The History and Destruction of Vesuvius and Pompeii

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Pompeii was a great city in ancient Rome that was abruptly destroyed when the seemingly harmless and docile Mt. Vesuvius unexpectedly erupted destroying the city of Pompeii and the bordering city of Herculaneum. Before this tragedy struck Pompeii was a very wealthy city and a staple of Roman culture. Located just 10 Kilometers from Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii appeared to be nothing more than a wealthy city with a view of great mountain until its one defining moment in history changed everything. Where you could once find a beacon of life and culture you can now only find deserted buildings and plaster casts of the casualties caused by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. When the ruins of Pompeii were discovered we as a culture were exposed to a world that was still unknown to us. The ash covering Pompeii hid away a world that was once very great and powerful, and when it was discovered a whole knew perspective on the history of Roman culture arose because the city was preserved, and it was a way for historians to see exactly what a Roman city looked like. The fact that it was untouched by man for so many years gave people a greater understanding on what life might of been like during the height of the Roman empire.

The city of Pompeii had been around well before the chaos and destruction caused by Mt. Vesuvius. It was first discovered by the Greeks in approximately 650 B.C.E. and was used mostly as a trade city due to its location on the Sarno River. By the year 89 B.C.E. it had become an official city of the Roman Empire and the culture immediately began to take the shape of all of Rome. Due to the cities previous occupations by other nations Pompeii was a very culturally diverse city and you could find countless of different religions and cultures within the city walls (Ellaby 34). Before its destruction at the hands of Vesuvius, Pompeii had become a very popular city to vacation in, and was a place that all of the rich people in Rome went to vacation. One of the many reasons that Pompeii was a vacation hotspot was the fact that it seemed to move at a bit of slower pace and it was removed from the normal confusion and stress of everyday life (Ellaby 34). This caused many middle class people like merchants and artisans in Pompeii to work harder and they soon elevated themselves to the upper class as well. This impacted their society because it made the city an even more desirable place for the wealthy to travel to because they were associating with people who lived the same type of lavish lifestyle that they were experiencing. These merchants who had moved up in society had tried to live very outwardly lavish lifestyles by hosting lots of jewels and great architecture to show off their wealth and compete with old money, this had an upside however because all of the lavish living beautified the city and made it an even more desirable place for people to visit.

One of the many things that made Pompeii as beautiful a city as it was, was the wealth of art, culture, and architecture that it hosted. Roman architecture was and will always be remembered for their innovation of the arch as a building tool. One of the most notable pieces of architecture still found in Pompeii were the celebratory arches. They were built to celebrate the reign of Augustus and were built on the two sides of the temple of Jupiter (Guzzo 44). When dealing with the arts its hard to overlook the large theater in Pompeii. It was a theater that was able to hold upwards of 5,000 people and was host to plays written by Plautus, Terence, and Atellanae (Guzzo 77). One of the greatest architectural sites in the city of Pompeii was the House of the Faun. The house was approximately 3,000 meters. Construction on the house began in 180 B.C.E. and when completed had two atria, a peristyle and an extremely large and spacious garden (Guzzo 54). The garden in the House of Faun was truly an extraordinary site. It at one point held a great mosaic of...
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