PUTEOLI (now Pozzuoli)
In antiquity the key Roman port of Puteoli was far richer and more important than either of the Vesuvian cities.48
Pozzuoli is situated at the end of metro line 2 from Naples and is a peaceful small town with an attractive port area. ‘It is a curious town standing partly on an isolated promontory of yellow tufa and partly on the landward slopes, with its main street passing between.’49 This is probably what makes it so difficult to get from one part of the town to the other, from the land side to the sea, and across the railway line.
The town began as a Greek colony which the people from Samos named Dicaearchia. It became the Roman colony of Puteoli in 194 BC. It has two outstanding archaeological phenomena, the Flavian Amphitheatre and the Macellum. The amphitheatre is said to be the third largest Roman amphitheatre in Italy, after the Coliseum in Rome and the Capuan amphitheatre. It was begun in the reign of the emperor Vespasian and probably finished by his son Titus. Unfortunately, arriving on the Tuesday morning, the only day when it is closed to the public it was not possible to go inside. From outside we could see the vast walls and arches enclosing the entrances to the arena (Plate 2.86) and also 2 partial columns of cipollino lying on the ground outside one of the entrances. The estimated measurements of the larger one are 1.75 m. /6 Rf long and .40 m. /1.35 Rf in diameter and of the smaller one 1.2 m. long /4 Rf and .35 m. /1 Rf in diameter. (Plate 2.87) There are a great number of pieces of marble lying around in the amphitheatre and there are probably further pieces of cipollino which were not visible..
The Macellum, formerly known as the Serapium or Temple of Serapis, is on the sea front, 200-300 m. from the sea, between the via A.M. Sacchini and the via Roma. It was a rectangular market hall 75m. by 58 m. Inside the area is a courtyard 32 m. square which was surrounded by a gallery of 48 cipollino and granite columns under which were 35 booths and two marble lined latrines. 50 Three large cipollino columns still stand. They have a height of approximately 11.78 m. /40 Rf (40 footers) and a diameter of approximately 1m. /between 3 and 3.5 Rf (Plate 2.88). At 3.5 m. above ground the columns show the damage done by stone boring shell fish (lithodomus lithofagus) (Plate 2.89).
There is a section of a cipollino column lying on the ground at the south west end of the square with an estimated length of 2 m. /6.75 Rf and diameter of .50 m. /1.68 Rf (Plate 2.90). On the left hand side of the circle, or Tholos, with one’s back to the sea, there are two smaller cipollino columns, with small collars and an estimated height of 4 m. /13.5 Rf and diameter of .30 m. /1 Rf at the base (Plate 2.91). Another, height 3.5 m. /11.8 Rf and diameter .40 m. /1.35 Rf, damaged, has cipollino like markings. On the right hand side of the circle six columns of assorted sizes, from 1.5 m. /5 Rf. to 3 m. /10 Rf in height, are all possibly cipollino (Plate 2.92). On the north corner of the square are sections of cipollino columns approximately 2 m. in length and 1 m. in diameter, possibly remains of the other large columns no longer standing (Plate 2.93). There are also the remains of a latrine with a white marble floor but with half circles of cipollino on the upper ledges (Plate 2.94). In the west corner is another latrine with small protruding slabs of cipollino on the east side measuring an estimated .30 x .20 m. (Plate 2.95). Also in the eastern corner of the site are remains of more cipollino columns lying on the ground approximately 2 m. /6.7 Rf in length and 1 m. /3.37 Rf in diameter (Plate 2.96).
The notice at the Macellum reads, ‘Macellum (Temple of Serapis), 1st century AD. Built in the Flavian era, the Market of Puteoli, improperly called Temple of Serapis, was found in 1750.’
48 Wallace-Hadrill, p. 45.
49 Blanchard, Paul, p.137.
50 Blanchard, Paul, p.138.
Maps and Plates
Plate 2.86 Tufa walls and arches and entrance to the Cavea of the Amphitheatre, Pozzuoli (formerly Puteoli).
Plate 2.87 Two partial cipollino columns on the ground and general view of the Amphitheatre, Pozzuoli (formerly Puteoli).
Plate 2.88 Three large cipollino columns standing at the Macellum, Pozzuoli.
Plate 2.89 Damage done by Lithodomus lithofagus on cipollino columns in the Macellum at Pozzuoli.
Plate 2.90 Fragment of a large cipollino column lying on the ground at the south west end of the square, the Macellum, Pozzuoli.
Plate 2.91 Two smaller cipollino columns, the Macellum, on the left hand side of the Tholos (with back to the sea), Pozzuoli.
Plate 2.92 Six possible cipollino columns, the Macellum, Pozzuoli.
Plate 2.93 Fragments of cipollino columns on the north corner of the Macellum, possibly the remains of larger columns, Pozzuoli.
Plate 2.94 Half circles of cipollino in the latrines, the Macellum, Pozzuoli.
Plate 2.95 Panels of protruding cipollino at the western corner of the latrines, Macellum, Pozzuoli.
Plate 2.96 Remains of more cipollino columns on the ground, in the eastern corner of the Macellum, Pozzuoli.