Hear about ”Luxury, Commerce and Death in the Villas Buried by Vesuvius at Oplontis” March 6

John ClarkeThis year, the Julius Fund Lecture in Ancient Art will feature John R. Clarke of the University of Texas at Austin, as he presents “Luxury, Commerce and Death in the Villas Buried by Vesuvius at Oplontis.” The talk will take place Wednesday, March 6, at 5:30 p.m. at the Cleveland Museum of Art recital hall.

Clarke, director of the Oplontis Project—a collaboration between Italy’s Ministry of Culture and the University of Texas at Austin—will present the results of excavations of two Roman villas at Torre Annunziata, three miles north of Pompeii. The first, a luxury villa for the super-rich (perhaps the property of Nero’s wife, Poppaea) boasts splendid frescoes and sculptures, a 60-meter swimming pool and extensive gardens. The second is a commercial center with wine-bottling facilities and spaces for handling agricultural goods. In a large cellar, excavators found 54 human skeletons, several of which were covered with jewelry and coins.

In his talk, Clarke will explore the two sides of ancient Roman life represented by these finds at Oplontis: leisure (otium) and business (negotium), and present preliminary results of the forensic studies of the skeletons.

Sponsored by the Case Western Reserve University Department of Art History and Art, the event is free and open to the public.