In Roman times, the exercise yard was know as the palaestra and it was always a feature in every Roman town. Pompeii had a particularly large palaestra, sized at just over a hectare, it consumed the towns entire south-eastern boundary. Built in response to the Augustan wish of providing ample exercise and training grounds to their young, Pompeii's palaestra is unique as most were donated by public figures in the hope of gaining political momentum and support. It provided access to running, wrestling, swimming and discuss. A lesser know fact is that Pompeii originally had a much smaller palaestra know as the Samnite palaestra and was situated right next to the Triangular forum.
Three side walls were porticoed and the fourth was divided into three monumental entrances. The athletes trained barefoot, so the ground under the porticos was just dirt and grass. In the middle there was a large swimming pool, the walls of which were lined with waterproof cement. The deepest point measures 2.6m deep and the water was supplied by the castellum water tower through a lead pipe and flowed continually. The overflow from the pool was used to flush out a rather large latrine in the eastern end. The area also held an alter for rites associated with the imperial cults along with trees and a fountain. Herculaneum
The Herculaneum Palaestra took up an entire insula and its swimming pool was made to resemble a cross. It was surrounded by trees and included a series of porticoed rooms. Most of the Palaestra remains unexcavated though tunnels into the area enables us to determine the structure. Competitive games were financed by wealthy citizens such as Nonius Balbus.
The Basilica was a large rectangular building situated on the south-west corner of the forum. It was used for legal preceedings, gatherings and setting up commercial agreements as it was very large and spacious. Not typical Roman style which used arches as its main...
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