Pompeii, a thriving resort town south of ancient Rome, was located off the coast of Italy in the shadow of the active volcano Vesuvius. Its most famous eruption occurred in AD 79 when it buried the city of Pompeii under a thick layer of volcanic ash. The dust “flooded the earth,” wrote one witness. After the incident, two thousand people died in the city, and the survivors left the area.
When a group of explorers rediscovered the area in 1748, they were surprised to find that under a thick layer of dust and rubble, Pompeii was virtually untouched. The buildings, artifacts and skeletons left behind in the buried city have taught us a lot about daily life in the ancient world. We told you if the events in Pompeii are real, what is the history of Pompeii and how people died in Pompeii.
You can also check out this content: “The True Story of a Man Supposed to Die While Masturbating in Pompeii.”
Where is Pompeii?
Ancient Greek settlers made Pompeii, south of the modern city of Naples on Italy’s west coast, part of the Hellenistic world in the 8th century BC. In the 2nd century BC, it became an attraction for wealthy Roman holidaymakers enjoying the coast of Campania.
At the beginning of the 1st century AD, the city of Pompeii, located about 8 km from Vesuvius, was a flourishing holiday destination for the most noble citizens of the Roman Empire. The city was filled with elegant houses, many filled with exquisite art and sparkling fountains. Much of the city’s wealth came from its rich volcanic soils; the region was a center for growing olives, grapes and other crops, and the wealthiest in Rome drank wine from Pompeii.
Scientists estimate that on the eve of the deadly eruption in 79 AD, about 12,000 people lived in Pompeii and almost as many in the surrounding area.
Of course, Vesuvius didn’t form overnight. Vesuvius is part of the Campanian volcanic arc that runs along the convergence of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates on the Italian peninsula and has been erupting for thousands of years. For example, around 1995 B.C. As a result of an unusually strong eruption (known today as the “Avellino eruption”), millions of tons of superheated lava, ash and stones were thrown into the sky for about 35 km.
The villagers living around the mountain have already learned to live with the occasional volcanic eruptions. Even after the great earthquake that hit the Campania region in 63 AD, people still flocked to the shores of the Gulf of Naples, and every year Pompeii became more and more crowded.
History of your Pompeii
16 years after this major earthquake in August or October 79 AD. the Pompeii region was rocked by a series of small earthquakes. According to the writer and eyewitness Pliny the Younger, people there did not care about earthquakes, since earthquakes often occur in Campania. Then, on that important day, shortly after noon, Mount Vesuvius erupted again. As a result of the eruption, a cloud of ash, stones and hot volcanic gas rose so high into the sky that people could see it hundreds of kilometers away.
Watching the eruption across the Gulf of Naples, Pliny the Younger likened the cloud of unusual size and appearance to a pine tree that “goes very high on some trunk and then forks.” Today, geologists refer to such volcanic eruptions as “Plinean eruptions.”
As it cooled, this rubble tower settled to the ground: first fine-grained ash, then light pumice and other rock fragments. Pliny said: “I believed that I would die in peace, and peace be with me.” he wrote, but it was not yet fatal. Most of the Pompeians had plenty of time to escape.
Conditions for those remaining in Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other cities soon became much worse. As more and more ash fell, it blocked the air and made breathing difficult. The roofs of buildings, overloaded with dust and stones, began to collapse. However, some people, still under 50-60 cm of ash, insisted on staying in the city. Then, the next morning, a “pyroclastic flow” (an explosion of superheated gas and pulverized rock at a speed of 160 kilometers per hour) flowed down the side of the mountain, evaporating everything and everyone in its path.
By the second day of the eruption, Pompeii was buried under millions of tons of volcanic ash. Some people returned to Pompeii in search of missing relatives or their belongings, but found almost nothing. The city, along with the neighboring city of Herculaneum and several villas in the area, has been abandoned for centuries.
The inhabitants of Pompeii have been cited as the cause of this terrible event. In the past, the inhabitants of Pompeii were very “nasty” and there were brothels throughout the city. Also, homosexuality was allowed. From the past to the present, many people thought that the eruption of Vesuvius was a punishment for the sins committed by the inhabitants of Pompeii.
How many people died in Pompeii?
About 2,000 Pompeii died in the city, but in total, up to 16,000 people died as a result of the explosion in Pompeii, Herculaneum and other cities and villages in the region. The bodies of men, women, children and animals froze where they fell. Many of the bodies found later still contained valuable household items that they hoped to smuggle safely out of the city. Some bodies were found with the arms of children or other loved ones wrapped around them.
Later, archaeologists even discovered jars of canned fruit and loaves of bread. Most of his buildings in the city remained intact, and household items were scattered around the streets. The powdered volcanic ash that buried Pompeii proved to be an excellent preservative.
Opening of Pompeii after the eruption
Pompeii remained largely untouched until 1748, when a group of explorers looking for ancient artifacts arrived in Campania and began excavations. The researchers found that the ash acts as a great preservative: beneath all that dust, Pompeii was much the same as it was 2,000 years ago.
Many scholars note that the excavations at Pompeii were influential in the neoclassical revival of the 18th century. Europe’s wealthiest and most fashionable families exhibited art and reproductions of objects in the ruins, and drawings of Pompeii’s buildings helped shape the architectural trends of the period. For example, wealthy English families often built “Etruscan rooms” that imitated villas in Pompeii. Today, many of the surviving works of art, frescoes and other artifacts are on display at the Pompeii Antiquarium, nestled among the ruins of the city. Excavations at Pompeii continue today, and the entire area has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
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