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The Forgotten City of Pompeii;
A First Look
Welcome to Pompeii. This page and the 6 that follow will give you
an idea of what to expect when you visit the ancient city. Get the history
and introduction on this page, then continue through the rest to get an
idea of what life was like in 79 A.D.
The title A First Look was given because we were able to see only
half of the ruins during our 4 hour visit. So, if you are planning
a trip to Pompeii yourself, be advised that you could easily spend a full
day exploring the city. The cost?? ...about 8 Euro lire ($12
US) per adult.
Forum, with Mt Vesuvius in the background
our trip to the ruins in March of 1999. It was a cool, overcast spring
day... Ideal for snapping pictures! The cool, diffused
light allowed for shadow-less images.
a look around. Read the text below. Check out the pictures.
Then when you are ready Start the Tour
of Pompeii with the links at the bottom of the page to begin your tour.
Brief (extremely brief!!) History of Pompeii
Pompeii was first occupied in the 8th century BC. The Etruscans
soon dominated the region and Pompeii was no exception. The
Etruscan occupation lasted throughout the 5th and 6th centuries
BC. After the Etruscans came the Saminites. The Saminites
turned Pompeii into a pure Greek town. Their reign ended when the
Romans took control of Pompeii around 200 BC. The Romans retained
control over Pompeii until the end... a fateful day in 79 AD when
Mt Vesuvius unleashed its fury on the 20,000 inhabitants of this
thriving Roman city.
as my father is fond of saying, every dark cloud has a silver lining.
Although this tragic event ended the lives of 20,000 Pompeian residents,
the ash that buried the town served as a sort of mummification for
the entire city. The eruption of 79 AD which buried the town in ash
actually captured a moment in time. Under the ash everything remained
as it was at the time of the eruption. Artwork was preserved.
Buildings were preserved. Several important clues were left behind.
These clues give us a little glimpse into the past. These clues are
the silver lining that can be seen when you visit the ruins at Pompeii.
(left) - Castellum
Acquae - Water entered the city through this mechanism. Unfortunately,
I have not been able to find much information regarding the use of this
structure. However the interesting shape of the chamber and the two
large blocks in the center are intriguing.
Until recently I could only speculate about the
use of the strange blocks in the center of this aqueduct. I can now tell you that after the water entered the city the
stream was divided into three channels. One stream fed the public
fountains. A second stream carried water to the public baths while the third
stream brought water to the most affluent Pompeian citizens. Blocks
would be placed in the "square-ish" structures to divert the flow to
the appropriate destination. In times of drought the rich were the
first who would lose their water supply, the baths were the second to go
dry. In extreme cases of drought water was provided only to the public
(right) - This is a fine example of a Pompeian artwork. This fresco comes from
the Vettius House where there are several beautifully
- This is the Marina Gate. One of several portals to the city.
The gates were named according to where they would lead you. For
instance, the Marina Gate faced the sea, while the Vesuvio Gate
faced Mt. Vesuvius.
Next - The Streets
of Pompeii >>
Credit for the
info on this page:
Blanchard, Paul. "Blue Guide, Southern Italy; From Rome to Calabria", New
York: W. W. Norton & Company