Contents

Trans-substantial Catholics

Watch this. What are the priests doing? Catholic Litmus Test If you are Catholic, then I hope for the sake of your soul you said he is welcoming Christ bodily into the world. If you didn’t you aren’t looking too […]


Poor Hanno

According to the pop-psychologist-pseudo-science writer Malcolm Gladwell in his magnum lite-opus, the Tipping Point we as a species need risk takers. Individuals who are willing to put it all on the line in pursuit of a goal will, if they […]


Intelligence and Happiness?

A while ago, the Inquisition pondered the nature of intelligence, and whether a certain outlook or attendant mental abilities are guides to or from happiness. This has been obliquely in the news of late…


Buried by the Sea

Its odd. Most graveyards in Connemara appear to be near water, if not actually right on the coast. Why? West Galway, or Connemara, has a lot of unused space. Admittedly, much of the land Connemara is industrially and agriculturally useless, […]


Cycling Two Abreast

Cycling two abreast in Ireland is legal, a protected practice, and it is safer.


Indoors / Outdoors (Defuse)

A talk given by The Inquisition at Defuse, on Wednesday 7th November 2012, as part of Designweek in Dublin, Ireland


Nürnburg’s Extra Bombs

Nürnburg got ripped to shreds by Bomber Harris’ boys. By how much appears to be open to debate.


Law & Morality

The preface to HLA Hart’s publication of his 1961 lecture series on the meeting of law and morality is as prevalent today as it ever was.


Foy – The Bodiless Head

A bodiless head is revered as being Saint Foy, who died a cruel death.


Coffee Haters

There are people out there who pretend to like coffee. Coffee Haters – you have been warned.


False Flags 2

False flag, covert ops by Americans against Americans? Sounds crazy, and so it was deemed.


Plastic 55 Years Ago

55 years ago Roland Barthes considered the importance of plastic and what it meant, as a substance and a symbol.


Cesare Borgia’s Party

The Pope, his son and fifty prostitutes – Cesare Borgia’s party.


Marriage – A Potted History

Marriage is thought by many to be a fixed rite, one which is immovable and inflexible. The truth is that it has not always seemed so…


Blinking Morse

The world was shocked when a victim of torture started blinking morse. The story of a US aviator captured in Vietnam.


Synecdoche

Synecdoche is a powerful, expressive linguistic device


The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Contents Page
The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Semper Quarens - Always Looking

Golden Harvest

The Buiding of Eumachia by Flickr user Matthew McDermott

The Buiding of Eumachia by Flickr user Matthew McDermott

The forum in ancient Pompeii offered two options for the hapless citizen who was caught short and sought to relieve themselves. For seated comfort with a communal ambiance and the capability of processing solids, the public restrooms at the North Western end were an excellent choice. Equipped with running water for waste disposal and the washing of hands this toilet block really was the height of urbanity.

For men seeking an upright and no-frills tinkle there was another option which could help a citizen with their civic responsibilities by helping local industry. Across the Forum from the toilets was the Hall of the Wool Merchants, a large complex devoted to Eumachia with large proud doors opening out onto the central business district. It was the equivalent of New York’s Trump Tower or Rockefeller Center. The Hall of the Wool Merchants however, had a large vat of urine in its porch that passers-by could fill up, a practice that is not observed in either of the New York landmarks.

The Hall of the Wool Merchants is otherwise referred to as The Building of the Eumachia is located at the Forum. It was the seat of the Corporation of the Fullones. This consisted of the cloth-makers, launderers, and dye-makers.

Across Pompeii many merchants and industrialists actively sought out others’ urine. Pots were hung outside places of work expressly for this purpose. Particularly well known is the example that was outside the fullery (fullonica in Insula 9 (IX,13,5)). There were also public urinals, forica, where tanners, fullers, metalworkers and more could collect urine. They would however have had to pay the urine tax as stipulated by Vespasian.

A fuller's basin in the Fullery of Stephanus by Flickr user Matthew McDermott

A fuller's basin in the Fullery of Stephanus by Flickr user Matthew McDermott

Workers of precious metals, fullers (the dry cleaners of the ancient world), tanners (the tanners of the ancient world), dye-makers and fruit-growers all sought and used human urine, with the exception of that of heavy drinkers which was useless. Most piss (let’s call a spade a spade, we’re all adults here, maybe…) was used for the caustic properties of its ammonia content; it was particularly useful for removing the natural sheeps’ grease from wool. Fruit growers’ use of the urine was exceptional, they were the only ones who did not use it fresh. They allowed it to go stale before spreading it on the ground beneath fruit trees to sweeten their produce.

Fullers would toil in this glorious, abundant liquid up to their elbows, scrubbing clean the soiled clothes of the wealthy. Little surprise then that they were seen to be a dishonest and disreputable lot.

Bonus Filth

If dirty Romans are your thing, why not have a gawk at some filthy Roman smut? Or for other ancient vulgarities, try this.

Bibliography
Pompeii – The Living City, Alex Butterworth & Ray Laurence, Phoenix, 2005
The Hall of the Wool Merchants
Virginia Universtity’s Video Introduction to the Building of Eumachia
Pompeii Awakened: A Story of Rediscovery, Judith Harris, IB Tauris, 2007
The Wool Trade of Ancient Pompeii, Walter O. Moeller, Leiden, 1976
Roman Building: Materials and Techniques, Jean Pierre Adam & Anthony Mathews, Indiana University Press, 1994
The ancient economy in the area around Mt Vesuvius

This article was posted by on Friday, August 27th, 2010 at 14:12.
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