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The Founding and History of Pompeii until 79 AD
Paradoxically perhaps, it is to Mount Vesuvius to which Pompeii and her neighboring towns owed both their livelihood and ultimate destruction. Pompeii’s history dates to the 7th century BC, when the Opics created an agricultural society in the Sarno Valley, whose soil was made fertile by the presence of volcanic ash from Vesuvius. 1 There was a strong Greek influence in the region following cultural and commercial exchange with the Greek colony of Cumae in Campania. 2 The Etruscans of Southern Italy also influenced Pompeii’s early development, building a walled city on a hill at the mouth of the Sarno River. 3 While Pompeii’s location complicated the obtainment of fresh water, it allowed for the control and monitoring of river traffic. The collapse of Etruscan society followed their defeat by a coalition of Greek colonies in 474 BC during the Battle of Cumae. 4 A mountain people known as the Samnites, who spoke Oscan, arrived shortly after the Etruscan defeat in the late 5th century BC, incorporating Pompeii into the Samnite confederation, along with the neighboring towns of Herculaneum, Sorrento, Stabiae and Nocera. 5 During the Samnite period, the Samnites rebuilt the city’s aging ramparts city defenses were likely fortified in the wake of Hannibal’s military campaign in Campania which ravaged the region at the end of the 3rd century BC. 6 As the people of Nocera fled for neighboring cities following its destruction by Hannibal’s army, Pompeii experienced much growth with the creation of small houses. 7 Following an alliance with the Romans, Pompeians experience prosperity in the 2nd century BC when the Romans opened new Eastern markets to their Italic allies. 8 Several public works projects were undertaken during this period, including renovations to the Temple of Jupiter and the Doric Temple. From 90 to 89 BC, the Social War broke out the in the region, leading to the siege and subsequent defeat of the Pompeians by the Roman army under Lucius Cornelius Sulla. 9 Pompeii became a Roman colony during the Republican period, heavily relying on Rome politically, administratively, socially and economically. Sulla stripped Oscan aristocrats of their power and divided up their estates in their place, villas were built for a Roman elite. 10 During the Augustan era (27 BC to 14 AD) Augustus, the great nephew of Julius Caesar, led the transition of Rome from a republic to an Empire. 11 To do this, he earned the support of his subjects in Pompeii by reincorporating ousted noble families into the power structure, as well as through the use of propaganda architecture. 12 Pompeii successfully integrated into the Roman Empire, but was shaken by a series of violent disputes with Nocera in 59 BC, which were followed by a devastating earthquake in 62 AD. 13 The emperor Nero and his wife Poppaea Sabina, a Pompeii native, supported efforts for reconstruction, which were sadly never completed. 14 After a series of earthquakes following 62 AD, Pompeii was ultimately destroyed by the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
1. Lessing, Erich, and Antonio Varone. Pompeii . Italy: Editions Pierre Terrail, Paris, 1996,1-65.
2. Museum of Fine, Boston. Pompeii AD 79: Pompeii and the Exhibition. Rochester: Case-Hoyt, 1978, 33-38.
4. Museum of Fine, Boston, Pompeii AD 79: Pompeii and the Exhibition, 33-38.
6. Berry, Joanne. The complete Pompeii . London : Thames & Hudson, 2007, 6-51.
9. Museum of Fine, Boston, Pompeii AD 79: Pompeii and the Exhibition, 33-38.
13. Amery, Colin, and Brian Curran. The Lost World of Pompeii . London: Frances Lincoln, 2011, 36-37.
Aerial View of Pompeii - History
Pompeii is located in the Bay of Naples in Southern Italy. The city lies in the foothills of Mt. Vesuvius.
Pompeii, at one time, was a wealthy town in the Bay of Naples with a population of nearly 20,000 (8,000 slaves, 12,000 free). A wall encircled the town that contained a forum, public and private baths, an amphitheater, and luxurious private residences.
On August 24, 79 A.D., Mt. Vesuvius erupted and threw white hot stones down upon the city. Ash followed quickly - blinding, choking, and burying most of the inhabitants. The ash continued to pile and before long had buried the rooftops of the town, completely covering the remains of Pompeii.
The town remained virtually forgotten until excavations began in the early 1700's. Unfortunately, the initial excavators wanted nothing more than statues and destroyed architectural sites, pillaging walls covered with paintings. It was not until the middle of the century that excavations were coordinated and began to uncover the entirety of the site.
News of the emerging ruins spread quickly through Europe and scholars began to visit Pompeii. The excavations eventually played an important role in the Neoclassical revival as artists, architects, furniture makers, and potters drew inspiration from Pompeii.
* The Forum: The forum was the religious, political, and commercial center of Roman colonies at the time Pompeii was buried. The Temple of Jupiter, the Temple of the Lares, and the Temple of Vespasian are all found in the forum.
* Stabian Baths: The oldest of the public baths and an essential part of daily life, the Stabian baths are located at the Holconius crossroads. These baths, like the others in Pompeii, were located in the busiest and most accessible parts of the city. (A sundial had to be used to regulate the opening times for men and women.) After bathing, patrons were able to enjoy the relaxation offered by perfumers and masseurs who constituted a small portion of the large staff at the baths.
*The Amphitheater: The amphitheater, dating from 75-70 B.C., seated twenty thousand spectators. A strict social hierarchy dictated the seating arrangements at the gladiator games. Venatio duels, fighting between men and lions, between wild and domesticated animals, or between lions and gazelles, often comprised the second half of these games. The games became so popular that part of the theater was converted and used as barracks for the gladiators.
*Temple of Capitolin Jupiter: Worship of the gods was a central part of Pompeian life as is illustrated by this temple (located in the forum). Here Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva are worshipped in support of Roman sovereignty.
This image shows a street in Pompeii with Mt. Vesuvius in the background. The street is somewhat mundane, a necessity in a city as busy as Pompeii. Mt. Vesuvius, looming quietly outside the city walls, seems peaceful and removed, nothing more than scenery. The juxtaposition of innovations of city life with the unpredictable forces of the natural world seem to encompass the story of Pompeii.
What would the city have become if Mt. Vesuvius had not erupted?
How was this city able to establish such equality between men and women, rich and poor, slaved and free?
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Woman on top was the favorite sex position in the Roman erotic art
As you’ve noticed by now, all three of the above images depict a woman on top of a man. The ‘riding’ position was the most popular sexual position in Roman erotic art.
There are two theories about why the Romans favored this sexual position. One theory says the ‘riding’ position was a sign of the sexual emancipation of the Roman woman. Another theory claims that woman had to service a man by pleasing him while the man was just lying on the bed.
Take a tour of Pompeii home as it was BEFORE volcano eruption completely destroyed it thanks to 3D technology
Amazing 3D technology has allowed researchers to reconstruct a rich man&aposs house in Pompeii to show us exactly how it would have looked before the volcano.
By combining the modern tech with traditional archaeology , researchers at Lund University in Sweden have created the incredible digital replica - complete with features including a money chest.
Researchers have managed to complete a detailed reconstruction of a large house, belonging to a member of the wealthy political elite, Caecilius Iucundus, and show what it looked like before Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79.
Nicoló Dell&aposUnto, digital archaeologist at Lund University , said: "By combining new technology with more traditional methods, we can describe Pompeii in greater detail and more accurately than was previously possible."
He added: "We can understand more deeply what life was like in Pompeii of the past."
In the reconstruction, the owner&aposs garden room, his money chest and his area for entertaining guests can be clearly seen, in all their original glory.
Among other things, the researchers have uncovered floor surfaces from AD 79, performed detailed studies of the building development through history, cleaned and documented three large wealthy estates, a tavern, a laundry, a bakery and several gardens.
In one garden, they discovered that some of the taps to a stunning fountain were on at the time of eruption – the water was still gushing when the rain of ash and pumice fell over Pompeii.
The researchers occasionally also found completely untouched layers. In a shop were three, amazingly enough, intact windows (made out of translucent crystalline gypsum) from Ancient Rome, stacked against each other.
By studying the water and sewer systems they were able to interpret the social hierarchies at the time, and see how retailers and restaurants were dependent on large wealthy families for water, and how the conditions improved towards the end, before the eruption.
An aqueduct was built in Pompeii, enabling residents to no longer having to rely on a few deep wells or the tanks of collected rainwater in large wealthy households.
The complex research and end 3D product originally began back in 1980 after an earthquake in Italy.
As a result, the Pompeii city curator invited the international research community to help document the ruined city, before the state of the finds from the volcano eruption in AD 79 would deteriorate even further.
Pompei was founded in the VII century B.C. by the Oscans who settled on the slopes of Vesuvius and in an area not far from the river Sarno. The first settlements are dating back to the Iron Age (IX-VII centuries B.C.).
In that period Pompei was an important trade centre so it became object of the Greek, Etruscan and Samnites expansionistic aims. Afterwards in the third century B.C. Pompeii was conquered by the Romans and in a short time it became very important for the Roman trade exchanges as it started to export wine and olive oil even to Provencal and Spain.
This was an excellent architectural period, the rectangular and triangular forums were rebuilt, and important buildings such as Jupiter&rsquos Temple, the Basilica and the House of the Faun were erected.
To this same period belongs the Temple of Iside which is clear evidence of the trade and cultural exchanges between Pompeii and the middle east countries. Under the Roman domination Pompeii became at first a &ldquomunicipium&rdquo and then a colony &ldquoVeneria Cornelia Pompeianorum&rdquo, as it was ruled by the dictator Publio Cornelio Silla who conquered it in 89 B.C.
In this period Pompeii was inevitably influenced by the Roman architectural and cultural styles and during the imperial age many families belonging to the Roman patriciate sojourned in Pompeii where they built the Temple of Augustus and the Building of Eumachia.
In 62 or 63 A.D. Pompei suffered heavy damages from an earthquake and the Roman senate ordered immediately the reconstruction of the town, but this was in vain because, while many works were under construction, on August 24th 79 a tremendous eruption of the volcano Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii, Herculaneum, Stabiae and Oplonti.
Pompeii was completely submerged by a flow of lava which cancelled all forms of life.
Vesuvius: FROM 79 A.D. TO NOWADAYS
Besides the eruption of 79 A.D. another devastating eruption took place in 472, but it was only after the eruption in 1631 that the authorities and the experts understood the real danger represented by Vesuvius.
For the first time the local authorities enacted an edict in which the population was invited to evacuate the area in the presence of an active signal of the volcano.
The last eruption happened in 1944. Today, even though people are fully aware of the of the gravity of the situation, the area around the volcano is densely populated and as of today political have yet to prepare complete precautionary measures which involves the inhabitants, schools, scientific departments.
Crazy rich ancient Romans
The villa was certainly not hidden when it was built, around 50 B.C. Back then, before the Italian coastline was transformed by the massive lava flow from Mount Vesuvius’s eruption, it sat like a shining jewel on a high bluff, overlooking a beach and the Bay of Naples. Oplontis was part of a luxurious string of vacation properties built by wealthy Romans, which included the San Marco and Ariana villas, in Castellammare di Stabia, and Villa of the Papyri, in Herculaneum.
Cool ocean breezes, gentle hills, and fertile farmlands inspired this location’s name, Campania Felix (Happy Land). This was the ideal spot to indulge in otium—Latin for a style of leisure that combined rest, study, contemplation, exercise, and, of course, feasting and entertainment.
Here, Romans—who knew each other from their serious work in the city—could cut loose and also be seen with other high-status folks, creating an atmosphere somewhat like today’s Hamptons.
Party guests invited to Oplontis would arrive at the villa’s private port, then be escorted up ramps to be awestruck by the sheer expanse of the place—which would have been twice the size of the 99 currently excavated rooms, backed by vineyards and olive groves that sloped up to Mount Vesuvius. Once inside, an orchestrated interplay would ensue between guests and enslaved people, who would appear out of hidden alcoves to offer massages with precious ointments and perform acrobatic feats.
“I love how the wall paintings were designed to move people around the villa,” says art historian Regina Gee, of the University of Montana. “Frescoes of birds and lush plants bordering the pool inspired thoughtful strolling, while the interior zebra-striped hallways directed fast movement, useful for workers.”
Some believe the villa was owned by the intriguing Empress Poppaea Sabina, Nero’s second wife. It was her name that was found inscribed on an amphora during an excavation, prompting archaeologists to call the site Villa Poppaea. With not enough evidence to prove her ownership, subsequent scholars settled on calling the site Villa A. Still, Torre Annunziata locals stick to Villa Poppaea, proud that an empress may have once lived among them.
Poppaea does fit the profile of crazy rich ancient Romans who owned such villas. She was said to be highly ambitious and sexually adventurous, or as the historian Tacitus put it, “endowed with all gifts but that of integrity of the soul.” Her beauty was highly praised, and so precious to her, that, according to Pliny, she demanded to be bathed daily in the milk of 500 asses. Emperor Nero was Poppaea’s third husband, and to snare him, she went to great conniving lengths—convincing Nero to murder his mother, then divorce and execute his first wife.
After finally marrying, things did not go well for Poppaea. While she was pregnant with their second child, the emperor flew into a jealous rage, accusing her of flirting with gladiators, and kicking her to death. Her legacy endured, as Nero felt guilty for his violent fit, and ordered an elaborate funeral, elevating Poppaea to divine status. To add to his display of devotion, he even had a slave who resembled Poppaea castrated so he could marry him.
Once you understand the dramatic characters who may have run the villa, you can picture banquets that would begin in the afternoon and carry on until the wee torchlit hours of the morning. Men in togas stretched out on couches, welcomed by servants who trimmed their toenails and offered them snow-chilled water from Mount Vesuvius for hand washing. Honeyed wine was poured into silver goblets cymbals crashed as trays of delicacies such as dormice, oysters, and flamingo tongues appeared. Scantily dressed performers jumped through burning hoops, gyrated on tabletops, or dressed as Bacchus with laurel crowns, reciting Greek poetry.
Aerial view of Pompeii with Mount Vesuvius in the background - stock photo
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The city of Pompeii was a major resort city during the times of Ancient Rome. However, in 79 AD, disaster struck the city when it was buried under 20 feet of ash and debris from the eruption of the nearby volcano, Mount Vesuvius.
Pompeii was originally settled around the 7th century BC by the Oscan peoples. The port city was in a prime location for trade as well as farming. The rich volcanic soil from earlier eruptions of Vesuvius created prime farmland for grapes and olive trees.
In the 5th century the city was conquered by the Samnites and was later taken over by the Romans. It became an official Roman colony in 80 BC called the Colonia Veneria Cornelia Pompeii.
The city of Pompeii was a popular vacation destination for the Romans. It is estimated that between 10,000 and 20,000 people lived in the city. Many wealthy Romans had summer homes in Pompeii and would live there during the hot summer months.
Pompeii was a typical Roman city. On one side of the city was the forum. It was here that much of the business of the city was carried out. There were also temples to Venus, Jupiter, and Apollo near the forum. An aqueduct carried water into the city to be used in the public baths and fountains. The rich even had running water in their homes.
The people of Pompeii enjoyed their entertainment. There was a large amphitheater that could seat around 20,000 people for gladiator games. There were also a number of theatres for plays, religious celebrations, and musical concerts.
The area around Pompeii experienced frequent earthquakes. In 62 AD there was a huge earthquake that destroyed many of the buildings of Pompeii. The city was still rebuilding seventeen years later when disaster struck.
On August 24, 79 AD Mount Vesuvius erupted. Scientists estimate that 1.5 million tons of ash and rock shot out of the volcano every second. The ash cloud likely towered over 20 miles high above the mountain. Some people managed to escape, but most didn't. It is estimated that 16,000 people died.
Did they know what was coming?
The days prior to the eruption were recorded by a Roman administrator named Pliny the Younger. Pliny wrote that there had been several earth tremors in the days leading up to the eruption, but Roman science didn't know that earthquakes could signal the start of a volcano erupting. Even when they first saw smoke rising from the top of the mountain, they were merely curious. They had no idea what was coming until it was too late.
A Great Archeologists Find
The city of Pompeii was buried and gone. People eventually forgot about it. It wasn't discovered again until the 1700s when archeologists began to uncover the city. They found something amazing. Much of the city was preserved under the ashes. Buildings, paintings, houses, and workshops that would never have survived all these years remained intact. As a result, much of what we know about everyday life in the Roman Empire comes from Pompeii.
Fate of Pompeii, The
Yes, no change will be found in Allah's way (rules). Everybody, who stands against his laws and rebels against Him, is subject to the same divine law. Pompeii, the symbol of the degeneration of the Roman Empire was also involved in sexual perversity. Its end was similar to that of the people of Lut.
The destruction of Pompeii came by means of the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius.
The volcano Vesuvias is the symbol of Italy, primarily the city of Naples. Remaining silent for the last two millennia, Vesuvias is named the ‘mount of warning'. It is not without cause that Vesuvias is known as such. The disaster that befell Sodom and Gomorrah is very similar to the disaster that destroyed Pompeii.
To the right of Vesuvias lies Naples and to the east lies Pompeii. The lava and ash of a huge volcanic eruption, that happened two millennia ago, caught the inhabitants of that city. The disaster happened so suddenly that everything in the town was caught in the middle of everyday life and remains today exactly as it was two millennia ago. It is as if the time had been frozen.
The removal of Pompeii from the face of the earth by such a disaster was not purposeless. The historical records show that the city was exactly a center of dissipation and perversity. The city was marked by a rise in prostitution to such an extent that eventually the number of brothels was not known. Male organs in their original sizes were hung on the doors of brothels. According to tradition, rooted in Mithraic belief, sexual organs and sexual intercourse should not be hidden but displayed openly. (Archeologists first excavated the city during Victorian times, shocked by the open sexual perversity of the people, a secret museum was formed to house some of the artifacts found. These included many falic symbols, images of homosexuality and even bestiality, to be viewed only by a select ‘League of Gentlemen' who Victorian society deemed to be capable of dealing with the images.)
But the lava of Vesuvias wiped the whole city off the map in a single moment. The most interesting aspect of the event is that nobody escaped despite the terrible violence of the eruption of Vesuvias. It is almost like they did not even notice the catastrophe, as if they were charmed. A family eating their meal were petrified right at that moment. Numerous petrified couples were found in the act of intercourse. The most interesting thing is that there were couples of the same sex and couples of young boys and young girls. The faces of some of the petrified human corpses unearthed from Pompeii were unharmed. The general expression on those faces was bewilderment.
Here lies the most incomprehensible aspect of the calamity. How did thousands of people wait to be caught by death without seeing and hearing anything?
This aspect of the event shows that the disappearance of Pompeii was similar to the destructive events mentioned in the Qur'an, because the Qur'an particularly points to "sudden annihilation" while relating these events. For example, the "inhabitants of the city" described in Surah Yasin died all at once in a single moment. The situation is told as follows in the 29th verse of the Surah:
In the 31st verse of Surah al-Qamar, again the "instantaneous annihilation" is emphasized when the destruction of Thamud is recounted:
The death of the people of Pompeii took place instantaneously, just as the events recounted in the above verses.
Despite all these, things have not changed much where Pompeii once stood. The districts of Naples where debauchery prevails do not fall short of those licentious districts of Pompeii. The island of Capri is a base where homosexuals and nudists rule. The island of Capri is represented as a "Homosexual Paradise" in tourist commercials. Not only on the island if Capri and in Italy, but in nearly all the world, a similar moral degeneration is at work and people insist on not learning form the awful experience of past peoples.