Imagine if one day a famous city is covered by a volcano and it disappears; how sad would that be? It turns out that Pompeii, an ancient town in Italy that is close to the modern-day Naples had a similar fate. The city’s history was not documented for centuries because it was covered in volcanic ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. A witness wrote that the volcano poured like a flood, which left the city in darkness.
Today we revisit little-known facts about Pompeii.
Pompeii Is Not a Perfect Time Capsule
One would assume that the city’s features have been preserved all this while, but that isn’t the case. The eruption caused adverse damage to its infrastructure. It is said that thousands died there, although the exact number isn’t known. Some people managed to escape, and they carried some valuable items like jewelry and coins. After the fire cooled off, salvagers explored the city and went on with their treasure-hunting exercises. Some findings, like pottery and paintings, were destroyed by excavators with the notion that they didn’t have much value. All these factors make Pompeii a problematic site to research, just like many other archeological locations.
The Amphitheatre Was Pomp of Color
The amphitheatre was first discovered in 1815. Extraordinary mural paintings were on its carpet wall. There were also large paintings of wild animals like a bull and bear facing off. Unfortunately, the images didn’t last beyond a few months of excavation, which means that they may have been drawn a little while before the eruption. All there is are drawings of what the walls looked like. At least we have something to please our eyes.
The Cult of Isis Was Popular in Pompeii
Besides the famous temple of Isis that is devoted to the Egyptian goddess, Isis, statues and images of Isis are in over 20 houses. Roman writers feel that the Cult of Isis may have existed in Pompeii. The Isis culture was a threat to traditional Roman values like duty and honor. Following the discovery of Isis images and statues in Pompeii, it is clear that the cult was deeply rooted here. The Egyptian goddess’ followers believed that she was a patron of sailors. Pompeii’s proximity to the sea explains her popularity.
Pompeii Looked like a Massive Construction Site
Although the Mount Vesuvius eruption of 79 A.D. is the most known eruption to have hit Pompeii, scholars agree that this was one of a series of earthquakes that shook the city. The idea comes from evidence from the buildings that show they had been repaired severally. Therefore, Pompeii may have resembled a large construction site, since reconstruction was always in progress.
Only One Brothel Has Been Identified in Pompeii
You may have read that the city was rich in brothels, but this could be another myth. Historians say that erotic paintings are associated with brothels. However, in the case of Pompeii, this wouldn’t apply because erotic paintings were all over buildings in Pompeii. Only one brothel has been securely identified in the ancient Roman city.