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Transcript of Pompeii
A City Buried in Ash!!!!!!
By Alex Poole
What was Pompeii?
The Greeks settled in the area around Mount Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples around the 8th Century BC. Over time, Pompeii was inhabited by the Etruscans, Samnites, and other Italiac people. The region became a member of the Roman confederation in 310 BC and became an official colony in 80 BC.
On August 25, 79 CE, Mount Vesuvius erupted, raining ash and pumice on the city for several days. The spew of volcanic ash reached an astonishing 32 km upwards into the atmosphere. The entire city was buried in 23 feet of ash.
What was the Eruption Like?
The death toll can only be estimated, but many believe it was around 2,000. After the disaster, many survivors returned to take their possessions or loot others' goods. The city was never rebuilt, and was forgotten for centuries until it was rediscovered in 1748.
Pompeii is a popular tourist destination in Italy visited by people from all over the world. It is home to fascinating architecture and gives people an idea about what life was like 2000 years ago in the Roman Empire.
The Basilica is the most important building in Pompeii in terms of its political importance and architecture. It was the place where business and legal activities took place along with the administration of justice. The Basilica also was the social center of the town and was a natural meeting place for people.
World Traveler Rick Steve's Perspective on Pompeii
Constructed in the second century BC, it is the oldest surviving Roman building of its kind. The main entrance faced the Forum and was located on its shorter side, not higher side. There were 28 Ionic columns inside the hall with some reaching 11 meters high. Its design was replicated by early Christian churches after Christianity was legalized in the Roman Empire
The Gymnasiums and Public Baths
As customary for Ancient Roman towns, Pompeii had a brothel to offer special 'services' for both travelers and locals alike. Over 30 venues have been identified in Pompeii. Some were modest with only one room and stone bed while others were entire buildings, which were run as a business. Many frescoes depicting intercourse and other sexual acts have been found inside the brothels. Stone engravings of male reproductive organs have been discovered on buildings and roads to point out where the brothels were located
The Temple of Apollo
The god Apollo was one the most important deities in the city of Pompeii. He was considered the town's protector until 80 BC. It is a remnant of Greek influence before the city was controlled by the Romans
The temple was connected to the Forum by 11 large entrances. It had 17 columns on its long sides and 9 columns on its short sides. The Temple had no roof except for the building inside the temple which housed the shrine and alter. The statues of Apollo (shown below) and Artemies were located inside the main temple area.
The Amphitheater of Pompeii was similar to the Roman Colosseum because it was the place where citizens came to watch gladiators battle to the death. It was built on the edge of the town and is one of the earliest stone structures of its type found anywhere. It was built 150 years before the Colosseum and could seat 20,000 spectators, large enough to seat every resident in Pompeii. In contrast, the Colosseum could only seat 50,000 spectators and Rome had a population of 1 million when the Colosseum was completed in 80 AD.
The seating was based on social status. The elite were seated in the front rows, although they may have sometimes felt too close to the action of the fighters and wild animals on the loose. Women, slaves, and the poor were regulated towards the back rows. Spectators would enter the Amphitheater by different routes depending on where they were seated.
The Forum Baths and Gymnasium were the only ones in operation when Pompeii was buried. They were divided into male and female sections and was probably built around 80 BC. Everyone exercised naked. Think of it as the IM Circle of Pompeii. It had workout rooms, changing rooms, and baths and steam rooms. The changing rooms had masonry benches running along its sides along with frescoes on the walls and ceiling (As shown below).
Pompeii was an ancient city that was part of the Roman Empire. Located near modern day Naples,it became a popular vacation spot for Rome's most distinguished citizens. However, the city changed forever after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD.
The Water System
Before an aqueduct was constructed, the citizens of Pompeii obtained their water from wells. This was inconvenient because ground water was very deep, at a depth of 20 meters. This problem was solved after an aqueduct was constructed in the first century AD. The water was obtained from the local springs close to the nearby River Acquarus. A water tower was then built at the highest point in Pompeii to distribute the water throughout the town by a series of pipes. Pipes then carried the water to fountains all over the city, and many are still completely functional to this day!
Pompeii is an incredible archaeological discovery that gives us an amazing perspective about life in the Ancient Roman Empire. Preserved in volcanic ash for 1700 years, most of the buildings and infrastructure remains as it was. This is different from other archaeological sites where many buildings were destroyed by human activity such as war. It is also a reminder about how much humans could accomplish without the modern activity we have today.
Plaster Body Casts
As volcanic ash rained down on the city, many of the people were buried instantaneously. As archaeologists began excavating Pompeii, they realized that the skeletons of those buried were surrounded by voids in the volcanic ash. As researchers began to pour plaster into the voids, the bodies began to come to life. They showed the positioning of the people and how they were behaving when they died. 1,150 bodies have been discovered. Many people seem to have been hiding from the volcanic debris in a crouched position. Others are lying completely down. It is now believed that volcanic ash may not have been the only cause of death for these poor souls, but rather the extreme heat caused by the eruption.
Black, Annetta. Atlas Obscura, "Pompeii Italy, Plaster Citizens of Pompeii: Their Last Minutes Captured in Plaster." Last modified 2012. Accessed August 17, 2013. http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/plaster-citizens-of-pompeii.
Etienne Robert, Pompeii: The Day a City Died, (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1992), 11-19, 170-173.
Mary Beard, Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town, (London: Profile Books, 1996), 1-10.
.Salvatore Nappo, Pompeii: Guide to the Lost City, (London: Weidenfield & Nicholson, 1998), 26, 38, 74, 106, 108, 116,