KA-BOOM! Imagine more than six meters of ash from Mount Vesuvius smashing down on a major city! That is what happened to the big and thriving city of Pompeii. You may have heard of it, but have you seen what is left of it? Well I have, and it was clearly a very large city. It seems it is as big as the hustling and bustling city of Naples, Italy. Well, it’s all dead now. But amazing!
This is how it went KA-BOOM: Poison gas hit the big city first (this is why the people of Pompeii didn’t run. Most were dead already).Then came the ash. It smashed the roofs and buried the city.
As mentioned before, about six meters (about twenty feet) of ash and other volcanic substances rained down on the city. This included pumice, sandy ash and lapilli (a small fragment of lava thrown from a volcano).
All that sand, ash, etc. didn’t just blow away. It was dug through when a foundation for a summer palace for the king of Naples was being laid in 1748. There is still active archeology there. It takes forever. They have to use tiny brushes to make sure that they do not break anything or miss out on anything. They find relics like vessels and other pottery.
They also found the “house of the tragic poet.” Have you heard of it? You might have not have, but you problebly have heard of the ‘beware of the dog’ mosaic. The house is best known for it. There were lots of other mosaics. Do you know how they created them? They had lots of little colored tiles and they made pictures out of them. They didn’t paint them.
The youths of Pompeii scribbled graffiti on the house. There are two diffent kinds of graffiti in Pompeii. They are historic and modern. The historic kind is found by archeologists. It is not disrespectful nowadays (but it was disrespectful then! Imagine graffiti on the governor’s mansion.) The modern kind is both insulting and disrespectful.
Restoring Pompeii is very hard. One way is using brick. This crumbles easily and is not very reliable. Mortar, however, can be injected. You have to restore because the stone is so old it begins to crumble.
You have to restore a lot because the city is so big. The main reason that it was huge is this: The soil. It is very fertile. That was because it is volcanic. This allowed lots of crops. There were six times as many harvested as in other regions of Italy. The crops were harvested three times per year.
If a city is big, the population needs services: You may have heard of the public baths. They do not have tubs like we have today, but they do have several big tubs. There were also hot and cold baths. You wouldn’t have been able to change the temperature.
There is one last thing that I have to say. No essay in the world would ever be able to explain all of the details of Pompeii. If you ever get the chance to visit Italy, you must see Pompeii.