Pompeii Essay Questions

 

Archaeological excavations of Pompeii represent an exceptional source of information about daily life in Pompei and in Roman Empire under the rule of Emperor Tito. Historians wrote about daily life in Roman times, a routine that was not different from the one of our grandparents. Life was made of simple actions and it was actually far from our “stressful” life.

HORA PRIMA DIURNA (4.27-5.42): Since there was no electricity, people had to live according to the “rhythms” of the sun. They got up very early in the morning to start their work. Only a few houses had water so most citizens had to go to take water at public fountains. Water was very important, this is why it was used with great parsimony. For their personal care and to wash themselves, Romans went to thermal baths. For breakfast, they ate bread and cheese, maybe with vegetable or anything left. Barber’s shops opened at sunrise: these shops were also a place to chat and relax.

HORA SECUNDA (5.42-6.58): Everyone was at work, from noble merchants to slaves. Shops were open, markets were ready, farmers were in the fields. Everyone was performing his/her personal job.

HORA QUARTA (8.13-9.29): streets were crowded, market was full of life, sellers sold and citizens bought what they needed. In the forum people walked, talked, discussed about problems of the town.

HORA SEPTIMA (12.00-13.15): this was the moment for relax. Sometimes rich noblemen offered to the town an exhibition of gladiators and so people went to the amphitheatre. This was a very cruel and violent show: we could not appreciate it today. Some people consider the gladiators and their performances like the football matches of today. Fans fought as they do today. After a terrible fight between fans from Pompeii and fans from Nocera that provoked several deaths, the shows with gladiators were prohibited for several years. Nero restored them to satisfy a request by Poppea, who came from Pompeii. This is also the perfect moment for a break made of bread, cake, fish, fruits, etc.

HORA OCTAVA (13.15-14.31): this is the moment of thermal baths. They were cheap and also slaves can use them. This was the best way to allow people to wash themselves also relaxing or having fun in a period in which only a few houses were provided with water. Average life expectancy during Roman age was 35 years, more than the previous and the following period. Romans could not know that the most important discovery for human health was hygiene.
Today we cannot understand why they passed from hot water to cold water. But thermal baths do not have to be considered as modern beauty farms. They were also the place for business and politics. People also exercised in these facilities: “mens sana in corpore sano”.

HORA DECIMA (15.46-17.20): a short time before sunset, Romans had dinner eating olives and eggs and if they could afford it, also fish, meat, cakes. They did not have many possibilities of entertainment. Streets were not a safe place. So they went to bed early.

More info (in Italian) about Roman calendar and Roman day on (http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendario_romano)


Written by Ettore Panella
Translation by Linda Liguori

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Essay on The Demise of Pompeii

642 Words3 Pages

     Pompeii, a Roman city with a population of about 20,000, was annihilated by Mount Vesuvius on August 26, 79 AD. It wasn’t until 1595, when artifacts from Pompeii were excavated. Centuries of raiding and looting then followed. In the mid-nineteenth century, archaeological excavations began, revealing to the modern world the way the people lived (and died) in 79 A.D. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius was, in fact, the downfall of the ancient city, Pompeii, but people today still wonder how it all happened, and how it all began.
     Pompeii was established in the 6th century, B.C. By the 1st century A.D., Pompeii was rebelling with other Italian towns against the Roman Regime. “They were…show more content…

In fact, 62 A.D. marks the date of a very large precursor earthquake. Because earthquakes happen so frequently, there are, consequently, related volcanic eruptions. Mount Vesuvius is a composite volcano. This type of volcano has many layers of lava and ash. There are two kinds of eruptions. A composite volcano like Vesuvius will erupt with two kinds of eruptions, but never at the same time. One eruption type contains mostly cinders and ash, and the other type of eruption contains mostly lava. Mount Vesuvius has erupted more than 50 times since 79 A.D., alternating its eruption types. The first time when lava was recorded was many years after the destruction of Pompeii.     .
The main cause of death was suffocation in this town, most likely from the toxic fumes being emitted from the volcano. Because the eruption was only ashes and fumes, people probably struggled in darkness for hours before finally dying. Many wonder why so many people died if they had time to flee, but we must remember that the inhabitants did not know that Vesuvius was a volcano, causing them to flee to their houses, instead of further away from the scene. About ten feet of ash and rock fell onto Pompeii, and about 75 feet of ash fell on its neighboring city, Herculaneum. After Pompeii was excavated in the nineteenth century, it was revealed that “There [were] numerous molds of people in their final moments. The

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