The cataclysmic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD was one of the most spectacular and destructive event in ancient history.
Two towns and many other villas around the area, were completely destroyed and buried under 4 to 6 m of pumice and ash.
Incredible plaster casts of victims and buildings well preserved give us more than a glimpse about Roman way of life.
Pompeii was lost for about 1,500 years until its rediscovery in 1599 and broader rediscovery 150 years later by Spanish engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre in 1748.
Pictures of Pompeii
Pompeii – between 1890 and 1905. Hand colored
Road Street of Abundance, postcard ca. 1920-1923
Street of the Tombs ca. 1900. Hand colored
Pompeii and Herculaneum were two ancient Roman cities in Campania, at the bottom of the Mount Vesuvius. Ca
1890 and 1905. Hand colored
Excavation of the Temple of Isis at Pompeii, Gouache by Pietro Fabris (Italian Painter, active c. 1740-1792) in the book William Hamilton, Campi Phlegraei, Abb. XXXI.
Pompeii from south-west; made by Friedrich Federer in 1850.
Pompeii population was approximately 20,000. The city was located in an area in which Romans had their holidays villas. The first evidence for the destruction was a letter written by Pliny the Younger who saw the eruption from a distance. He described the death of his uncle Pliny the Elder who died trying to rescue citizens.
Last Days of Pompeii, 1830-1833. Oil on canvas. 456.5 x 651 cm. The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
The people and buildings of Pompeii were covered in up to twelve different layers of tephra, in total 25 meters deep, which rained down for about 6 hours.
The objects that lay beneath the city have been well preserved for centuries because of the lack of air and moisture. Pompeii had a complex water system, an amphitheatre, gymnasium and a port. Baths, brothels, swimming pools, aqueduct many houses, forum, markets, restaurants, shops, hotels and some out-of-town villas like the Villa of the Mysteries remain well preserved.
Villa of Ara Massima
Roman fresco, Villa of Mysterii
Wallpainting at the Villa of Mysterii
Terentius Neo with wife. Terentius was a baker of humble origins who climbed the social ladder
Boscotrecase, Agrippa Postumo Villa. Sacral-Idyllic Landscape.
Details of everyday life are preserved as well. The numerous graffiti carved on the walls and inside rooms provides a wealth of information regarding Roman lifestyle.
Peristyle of the House of the Vettii immediately after restoration (ca. 1900). Between 1890 and 1905
House of Fight
House of Punished Love
Remains of a bakery
Castellum Aquae Pompeii
Some aspects of the culture were distinctly erotic, including frequent use of the phallus as apotropaion or good-luck charm in various types of decoration.
LENTE IMPELLE means “Please, push slowly”
A character with the beard and giant erect phallus of Priapus
Pompeian wall painting, from one of the Therms (baths)