Monday, August 3, 2009

Adventures in Pompeii

When we visited Italy in 2007 I was anxious for Paul to see Pompeii. I had been fascinated by the site during my visit in 2005 and couldn't wait to show him what I found most interesting.

Pompeii is a ruined and partially buried Roman town-city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania. Along with Herculaneum, its sister city, Pompeii was destroyed, and its 20,000 citizens and buildings completely buried, during a long catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius spanning two days in AD 79.

The volcano collapsed roofs and buried Pompeii under 60 feet of ash and pumice, and it was lost for nearly 1,700 years before its accidental rediscovery in 1748. Since then, its excavation has provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city at the height of the Roman Empire.

When I visited in '05 we had a tour guide who called himself Mimmo. He conducted the tour in the persona of a slave who was living in Pompeii at the time of the eruption. He wasn't dressed in costume but just took us through the tour with his narration in the first person. Here's Mimmo:




These were some of the slave quarters. When the excavations got to this area they found bodies of slaves still chained to the walls and in some cases they also discovered bodies of noblewomen with them. The theory was that the women had rushed to the slaves to try to free them during the volcano eruption only to be entombed with them.



In the 1700's when the excavations began they found empty pockets in the rubble and determined that they must have been bodies that had decayed over the centuries. They devised a method to fill those pockets with a plaster mixture and dug the mold out after it dried. Below is one of the bodies. The detail was incredible. You could see the straps on the sandals as well as the belt around the victim's waist.




During my first visit, the sight that most took my breath away were the ruts in the cobblestones made by the cart tracks nearly 2,000 years ago!


Here are some more photos of Pompeii.













18 comments:

BONNIE K said...

I don't think I have ever seen pictures of Pompei, so this was very interesting. I never liked history in school, but seeing it on a blog makes it much more interesting.

Michele said...

I doubt I'll ever get there so thank you for posting pics. It was great to see them.

Ginger said...

The thing I found most interesting about Pompeii, other than the phallic artwork that I had to try an avoid with my students, was that the dogs lived there. Cats live at the Coliseum. Dogs at Pompeii.

In all seriousness, I enjoyed Pompeii, but I'm much more of a Florence girl.

Sandy said...

Ginger, funny you should mention the 'artwork.' My trip in '05 was part of a school group. They steered the tour away from the brothels and the artwork and I didn't know it was there. In '07 we saw a whole different side of the city. Watch tomorrow's post...it's Pompeii Part 2!

Badass Geek said...

Incredible.

I kinda want to go visit there, now.

Shauna said...

I have an award for you, come by and pick it up!

kaye said...

all I can say is "wow"

Rhonda said...

This is amazing!!

The Blonde Duck said...

This sounds so cool! I can't believe they were able to reproduce that victim in such detail!

Laoch of Chicago said...

Wow, what a remarkable trip. Great pictures.

Just Breathe said...

Beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing them with us.

Pam said...

I loved Pompeii as well. I only wish we could have seen more bodies! LOL!

Kathy B! said...

Can't wait to see the second part of the post. I can remember reading about Pompeii in middle school and bbeing so intrigued with the idea of a city trapped and preserved in the ash... but I've never been to see it. I can't wait to hear what you found the second time around!

Jane In The Jungle said...

LOVE your travel photos!!!
Awesome place, I've always wanted to see it!

Tammy Howard said...

Wow, Sandy! Yet another amazing travel post!

Bethany said...

It's gorgeous! It reminds me a lot of my travels to Italy with the ruins.

Oz Girl said...

Fascinating! Loved your pics of Pompeii... I enlarged several to see the detail. Someday I hope to travel and see it myself. :)

Brittany said...

Next vacay you take, PUHLEASE pack me in your luggage!!!!!

 

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