Consumer Behaviour in Pompeii

Nick M. Ray

in The Economy of Pompeii

Published in print December 2016 | ISBN: 9780198786573
Published online January 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191828898 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies on the Roman Economy

Consumer Behaviour in Pompeii

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This chapter explores the possibilities of applying consumer theory to the Pompeian archaeological record. The chapter starts with a discussion of ways in which consumption can be theorized, introducing concepts like ‘taste’, ‘reference groups’, and ‘consumerism’. Ray then goes on to use a set of statistical tools to analyse assemblages of everyday domestic artefacts found in a selected number of Pompeian houses, particularly focusing on metal, glass, and pottery vessels. The analysis highlights not only the fact that a wide range of artefacts was available to Pompeii, but also that different households of comparable socio-economic status followed differing consumption strategies, suggesting that a modern-sounding concept like ‘consumerism’ may actually be of use in understanding Pompeii’s consumer economy.

Keywords: artefacts; consumerism; consumption; glass; metal; Pompeii; pottery vessels

Chapter.  8389 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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