This Sophisticated Greco-Roman city of Pompeii would leave you amazed. Moreover, this ancient Roman city lies towards southeastern Naples. Further Furthermore, due to volcanic eruptions from Mt. Vesuvius, the city in the southeastern was devastated. Moreover, the city remained covered with ashes for ages till it was excavated in 1700. After excavating, the remains of an ancient Roman city were exposed. Pompeii was just fourteen miles away from Naples, existing in Campania, Italy, became a top tourist destination.
How Pompeii Emerged
In fact, the ancient Roman city remains were preserved to perfection in spite of being buried under a pumice and ash layer. The devastation occurred due to a large volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in proximity. In August, 79CE, this eruption occurred, leaving a tragic condition for the residents of Pompei city. As a result of the volcano eruption, nothing was spared. The buildings, the roads, the people etc. whatever came in the way got buried under the lava.
Know About Pompeii
The ancient Roman city housed ten thousand to twenty thousand residents at the time of destruction. The city was built on a spur created by lava flow in the prehistoric period. The trail of lava flow ended at modern river Sarno. In addition three more communities were destroyed by lava flow in Stabie, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata. However, in 1997 along with Pompeii, all the three were declared a World Heritage Site. The modern city, Comune came up on the eastern zone. Further, due to the presence of Basilica of Santa Maria Del Rosaio the city has earned a reputation. It has earned pilgrimage values.
What All Got Unearthed In Pompeii?
Subsequently, after lava erupted, toxic gases, ash and pumice engulfed the city. Buildings with residents inside got asphyxiated. Moreover, those who tried to flee were crushed. From then till centuries, Pompeii was left to hibernate below shit of lava. In 1700 when the ancient Roman city with Greko-Roman features were rediscovered almost in perfect condition. The majestic villas,buildings, forums, and human remains exposed the daily routines of human livelihood. The people around remained awestruck. The remains were so realistic that a loaf of bread inside an oven was left intact.
Historical Background of Pompeii
The Neolithic people of Campania who spoke the Oscan language were ancestors of Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Stabiae residents. A study conducted by archaeologists suggest the Oscan village located near Sarnas river was influenced by the Greeks in the 8th century BC. Further in 7th century BC the Etruscans entered Campania. As a matter of fact strong influence of the Eutrascans remained till they lost power at sea. The king Hiron I lost a battle at sea. He was reigning Syracuse. He lost the naval battle in 474 BC, off Cumae.
Subsequently, after the decline of the Eutascans, the second phase of Greek influence returned. Consequently, at almost the end of the 5th century, the Samites, an Italian tribe, conquered Campania. Along with Pompeii, Stabia, and Herculaneum became Samite towns.
Rome Allies With Pompeii
The Roman fleet arrives at Sarnas port to attack Nuceria. The second Samnite war took place. In 310 BC Rome tried but unfortunately lost the battle. Consequently Pompeii came to limelight. The Sarna Port belonged to the ancient city in Campania. Subsequently after the end of the war, Campania combined with Roman confederation along with the cities. However, the complete Romanization happened during the Social War.
How Pompeii Got Excavated
The famous archaeologist Dominico Fontana in the sixteenth century discovered the ruins of Pompeii. Further based on an inscription discovered in 1763 identification of the city was possible. Furthermore, work of excavation actually started in 1748. Modern science of archeology began by the mid 18th century. Karl Weber, a military engineer originated the ritual of systematic study between the period 1750-1764. The then king of Naples, Don Carlos was supervising the endeavors. But the initial excavation was haphazard. Moreover, untrained workers, theft of valuables, brought digging to halt by 1860.
Next an Italian archaeologist, Gieuseppe Fiorelli, began as the director of excavation, who did a good job in restoring and documenting each and every finding in the Pompeii ruins. But due to World war II excavation work came to halt. However, excavation re-started in a fast pace by Amedeo Maiuri. Between 1749-782, within neighbouring cities Carlos the Naples king discovered twelve villas. By 1900’s, almost two thirds portions of ruins could be excavated within Pompeii.
City Plan in Pompei we Come to Learn
Because of the prehistoric lava flow, you can find irregularity in Pompeii city. Fortunately the remains could be restored in perfect condition. However, there is a conflict of ideas between the scholars and what facts have appeared after excavation. While the southwestern part of the city appears oldest. However the scholars don’t accept. A two mile wall surrounds a 163 acres land piece. Additionally seven gates were excavated at the city borders. The important roads run in the northwest-southeast direction. These roads connect the city with neighbouring cities as well. Visuvius gate is located at the highest point i.e. forty-four meters above sea level. Whereas, Stabie gate is at lowest i.e.8 meters above sea level.The Stabie gate is the one from where the main traffic from Sarnus river and Stabie enter.
What all Remained Post Excavation
If you visit Pompeii, you can find public buildings segregated in three zones. The Forum is located to the southwest overlooking the bay. Whereas, the amphitheater and Peletra to the east and west.
- The city’s center of municipal operations was Forum’s location. This triangular shaped forum was known for religious activities as well as economic discussions.
- Many temples can be found around the forum.
- Doric temple is the oldest temple in Pompeii, located at the very site of forum
- Temples like Zeus Meilichus, Isis and Samnite age palaestra were located in vicinity
- The amphitheatre is located on the east corner of the city
- A large palaestra is located on the west of the city
- Numerous baths are spread over the city. Even personal luxurious houses have baths too.
Variation in Art Form
Art found in public buildings inherit Italian and Roman type structural art forms. However, the luxurious private houses in neighbouring cities are more attractive. Especially those built in the third and fourth centuries i.e. period of the reign of Samnite I. The House of Surgeons is the best example of that era. Further, during Samnite II, further gorgeous private houses were built. During two hundred and eighty BC, refinement of art forms happened. During this period, trade and cultural influences gave rise to a Hellenistic impact.
One example is the House of Faun, which covers an entire city. It is huge. The building consists of two big chief rooms, four dining spaces, and two large gardens. The building was built from gray that brought from Nuceria. The House of Faun owns the lost Hellenistic painting of Alexander the Great. It got copied and simultaneously placed as a mosaic. Similarly, lots of other houses were decorated. Consequently, with beautifully crafted floral painted mosaics.
Second Pompenion Architecture
The first ever Pompeii wall decoration can be seen in the House of Faun. Marbles with stucco paints adorned the walls of the building. The high columned atrium style House of Silver wedding was also built during this time. However, the atrium got renovated in later days.In the period when the second Pompenion architecture style became popular. It remained popular from eighty BC to fourteen AD. Exedra the beautiful banquet has been decorated with second Pompeian style.
There weren’t any new private houses built in the Roman period. All those which were built in the Samnite period. The excavators tried to retain the minute details of the ancient city. The importance of wealthy or ordinary people was no different. The excavators tried to retain the roof, stories and even balconies for visitors to have a glance at.
Impact on European Culture
A profound impact on European taste got jolted by the news. The news of the excavation of Pompeii and the neighbours from below the eruption of Vesuvius had a great effect on Europeans’ enthusiasm and interest. The news of the excavation success spread like a forest fire. The renowned German classicist Johan Joachim Wnkelmann’s loud appreciation and visit to Naples in 1755. The etching by Gaimbattista Piranesi added promotional leverage to excavated places. Additionally, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Naples started attracting English visitors.
Inspirational Aspects of Pompeii
The excavations in Pompeii and its neighboring cities inspired many trading concerns. Admirers of various professions started following the aspects of the ancient city. Transition of one cultural aspect began changing to another.
- Potters, artist, archaeologists over and above furniture makers
- Frescoed wall paintings found in excavations inspired interior decorators
- Stucco art became popular in the UK in the 18th century. It was James and Robert Adams
- The excavations of Pompei inspired a neo classical form of art. Furthermore it completely replaced Rocco style of art that was popular in Napoleon’s time and the French Revolutions
- Motifs of buildings all over Europe got inspired by the excavated remains.
- Social, political, religious etc. for an ancient city
- Industrial provisions available in that time in mills.
- The representation of the process of preparing staple food products in bakery
Benefits from Inscriptions
Even if you don’t hire a guide, the inscriptions on temples, status and monuments will explain what is their profile. The famous wax tablets were one of its kind. Moreover, the wax tablets had inscriptions of games, political events etc. In addition the graffiti inscriptions help you to realize what announcements were made day to day for the benefit of residents. In addition the excavation exposed architectural and epigraphical details of the ancient city.Furthermore, evidences are there which reflect societal structure. Gives you an idea about social stratification between rich and poor. Moreover, the aristocrats of then Roman aristocrats.
Points of Concern
In recent times the excavation site is endangered. The causes have created things worrying undoubtedly. The harshness of weather, visitor traffic, and vegetation growth has created a mess. Restoration works of excavated portions of Pompeii have been conducted in intervals by experts. But they seem not fruitful. On account of degradation, vandalism and mismanagement the Italian Government got worried. Further in 2008, took initiative to restore the valuable remnants of the ancient city. A one year site emergency was declared. Moreover, an expert commissioner was assigned to overlook the situation.
Tips For Visitors
Those of you who want to visit the excavation site of Pompeii. Explore the intricate arts, designs and architectural splendors of the old city.You can reach this heritage site by means of flight i.e. by air, by rail, by bus or by train. Further if you are travelling from Capri use waterways to reach Naples. Further, the best part of the journey may be by bus. Therail or car.
- Pompeii doesn’t have its own airport. Hence, you have to a break journey. Either from Naples or Rome. However, the rail station you need to target reaching Pompeii Scavi. The entrance to the excavation site is just fifty meters away from the station if you avail of the train.
- Reaching Pompeii by Bus is also available. Further, local buses go up to Pompeii. Further, these buses SITA. You can ride one of them from Nuvo Marina and reach the destination. The fare for the bus is 2.8 euros
- To enter excavation sites at Pompeii, you need tickets. The criterias are
- Full price is 11 euros
- Discounted price is 5 euros for people between 18 to 25
- For below 18 Tickets are free of cost
If you believe in the concept, seeing is believing. If you have the desire to know a Unesco recognized heritage place, Pompeii is definitely a historical place to check out. This ancient city’s architectural structure has survived many wars and the Volcano natural disaster. It is something of great beauty and nostalgia. Fortunately, after excavation, the remains have added technical, structural, and architectural insight into ancient history and life.