2 Sep 2004 - Pompeii, Italy
My second time in Pompeii and this time it wasn't a day trip. A campsite provided the accommodation which even in September provides for a sweaty night. Though it was my second time here, I was no less impressed and still managed to miss seeing some important sites that I missed the first time I was here.
Pompeii - Frescos in an unknown house I
Initially I was amazed at the detail and bright colouring of frescos such as these but Pompeii has so much great art that seeing such fine work almost becomes blase.
Pompeii - Garden pool
Pompeii was a city of great wealth and in this house there exists a pool in the central garden area. Judging by the steps at the end, my guess is that this was a swimming pool but what appears to be a fountain in the middle suggests it may have been a pool for ornamental purposes.
Pompeii - Frescos in an unknown house II
Another great examples of the art adorning the walls of the houses in Pompeii. This features cherubs and birds.
Pompeii - House of the Vettii
This house best shows the wealth of the merchants in the last 10 years of the city's life. While there is much to see in this house, the entrance has this picture of Priapus (a fertility god , protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens and male genitalia) weighing his huge phallus on some scales.
This figure was placed at the entrance to ward off the evil eye or those jealous of the wealth of the Vettiis.
Pompeii - House on the Via dell' Abbondanza
This house is based on the Via dell' Abbondanza and must have been a very busy place to be. However, once through the mosaic floored entrance way leading from the Pompeii's primary road we can see the usual Roman arrangement of impluvium for collecting rain water and central opening.
Pompeii - Bakeries
Pompeii had 31 bakeries. Grain was brought to the bakery for refining using mills made out of volcanic rock. Grain was fed into the top and then ground using mules to rotate the grinder.
Bread was baked in the ovens alongside the mills. These were heated by burning vine faggots. Loaves were then transported to separate shops and stalls.
Pompeii - Via della Fortuna
The deep ruts in the huge blocks of limestone are evidence of the intense traffic on this important road.
Pompeii - Brothel
There were 25 houses of ill repute in Pompeii, some being just a single small rooms and others being part of a brothel. Actually, there was little dishonour in patronising brothers unless you were of the upper classes and neither was there any shame in heterosexual or homosexual acts.
This is one of the rooms in a brothel: a concrete bed which would have had a straw mattress on top. The brothel held 10 beds and on the walls can be seen a tally of the business that was conducted.
Pompeii - Brothel: Erotic art 1
Various scenes adorned the walls of the brothels or above the entrances to the rooms. There is no evidence to suggest that the images were advertisements of particular skills.
Prices ranged from 2 to 8 (where a portion of wine cost 1).
Pompeii - Brothel: Erotic art 2
Customers were usually freedmen or slaves as wealthier patrons could afford to have prostitutes brought to their homes or could simply make use of their own slaves or servants.
Pompeii - Brothel: Erotic art 3
Brothels offered a choice of young women or men and although there was no shame attached to being a patron, there was a stigma attached to being employed as a prostitute.
Pompeii - Via dell' Abbondanza
The ruined doorways of an endless series of shops line the Via dell' Abbondanza - 'the street of abundance'. Once this street bustled with crowds buying and selling, drinking and eating as they promenaded from the forum to the amphitheatre.
Now it bustles with hordes of tourists strolling down its cobbled length.
Pompeii - Fullonica of Stephanus
One important trade in Pompeii was that of the fullones. These traders processed raw wool; handling, spinning, weaving, dying and washing.
At the rear of the building consisted a series of tubs used for washing: fullones trampled the cloth in a mixture of water and soda or urine, both of which are degreasers. In fact, urine was so important that outside the building there used to be receptacles that passers by could use for relief.
Pompeii - Street fresco
This is almost opposite the fullonica on the Via dell' Abbondanza. What the significance of this is escapes me - political perhaps or an indication of what the building is for?
Pompeii - House of the Menander
Built in the 3rd century BC, this building is named after the Greek playwright Menander because of a fresco bearing his image. Over 1800m squared, this was the house of the wealthy and may have belonged to the family of the mad Roman Emperor Nero's second wife.
Pompeii - House of the Ceii (Ancient Hunt)
On the back wall of this house has a fresco depicting a variety of African animals. A lion chasing a bull, leopards pouncing on rams, hyenas and a wild boar all feature in this work of Pompeiian fantasy.
Pompeii - Small theatre I
Looking down from the cheap seats in the small theatre. Seating was arranged by class and is visible how the rows for the general public gives way to the broad slabs of the lower tiers where the wealthy and important brought their own comfortable chairs.
Pompeii - Small theatre II
The small theatre was first used as a meeting place and evolved to be a venue for lectures, poetry, readings, concerts and refined drama.
Pompeii - House of Octavius Quartio
Or sometimes called the House of Loreius Tibertinus, a priest of the Egyptian goddess, Isis. It is lush with greenery and two long pools alluding to the Nile. This fresco is in the garden, with the garden being behind the photographer.
Pompeii - Amphitheatre I
Built in 70 BC, this is one of the oldest and best preserved amphitheatres in existence. Exploring the inside is like being in a modern stadium with tunnels underneath the seating areas leading up to the different levels of seating.The building was used for gladiator battles.
Pompeii - Amphitheatre II
This plaque is at the entrance to the arena and is dedicated to the builders of the stadium. Two local officials, Quinctius Valgus and Marcius Porcius, built the amphitheatre at private expense for games or for the spectacula attempting to get popular support to build a political career.
Pompeii - Amphitheatre III
At the entrance to the arena.
Pompeii - Garden of the fugitives
So called because this former vineyard houses the plaster casts of a few of the victims of the eruption as they sought an escape.
They suffocated to death and one by one they fell in their family groups. These form the most dramatic examples of the death that overtook Pompeii and her people.
Pompeii - Forum granary I
Just off the forum, this granary was built after 62 AD and may not have been in use or even completed at the time of the eruption. It is now used to store various archeological materials from Pompeii (amphorae, architectural elements, marble garden furniture); a few plaster casts of victims are on display.
Pompeii - Forum granary II
This is a cast of a dog that died still tied to a pole.
The casts are formed by pouring plaster into the cavities formed by the decomposed body. The plaster solidifies and reproduces the shape of the body.
Pompeii - Forum granary III
By the looks of it, this person died hunched in fear, possibly unable to escape the city and hoping for the best.