.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A291, The early Roman empire and the rise of Christianity
Item code: A291; 05
First transmission date: 19-06-1974
Published: 1974
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:25:00
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Producer: Mary Hoskins
Contributor: Robert Erskine
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Romans; Working conditions; Pompeii
Footage description: Opening titles over montage of mosaics of Romans at work. Robert Erskine in Pompeii introduces the programme. Erskine talks about holidays in Rome. Shots of a Thermopolium or drink shop. He mentions the difficulties of establishing details of everyday life, and describes the sources in Pompeii: wall paintings, mosaics and tombstones. Considering artefacts, he examines a group of Terra Sigillata bowls, factory stamps, and other items: a pottery lamp, bronze utensils and amphorae. He enters and describes a pistrinum or bakery. He walks to and enters a fullers shop, fullonica sepham and describes the processes carried out there. This leads to consideration of the master-slave relationship. In the Pompeian streets again, he describes the election processes taking place when the volcano struck. Moving to the Roman port of Ostia, Erskine describes the Forum, and the central temple of Annona. Montage of illustrating Trade. He mentions the massive warehouses found in other parts of the town: shots of Horrea. Shots of olive groves, and an oil lamp burning. Mosaics showing farming activities. Back at Pompeii, he discusses wine production. Archive films showing mosaics of viticulture. Model of major wine producing villa at Boscorale; description of the operations on the estate. Shot of amphorae and the stamps they bear identifying the vineyard of origin. Film of divers recovering amphorae from wrecked Roman ships. Erskine walks up to, enters and describes a wine shop in Herculaneum. Credits.
Master spool number: 6HT/71363
Production number: 00525_3105
Videofinder number: 595
Available to public: no