Ancient Pompeii Preserved Over 1600 Years
Little did he know, the fury of Mt. [wiki]Vesuvius[/wiki] would actually preserve Pompeii for about 1600 years “during the height of its popularity and wealth.” according to Factsmonk notation on Ancient Pompeii.
The lack of air and moisture allowed objects to remain buried with little to no deterioration, however, once exposed, deterioration has increased from both natural and man-made forces as stated by Answers.com’s American Heritage Dictionary entry on Pompeii.
The study of Pompeii has revealed many details and treasures reflecting everyday life in Pompeii. Artifacts found revealed the people and their past illuminating the perfectly preserved aspect of Roman life in Pompeii.
Items found within the homes and businesses
In homes, jewelry, vases, pottery, silverware, as well as other items found, utensils, doctor’s tools, and paintings paint a picture of wealth. The size of the homes also defined wealth revealing how extravagant the wealthy lived. They could be one or two rooms to a mansion with over twenty rooms. Some of these had identical rooms. Certain rooms were used in the winter to soak in the south-west sun in the winter, east sun in the spring, and northern sun in the summer trying to keep a comfortable temperature year round.
Also discovered were neat pavements, drainage systems, even under floor heating according to Maria Milani’s webpage on Ancient Pompeii. There was a sewage system, temples (one for the Temple of Isis and Temple of Venus on the western edge), baths (one featured a “portico palaestra” while the suburban baths had an “artificial terrace facing the sea, warm and cool pools, a waterfall supplied by an imitation cave, mosaics, and dressing room with sixteen panels of erotic scenes” according to Cosmopolis’s article “Pompeii: The history and the art of the city.”
Life within the walls of Pompeii
Amphitheatre (according to “modern scholars is a model of sophisticated design particularly in the area of crowd control” as stated by Answers.com’s American Heritage Dictionary entry on Pompeii) with gladiator barracks including large amounts of armor. A theatre that held about 5,000 spectators, a forum, a basilica and diocese, city wall, houses with atriums, stores, workshops, as well as sculptures made of marble, wood, stone, or bronze, portraits and reliefs decorated architecture, paintings, mosaics and murals were discovered described on Ancient Rome’s Art and Architecture References.
The House of the Faun (Roman god) was the largest home in Pompeii of over 2900 square meters with an atrium showcasing a bronze statue of the faun. It had “two porticoed gardens, exedra, core of the house, columns, mosaic depicting Alexander the greats victory over Darius, the King of Persia” according to Cosmopolis’s article “Pompeii: The history and the art of the city.”
Public Baths and the City’s water supply
. The Lupanare which is Latin for prostitute. It was the largest and only brothel specifically for the purpose. “A Palaestra with a central natatorium, or swimming pool, a these places were used for exercise or training. An aqueduct providing water to more than twenty-five fountains (public fountains were a vital service in Pompeii while the pools were mostly decoration), four public baths, and a large number of private houses (domi’s) and businesses” as stated by Answers.com’s American Heritage Dictionary entry on Pompeii. If water was limited, the public baths would be cut off first, then the houses, then business, so that the water would go to the fountains, very important to sustaining life.
Spreading the news
“Luxury items of papyrus, glassware, pottery, jewels, spices, and dried fruits that only the wealthy could afford.” according to Elon University Stephanie Olsen’s paper on Pompeii. Agricultural goods and hand crafted items were sold such as wool, oil, and wine.
News, since there weren’t any newspapers, was done via graffiti, murals, and word of mouth. The news would be announcements of gladiatorial combats (which could include the Munera, a Roman game involving wild beasts and gladiators fighting), election notices, list of market days, festivals, or anything else that would require keeping the public abreast of activities and news.
Roman’s version of take out food and taverns
Romans were no different than us when it came to eating. There were bars and restaurant type establishments where Romans could go out and eat. Thermopoliums existed through the city what I liken to street food vendors, serving those on the streets passing by with food similar to take-out. A bar was called a taberna (tavern) served wine and provided gambling. Some had brothels much like a saloon in the old west. There were places to rest or get a meal were found just outside the city at hospitias which were similar to hotels today. They had thei
r own dining rooms, an atrium and even a garden. They also had stabulae’s (stables) where guests could stable their animals for the night.
Life then and disaster strikes
“Historians wrote of the Roman daily life, a routine not that much different from our grandparents. Life was simple actions and far less stressful than ours” according to Pompeii.it’s article “Daily life in Ancient Pompeii”
In 62 AD and earthquake struck the region ironically on the “anniversary of Augustus being named, “Father of the Nation” and a feast to honor guardian spirits.” as stated by Answers.com’s American Heritage Dictionary entry on Pompeii. Days following the earthquake, anarchy ruled. Panic and starvation plagued citizens just as a disaster would today. Rebuilding began but in 79 AD the “eruption of Mt. Vesuvius was ironically the day after Vulcanalia, the festival of the Roman god of fire.” as stated by Answers.com’s American Heritage Dictionary entry on Pompeii.
Preserved after 1600 years buried
Today, much of Pompeii is still buried more so for its own preservation yet it still “represents a way of life that had disappeared nearly 2,000 years ago.” According to Factsmonk’s notation on Ancient Pompeii
The most notable question today would be do we continue to excavate to find out more allowing man and Mother Nature to begin deteriorating the life that has survived? Or do we stop the excavations in order to continue to preserve life as it was.