Strong Box From Pompeii

Strong Box From Pompeii


EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT

DATE: Now through May 15, 2016.

PLACE: University of Michigan Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 434 S. State St., Ann Arbor

EXHIBIT: “Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii” will explore the lavish lifestyle and economic interests of ancient Rome’s wealthiest and most powerful citizens—including Julius Caesar, Cicero, Augustus and Nero—who owned villas and vacationed in this region, located along the Bay of Naples.

Bronze pitcher decorated with aquatic animals and mask. Image courtesy Kelsey Museum Featuring more than 200 objects that have never before been displayed outside of Italy, the exhibition at the U-M Kelsey Museum of Archaeology focuses on two structures at Oplontis that were buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79. One structure (Villa A) is an enormous luxury villa that may once have belonged to the family of Nero’s second wife, Poppaea. The other (Oplontis B) is a nearby commercial-residential complex—a center for the trade in wine and other produce of villa lands.

“The phenomenon of luxury villas developed in a period after Rome had conquered most of the ancient Mediterranean world,” said Elaine Gazda, exhibition curator and curator of Hellenistic and Roman antiquities at Kelsey. “A tremendous amount of wealth followed, and though it countered conservative Roman values, the generals and others of high stature began to live like the kings whom they had conquered.”

Gazda says that the exhibition spans three galleries at the museum that highlight people from varying economic statuses who lived in and around the villas.

One gallery showcases a selection of intricately crafted works of art—marble sculptures, wall paintings, and inlaid marble floors—which created an opulent setting for the owners of Villa A and the many guests they entertained. In contrast, this gallery also displays the humble objects of daily life—planting pots, mortar and pestle, and oil lamps that offer a glimpse of the lives of the slaves whose work made possible the owners’ elite lifestyle.

A second gallery evokes the commercial and domestic life of Oplontis B. Commerce and trade are represented by shipping jars shown alongside a large, lavishly ornamented strong box where proceeds and records of trade were most likely kept. A display of domestic objects—bronze, glass, and pottery vessels—hint at the lives of the “middle-class” residents of Oplontis B.

“I hope that visitors will not only be impressed by the beautiful objects that we have on view, but will also consider the other side of luxury—the people and the communities who made this kind of lifestyle possible.” said Gazda. “Taking into consideration the tremendous disparities in wealth at that time, it’s possible that lessons from that society may transfer to our own today.”

The tragic end of life brought by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius takes a personal turn in a display that focuses on objects found with one of the 54 skeletons discovered in Oplontis B, that of a young pregnant woman who was carrying a large quantity of jewelry and coins during her failed attempt to escape. A selection of these objects provides a sense of what this woman and others like her regarded as the most valuable portable possessions to take with them in the hope of surviving the eruption.

A third gallery introduces visitors to the history of the excavations, the methods of archaeologists and the environmental devastation caused by the volcanic eruption. A computer terminal with a 3D navigable model of Villa A and laser-scanned images of Oplontis B will allow visitors to relate the objects on exhibit to the archaeological sites—both as they look now and as archaeologists have reconstructed their ancient appearance.

The museum has planned a number of related events in conjunction with the exhibition, including lectures, tours, family activities and film screenings. A printed catalogue will be available in the museum’s gift shop.


Strong Box From Pompeii - History

I finally got the chance to have a look at some of the links sent in after my previous post on the Pompeia of Saratoga Springs (thank you to those of you who commented on this!). In particular I had been wondering what happened to this building (after all, the Pompejanum of Aschaffenburg can still be visited today), and I was intrigued by the idea that this wonderful building may now be the base of an advertising company. So I googled 'Pompeia', 'Saratoga Springs' and 'advertising' and came up with the name of advertising company, Palio. A brief exchange of emails with Lori Goodale at Palio revealed that Palio is indeed based in the Pompeia. Lori very helpfully shared the information that Palio hold in their files about the building and a current photograph of the atrium. So here is my potted history of the Pompeia, based on what Lori gave me and a few extra things I've been able to dig up.
The Pompeia was built in 1889 by Boston hardware merchant and architect, Franklin Webster Smith, once dubbed 'Reconstruction Smith'. He had already built the Villa Zorayda in St Augustine, Florida (a Moorish Palace) and the Casa Monica Hotel, also in St. Augustine (another Moorish castle but on what seems a far larger scale the website contains historical images of the hotel, which are amazing). Smith was described as 'a man of vision and foresight' who wanted both to enhance Saratoga's prosperity and her cultural and intellectual standing. Apparently he had a personal distaste for horse-racing and gambling, for which Saratoga was famous. He would go on to design the Halls of the Ancients in Washington D.C. There was a 'Salve' mosaic in the fauces, with porters' room on either side and a cave canem mosaic at the entrance of the atrium. All the furniture in the atrium - tables, chairs, couches, musical instruments, tripods, candelabra - were copied from originals in the Naples Museum or from wall-paintings found in Pompeii or Herculaneum. Cabinets of busts of ancestors and family archives, located in the tablinum. The ceiling here was decorated with copies of mosaics from the Villa of Diomedes (I don't know which ones!). There were copies of papyrus rolls and a replica of a strong box from the Naples Museum. There was a lecture hall decorated with a painting of the 'Grandeur of Rome at the Time of Constantine', 50 feet long by 11 feet high. This painting was badly damaged in a fire (see below). Smith's intention was that the Pompeia would become an annual excursion for all the schools and colleges within 'a day's ride' of Saratoga. The entrance fee was 50 cents and for a few brief years the Pompeia was a famous tourist destination. Smith had other plans for Saratoga, too, but the majority of them never saw the light. He went bankrupt and the banks foreclosed on the Pompeia in 1906. However, the building is still standing and has enjoyed (or perhaps suffered) a varied history since 1906. In 1914 the Pompeia was bought by the Masonic Hall Association and was used by the local Masons for 30 years. On Christmas Eve 1926 a fire destroyed parts of the Pompeia, including many of the Roman relics and a hallway of Egyptian murals and artefacts. Local photographer George S. Bolser was a child when this occurred and recalled Egyptian mummies lying smoldering on the street while the police chased away curious kids! The Masons sold the Pompeia in 1952 and it became a Synagogue and Jewish Community Center until 1989. I've not been able to discover how the building was used between 1989 and 1999 (the year that Palio moved in). Below is a photo of the atrium of the Pompeia today. I love the green columns and the painting of what I think is the Saratoga racetrack in the background.

Pompeii Rescue: Object Highlights

Pompeii Rescue: Navy, Empire, Catastrophe is currently on at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour. It is a relatively small exhibition with internationally sourced objects from the National Archaeological Museum of Naples as well as the Pompeii and Herculaneum Excavations.

This exhibition is not all about Pompeii and Herculaneum. The opening 3D film sets the scene for the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in AD 79. But once you enter the exhibition itself, it tells the story of Roman maritime trade and the Roman Navy. This provides the context for the first known navy rescue of civilians in the wake of the eruption lead by the commander, Pliny the Elder.

Pompeii Rescue takes about an hour or so to go through if, as I did, you read 70% or more of the labels! The good thing about it being small in scale is that you can take the time to look closely at the objects. In this post, I’ve highlighted a handful of artefacts from this exhibition.

Ballista Ball

On the left, you’ll see a rather large ball. Not for playing games with, this is an example of a stone missile thrown by a Roman ballista – a type of catapult. In the walls surrounding Pompeii, there still remains the evidence of ballista ball sized holes. The damage is evidence of the siege that threatened the city following Pompeii’s revolt against the empire in 89 BC.

Loaf of Bread

No exhibition about the cities of Vesuvius could be without such an iconic item! During the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 AD, this loaf of bread was carbonised and preserved. It always amazes me to think that this loaf could have been bought by a local Herculanean for their family, had it not been for that incredible catastrophic event. Keen to find out more about how bread was made in ancient Herculaneum? Check out this video.

Strong Box

This exhibition includes mainly small to medium sized objects. So when you walk around a corner and this Pompeiian strong box confronts you, it certainly has a wowing effect!

Glass Table Ware

I’ve always loved ancient objects made of coloured glass – such fragile pieces of evidence about the ancient world! Here, we have a bowl and two pitchers found at Pompeii, seen as luxury items by the Romans. As an aside, this is such a lovely arrangement of artefacts!

A Stone Relief

This relief depicts two ancient Roman warships and their soldiers. I found it fascinating, since it is quite hard to find physical remains of Roman warships today. Much of what we know about these ships comes from friezes and reliefs like this. In 1999, there was an amazing discovery of nine roman merchant ships – read more about this here.

‘Pompeii Trader’

No not an artefact ‘Pompeii Trader’ is a digital interactive from the exhibition. Often museum interactives are rather underwhelming, but this one is pretty cool. I’m sure it’s predominantly for the kids, but adults can certainly enjoy it too! In ‘Pompeii Trader’ you become an ancient merchant tasked with visiting different Pompeiian stores to stock your ship with the most lucrative trade goods. As you go through you learn about the different types of goods traded across the ancient Roman empire and beyond! Fancy some garum anyone?


Contents

In northern Britannia, 62 AD, a tribe of Celtic horsemen is brutally wiped out by Romans led by Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland). The only survivor, a boy named Milo, whose mother Corvus personally killed, is captured by slave traders.

Seventeen years later, in Londinium in 79 A.D., slave owner Graecus (Joe Pingue) watches a class of gladiators battle, unimpressed until he sees the grown Milo (Kit Harington), a talented gladiator the crowds call "the Celt". Milo is soon brought to Pompeii with his fellow slaves. On the road, they see a horse fall while drawing a carriage carrying Cassia (Emily Browning), returning after a year in Rome, and her servant Ariadne (Jessica Lucas). Milo kills the horse to end its suffering, and Cassia is drawn to him. Cassia is the daughter of the city governor Severus (Jared Harris) and his wife Aurelia (Carrie-Anne Moss). Severus is hoping to have the new Emperor Titus invest in plans to rebuild Pompeii, despite Cassia's warning of Rome becoming more corrupt. Felix (Dalmar Abuzeid), a servant, takes Cassia’s horse Vires for a ride only to be swallowed up when a quake from Mount Vesuvius opens up the ground under him.

In Pompeii, Milo develops a rivalry with Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), a champion gladiator who, by Roman law, will be given his freedom after he earns one more victory. The gladiators are shown off at a party where Corvus, now a Senator, tells Severus the Emperor will not invest in his plans but he himself will. It is revealed Cassia left Rome to escape Corvus’s advances. When an earthquake causes some horses to become anxious, Milo helps calm one down. He then takes Cassia on a ride and tells her they cannot be together. Returning to the villa, Corvus is ready to kill Milo (not recognizing him from the village massacre), but Cassia pleads for Milo's life. Milo is lashed for his actions, and Atticus admits respect for his rival as they prepare to face each other at the upcoming festival.

In the Amphitheatre of Pompeii, to punish Milo, Corvus orders him killed in the first battle, and wicked trainer Bellator (Currie Graham) convinces Graecus to sacrifice Atticus, as well. The two men, and other gladiators, are chained to rocks as other gladiators come out as Roman soldiers, to recreate Corvus’ victory over the Celts. Working together, Milo and Atticus survive the battle Atticus realizes the Romans will never honor his freedom. During the battle, Corvus forces Cassia to agree to marry him by threatening to have her family killed for supposed treason against the Emperor. When Milo and Atticus win, Cassia defies Corvus by holding a “thumbs-up” for them to live, and Corvus has her taken to the villa to be locked up. Claiming an earthquake is a sign from Vulcan, Corvus has his officer Proculus (Sasha Roiz) fight Milo one-on-one. Their battle is interrupted when Mount Vesuvius erupts, creating massive tremors that cause the arena to collapse, sending Milo and Proculus crashing to the dungeons. Milo opens up the gates to allow his fellow gladiators a chance to attack Proculus escapes, while the gladiators kill Bellator. Seeing Corvus fallen under a collapsed beam, Severus tries to kill him, but Corvus stabs him and escapes.

The eruption sends flaming debris raining down upon the city as the populace tries to flee to the harbor. One fireball destroys and sinks a ship, killing the escaping Graecus. Before dying, Aurelia tells Milo that Cassia is at the villa. Milo races to the villa and manages to save Cassia, but Ariadne is killed when the villa collapses into the Mediterranean Sea. Atticus tries to reach the harbor, but a tsunami created by the volcano smashes into the city, destroying the harbour and the outer walls, and smashing several ships. Reuniting with Atticus, Milo suggests searching the arena for horses to escape. As the gladiators face Roman soldiers at the arena, Cassia is abducted by Corvus after finding her parents' bodies. Atticus has Milo chase after the chariot carrying the two while he fights Proculus. Atticus is mortally wounded in the duel, but nonetheless manages to kill Proculus.

Milo chases Corvus across the city both barely avoid fireballs, and collapsing infrastructure. Cassia manages to free herself before the chariot crashes into the Temple of Apollo. Milo and Corvus duel as a fireball destroys the temple. Cassia chains Corvus to a building, as Milo declares who he is, that Corvus killed his family and now his gods are coming to punish the Senator. Milo and Cassia ride off as a pyroclastic surge races into the city, incinerating Corvus. At the arena, Atticus proudly proclaims that he dies a free man before being consumed by the pyroclastic flow. At the city outskirts, the horse throws off Milo and Cassia. Milo tells Cassia to leave him, realising the horse isn't fast enough to carry them both. Instead, she sends the horse off, not wanting to spend her last moments running, and knowing they cannot outrun the surge. Milo kisses Cassia as the surge engulfs them. The last shot is of the duo's petrified bodies, locked in an eternal embrace.

The film was shot in Toronto, Canada from March to July 2013, [18] primarily at Cinespace Film Studios' Kipling Avenue facility. Constantin Film and Don Carmody Productions formerly selected Cinespace as a shooting locale for Resident Evil: Retribution and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. [19]

Leading man Kit Harington underwent a gruelling training regimen for the film in order to bulk up for the role. Harington stated he had "wanted to do a body transformation for something—it was one of those processes that I had never really done before. I became obsessed with it. To the point where I was going to the gym three times a day for six days a week. I was becoming exhausted. So the trainer stepped in and said, 'Look, you don't need to go through all of this. This is body dysmorphia now." [20]

Pompeii was the fourth time that director Anderson used 3D cameras in his films, the first being Resident Evil: Afterlife in 2010. Resident Evil producers Jeremy Bolt and Don Carmody reunited with Anderson for the film. FilmDistrict bought the distribution rights in the US, and because of Sony's relationship with the filmmakers, they chose to release the film with TriStar Pictures. [3] Summit Entertainment, who released Anderson's The Three Musketeers, handled distribution sales outside of Germany and the US (through Lionsgate).

Box office Edit

Pompeii grossed ten million in its opening weekend, finishing in third, against strong competition from The Lego Movie. [21] As of June 30, 2014, the film has grossed $23.2 million in North America and $78.6 in other territories for a worldwide total of $117.8 million. [8]

The film won the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television's Golden Screen Award for 2014 as the year's top-grossing Canadian film. [22]

Critical response Edit

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 27% based on 162 reviews, with an average rating of 4.36 out of 10. [23] The site's consensus reads, "This big-budget sword-and-sandal adventure lacks the energy and storytelling heft to amount to more than a guilty pleasure." [23] On Metacritic, the film has an aggregate score of 39 out of 100 based on 33 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". [24] Audiences polled by the market research firm CinemaScore gave an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale. [25]

Some critics were rather favorable as shown by Vulture.com's review which summarized the film as ". not a particularly original story, but it gallops along at a nice clip, with the good guys appropriately gallant and breathless and the bad guys appropriately smug and snarly. And whether it's elaborate gladiatorial battles or a chariot chase through a burning city, Anderson directs with precision, rhythm, and ruthlessness – he has an eye and an ear for violence, for the visceral impact of a kill. At his best, he creates action sequences in which you feel anything might happen, even though you usually know how they'll turn out. And the ones in Pompeii are more engaging than those of any superhero movie I saw last year. Meanwhile, the disaster renders the villains even pettier, and the devoted lovers even more romantic. That is all as it should be. From Bulwer-Lytton to Leone, the Pompeii story has never not been schlock: It ain't the Bible, and it ain't Homer. In this gorgeous, silly, exciting new version, it finds its level. Pompeii 3-D wants merely to entertain. And it does, proudly." [26]

Harington later joked about the film's reception on Saturday Night Live, remarking that the movie was "more of a disaster than the event it was based on." [27]

Accolades Edit

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Golden Raspberry Awards February 21, 2015 Worst Supporting Actor Kiefer Sutherland Nominated [28]
Golden Screen Award: Feature Film March 1, 2015 Achievement in Art Direction, Achievement in Costume Design, Achievement in Overall Sound, Achievement in Sound Editing, Achievement in Visual Effects Pompeii Won [22] [29]

The film relies for its reconstruction of historical events on two letters from Pliny the Younger to the Roman historian, Tacitus. It opens with the quotation from Pliny: "You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men some were calling their parents, others their children or their wives, trying to recognize them by their voices. People bewailed their own fate or that of their relatives, and there were some who prayed for death in their terror of dying. Many besought the aid of the gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness for evermore." [30] Anderson became enamored of his writings, particularly their near fantastical element and their eloquence, whose influence can be seen throughout the film in the destruction of Pompeii. [31]

The depiction of the eruption is based on eruptions which occurred all over the world over the last ten years. Anderson cites the volcanic eruption of Mount Etna in Italy and various eruptions of Japanese volcanoes as specific examples of volcanic eruptions which the production crew observed through footage which has been captured on film. [31] Furthermore, Anderson wanted to portray the lightning which is often seen in the ash cloud above eruptions, as he had never seen it portrayed before, and he felt it was both magnificent and very terrifying. The animation team was so concerned with realism in the eruption that they would always have real photographs and footage of real eruptions visible to them on separate screens as they put together the eruption of Mount Vesuvius for the film. [31] Claims from Rosaly Lopes, a volcanologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, support Anderson's work, stating that the film "realistically captured the earthquakes that preceded the eruption, the explosions and the pyroclastic flows of hot ash and gas that buried the city and its residents." [32]

The depiction of the city was based on the surviving ruins of Pompeii. To ensure complete accuracy, any shots of the ancient city were built upon existing footage of the ruins. Anderson states, "we would do a real helicopter shot over the ruins of the city so that we knew we were getting the layout of the city correct. Then we would project a computer-generated image over the top of the real photography. That is how we got the architecture of the city precise." [31] Sarah Yeomans, an archaeologist at USC, has praised the attention to detail in the film's depiction of Pompeii, noting, for example, the raised paving stones in the streets, the political graffiti on the buildings, and the amphitheatre where gladiatorial combat takes place. [32]

Anderson has described other aspects of the film as being less rigorously historical. For example, he states that the timeframe of the events was compacted in order to keep the intensity levels high. His portrayal of some aspects of the eruption, in particular the inclusion of fireballs raining from the sky, were included for dramatic effect rather than historical accuracy. [31] He also received minor criticism from Yeomans for his portrayal of women, who would not have been seen alone in town, involved in political affairs, nor wearing the revealing clothes they wore in the film. [32] Anderson portrayed these women more according to modern tastes. The characters themselves are fictional. Anderson found inspiration for them in real people, representing the famous plaster cast of the "twin lovers" of Pompeii as Milo and Cassia, and finding inspiration for Atticus in the casts of the cowering man. Anderson said he received approval from every vulcanologist and historian he has shown the movie to, having received "high marks for both scientific and historical accuracy", which is what the team was striving for. [31]


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Decades worth of archaeological finds went on public display Monday in Pompeii, shedding further light on the ancient Roman city destroyed by a volcanic eruption nearly 2,000 years ago.

One is a sorcerer's toolbox including dozens of amulets, rings, statuettes and other good luck charms made of ivory, bronze, glazed ceramics and amber -- that were clearly not enough to protect the city from doom.

"It's one of the most peculiar things we found during our excavations: amulets we found in a box in a house. which seem to belong to a woman -- or a man, perhaps -- who used magic," said Massimo Osanna, the director of the Pompeii archaeological park near Naples in southern Italy.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the Antiquarium, a refurbished museum housing bronze statues, frescoes, gold and silver jewels as well as the haunting casts of those killed when Vesuvius erupted in October 79 AD.

"You have some of the most important objects uncovered here since the 19th century. So really, this Antiquarium takes you through the centuries of Pompeii's history, up until the fateful day of the eruption," Osanna told AFP.

The room that chronicles the last days of the city is "the most poignant part (of the exhibition)," the Italian archaeologist added.

The plaster casts of the dead, including small children, were made by filling voids left by their bodies in the calcified layers of ash.

Osanna has headed the Pompeii park since 2014 and overseen a major conservation project, mostly funded by the European Union, which revitalised a UNESCO world heritage site formerly plagued by neglect and building collapses.

Last month, archaeologists announced the unique discovery of a thermopolium, a fast-food bar.

It had surviving polychrome decorations and traces of food and wine that offered an unprecedented glimpse of the snacking habits of the ancient Romans.

A team found duck bone fragments as well as the remains of pigs, goats, fish and snails in earthenware pots, one of which "gave off a very strong stench of wine", archaeologist Teresa Virtuoso said.

The frescoes decorating the site included electioneering slogans and graffiti, scribbled over the image of a dog, in which a man -- presumed to be a former slave -- was accused of practising sex with dogs.

In 2019, Pompeii had more than 3.9 million visitors, making it Italy's third most popular tourist destination after the Colosseum and Roman forum complex and the Uffizi Galleries in Florence.

But, like most other cultural sites in Italy, it has been mostly shut in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It reopened on January 18 but has admitted fewer than 100 visitors per day, compared to a pre-Covid-19 average of around 8,000.

"We've lost 80 percent of our visitors, and this also means 80 percent of our ticket revenues," Osanna said, adding that the site had to rely on generous subsidies from the Italian culture ministry to keep going.

On Monday, the vast archaeological park looked deserted, save for the journalists who came for the museum opening and the usual presence of archaeologists, restorers, guardians and unemployed tourist guides.

Its current state is surreal, but Osanna said it was nevertheless a great time to visit.

"It is almost as if you can see Pompeii's inner soul, its spirit," he said.

"This is an abandoned city, and seeing it empty of tourists perhaps makes you think harder about the dreadful catastrophe that forever ended life here and reduced to silence a place that was bustling."


Vesuvius

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Vesuvius, also called Mount Vesuvius or Italian Vesuvio, active volcano that rises above the Bay of Naples on the plain of Campania in southern Italy. Its western base rests almost upon the bay. The height of the cone in 2013 was 4,203 feet (1,281 metres), but it varies considerably after each major eruption. At about 1,968 feet (about 600 metres), a high semicircular ridge, called Mount Somma, begins, girding the cone on the north and rising to 3,714 feet (1,132 metres). Between Mount Somma and the cone is the Valle del Gigante (Giant’s Valley). At the summit of the cone is a large crater about 1,000 feet (about 305 metres) deep and 2,000 feet (about 610 metres) across it was formed in the eruption of 1944. More than two million people live in the vicinity of Vesuvius and on its lower slopes. There are industrial towns along the coast of the Bay of Naples and small agricultural centres on the northern slopes.

Vesuvius probably originated somewhat less than 200,000 years ago. Although a relatively young volcano, Vesuvius had been dormant for centuries before the great eruption of 79 ce that buried the cities of Pompeii, Oplontis, and Stabiae under ashes and lapilli and the city of Herculaneum under a mudflow. The writer Pliny the Younger, who was staying at a place west of Naples, gave an excellent account of the catastrophe in two letters to the historian Tacitus. Between the years 79 and 1037, several eruptions were reported, which include those occurring in 203, 472, 512, 685, 787, 968, 991, 999, and 1007. The explosions of 512 were so severe that Theodoric the Goth released the people living on the slopes of Vesuvius from payment of taxes.

After some centuries of quiescence, a series of earthquakes, lasting six months and gradually increasing in violence, preceded a major eruption that took place on December 16, 1631. Many villages on the slopes of the volcano were destroyed, about 3,000 people were killed, the lava flow reached the sea, and the skies were darkened for days. After 1631 there was a change in the eruptive character of the volcano, and activity became continuous. Two stages could be observed: quiescent and eruptive. During the quiescent stage the volcano’s mouth would be obstructed, whereas in the eruptive stage it would be almost continuously open.

Between 1660 and 1944 several of these cycles were observed. Severe paroxysmal (suddenly recurring) eruptions, concluding an eruptive stage, occurred in 1660, 1682, 1694, 1698, 1707, 1737, 1760, 1767, 1779, 1794, 1822, 1834, 1839, 1850, 1855, 1861, 1868, 1872, 1906, 1929, and 1944. The eruptive stages varied in length from 6 months to 30 3 /4 years. The quiescent stages varied from 18 months to 7 1 /2 years.

Scientific study of the volcano did not begin until late in the 18th century. An observatory was opened in 1845 at 1,995 feet (608 metres), and in the 20th century numerous stations were set up at various heights for making volcanologic measurements. A large laboratory and a deep tunnel for seismo-gravimetric measurements were also built.

The slopes of Vesuvius are covered with vineyards and orchards, and the wine grown there is known as Lacrima Christi (Latin for “tears of Christ”) in ancient Pompeii the wine jars were frequently marked with the name Vesuvinum. Higher up, the mountain is covered with copses of oak and chestnut, and on the northern side along the slopes of Mount Somma the woods proceed to the very summit. On the western side the chestnut groves give way above 2,000 feet to undulating plateaus covered with broom, where the crater left by the great eruption of the year 79 ce has been filled in. Still higher, on the slopes of the great cone and on the inner slope of Mount Somma, the surface is almost barren during quiescent periods it is covered by tufts of meadow plants.

The soil is very fertile, and in the long period of inactivity before the eruption of 1631 there were forests in the crater and three lakes from which pasturing herds drank. Vegetation on the slope dies off during eruptive periods because of the volcanic gases. After the eruption of 1906, forests were planted on the slopes in order to protect inhabited places from the flows of mud that usually occur after violent eruptions, and in the fertile soil the trees grew rapidly.

In 73 bce the gladiator Spartacus was besieged by the praetor Gaius Claudius Glaber on the barren summit of Mount Somma, which was then a wide, flat depression walled by rugged rocks festooned with wild vines. He escaped by twisting ropes of vine branches and descending through unguarded fissures in the rim. Some paintings excavated in Pompeii and Herculaneum represent the mountain as it looked before the eruption of 79 ce , when it had only one peak.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Amy McKenna, Senior Editor.


Pompeii shows off treasures, sorcerer’s magic charms

Restorers work in the new area of the 'Thermopolium' at the archaeological site of Pompeii, near Naples. — ETX Studio pic

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ROME, Jan 27 — Decades worth of archaeological finds went on public display Monday in Pompeii, shedding further light on the ancient Roman city destroyed by a volcanic eruption nearly 2,000 years ago.

One is a sorcerer’s toolbox including dozens of amulets, rings, statuettes and other good luck charms made of ivory, bronze, glazed ceramics and amber — that were clearly not enough to protect the city from doom.

“It’s one of the most peculiar things we found during our excavations: amulets we found in a box in a house. which seem to belong to a woman — or a man, perhaps — who used magic,” said Massimo Osanna, the director of the Pompeii archaeological park near Naples in southern Italy.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the Antiquarium, a refurbished museum housing bronze statues, frescoes, gold and silver jewels as well as the haunting casts of those killed when Vesuvius erupted in October 79 AD.

“You have some of the most important objects uncovered here since the 19th century. So really, this Antiquarium takes you through the centuries of Pompeii’s history, up until the fateful day of the eruption,” Osanna told AFP.

The room that chronicles the last days of the city is “the most poignant part (of the exhibition),” the Italian archaeologist added.

The plaster casts of the dead, including small children, were made by filling voids left by their bodies in the calcified layers of ash.

Strong stench of wine

Osanna has headed the Pompeii park since 2014 and overseen a major conservation project, mostly funded by the European Union, which revitalised a Unesco world heritage site formerly plagued by neglect and building collapses.

Last month, archaeologists announced the unique discovery of a thermopolium, a fast-food bar.

It had surviving polychrome decorations and traces of food and wine that offered an unprecedented glimpse of the snacking habits of the ancient Romans.

A team found duck bone fragments as well as the remains of pigs, goats, fish and snails in earthenware pots, one of which “gave off a very strong stench of wine”, archaeologist Teresa Virtuoso said.

The frescoes decorating the site included electioneering slogans and graffiti, scribbled over the image of a dog, in which a man — presumed to be a former slave — was accused of practising sex with dogs.

‘Reduced to silence’

In 2019, Pompeii had more than 3.9 million visitors, making it Italy’s third most popular tourist destination after the Colosseum and Roman forum complex and the Uffizi Galleries in Florence.

But, like most other cultural sites in Italy, it has been mostly shut in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It reopened on January 18 but has admitted fewer than 100 visitors per day, compared to a pre-Covid-19 average of around 8,000.

“We’ve lost 80 per cent of our visitors, and this also means 80 percent of our ticket revenues,” Osanna said, adding that the site had to rely on generous subsidies from the Italian culture ministry to keep going.

On Monday, the vast archaeological park looked deserted, save for the journalists who came for the museum opening and the usual presence of archaeologists, restorers, guardians and unemployed tourist guides.

Its current state is surreal, but Osanna said it was nevertheless a great time to visit.

“It is almost as if you can see Pompeii’s inner soul, its spirit,” he said.

“This is an abandoned city, and seeing it empty of tourists perhaps makes you think harder about the dreadful catastrophe that forever ended life here and reduced to silence a place that was bustling.” — ETX Studio


Pompeii shows off treasures, sorcerer’s magic charms

Decades worth of archaeological finds went on public display Monday in Pompeii, shedding further light on the ancient Roman city destroyed by a volcanic eruption nearly 2,000 years ago.

One is a sorcerer’s toolbox including dozens of amulets, rings, statuettes and other good luck charms made of ivory, bronze, glazed ceramics and amber — that were clearly not enough to protect the city from doom.

“It’s one of the most peculiar things we found during our excavations: amulets we found in a box in a house… which seem to belong to a woman — or a man, perhaps — who used magic,” said Massimo Osanna, the director of the Pompeii archaeological park near Naples in southern Italy.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the Antiquarium, a refurbished museum housing bronze statues, frescoes, gold and silver jewels as well as the haunting casts of those killed when Vesuvius erupted in October 79 AD.

“You have some of the most important objects uncovered here since the 19th century. So really, this Antiquarium takes you through the centuries of Pompeii’s history, up until the fateful day of the eruption,” Osanna told AFP.

The room that chronicles the last days of the city is “the most poignant part (of the exhibition),” the Italian archaeologist added.

The plaster casts of the dead, including small children, were made by filling voids left by their bodies in the calcified layers of ash.

Strong stench of wine

Osanna has headed the Pompeii park since 2014 and overseen a major conservation project, mostly funded by the European Union, which revitalized a UNESCO world heritage site formerly plagued by neglect and building collapses.

Last month, archaeologists announced the unique discovery of a thermopolium, a fast-food bar.

It had surviving polychrome decorations and traces of food and wine that offered an unprecedented glimpse of the snacking habits of the ancient Romans.

A team found duck bone fragments as well as the remains of pigs, goats, fish and snails in earthenware pots, one of which “gave off a very strong stench of wine”, archaeologist Teresa Virtuoso said.

The frescoes decorating the site included electioneering slogans and graffiti, scribbled over the image of a dog, in which a man — presumed to be a former slave — was accused of practicing sex with dogs.

‘Reduced to silence’

In 2019, Pompeii had more than 3.9 million visitors, making it Italy’s third most popular tourist destination after the Colosseum and Roman forum complex and the Uffizi Galleries in Florence.

But, like most other cultural sites in Italy, it has been mostly shut in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It reopened on Jan. 18 but has admitted fewer than 100 visitors per day, compared to a pre-COVID-19 average of around 8,000.

“We’ve lost 80% of our visitors, and this also means 80% of our ticket revenues,” Osanna said, adding that the site had to rely on generous subsidies from the Italian culture ministry to keep going.

On Monday, the vast archaeological park looked deserted, save for the journalists who came for the museum opening and the usual presence of archaeologists, restorers, guardians and unemployed tourist guides.

Its current state is surreal, but Osanna said it was nevertheless a great time to visit.

“It is almost as if you can see Pompeii’s inner soul, its spirit,” he said.

“This is an abandoned city, and seeing it empty of tourists perhaps makes you think harder about the dreadful catastrophe that forever ended life here and reduced to silence a place that was bustling.” NVG


Strong Box From Pompeii - History

54 day Novena to the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary of Pompeii

Among the numerous texts and prayers written by Blessed Bartolo Longo, there is the &ldquoNovena of Petition&rdquo, composed in July of 1879. Having been struck down with typhoid fever, Bartolo Longo wrote it in order to ask for graces in the most desperate cases. Every day he went before the Picture of the Virgin of the Rosary to be inspired and to do some corrections. But one day, owing to a serious worsening of His illness, he taught that the only remedy was to take the Picture of the Virgin from the Chapel and place it in His bedroom. Turning to Saint Catherine of Siena so that she would intercede in His favour with Our Lady, he suddenly recovered. Since then, the Heavenly Mother has been granting graces to anyone prays to Her with the Novena written by Her most profound devotee. In 1894, at Arpino (Italy), Saint Catherine of Siena, represented at the feet of the Virgin in the Pompeiian Icon, appeared to a dying young girl and invited her to recite the Novena and to pray it together with her. At the end of the prayer the young girl was perfectly cured. The Novena, approved by Pope Leo XIII on November 29th, 1887.

Among the many persons prodigiously cured by Our Lady of Pompeii, there is also the Commendatore Agrelli&rsquos daughter of Naples, to whom Our Lady appeared personally in 1884 and told her: &ldquoWhenever you wish to obtain graces from me, make three Novenas of Petition and at the same time recite the fifteen decades of my Rosary and then three Novenas of Thanks&rdquo . The young Fortunatina Agrelli made according to the Virgin&rsquos indications and was miraculously cured.

The Novena consists of 15 decades of the Rosary each day for twenty-seven days in petition then immediately 15 decades each day for twenty-seven days in thanksgiving, whether or not the request has been granted. This is a 54 days novena.

Informations and texts of this novena at Shrine of Pompeii website
use google translate for english

Text of the Novena of Petition to the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary of Pompeii

O Saint Catherine of Siena, my Protectress and Teacher, who from heaven assist your devotees as they recite Mary's Rosary, come to my aid in this moment and deign to recite along with me the Novena to the Queen of the Rosary who has established the throne of her graces in the Valley of Pompeii, that through your intercession I may obtain the grace I desire. Amen.
V. O God, come to my aid.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father, etc.

I. O Immaculate Virgin and Queen of the Holy Rosary, in these times of dead faith and triumphant impiety you have desired to establish your throne of Queen and Mother in the ancient land of Pompeii, the resting place of deceased pagans. From this place in which idols and demons were worshipped, you today, as the Mother of divine grace, shower the treasures of heavenly mercy far and wide. O Mary, from this throne upon which you graciously reign, turn upon me as well your benign eyes, and have mercy on me who am so greatly in need of your help. Show yourself to me, just as you have shown yourself to so many others, as the true Mother of mercy: while I with all my heart greet you, and invoke you as my Sovereign and Queen of the Holy Rosary.
Hail, Holy Queen

II. Prostrate before your throne, O great and glorious Lady, my soul venerates you amidst the groans and sighs which afflict it beyond measure. In this state of anguish and affliction in which I find myself, I confidently lift up my eyes to you, who have deigned to choose the land of poor and abandoned peasants as your dwelling-place. And there, before the city and amphitheatre where there reign silence and ruin, you, the Queen of Victories, have raised your powerful voice to call from every part of Italy and the Catholic world your devoted sons and daughters, to build a Temple to you. May you now be moved to pity for this soul of mine that lies here humiliated in the mud. Have mercy on me, O my Lady, have mercy on me who am overwhelmingly covered in misery and humiliation. You, who are the extermination of demons, defend me from these enemies besieging me. You, who are the Help of Christians, deliver me from these tribulations which wretchedly oppress me. You, who are our Life, triumph over death which threatens my soul in these dangers to which it is exposed grant to me peace, serenity, love and health. Amen.
Hail, Holy Queen

III. The knowledge that so many have been helped by you, solely because they turned to you with faith, gives me new strength and courage to call upon you in my needs. You once promised St. Dominic that those wishing graces shall receive them through your Rosary. Now I, your Rosary in my hands, dare to remind you, O Mother, of your holy promises. Indeed, you yourself work endless miracles in our times in order to call your children to honour you in the Temple of Pompeii. You therefore long to wipe away our tears, you yearn to relieve our pain! Then I, with my heart bared and with burning faith, call upon you and invoke you: My Mother. Dear Mother. Beautiful Mother. Most Sweet Mother, come to my aid!
Mother and Queen of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii, delay no longer in stretching your powerful hand out to me, to save me: for you see, delay would be my ruin.
Hail, Holy Queen

IV. And to whom else might I go, if not to you who are the Solace of the wretched, the Comforter of the forsaken, the Consolation of the afflicted? I confess to you, my soul is miserable: weighed down by enormous faults, it deserves to burn in hell, unworthy of receiving graces! But are you not the Hope of those who despair, the Mother of Jesus the only mediator between God and humanity, our powerful Advocate by the throne of the Almighty, the Refuge of sinners? Then, only say a word on my behalf to your Son, and He shall hear you. Ask of Him, O Mother, this grace which I am so greatly in need of. (Here express the grace you desire.) You alone can obtain it for me: you who are my only hope, my consolation, my sweetness, my whole life. So I hope. Amen.
Hail, Holy Queen

V. O Virgin and Queen of the Holy Rosary, you who are the Daughter of our Heavenly Father, the Mother of the divine Son, the Bride of the Holy Spirit you who can obtain everything from the Blessed Trinity: I beseech you, seek this grace so necessary for me, provided that it be not an obstacle to my eternal salvation. (Here repeat the grace you desire.) I ask this of you through your Immaculate Conception, your divine Maternity, your joys, your sorrows, your triumphs. I ask it of you through the Heart of your loving Jesus, through those nine months you bore Him in your womb, through the hardships of His life, His bitter passion, His death on the cross, His most holy Name and His most precious Blood. Finally, I ask it of you through your sweetest Heart: in your glorious Name, O Mary, who are the Star of the sea, Our Powerful Lady, the Sea of sorrow, the Gate of Heaven and the Mother of every grace. In you I place my trust and my every hope save me, I pray. Amen.
Hail, Holy Queen

V. Queen of the Holy Rosary, pray for us
R. That we may become worthy of Christ's promises.

Prayer - O God, by His life, death and resurrection your Only Begotten Son obtained for us the fruits of eternal salvation: grant, we beseech you, that by venerating these mysteries of Virgin Mary's Holy Rosary, we imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

PRAYERS TO ST. DOMINIC AND TO ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA TO OBTAIN GRACES FROM THE BLESSED VIRGIN OF POMPEII
O holy priest of God and glorious Patriarch, Saint Dominic, who were the friend, the beloved son and the confidant of our heavenly Queen, and who worked many miracles through the power of the Holy Rosary and you, Saint Catherine of Siena, the leading daughter of this Order of the Rosary and a powerful mediator by the throne of Mary and the Heart of Jesus, with whom you exchanged hearts: O my dear holy Saints, consider my needs and pity the state I find myself in. On earth you possessed a heart open to all the miseries of others, and a hand powerful enough to take care of them. And now, in Heaven, neither your charity nor you power has been lessened.
On my behalf then, pray to our Mother of the Rosary and to her Divine Son, for I have great faith that through you I shall obtain the grace I ardently desire. Amen.
Three Glory be to the Father.

Text of the Novena of Thanks to the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary of Pompeii

V. O God, come to my aid.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.

I.
Here am I at your feet, O Immaculate Mother of Jesus, who delight in being invoked as Queen of the Rosary of the Valley of Pompeii. Rejoicing in my heart, my soul overwhelmed by the most ardent gratitude, I return to you, my generous Benefactress, mysweet Lady, the Queen of my heart, to you who have truly shown yourself as my Moththe Mother who so dearly loves me. In my laments you heard me, in my afflictions youcomforted me, in my anguish you gave me peace. Sorrows and the pains of death were besieging my heart, and you, O Mother, from your throne in Pompeii, by your compassionate gaze, offered me relief. Who has ever turned to you with confidence and has not been heard? If all the world only knew how good you are, how compassionate with those who suffer, all creatures would turn to you. May you for ever be blessed, O Sovereign Virgin of Pompeii, by me and by everyone, by humanity and by the Angels, by Heaven and by earth. Amen
Glory be to the Father.
Hail, Holy Queen

II.
I offer thanks to God and to you, O divine Mother, for the new favours that have been granted to me through your compassion and mercy. What would have become of me, had you turned your back on my groans and my tears? May the Angels of paradise and the choirs of Apostles, Martyrs, Virgins and Confessors thank you for me. May all the souls of sinners saved by you, who now enjoy the vision of your immortal beauty in heaven, thank you for me. I wish all creatures to join me in loving you, and that all the world repeat the echo of my thanks. What have I to offer you, O Queen, rich in mercy and magnificence? What remains of my life I dedicate to you, and to the propagating of your cult everywhere, O Virgin of the Rosary of Pompeii, through whose invocation the grace of the Lord has visited me. I shall promote the devotion of your Rosary I shall tell everyone of the mercy you have obtained for me I shall always proclaim your goodness towards me, so that others as well, unworthy as I and sinners, may turn to you with confidence.
Glory be to the Father.
Hail, Holy Queen

III.
By what names shall I call you, O snow white dove of peace? By what titles shall I invoke you, whom the holy Doctors called Our Lady of creation, Gate of life, Temple of God, Royal Palace of light, Glory of the heavens, Holy among the Holy, Miracle of miracles, Paradise of the Most High? You are the Treasurer of graces, the Almighty of supplication, indeed, the very Mercy of God which descends upon the unfortunate. Yet I know that your heart takes pleasure also in being invoked as the Queen of the Rosary, of the Valley of Pompeii. And when invoking you in this manner, I hear the sweetness of your mystical Name, O Rose of Paradise, transplanted in the Valley of tears to relieve the sorrows of us banished children of Eve red Rose of charity, more fragrant than all the perfumes of Lebanon, drawing the hearts of sinners to the Heart of God in your Valley by the fragrance of your heavenly sweetness. You are the Rose of everlasting freshness who, nourished by the streams of heavenly waters, planted your roots in soil scorched by a shower of fire a Rose of unblemished beauty, who planted the Garden of the Lord's delights in a land of desolation. May God be exalted, who made your name so wondrous. Bless, O nations, the Name of the Virgin of Pompeii, for all the earth is full of her mercy.
Glory be to the Father.
Hail, Holy Queen

IV.
In the midst of the storms raging about me I lifted my eyes to you, new Star of hope that appeared in our times over the Valley of ruins. From the depths of sorrow I raised my voice to you, O Queen of the Rosary of Pompeii, and I experienced the power of this title so dear to you. Hail, I shall always cry, Hail O Mother of mercy, immense sea of grace, ocean of kindness and compassion! Who shall worthily sing the glories of your Rosary, the victories of your Crown? The world has freed itself of Jesus' arms to become abandoned in those of Satan, yet you make ready to restore it to health in that Valley where Satan devours souls. Triumphant you rode over the ruins of the pagan temples, and upon the decay of idolatry placed the footstool of your rule. You transformed a region of death into a Valley of resurrection and life, and upon the land ruled over by your enemy you established a City of refuge, where you welcome the nations unto their salvation. Behold your children, spread throughout the world, who raised a throne to you in this place, as a testimonial) of your miracles, as a trophy of your mercies. From this throne you have called me also, among your chosen children: upon me a sinner your merciful gaze has rested. May your works be everlastingly blessed, my Lady: and blessed be all the miracles worked by You in this valley of desolation and ruin.
Glory be to the Father
Hail, Holy Queen

V.
May every tongue resound with your glory, O Mary may the evening hand on to the fol-lowing day the harmony of our blessings. Let every generation proclaim you blessed, and let all the regions of the earth and the heavenly choirs repeat, blessed are you. I too shall call you three times blessed with the Angels, the Archangels and the Principalities three times blessed with the angelic Powers, the Virtues of the heavens and the celestial Dominations. I shall proclaim you most Blessed with the Thrones, the Cherubim and the
SerapHim. O my Sovereign Rescuer, may you never turn your merciful gaze away from this family, this nation, the entire Church. Especially, do not deny me the greatest of graces: that I never become separated from you through my weakness. Let me persevere until my last breath in the faith and love with which my soul in this moment burns. And grant that all of us who contribute to the maintenance of your Shrine in Pompeii, and to the building-up of its charitable works, be included in the number of the chosen. O Holy Rosary of my Mother, I press you tightly to my bosom and kiss you with veneration. (Here kiss your rosary.) You are the way leading to every virtue, the treasure of merits for paradise, the pledge of my predestination, the strong chains binding the enemy, the source of peace for those who honour you throughout life, the promise of victory for those kissing you at the point of death. In that last hour I await you, O Mother. Your appearing will be the sign of my salvation your Rosary shall open before me the gatesof Heaven. Amen
Glory be to the Father
Hail, Holy Queen

V. Queen of the Holy Rosary, pray for us.
. That we may become
Prayer - O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who taught us to turn to you with confidence and call you: Our Father, who art in heaven O gracious Lord, ever merciful and forgiving: through the intercession of Immaculate Virgin Mary, hear us who take delight in being called children of the Rosary. Accept our humble thanks for the gifts we have received and daily render the throne you have established in the Shrine of Pompeii more glorious and lasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen


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