The ForoTriangolare at Pompeii has long been understood as an area of exceptional importance for the religious and cultural life of the city during its early phases. It developed on a natural plateau that saw a long settlement history, ranging from the Archaic period (6th century BC) to AD 79. The area in its currently visible state underwent some substantial changes in the course of the 1st century AD. Its main development, however, was part of a major program of reorganization and monumentalization of the urban space of Pompeii in the late Hellenistic period (2nd century AD), a period during which the city reached its peak in terms of both economic and artistic output.
Key buildings in the ForoTriangolare area include the forum square itself, as well as two theatres with associated portico structures. In the past, the latter have repeatedly been identified as palaestrae or gymnasia and used as arguments for the existence of a larger educational campus. Since 2015, the Topoi C-6-8 project, based at the FreieUniversität of Berlin, has been carrying out excavations in the adjacent Republican Baths, which would have played an important role in any such campus arrangement, in order not only to identify precise modes of their set-up and function, but also to better understand the urban development of this part of Pompeii as a whole.
This paper discusses the evidence for and against an interpretation of the ForoTriangolare complex as a campus with gymnasia, re-evaluating the development of the area and the adjacent Republican baths as a sportive and educational complex in the light of the results of the 2015 excavations.