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Pompeii and Herculaneum Notes Essay Sample

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Pompeii and Herculaneum Notes Essay Sample

8th century BC – Greeks from Cumae colony establish a small but permanent settlement in the region of Pompeii. 7th century BC – Etruscan influences begins to influence the style of the early town of Pompeii as the northern tribe gains strength. 6th century BC- The 1st grandiose structures were constructed in Pompeii such as the Temples of Apollo. 5th century BC- Pompeii expands after the Etruscans defeat but the Cumean Greeks. The city now sprawls in over 65ha instead of 10. End of the 5th century – The entirety of the Italian tribesmen. Pompeii is conquered by the Samnite tribes, a loose confederation of peoples. 3rd century – Intertribal warfare around the area sees the Cumpani tribe call on Roman aid to stop the wars.

Roman Pompeii
90-89 BC – Pompeii forms on of the strongholds of the Italian Allies in the Social Wars. They are defeated and turned into a colony while Herculaneum becomes a municipium: (Independent City which had its own democratic government and paid taxes to Rome). 71 BC to AD1 – The aristocrats of the town embark on a massive buildings and renovation program while would see the modernisation of Pompeii’s buildings as well as prove their loyalty to Pompeii. AD 59 – Pompeii is now a thriving town however a riot at a gladiatorial match sees a ban imposed on such spectacles for 10 years. AD 62 – A severe earthquake damages Pompeii and even 17 years later only 2 major public buildings were built: the Amphitheatre and the Temple of Isis. AD 79 – The temple of Apollo rears completion of its reconstruction, work had also begun on the public baths, theatre, Doric Temple, water supply and most of private villas. August 25-25 AD 79 – Ve Suvius erupts, coverings the town of Pompeii in ash.

* Herculaneum, pyroclastic flow, 23m of boiling mud.
* 3.5m of Ash.

1. What countries did Rome control in AD 79?
– Herculaneum, Pompeii, Italy, Romania.

2. What is the difference between a colony and municipium?
– A colony is a large group of people with no legal structure with no set out rules and regulations whereas municipium is a very large group of people who have a structure such as a government policy and taxing system.

3. Which of the sister cities was more successful at the time of the eruption? – Herculaneum because of wind direction and some early warning.

*DOMENICO FONTANA found the city of Pompeii in 1599 not on purpose. It was accidental, because of his intention to divert the river Samo.

Fresco – is a mural executed upon freshly laid plaster.
Mosaic – creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of coloured glass, stone or other materials: decretive art, interior decoration.

Atrium – The main hall of a traditional Roman house. Completely roofed, or have an opening in the middle of its roof and a water tank beneath. Biclinium – The dining room of a Roman house so called because of the two banqueting couches arranged around the walls. Caryatid – A sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support taking the place of a column of pillar. Ergastulum – A building to hold dangerous slaves or punish them, built as a deep roofed pit has enough room for slaves to do their thang. Destrictarium – A room to crape of dirt from the back with oils and a strigil.

Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, usually known as Pliny the Younger, was at Como in 62 AD.

He was only 8 years old when his father Caecilius died and he was adopted by his uncle, the elder Pliny, author of the “Natural History”.

He was carefully educated, studying rhetoric under Quintilian and other famous teachers and he became the most eloquent pleader of his time.

What are some of the embellishments he makes during his recounting to Tacitus? His uncle dined and bathed while the city was alight, this shouldn’t be true. Any decent human being would run for his life instead of sit in the lap of luxury. Unless they are power hungry and think they are indestructible (which some humans think so).

Why might Pliny embellish his story?
Because he might have wanted his uncle to be brave, and think he has done the correct think to save the Pompeian’s, when they were doomed already. Plus he put his own life and many other lives in danger, this is evident in his letter saying that they all died.

Born in 64BC near Amasya in Modern Turkey

He is famous for his 17 volume work Geographic, which shows the history of people and the different regions of the world during his era.

The Geographica is a 17 volume encyclopaedia of knowledge written in Greek by Strabo, an educated citizen of the Roman empire of Greek descent. Work can have begun on it no earlier then 20 BC. A first edition was published in 7 BC followed by a gap, resumption of work and a final edition no later than AD 23 in the last year of Strabo’s life.

23 AD, Strabo dies.

What are some of the defining features of the Campania Region in Strabo’s geographical account? Heracleian Fortress runs out to the sea which catches the breeze and basically makes the surrounding area nice and cozy. Mt. Vesuvius has dwellings all round the farmlands that are beautiful. It is flat and unfruitful, looking ash coloured and shows pore-like cavities in masses of rock.

Strabo died over 50 year before Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed. Why then is his account so important to our understanding of the eruption and life in Pompeii? Because his view of Mt. Vesuvius is a very different description of what is looks like today. The landscape surrounding the volcano is very different to what it looks like today. To have such accuracy on what a particular area looks like before a major destructive force gives us an insight on how the people might have also used the landscape to their advantage.

Strabo’s work was not widely used in ancient times and come to prominence only in the 1900’s as a widely used source. Why might the work be disregarded in its contemporary time? Because no one knew how to use this evidence to depict life of ancient Rome. It was only focused on getting marble and treasures so the rich and powerful could become more rich and powerful. This knowledge was no use to them.

How does this inform our knowledge of the earlier earthquake that damaged the region? Death of livestock – people in shock
Villas destroyed – destruction of property

How detailed is the account?
Detailed and describes when it occurs. Physical and mental effects.

Who do you think could be missing?
He recalls his accounts with very brief and vague descriptions.

Read the final paragraph and write a journal entry. The entry is to be from a noble/woman who has been caught in the earthquake earlier and is writing an account of what happened. Make sure to read Seneca’s account for the damages and effects on the populous in general.

Main factors that determined your place were:
– citizenship status
– place of birth
– amount of wealth
– city or country dwelling
– freedom

Pompeii was a typical Roman Town, with some people clearly enjoying power and privilege – e.g. Senators, equestrians and the provincial elite.

Patron assisted client from a lower social class (e.g. help with legal matters, give food) In return got favours such as support in local elections. Emperor was the ‘super patron’ over the Roman world, where individuals, families and towns paid homage and gave their allegiance.


1. fig 1, front porch. Fig 2, office. fig 3, 2nd hallway. Fig 4, kitchen sink. Fig 5, family room. Fig 6, the backyard. Fig 7, dining room. Fig 8, bedroom/spare rooms. Fig 9, master bedroom.

2. The triclinium part of the house, were the guest not allowed. Yes, the main bedroom and the bathroom.

3. South-West, inwards because they wanted to catch the morning sun and the coastal views.

4. First floor rooms, and apartments. The lease can be renewed via simple agreement.

5. Villas found along the coast to catch the ocean views. Apartments found at hotels houses.

6. a – villas
b – apartments or hastily unstable built houses
c – the atrium houses
d – smaller villas

Mosaics were found on the doors of the Pompeian houses such as the guard
Dog Multi coloured marble blocks
Screens of paintings on the roof of the houses
Narrow panels of column

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