Pompeii: Just do it!

Frescoes in the Villa of Mysteries, Pompeii

Ancient history doesn’t turn my crank like medieval history does, but Pompeii is not to be missed regardless of your historical interests. Buried by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD, Pompeii disappeared until its rediscovery in 1748.

Large sections of the city have since been unearthed–and I do mean large! The size of the city shocked me. Public buildings, retail shops, bakeries, a large theatre, public baths, even a brothel, and many homes now give mute testimony to the vibrant city that once was.

Bird mosaic at PompeiiA first-hand account of the eruption was written by Pliny the Younger, twenty-five years after the eruption in which his beloved uncle, Pliny the Elder perished attempting to rescue survivors. In two brief letters, he describes the earthquakes and ash, shooting flames and raining cinders, which brought terror to the entire Bay of Naples.

While Pompeii provides a fascinating view of life in a Roman era city, I was intrigued by the unexcavated areas. Ten or twelve feet above the level of the Roman streets, grassy fields bloom with daffodils in the spring, intrusions into the outline of the greater city. When I asked the staff about these areas, I was assured that they were excavating all the “important” areas, implying that nothing of significance lay in those intrusions.

How could they know?


7 thoughts on “Pompeii: Just do it!

  1. Pingback: About Pompeii: A New Book – The Italian South

  2. I want to go REAL bad! I don’t know if I ever shared with you that I first really read about Pompeii in 1999 when there was a passage in the 3rd grade reading text I was teaching from at the time! Isn’t that something. I got all into it. Then a few years later a Pompeii exhibit was at one of the LA museums and I took that 3rd grade class after we had read about it. It was an amazing exhibit. I have wanted to go ever since!

  3. This little vignette brought back such rich memories to me as I was there with Sandy and her hubby, Vern. While the ‘digs’ I visited in Greece on the Is land of Santorini beheld a 2,000 yr old civilization that was replete with flush toilets! I enjoyed the completeness of Pompeii which allowed the visitor to walk the map of that city uninterrupted and even unaccompanied. The one drawback that I personally experienced was that there was but one lavatory facility and it was waaaaay back at the entrance to the place. Eeeeek
    The mother unit

  4. I went to Pompei for the first time nearly 40 years ago and thought it was absolutely amazing. I have been back since and was just as impressed. I am about to visit again soon and hope to discover more of this fascinating place. Great post.

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