Last Updated on 2024/01/15
The cataclysmic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD was one of the most spectacular and destructive events in ancient history.
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable and devastating events in ancient history. This volcanic eruption occurred in the region of Campania, Italy, and had profound consequences, both immediate and long-term.
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius unleashed a cataclysmic force that resulted in the complete destruction of two towns, Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as many other smaller villas in the vicinity. These settlements were not only buried but also preserved under layers of pumice and ash, which acted as a time capsule, freezing them in time.
Preservation Through Plaster Casts
One of the most fascinating aspects of the aftermath of this eruption is the incredible plaster casts of victims and buildings that have been unearthed over the years. These casts provide a unique and haunting glimpse into the daily life of the Roman inhabitants of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The technique of creating these casts involved pouring plaster into voids left by decomposed bodies, thereby preserving the shape and posture of those who perished during the eruption. Similarly, molds were made of the empty spaces within the ruins, allowing us to reconstruct buildings and understand their architecture.
Rediscovery of Pompeii
Remarkably, Pompeii remained hidden and forgotten for about 1,500 years after its obliteration in 79 AD. It wasn’t until 1599 that the site was accidentally rediscovered, when workers digging an underground channel stumbled upon the ruins. However, the true significance of this rediscovery was not immediately recognized.
It wasn’t until 1748, nearly 150 years after the initial rediscovery, that Pompeii gained broader attention and recognition. This was largely due to the efforts of the Spanish engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre, who conducted extensive excavations at the site. Alcubierre’s work helped unveil the true extent of the ancient city and contributed significantly to our understanding of Roman life and culture.
Pictures of Pompeii
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.
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.
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.
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.
topics: pictures of pompeii, old photos of Italy, old photos of Pompeii
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