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Ancient Rome

Pompeii a lost world almost synonymous with the word catastrophe the ancient Roman city of Pompeii has captured the imagination and astonishment of many around the world located near the modern Naples Pompeii was buried in volcanic ash following the great eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD since volcanic mud quickly engulfed the city Pompeii is well preserved the city still has a lot of its buildings and streets as well as victims who instantly died and got preserved an ash following the eruption due to its prime state of preservation the city has given useful insights into the ancient Roman world it is also probably the world’s richest archeological site in terms of data volume available to scholars settlement in Campania originally the area was established in the Bronze Age Pompeii site as well as the surrounding areas offer the Twin edges of a comfortable climate and fertile volcanic soil allowing for the rise of agricultural activities including the raising of grapes and olives in the eighth century BC Greeks established colonies in the region nutrition’s also occupied the area until local Greeks and Syracusian drove them out at the Battle of qma in 474 BC since then the local Samnite people began to populate the region in the 4th century BC Samnite wars happened resulting in the infighting among locals the time also marked the start of Roman influence in the area Rome favored Pompey back then in the town soon prospered with huge establishments starting in the second century BC despite this Pompey with its local Samnite origins had remained independently minded when it came to the authority of the Romans in the area in 80 BC Roman general sulla attacked the city after a rebellion he set up his Venus colony there and in effect resettling thousands of Legionnaires in the area after centuries of achievements and upheavals Pompey had attained its peak a prosperous boom town Romans Pompeii covered at least three square kilometers but the nearby suburbs were densely populated as well hundreds of farms as well as at least a hundred villas surrounded Pompeii the coast of Campania at the time served as a playground of Rome’s elite that’s why many of the villas in the area were designed grandly with panoramic and outstanding seaside views even Roman Emperor Nero is said to have owned a villa near the town Nero’s wife Poppaea Sabina was also raised in Pompeii Pompeii served as one of the top ports along the Bay of Naples as well as the nearby settlements such as new Serie A Syria and NOLA it was quite common that time for farmers to send their produce to the town for immediate transportation across the Roman Empire among the goods for export outside Pompeii included olives olive oil fish sauce salt figs wine wool almonds apricots cherries onions cabbages and wheat top town imports included spices giant clams exotic fruit sandalwood and silk a wall with many gates surrounded Pompeii following the Roman custom this wall often had at least two arched entrances for pedestrians and vehicles inside the town there were wide paved streets but did not contain street names or even numbers there was also evidence traffic was generally limited to one direction in some streets Pompeii had a surprising mix of thousands of buildings large villas shops modest housing taverns temples baths schools marketplaces theaters and brothels there were also hundreds of little shrines to various kinds of gods as well as ancestors without doubt Pompeii contained all the amenities and establishments one had expected to see in a thriving ancient community Pompeii had a lot of large villas mostly built during the second century BC the villa showed the town’s Greek colonial origins typically these posh residences had small doorway entrances leading to large atriums with pools moveable screens that separate rooms often had decor containing mythological scenes many of these houses also had gardens with statues fountains and even areas dedicated to winemaking Mount Vesuvius wakes up the areas around Mount Vesuvius got its first warning sign that it was reawakened when a huge earthquake happened in 62 AD the tremor which reached 7.5 magnitude on the Richter scale damaged surrounding towns and even some parts of Naples which were already 20 miles or at least 32 kilometers away in Pompeii only a few buildings escaped the quakes Rath villas temples and even parts of the city walls quickly crumbled following the quake fires hit sections of Pompeii animals in the surrounding countryside even died from poisonous gases released following the eruption the death toll from the quake was estimated to be thousands slowly Pompeii made repairs and improvements after the quake Nero’s royal visit in 64 seee kick-started a lot of the development projects Nero’s visit also resulted in the return of gladiator games after they had been banned following public riots in 59 ad although seismic activity lingered for the next ten years but the population quickly got used to it but by 79 AD strange things started to occur dead fish floated on the Sarno springs dried up without reason and vines along the mountain slopes inexplicably died although not strong seismic activity dramatically increased in frequency for some Pompeii residents clearly something was not right but many others seemed they were not worried about these developments but soon an apocalypse was going to engulf them all a volcano’s fury on August 24th 79 AD a huge bang indicated the magma that had been inside Mount Vesuvius over hundreds of years finally burst through fire and smoke came out of the volcano at midday the volcano erupted with an even bigger blast it blew off the volcano’s entire cone a huge mushroom cloud containing pumice particles rose some 27 miles or about 43 kilometres into the sky the blast power was estimated as a hundred thousand times more powerful than the nuclear bomb that ravaged Hiroshima during World War two based on estimates of the volcanic explosivity index the explosion from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD can be likened to Mount st. Helens activity in the 1980s the ash began to rain down on the town the ash was light and weight but was so dense covering everything with it residents attempted to evacuate the town or look for possible shelter where they could those who are not able to look for shelter desperately tried to keep themselves above the volcanic material in the afternoon another huge explosion happened spewing more ash apart from the previous cloud the ash was now composed of heavier stones and the volcanic material that engulfed the town at this point was meters thick building started collapsing and survivors desperately tried to save themselves from ash and volcanic material an hour before midnight the huge cloud hanging above vesuvius collapsed blasting the town and six disastrous layers of superheated ash and air strangling and literally baking the bodies of the residents the ash continued to fall and finally the once bustling city was completely submerged in ash Pompeii rediscovered in 1755 the city was finally rediscovered when the construction work for the Sarno Canal started since then scholars and tourists have visited the once vibrant city Pompeii studying the life of the residents and the area’s architectural wonders before their eruption of Mount Vesuvius aside from the architectural remains scholars studying Pompeii and its residents are given a chance to look into rare historical records and artifacts a genuine treasure trove of information providing outstanding insights into an ancient era for instance the number of bronze statues has prompted experts to recognize that the material was frequently used in Roman art then thought previously another source of information has also been skeletal remains allowing researchers to reconstruct their daily lives erotic art erotic art was discovered in pompeii ruins leaving archaeologists with the problem on the clash of cultures between the standards of sexuality in ancient Rome and the Catholic revival in Europe because of this some discoveries were kept away again impact on European culture Pompey’s rediscovery along with other sites that got buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius had a huge influence on European tastes the rediscovery ignited enthusiasm for antiquity across Europe many scholars believe that Pompey’s excavation played a huge part when it comes to the neoclassical revival that happened in the 18th century the wealthiest and most luxurious families in Europe showed as well as reproductions of objects inspired by the ruins of the town the drawings and artwork of Pompey’s buildings also helped influence the architectural trends and designs of the era artists potters and architects drew inspiration from Pompeii for their works the rediscovered frescoed walls inspired some modern painted interiors Pompeii also served as the inspiration behind the stucco work that became popular in England French Royals also use Pompeii and motifs in their home designs Pompeii now now Pompeii is known as a world heritage site of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO prior to the Cova 19 pandemic Pompeii was one of Italy’s most famous attractions garnering about 2.5 million visitors every year at present Pompey’s excavation has been continuing for nearly three centuries and academic scholars as well as tourists remained just as amazed by the area’s eerie ruins as they did back in the 18th century 5 fun facts about Pompeii 1 Pompeii looked like a huge building site aside from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD earthquakes pestered Pompeii for decades this is why Pompeii must have looked like a gigantic building site with continuous reconstruction work happening in private and public properties to Pompey’s amphitheater was decorated colorfully remarkable frescoes adorned the amphitheater these mural paintings depicted wild animals such as bulls and bears or gladiators fighting each other three the cult of Isis was especially popular at Pompeii a good number of Pompeii residents followed Egyptian goddess Isis along with Roman gods and goddesses in Pompeii the Temple of Isis had existed for about two centuries before the Vesuvian eruption the cult of Isis followers included women freedmen as well as slaves however its rights as well as ceremonies remain unknown for scholars only securely identified one brothel in Pompeii the brothel known as Lupin R is one of the site’s most popular tourist attractions located on a winding narrow street in the town centre the brothel was identified from its layout it had cubicles with a masonry bed each five snapshot of Pompeii life arguably the most famous artifacts from the town are the plaster casts of those who died from the eruption but do you know that even flowers fruits as well as vegetables grown during that time we’re put in plaster casts getting to Pompeii there are three main ways to go to Pompeii from Italy’s capital Rome first is getting a guided tour this is probably the quickest method of getting to Pompeii this tour usually includes a pickup from the hotel transport an actual guided tour as well as admission tickets and food one can also go to the area by train and Naples it usually takes about 2 to 3 hours to get there if you are traveling with your family or friends you might consider renting a car this is also a good option if you want to check out other cities nearby Colosseum Italy the Colosseum in Italy is one of the country’s most renowned monuments also referred to as the Flavian amphitheater every year the tourist hotspot is visited by more than 6 million people from all corners of the globe long revered as the symbol that best embodies Rome the Colosseum is a massive structure that boasts nearly 2,000 years of history bringing its visitors to what life once was in the Roman Empire this arena played host to spectacular events and drew thousands of people this included gladiator showdowns animal hunts and even public executions all of which were considered to be entertaining events from a DCE to 404 C II the origins of the Colosseum situated at the eastern part of the Roman Forum this incredible amphitheatre was constructed upon the order of Emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty built around ad 70 to 72 the Colosseum was meant to be a present to the Roman people after a tumultuous period even after the demise of the corrupt Roman ruler Nero in AD 68 his long period of misrule still ended up in a series of civil wars that decimated ancient Rome in the years that followed Nero’s suicide there were four Emperor’s that sat on the throne with the fourth one Vespasian ending up as the most beloved one and ruled for 10 years 80 69 to 79 ves Panty and Sons Titus and Domitian were also renowned for their efforts to take down the excesses of the Roman Court and bring back Senate Authority and around 70 to 72 Hispania and gave back to the Roman people the verdant land located near the center of the city wherein Nero had erected a massive complex for himself following the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64 it was on that area that there spanien decreed that he would build an amphitheater where the public can enjoy gladiatorial battles and other means of entertainment hence the Colosseum was built on the area where the lake and gardens of Emperor Nero’s golden house once stood the lake was promptly drained and to prevent damage from earthquakes concrete foundations were entrenched six meters deep into the ground the construction of the Colosseum was actually just part of a massive construction program initiated by Emperor Vespasian that sought to bring Rome back to its glory days after the chaos and destruction of the recent civil war as less Bennion asserted the buildings he had constructed the Colosseum the sanctuary of Claudius and the temple of peace would emphasize that Rome was still very much the center of the ancient world after almost a decade of work which in hindsight was impressive given this scale of the project and the tools the workers had during the time Titus dedicated the Colosseum in a DAT with an enormous festival that featured 100 days of games Titus was popular amongst the people primarily for the way he handled Rome’s recovery after the infamous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 that eradicated the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii the finishing touches of the construction of the Colosseum was finally completed under the reign of Titus’s successor and brother Domitian an 8080 construction was completed on the Coliseum and Vespasian’s other son Titus finally opened it up as it came to be known as the Flavian amphitheatre it opened in spectacular fashion with hundreds of games being played that included the aforementioned gladiatorial battles and showdowns with wild animals upon completion the building was as magnificent as any other structure in the entire world as it loomed over the city in its location between the wide valley that connected the pontine Esquiline and sealian hills a one-of-a-kind structure that had no piers when it came to its sheer size the Colosseum had impressive features such as four storeys a height of 150 feet a width of 189 by 156 meters an oval arena that measured 87 and a half by 54 point eight meters a roofed awning made of canvas and a space that could accommodate as many as 50,000 people the Coliseum’s architecture the theater looked stunning from the outside with its mammoth open arcades that were found on each of the first three floors that presented arches filled with statues the first floor featured Doric columns while the second had ionic the third level had Corinthian columns meanwhile the very top floor featured Corinthian pilasters and rectangular windows in all the Coliseum had 80 entrances and 76 of these were numbered and used by the spectators there were two that were used by the gladiators one of which was referred to as the portela Bettina as this was the door that was used to take the dead out of the Colosseum the other door used by the gladiators was called the Porta Santa viv area and the winners and those participants that were allowed to live after the battle used this the last two doors were used exclusively by the Emperor inside the Coliseum was just as impressive especially when the three tiers of seats were filled with people surrounding the arena was a marble Terrace that served as the podium that was protected by a wall within this was where the Emperor and other dignitaries sat to watch the proceedings the marble seats were then divided into different zones composed of one for the rich citizens the middle class and foreigners and wooden seats and standing room space were made for the poor at the top tier at the very top of this roof platform were sailors that were tasked with managing the large awning that protected and provided the spectators with shade from the elements the different levels of accommodations could be accessed with the use of broad staircases with each landing and seat having its own corresponding number in all the capacity of the Colosseum was 45,000 people seated and 5,000 standing spectators one of the most ancient illustrations of the Colosseum was seen on the coins of Titus and it displayed three tiers with statues seen on the external arches and a massive column fountain that was called the meta sedans standing nearby the place where all the action occurred the arena floor which used sand as a base was also a sight to behold during the wild animal it was usually landscaped using different rocks and trees so that it would resemble exotic locales at times nifty lifting mechanisms were also used to bring in other wild animals into the action much to the surprise of the participating warriors there were even occasions when the arena floor was flooded to simulate naval battles under the floor was an assortment of small rooms and corridors that usually housed the combatants humans and animals for that particular day meanwhile the theater was primarily made using limestone that was locally quarried also used were internal linking lateral walls composed of concrete brick as well as volcanic stone the vaults on the other hand were made using pumice stone the massive size of the theater just may have been the reason of the Flavian amphitheater x’ more famous name the colosseum however there are others that argue that colosseum may also have been referring to the gigantic bronze statue of Nero that stood outside the theater until the 4th century CE II that statue was eventually transformed to resemble the Sun God the Coliseum’s games although the games that were regularly played at the Colosseum had historical ties to the Etruscan games that focused on the rites of death the shows that this Roman arena had one primary purpose and that was to entertain the people it also gave the emperor the opportunity to show off his riches and perhaps also demonstrate his generosity moreover it also gave the people a chance to see their ruler in all his glory emperors usually grace these events even though they weren’t interested in the proceedings however there were a few exceptions like Marcus Aurelius Titus and Claudius were also known to really get excited during the shows and shouted either the gladiators or the audience as a matter of fact Komodos himself performed in the arena himself hundreds of times one clear indicator of the games Etruscan roots was the presence of a person tasked with finishing off any fallen warrior with a blow to the head this person usually worn ensemble resembling either that of a Sharon which is considered to be the ‘true Sam minister of fate or Hermes who is the messenger God that escorted the dead down to the underworld the Vestal Virgins the Pontifex Maximus and the divine emperor also gave a particular pseudo religious element to the events however the main and overarching purpose of the show’s was to quench the entertainment needs of the people under Claudius’s rule 93 games were held every year and these events usually started at dawn and lasted until nightfall the proceedings often started with a chariot procession that was accompanied by trumpets and a hydraulic organ the gladiators then dismounted and made their way around the arena with each one honoring the emperor with this line Ave Imperator monitor each a soliton this meant hail Emperor those who are about to die salute you the day’s hostilities then began with fantasy duels that usually involve dwarves women or even the disabled all of whom wielded wooden weapons this was followed by blood sports between gladiators who used all kinds of weapons ranging from sorts Trident Lance’s and nets there were also times when women combatants got involved after that came the beste re or the professional beast killers this portion of the event was less of a contest and more of a slaughter as the animals often had no chance and were usually slain from a distance with the use of a spear or arrows these events often involved dangerous creatures like lions bears tigers elephants leopards and bulls however there were also times when defenseless animals such as deer giraffes and even whales were used historians say that hundreds or even thousands of animals were butchered during the course of a day to achieve what was called a cruel litter or the right amount of cruelty the Colosseum through the centuries the Colosseum went through four long centuries of extensive use until difficulties in the Western Roman Empire and the change in public tastes led to the end of the gladiatorial combat and similar means of entertainment by the sixth century AD but even then the Colosseum was also showing signs of damage because of natural phenomena lightning strikes and earthquakes in the years that followed the Colosseum was left unattended and during the Middle Ages it was turned into a fortress by the powerful fragile Pawnee family later on it was used as a quarry for many different projects that included the cathedrals of st. Peter and st. John Lateran the Palazzo Venezia and the defence battlements along the Tiber River however by the 18th century a number of popes indicated their desire to conserve the Colosseum as a sacred Christian site although it remains vague whether early Christian martyrs met their demise at the said place when the 20th century arrived the combination of weather natural phenomena sheer neglect and vandalism lay waste to the once grand Colosseum destroying two-thirds of the complex including all the marble seats and other decorations fortunately efforts to restore the Colosseum’s grandeur began in the 1990s and have continued sense as the place remains to be a tourist hotspot attracting visitors from all parts of the world at present the Colosseum is along with Vatican City Rome’s greatest tourist attraction every year an estimated six million tourists visited the Colosseum has been recognized as one of the seven wonders of the modern world recently it was given a major clean up between 2014 and 2016 the first during its 2,000 year history as part of an ongoing multi-million dollar restoration project the top three floors that are known collectively as the terrazzo Belvedere and hipa geom are accessible only by guided tour

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