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The Economy of Pompeii$
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Miko Flohr and Andrew Wilson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786573

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198786573.001.0001

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Consumer Behaviour in Pompeii

Consumer Behaviour in Pompeii

Theory and Evidence

(p.87) 3 Consumer Behaviour in Pompeii
The Economy of Pompeii

Nick M. Ray

Oxford University Press

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

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