Pompeii is one of the oldest Roman cities. Archaeological research shows that the settlement was founded in the 7th century BC. The city was located near modern Naples and in 79 AD was completely destroyed during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The fate of Pompeii was shared by two more neighboring cities - Herculaneum and Stabia.
By the time of the tragedy, about 20, 000 inhabitants lived in the city, for that time it was a large settlement. During the eruption of Vesuvius, about 2, 000 people died - one tenth of the townspeople. In addition, the victims were found in the vicinity of Pompeii. In just three cities and neighboring villages, about
16, 000 people.
Was the eruption of Vesuvius a surprise to people? On the eve, people felt powerful tremors, but thought that these were the steps of mythical giant gods. In the Gulf of Naples, the water temperature has risen sharply. The fact that one tenth of the city of Pompeii perished indicates that most of the inhabitants managed to safely leave the city.
In the thirties of the nineteenth century, Karl Bryullov worked on his famous painting "The Last Day of Pompeii". The painter depicted all the horror of the people on whom the fiery lava fell. True, archaeologists call Bryullov's painting fiction - most of the people were killed not by volcanic lava, but by hydrothermal streams, whose temperature reached 700 degrees. The victims died in terrible agony.
Italian archaeologists claim that people literally boiled blood in their veins and burst their heads.
The eruption of Vesuvius began on August 24, 79 (according to another version, in October of the same year). And on the eve of the inhabitants of the Roman Empire, they celebrated Vulcanal - a religious holiday dedicated to God Vulcan. The superstitious Romans were convinced that the inhabitants of Pompeii did not honor him enough, therefore, retribution came immediately.
Many residents died due to the fact that they could not part with their property, trying to leave the city with valuable things, wasting time, which at that moment was much more valuable. For example, during excavations, the remains of a woman were found, tightly gripping a box of gold in her hands.
The first excavations of the lost city began at the end of the 16th century. In 1592, during the construction of the canal, the architect Domenico Fontana excavated part of the city wall. It is interesting that, among other finds, there were frescoes of such indecent content that Fontana ordered them to be buried again.
Perhaps this is where the rumor went that the destruction of Pompeii was a punishment for the immorality of the inhabitants of the city.
Large-scale archaeological excavations at the site of the lost city began in the 18th century. For a long time, many archaeologists were interested not in the fate of the city, but in those finds that have artistic value and could decorate the collection of the Royal Museum in Portici, where the summer residence of Charles VII, the ruler of Naples, was also located.
Currently, most of the city has already been excavated, excursions are conducted there. The total excavation area is about 65 hectares, making Pompeii the largest archaeological site. More than two million tourists from all over the world come here every year. But, Vesuvius is fraught with danger in our days. Suffice it to say that the volcano erupted twice in the twentieth century - in 1906 and 1944. And again, there were human casualties.