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The new “Art and Sensuality in Pompeian Houses” exhibit features the earliest known awkward prom photo.

Episode 58: In which Vulcan and Venus debate public transportation to Pompeii, and whether an exhibit on erotica is necessarily erotic.

This episode of Real Housewives of Mt. Olympus brought to you by the latest archaeological news on – and by CLAS-C 491 Silent Voices: Sex and Gender in the Roman World.

VULCAN, GOD OF METALWORKING AND HUSBAND OF VENUS (returning home, throwing tools on kline): Ugh, what a day. Getting through the tourist traffic to get home from Mt. Vesuvius is getting ridiculous. And it’s only going to get worse. Apparently they’re going to build a new high-speed train line to connect Rome to Pompeii.

The Cicrumvesuviana train system is not a model of speed and simplicity. It IS the main transportation network you would use to flee the erupting volcano at its center. Which is cool. Cool, cool, cool.

VENUS, GODDESS OF SEXUAL DESIRE AND REALLY RELUCTANT WIFE OF VULCAN: If you’re so concerned about your commute, you could just stop going into the office. It’s 2023, work from home is a thing. And you’re a god, so.

VULCAN: Please don’t start that again. You know I have to keep our family supplied with armor and weapons.

VENUS: Right, for all the times your family is going to come under attack. When was the last time Mt. Olympus was attacked again? During the formation of the Cosmos? But no, you’re right, I’m sure some random mountain in Greece is next on the to-conquer list of that Putin guy.

VULCAN: Anyway, I was trying to tell you about the new high speed train they’re planning, to bring even more tourists into Pompeii.

VENUS: What’s a train?

VULCAN: How do you not know what a train is? Trains are a major form of public transportation. The mortals use them to move large amounts of people over long distances.

VENUS: Like a giant moped? I remember they used one of those to bring people into Pompeii.

VULCAN: That was a rogue tourist on a moped, not an established transportation route. He wasn’t supposed to be there. Neither was the guy who fell into my Vesuvius office.

VENUS: If they’re having so much problems with these tourists going places they shouldn’t in Pompeii, why are the mortals bringing more in?

I do see some empty space where we can cram in a few more people. Let’s do this thing.

VULCAN: I have no idea. Mortals are strange. They love going places they’re not supposed to go. Speaking of…how do you know who Vladimir Putin is?

VENUS: Mars told me about him. Some people know how to hold an interesting conversation.

VULCAN: When were you talking to Mars?

VENUS: He stopped by the other day. He came to check out the new collection of art that the mortals in Pompeii have put on display to worship me. It’s a collection of the sexually explicit pieces that the artifact farmers have found in the ruins over the years.

VULCAN: Wait…my brother, who has been involved with you for years in a notorious affair, stopped by to check out a collection of sexually explicit art with you?

Well now we know what these two are looking at.

VENUS: Ugh, don’t make this into a thing. You remember what Roman Pompeii was like. Penises everywhere. Not all of them were erotic. Some were just meant to scare off evil spirits. Roman sexuality was very complex.

VULCAN: I suppose that makes sense. I’m going to go wash up for dinner.

MARS, ROMAN GOD OF WAR: (peaking out from behind curtain as Vulcan leaves the room) Can I come out now? I’ve read the exhibit brochure cover to cover and it’s starting to lose its appeal.

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Be sure to check in on the continued “Three’s Company” relationships of Venus, Vulcan, and Mars! To learn about Roman sexuality and why not every penis you find is pornography, enroll in CLAS-C 491 Silent Voices: Sex and Gender in the Roman World, coming Summer II 2023 with no pre-reqs! Or to explore over-tourism in Pompeii, enroll in our 1-credit “appetizer” course CLAS-B 312 Plague, Disasters, and Death in the Ancient World, coming up Fall 2023 also with no pre-reqs! Can’t get enough of Ancient Greece and Rome? Earn a Classics Minor in just 15 credits!