Was the most popular form of entertainment, with its bloodsports, and was also the largest building in Pompeii. Relief’s, inscriptions, mosaics and wall paintings were provided for information on the different sports that occurred there. These included boxing, gladiator combats and wild beast shows. There were barracks for the gladiators, but many were destroyed by the eruption

There were 2 main theatres in Pompeii, a large one (5000ppl) and a smaller one (ODEAN, 1500ppl). These were used for play, or classic, comic or tragic plays. But these weren’t as popular as farces, mimes and pantomimes. The Odeon was like a concert hall, more used for concerts, lectures and poetry readings.

Is a type of public exercise ground that did various sports such as running, discus wrestling and swimming.


There were 3 types of public baths in Pompeii: The Stabian, the Forum and the Central baths. Here thee were change rooms, a hot bath, a warm steam room, and a cold bath. Afterwards you could receive a massage. At the Stabian and Forum baths, there was a separate section for women. The baths were also open at night, suggested by the 1000 oil lamps found at the sites.


Public baths were a very social place where you can bathe, socialize, gamble, exercise, etc. and some people took their own personal toiletries with them to the baths. Archaeologists have found objects such as oils for the body, metal scrapers (strigils) that were used to scrape the dirt and sweat from the body, and a small flat dish used to splash the body with cool water.


Drinking and Gambling
By the number of taverns and bars suggest drinking was a popular pastime, especially for men. Gambling occurred in bars and taverns, and also in the baths. Dice games were popular. Wall paintings describe gambling and quarrel over it, then being thrown out. People also gambled on gladiator combats and cockfights


Recreation within the family
People like/enjoyed recreation and other forms of it that it occurred in their houses. They held dinner parties to entertain people/friends and relations, they enjoyed their gardens and they went on picnics.


The Pompeian’s used many forms of recreation and leisure to enjoy their free time. By this they go to the amphitheaters for gladiators combat, theatres for plays and concerts, to the baths for relaxation, exercise, socialize, gambling, etc. They went to bars and taverns to drink or gamble. They also spent time with their family and friends. We can see that they must have enjoyed their leisure time by the vast amount of facilities available to them.

Contributed by Belinda

Pompeii: Daily life, Bodies of Evidence, The Stabian Baths Glossary