Thursday, August 6, 2020

Partying in Pompeii

If you've been following us at all, you know that the Daemons are suckers for a good museum. Our trip to Great Britain was no different, and when Angela discovered that "Pompeii: The Last Supper" would be at The Ashmolean, it went on our must do list! Featuring over 300 objects, it focused on the Pompeian's love of food and entertaining putting a unique spin on the objects displayed, which included actual food, literally frozen in time.

We found the following items especially compelling:

Romans loved snails long before escargot was a thing.
Bread just out of the oven.
Romans loved boar. Roasted, stewed, braised. They even had their own version of bacon called petaso.
Pompeii was known for its opulence and the wealth of its residents is obvious to this day. One way to put it on display was through the construction of elaborate gardens with water features.

This ornamental turtle spewed water as part of a larger fountain.
This valve was part of the plumbing system that supplied water to the elaborate fountains. Its design has not changed much over the passing centuries.

This mosaic from The House of Geometric Mosaics celebrated Pompeii's proximity to the sea and its love of sea life and seafood
This mosaic floor from The House of the Vestals has a fatalistic flair. Nothing says "Let's party!" quite like a skeleton bringing enough wine for the whole party!
Highly detailed, vivid frescoes are everywhere in Pompeii, and a number of them were on display. These were a few of the Lady Daemons' favorites:

Rabbit eating figs
Detail depicting a theatrical mask from a larger fresco found in the House of the Golden Bracelet
Europa and the Bull from the House of Jason (What, what, what?!)
A convivum aka "Girls Night In." The wine is flowing freely, and the husbands are out (probably at the brothel, being someone else's problem 😏)
Our first egg was none other that Hercules aka Philippe. He was so popular that the neighboring city was named Herculaneum. Legend has it that Hercules did battle with giants in the area and imprisoned them in the mountain. The volcanic activity was the giants trying to escape - or so said the humans.

Hercules depicted as a youth. This statute would be displayed in the larium.
The larium was typically off of the receiving area of the villa and  may have looked like this.
No, that's not the Fruit of the Loom guy (below) -- that's Bacchus, the God of wine keeping watch over the vineyards which grow along the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius! Assisting him was an agathosdaemon was a spirit (daemon) of the vineyards and grainfields in ancient Greek religion. The Romans also considered them companion spirits or muses. We're feeling pretty confident that is is also the inspiration for the name of our Daemon Queen, Agatha Wilson.

The agathosdaemon in snake form.
Detail - Bacchus and his panther
 Isis Fortuna protecting a man flanked by the agathodaemones - apparently Roman deities even kept a a look out during "private time". The inscription: CACATOR CAVE MALU[m] (‘shitter beware the evil [eye]’)

Speaking of the evil eye, this bronze statue of Apollo (below) from the House of Gaius Julius Polybius, had all three of us freaked out. But not as much as the Resin Lady of Oplontis. Her remains were preserved in resin down to the pins in her hair and the beads in her hand, along with the horrifying tragic energy of her final moments. Her sadness was palpable, and we wished her peace.

But it's not the Daemon way to close on such a spooky, somber note. We just need to point out that even museum curators have a cheeky 12 year old hiding inside. And they can't resist a good dick joke!

Combination oil lamp and wind chimes.
Informational links:
'Til next time!
xo, ~The Daemons

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