A stunning exhibition of Roman silverware…

… is what Mary Beard encountered at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples: “Argenti a Pompei” (“Silver at Pompeii”) . It has just been extended to 2 October and, after that, will move to Turin until February 2007.

The beautiful silver collection from the House of the Menander at Pompeii is here in all its glory, plus a few pieces from the hoard from nearby Boscoreale, which ended up in the Louvre. In fact they have on show one of my particular favourites – a drinking cup decorated with skeletons apparently mouthing philosophical slogans inscribed in the silver next to them (a particularly vivid example of the “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow etc” culture, so characteristically Roman). Even more poignant are the smaller collections of precious objects found with people who were fleeing town with their valuables as the eruption came – or, more cynically, had seized the opportunity for a bit of looting.

Read Mary Beard’s full review here.

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