The following summary of  an article entitled "The Gardens of Pompeii" by Kay Francis in Jean-Paul Descoeudres' Pompeii Revisted (Meditarch) was summarized by Kat Yarger, a student enrolled in Prof. Tom Sienkewicz' Ancient Societies class at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, in 1997. If you have any questions or comments, you may contact him at

The Gardens of Pompeii

Gardens were an important aspect of the agricultural society in Pompeii. Most houses had a small kitchen garden that contained plants which were used for both cooking and for sacrifice to the household gods. The best examples of the Romans' desire for landscaping is seen in large upperclass homes and public areas. Upperclass homes, like the House of Painted Capitals, had large, formal peristyle gardens the central, open-air area of the home. They had semicircular borders with paths inside. Archaeological evidence shows that lower bedding plants such as thyme were planted along the borders and paths. A pool was usually the central focus of the garden. Pompeii was a town with a strong agricultural industry. Wine, olive oil, and perfume were important agricultural products of Pompeii and Rome in general. Other evidence which shows the importance of farming throughout the Roman Empire comes from paintings, records of ancient botanical, gardening tools, and plant remains.

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