Pompeii: the story of the death of the city and interesting facts
Throughout its history, mankind has experienced a lot of disasters. However, the most famous of these is the death of Pompey. The story introduces us to the numerous facts of this catastrophe, which happened in 79 in Italy. Here, in the very center of the state, the eruption of the volcano of Vesuvius occurred. And although it can hardly be called the strongest, but this event has led to the shock of many people, holy believers in the exclusivity of their homeland. Indeed, as a result of the eruption, a large, prosperous city was destroyed - Pompeii. Experienced by people can be compared with the catastrophe, when as a result of the terrorist attack the twin towers in the USA were destroyed. And this is despite the fact that the temporary distance between these two tragedies was 1922.
Interest to archaeologists
What was Pompeii? It was one of the most beautiful cities of antiquity, thanks to which we can most fully learn how the Romans lived in those days.At the place where Pompeii stood, interesting artifacts still remain, which testify to how magnificent this settlement was. Houses and quarters, temples and frescoes ... All this has remained virtually untouched, since for two thousand years after the catastrophe it was under ashes. To visit the ruins of this ancient settlement is good luck for any archaeologist.
The emergence of the city
When did Pompeii appear? The history of the great city dates back to the 4th c. BC er It was then that a settlement was founded in the area of Naples. Later, this town acquired five small villages and became a single administrative entity. It belonged to the Etruscans, thus the ancient tribes, whose culture later became the basis of the culture of the Romans.
What is the further history of Pompey (briefly)? By the end of the 5th c. BC er The city was captured by the Samnites. And a century later, Pompeii became allied with the Roman Republic. However, such connections were nothing more than a formality. Pompeii-like cities were considered by the Senate of Rome only from a consumer perspective. Their citizens served in the army of a great state, but at the same time were deprived of many material issues, in particular those relating to the right to public lands.This was the reason for the rise of the uprising.
However, protests of citizens of Pompey were suppressed. In 89 BC. er troops entered the city, declaring it a Roman colony. Pompeii forever lost their independence. However, residents of the city did not even feel such a change. All the remaining ninety years in the history of the city, they continued to live a free and secure life on earth, which was distinguished by fertility, near the sea and in a mild climate. The civil war, in which Caesar and Pompey took an active part, did not touch them either. The history of the city indicates its active development up to the tragedy.
Not far from Pompey was Herculaneum. This is the city in which the retired legionnaires settled, as well as slaves who bought themselves freedom. Not far from Pompeii was located the city of Stabiae. He was a favorite place of the Roman nouveau riche. Wonderful villas were erected on its territory, which delighted with their luxury and literally drowned in greenery. At some distance from them were the houses where poor people lived — servants, merchants, artisans. They all earned their living by satisfying the needs of rich people.
The story of the death of the city of Pompeii is directly connected with Herculaneum and Stabiae.They were also buried under the ashes erupting from Vesuvius. Of all the inhabitants, only those who abandoned their property and left at the very beginning of the eruption were able to save. With this, people were able to save lives for themselves and their loved ones.
The history of Pompeii, since the formation of the city, was characterized by the construction of a huge number of buildings. The construction was especially active in the last three centuries before the tragedy played out. Among the infrastructure can be identified:
- a huge amphitheater with twenty thousand seats;
- The Bolshoi Theater, which contained 5 thousand spectators;
- The Maly Theater, designed for 1.5 thousand people.
A large number of temples were also erected in the city, which were dedicated to various gods. Center Pompeii decorated square - forum. This is a territory formed from public buildings, where the main trading and political life of the settlement took place. The streets of the city were straight and intersected with each other perpendicularly.
The city had its own water supply. It was carried out with the help of an aqueduct. This device was a large, standing on supports, tray.The city was supplied with lively moisture from mountain springs. After the aqueduct, the water got into the bulk reservoir, and from it, through the piping system, into the homes of rich citizens.
For the common people worked public fountains. The pipes from the common tank were also connected to them.
The baths built in the city were also very popular. In them, people not only washed, but also communicated, and also discussed commercial and public news.
Bread in Pompeii produced their own bakery. Existed in the city and textile production. It was at a high enough level for that time.
But what about Vesuvius? Yes, this volcano is active. It is located just 15 km from Naples. Its height is 1280 meters. Historians and scholars argue that it used to be two times larger. However, the events of 79 destroyed most of the volcano.
Throughout its history, Vesuvius has 80 large eruptions. But, according to archaeologists, until 79, the volcano was not active for 15 centuries.
Why, despite the existing danger, exactly in this place were Pompeii erected, whose history ended so sadly? The fact is that people were attracted by this territory with their fertile soil.And they did not pay attention to the real threat posed by the crater next to them.
The forerunners of the tragedy
Pompeii - one of the most ancient cities of Italy - in 62 year felt the shocks of the strongest earthquake. There is almost no intact building in it. Some of the structures were completely destroyed.
An earthquake and eruption is the same geological process, only expressed in various forms. However, the inhabitants of the Roman Empire at that time did not know about it. They firmly believed that their beautiful city would stand for centuries.
Not having time to recover from the effects of these perturbations of the earth's depths, Pompeii experienced a whole series of new shocks. They occurred the day before the eruption of Vesuvius, which occurred in 79 g. It was this event that led to the fact that the history of Pompey came to an end. Of course, people did not associate the tremors of the earth's interior with a volcano.
In addition, shortly before the catastrophe that occurred, the temperature of the water of the Gulf of Naples sharply increased. In some places, she even reached the boiling point. All the wells and streams located on the slopes of Vesuvius turned dry.The bowels of the mountain began to emit terrible sounds, like lingering moans. All this also indicated that the history of the city of Pompeii will change dramatically.
The death of the city
What was the last day of Pompey? The story can briefly describe it thanks to the records of the politician of those times, Pliny the Younger. The catastrophe began at two o'clock in the afternoon of August 24, 1979. A white cloud with brown spots appeared over Vesuvius. It quickly gained its size and, rising in height, began to spread in all directions. The soil near the volcano came into motion. Incessant tremors were felt, and a terrible roar was heard from the depths.
Soil fluctuations were felt even in the city of Miseno, located 30 kilometers from the volcano. It was in this village was Pliny the Younger. According to his records, the tremors were so strong that it seemed that the statues and houses were being destroyed, which were thrown from side to side.
At this time, a gas stream continued to erupt from the volcano. She, possessing an incredible strength, carried out a huge number of pieces of pumice from the crater. The wreckage rose to a height of about twenty kilometers.And it lasted all 10-11 hours of eruption.
Death of people
It is believed that about two thousand people could not get out of Pompei. This is about a tenth of the total population of the city. The rest probably managed to escape. Consequently, the overtaking catastrophe did not catch the Pompeians off guard. This information was obtained by scientists from Pliny's letters. However, it is not possible to find out the exact death toll. The fact is that the remains of people, archaeologists have discovered even outside the city.
The history of Pompey, compiled by researchers, says that, according to existing data, the number of dead is sixteen thousand people. These are residents not only of the described city, but also of Herculaneum, as well as Stabiae.
People ran in panic to the harbor. They hoped to escape, leaving the dangerous terrain by sea. This is confirmed by the excavations of archaeologists who discovered many human remains on the coast. But, most likely, the ships did not have time or simply could not accommodate everyone.
Among the inhabitants of Pompey there were those who hoped to sit out in closed rooms or in deaf cellars.After they, however, tried to get out, but it was too late.
The next stage of the eruption
What happened next with the city of Pompeii? The history, written on the basis of the data of the chronicles, says that the explosions in the crater of the volcano, occurred with some interval. This allowed many residents to move to a safe distance. In the city there were only slaves who played the role of guards of the property of the owners, and those residents who did not want to leave their farms.
The situation has worsened. At night, came the next stage of the eruption. Flames began to erupt from Vesuvius. The next morning, hot lava flowed out of the crater. It was she who destroyed those residents who remained in the city. From about 6 o'clock in the morning, ash began to fall from the sky. At the same time, pumice “balls”, which covered Pompeii and Stabiae with a thick layer, began to cover the earth. This nightmare lasted for three hours.
Researchers believe that the energy of Vesuvius on that day was many times greater than that which was released during the atomic explosion in Hiroshima. People remaining in the city, rushing through the streets. They tried to escape, but quickly lost strength and fell, covering their heads with their hands from despair.
How did the death of Pompey happen? Little-known facts, which were published relatively recently, indicate that pyroclastic hydrothermal streams poured into the city reached temperatures of 700 degrees. It was they who carried the horror and death with them. When hot water was mixed with ash, a mass was formed, enveloping everything that was in its way. People who tried to escape from inevitable death, fell exhausted, and they immediately fell asleep ashes. They gasped, dying in terrible agony. This fact of the history of Pompey is confirmed by convulsively clenched hands with narrowed fingers, distorted faces and mouths of horror, opened in a silent scream. That is how the citizens died.
Body casts of the dead
As a result of the eruption of Vesuvius, volcanic rocks buried the whole district under them. The lower layer of this layer, whose thickness reaches 7 m, consists of small pieces of plasma and stones. After is a layer of ash. Its thickness is 2 m. The total layer of volcanic rocks averaged 9 m. But in some places it was and is much larger.
The majority of the inhabitants of Pompeii, archaeologists discovered in the upper layer of volcanic rocks.The remains lay in frozen lava for almost 2 thousand years. If you look at the photograph presented above, you can see the position of the bodies, taken at the time of death, as well as the expression of agony and horror on the faces of the doomed. These are plaster casts made by archaeologists. At the places of the death of Pompeians, voids formed in the frozen lava because of the mass that tightly stuck to people, which came out of water and ash. This compound has dried and hardened. At the same time, it has facial features and folds of clothing, body prints and even fine wrinkles. Filling these voids with plaster, scientists managed to create very realistic and accurate casts. Despite the fact that the bodies themselves have long become dust, it is still scary to look at these photos. These figures clearly convey the horror and despair that the inhabitants of Pompey had to experience.