On the walls of Pompeii, archaeologists found a motto celebrating wealth; there is also Priapus that weighs the enormous phallus because it was the symbol of fecundity and wealth.
Commerce was very important in the economy of Pompeii, in fact there were many shops and inns. Agricultural products were the most sold items but also handicraft was an important activity and it was about the processing of agricultural products, or products linked to breeding. For example wool arrived to Pompeii from any parts of the region, then it was washed, spinned and dyed. Soap was not used: there was a degreasing liquid made of water, soda and urine. In the fields around Pompeii there was a great production of oil, wine, cereals, fruit and vegetables. Advanced oil presses and millstones existed in Pompeii. Since the town was not far from the sea, also fishing developed (in fact tools used for fishing, such as nets and hooks were found). Sarno River was uncontaminated and navigable and many different species of fish lived in it, especially at its mouth. Fish was used to prepare the so-called “garum”, a sauce used to season almost everything.
Many merchants arrived to Pompeii from other towns. Pompeii was in fact a hospitable town. There were many termopolium (that is, inns and taverns). There foreigners could buy wine (Romans used to mix wine with water and sometimes they drank it hot); they could eat and sometimes also having a “sexual experience” with a female slave. “Lupanar” was very famous for the erotic paintings.
What did the inhabitants of Pompeii eat?
Thanks to the paintings showing scenes from everyday life and the remains of the town show that the inhabitants of Pompeii ate a lot of vegetables, fruit, bread, olives and cheese. Seeds of lentils, chickpeas, broad beans and also melons were found. In some houses, the burnt remains of almonds, nuts and hazelnuts were found. Fish and meat were expensive and most Romans could rarely eat them.