Pompeii and collegia: a new appraisal of the evidence

Jinyu Liu

Depauw University

This paper will discuss the nature of the occupational and religious groups known from dipinti, graffiti, and inscriptions put up in Pompeii before the eruption of Vesuvius. By looking at the terminologies used to refer to these groups as well as their organization in the Pompeian evidence, I will argue against a general tendency of seeing these groups as collegia, or formally structured associations.  The importance of this discussion lies in its implication for a better understanding of the social relations and the composition of the urban fabrics at Pompeii. Furthermore, it will also contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between urbanization, occupational specialization and the phenomenon of collegia. One cannot always safely assume that the absence of collegia indicates a lower degree of urbanization or economic development, or that, on the contrary, the presence of collegia always corresponds to the higher degree of urbanization and economic development. Other factors, such as governmental intervention, competitive emulation or other strong incentives, may come into play. This point will be illuminated by a brief comparison of the Pompeian data and the inscriptions attesting to the early emergence of formal collegia in certain places in Britain and Pannonia.

Back to the Meeting Program

[Home] [ About] [Awards and Scholarships] [Classical Journal] [Committees & Officers]
[Contacts & Email Directory
] [Links] [Meetings] [Membership] [News]