… is what Mary Beard encountered at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples: â€œArgenti a Pompeiâ€ (â€œSilver at Pompeiiâ€) . 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 â€“ a drinking cup decorated with skeletons apparently mouthing philosophical slogans inscribed in the silver next to them (a particularly vivid example of the â€œEat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow etcâ€ 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 â€“ or, more cynically, had seized the opportunity for a bit of looting.