Hui216 Italian Civilization Andrea Fedi


The first day (Aug. 22, 79 CE)



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5.4 The first day (Aug. 22, 79 CE)

  1. The pool of wonders and its present problems

  2. Technology and society

  3. The meeting with Pliny, the educated admiral

  4. Strategic planning and heroic accomplishments (Hollywood-style well-timed "operation")

5.4 The second day (Aug. 23, 79 CE)

  1. On board the ship Minerva, en route to Pompeii

  2. Then and now: the shores

  3. Pompeii

  4. Multiculturalism and capitalism

  5. Roman decadence and sexuality

  6. The baths: technology and architecture, civilization

  7. Corruption (then and now)

  8. Parcelization of power and civic duties

  9. Self-interest, amoral familism (farmers and citizens stealing water)

5.4 The second day (Aug. 23, 79 CE)

  1. The dinner and its sources: Petronius (Satyricon), Tacitus

  2. Epicureanism

  3. Decadence

  4. Emptiness (Nero's moray)

  5. Exomnius's room in the brothel

  6. Work ethics, technology and society ("all to carry water to such brutes as these")

  7. Corelia

  8. Proto-feminism and Victorian love

5.4 The second day (Aug. 23, 79 CE)

  1. Pliny's measures (ancient vs. modern science)

  2. The Empire (power, intrigue, conspiracies)

  3. Riots for the water (the ignorant brutes and the sophisticated intellectual)

  4. Then and now: abusing nature

  5. The expert mind in awe of technology

  6. The operation continues out of Pompeii

  7. Followers and leaders, the mind and the muscles

  8. Puritan work ethics: satisfaction for a work well done

  9. "he would try to fix the Augusta overnight. To confront the impossible: that was the Roman way!"

  10. Our heroine to the rescue (with incriminating evidence)

5.4 The third day (Aug. 24, 79 CE)

  1. Technology: cement underwater

  2. Love and fate

  3. "One was shackled to it from birth as to a moving wagon. The designation of the journey could not be altered, only the manner in which one approached it -- whether one chose to walk erect or to be dragged complaining through the dust" (183)

  4. Pliny's discovery in the pool of wonders

  5. Water back in Pompeii

  6. The never-tired Attilius climbs the Vesuvius

5.4 Third and fourth day (Aug. 24-25, 79 CE): the eruption

  1. The destruction of Rectina's library (an entire culture and civilization vanishing under our very eyes)

  2. "Pliny took it from the slave and inhaled it, catching in its musty aroma of the whiff of the old republic: of men of the stamp of Cato and Sergius; of a city fighting to become an empire; of the dust of the Campus Martius; of trial by iron and fire" (243)

  3. "Who knows? Perhaps, two centuries from now, men will be drinking the vintage from this year of ours, and wondering what we were like. Our skill, our courage" (243)

  4. "Popidius's eyes were blank holes in the musk of his face. He looked like one of the ancestral effigies on the wall of his house." (248)

5.4 Historical elements and themes associated with them

  1. Aqua Augusta

  2. technology = civilization?

  3. The Roman fleet

  4. military power

  5. the empire triumphant over nature

  6. citizenship and multiculturalism

  7. cooperation and accomplishments

  8. Pliny and his books

  9. human intelligence and the continuous progress of science

5.4 Historical elements and themes associated with them

  1. The eruption

  2. nature, death and decline

  3. The freedman

  4. the evils of capitalism

  5. social mobility in Roman society

  6. The relationships between Rome and the local administrations

  7. State politics vs. local and individual interests

5.4 Celebrating the might of the aqueduct: Aqua Augusta

  1. Oh, but she was a mighty piece of work, the Augusta -- one of the greatest feats of engineering ever accomplished.

  2. … Somewhere far out there, on the opposite side of the bay, high in the pine forested mountains of the Apenninus, the aqueduct captured the springs of Serinus and bore the water westward -- channeled it along sinuous underground passages, carried it over ravines on top of tiered arcades, forced it across valleys through massive siphons -- all the way down to the plains of Campania, then around the far side of Mount Vesuvius, then south to the coast at Neapolis, and finally along the spine of the Misenum peninsula to the dusty naval town, a distance of some sixty miles, with a mean drop along her entire length of just two inches every one hundred yards.

5.4 The Aqua Augusta: leadership and technology

  1. She was the longest aqueduct in the world, longer even than the great aqueducts of Rome and far more complex, for whereas her sisters in the north fed one city only, the Augusta's serpentine conduit -- the matrix, as they called it: the motherline -- suckled no fewer than nine towns around the bay of Neapolis: Pompeii first, at the end of a long spur, then Nola, Acerrae, Atella, Neapolis, Puteoli, Cumae, Baiae, and finally Misenum. (7)

5.4: The Aqua Augusta: technology and civilization

  1. "... the engineer could stand here, listening and lost in thought, for hours. The percussion of the Augusta sounded in his ears not as a dull and continuous roar but as the notes of a gigantic water organ: the music of civilization. … in those moments, he felt himself to be not in a reservoir at all, but in a temple dedicated to the only God worth believing in." (18)




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