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Friday, October 5, 2012

Pompeii 2012

The final city we visited was destroyed by a volcanic explosion in AD 79 - Pompeii, of course.

There is some debate on the exact date as can be seen at this link.

The volcano - Mt Vesuvius - is only 8 km away from Pompeii and can be clearly seen from the city, as the video of the forum below demonstrates ...



If you are interested in the geology of Vesuvius follow this link.

At the time of the eruption, the town may have had some 20,000 inhabitants, and was located in an area in which Romans had their holiday villas. Prof. William Abbott explains, "At the time of the eruption, Pompeii had reached its high point in society as many Romans frequently visited Pompeii on vacations." It is the only ancient town of which the whole topographic structure is known precisely as it was, with no later modifications or additions. Due to the difficult terrain it was not distributed on a regular plan as most Roman towns but its streets are straight and laid out in a grid in the Roman tradition; they are laid with polygonal stones, and have houses and shops on both sides of the street.
     Source.

Pompeii had many of the amenities found in Roman towns. There was a large ampitheatre and two smaller theatres, one of which is shown in the video ...



The walls on the entrance to the theatre had graffiti scratched on them - phallic boasting can be discerned in the photo below ...



(... in many ways the Romans were similar to us...)

The paved roads ...



... were lined with shops - including bakeries ...



... people did not live by "bread alone" sex was also for sale, and so we visited one of the brothels ...



... the beds did not look particularly comfortable ...



... but the speciality of the room was pictured above the doorway ...



Of particular (though possible ghoulish) interest are the bodies of people who were living in Pompeii at the time of the eruption. The residents were quickly killed and their bodies surrounded by the volcanic ash. Over time the bodies decomposed and left people shaped holes in the volcanic rock. Archaeologists have filled some of these body holes with plaster then removed the rock surrounding them, to reveal the bodies of the people ...





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Here is a link to my pictures of Pompeii

After Pompeii we were driven by our incomparable driver back to the beginning of our tour - Rome.

After spending a final evening with our tour partners we all went our separate ways. Some were heading back home - as were Margaret and I - but our friends from Seaholome Probus club were heading to Paris (!!!) to start an Insight tour of the Country Roads of France. Although Margaret and I had never considered extending our tour, I admit to a pang of regret as we said goodbye to our friends as they headed to France.

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