More than 1900 years ago, a bustling Roman city was encased in ash to form one of the most famous moments frozen in time. In 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted covering most of the city of Pompeii with 15 to 20 feet of ash and rock in most places. Objects, paintings, structures, and even bodies were nearly perfectly preserved by the volcanic aftermath of the eruption. Rediscovered in 1749, Pompeii has been a treasure trove of knowledge regarding 1st Century Ancient Roman life. With all of its splendor, one can’t help but feel bad for those who perished in this momentous period in time.
The “Day in Pompeii” exhibit traveled the United States on a two-year adventure, it wound down in Denver, Colorado on January 13, 2013. At which point, the collection returned home to Italy. More than 250 artifacts from the disaster are on display from paintings to casts made of the victims from the volcano. In this tour, there are a few key pieces that everyone should see as they are powerful to the imagination.
1. Dog Lovers – Humans weren’t the only Romans who were caught by the power of Mount Vesuvius. In the exhibit is a cast of a dog that was unearthed. Complete with collar, you can’t help but wonder what happened to this animal’s owner.
2. A Detailed Fresco – Full colored fresco that covered the back wall of the House of the Gold Bracelets was recovered in Pompeii. With all things time considered, the Fresco is in beautiful condition surviving for 1700 years before being retrieved in Pompeii.
3. A Woman Breathless – As many of the bodies uncovered in the aftermath show signs of dying in their sleep, some show evidence of his or her last moments of life before being covered by ash and rock. The cast of a woman suffocating shows how she tried to cover her face and mouth immediately before death.
4. The Seated Man – One of the most famous bodies found was the man seated against a wall with his legs up to his chest. This is a representation of how quickly these Romans died and were sealed in a volcanic tomb. The man has his hands in front of his face as to block ash and heat from his nose and mouth.
5. Preserved Statues – Ancient Rome is renowned for its statues and pillars. Some of the statues retrieved from Pompeii seem nearly flawless and newly crafted. The statue of Aphrodite that is featured in the exhibit is a prime example of how well the city was preserved.
6. Pottery and Utensils – Many crafted items were retrieved in excellent condition showing us how civilians in Pompeii managed their day-to-day activities prior to the eruption. It is a unique perspective to how our ancestors lived in the 1st Century.
Inescapable Disaster at Pompeii A pyroclastic cloud can travel at speeds greater than 100 miles per hour. As Pompeii was so close to the eruption, there was little chance for the people to escape this tragedy. Breathing is unbearable inside one of these clouds and temperatures can reach up to and beyond 600 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a horrible way to spend your last day on Earth.
Although this look into the past is preserved in such a manner that we can understand the era much clearer, it is a shame that so many had to perish for this understanding. Examine the artifacts and learn how life more than 1900 years ago mimicked our own in a variety of ways. If you’ve missed the exhibit, visit Pompeii in Italy and see firsthand of how the city would be lost to history for nearly two millennia before being excavated.
Ken Myers is the founder of http://www.longhornleads.com/ & has learned over the years the importance of focusing on what the customer is looking for and literally serving it to them. He doesn’t try to create a need, instead he tries to satisfy the existing demand for information on products and services.