Introduction

Pompeii an overview

Introduction

Pompeii an overview

There are several major sites of roman ruins in and around Pompeii, Italy. Of these Pompeii is the best known and largest. These images were taken in February 2014. Spread along the Amalfi coast they were all destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius around 79AD.

Pompeii

Pompeii was mostly destroyed and buried under 4-6m of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The eruption destroyed the city, killing its inhabitants and burying it under tons of ash. Evidence for the destruction originally came from a surviving letter by Pliny the Younger, who saw the eruption from a distance and described the death of his uncle Pliny the Elder, an admiral of the Roman fleet, who tried to rescue citizens.

The site was lost for about 1,500 years until its initial rediscovery in 1599 and broader rediscovery almost 150 years later. The objects that lay beneath the city have been well-preserved for centuries because of the lack of air and moisture. These artifacts provide an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana.

Herculaneum

Herculaneum is one of the few ancient cities that can now be seen in almost its original splendor. Unlike Pompeii, it was mainly affected by pyroclastic flows, thus preserving the wooden objects; roof tops, building beams, beds, doors, and even food can be seen as large charcoal objects. Moreover, Herculaneum was a wealthier town than Pompeii, possessing an extraordinary density of fine houses, and far more lavish use of colored marble cladding.

Oplontis

Oplontis is the location of the Villa Poppaea, the villa possibly associated with the second wife of Emperor Nero, Poppaea Sabina, as her main residence when she was not in Rome. It was excavated in the mid-20th century.

Like many of the frescoes that were preserved due to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, those decorating the walls of the Villa Poppaea are striking both in form and in color. Many of the frescoes are in the “ Second Style” (also called the Architectural Style) of ancient Roman painting, dating to ca. 90-25 BCE. Details include feigned architectural features such as trompe-l’oeil windows, doors, and painted columns.