Friday, November 17, 2017
After the experience of driving into Naples, I was not really looking forward to the drive from Naples to Pompeii. It turned out to be much worse than I thought, but after a time and some very ‘exhilarating’ driving, we were on the highway and on our way to Pompeii.
I didn’t know, until I did some research on the internet, that the ruins called Pompeii are located in the town Pompei. One ‘i’ in the modern town name, two in the ancient town name . . . now I know. I also didn’t know that Pompeii was the first ‘ruins’ to be excavated. Before arriving in Pompeii, I really didn’t know what to expect, but the city of Pompeii (ruins) are HUGE. Its a large town or a small city, and that is only what they have uncovered so far. The work to uncover more is ongoing and can be watched while touring the site, and it appears that there is a LOT of work to do before they are finished. To put that in perspective, the first traces of buildings were discovered in 1594 and work began in earnest in 1798. Let’s just say, that it is slow work. In any case, the results are astounding. We spent about four hours at the site, and saw about 10% of the area and probably about 50% of the things worth seeing. The ruins extend under the modern city (not part of Pompeii proper, as the ruins under the modern city are outside of the Pompeii city wall.) and I wonder what other secrets are held there, along with all of the other areas of the city still being excavated.
There are many highlights including the Amphitheater, built around 70BC, which is the oldest known amphitheater built from stone. The many, many paintings that have survived on the walls for 2000 years, the forum and the Temple of Apollo, to name but a few.
Possibly the best part (from my perspective) is the chance to see how the people lived. One outcome from history is that conquerors write the history of peoples. There is rarely a glowing tribute to the vanquished, and the lifestyles of the conquerors are transcribed in the annals of history frequently without mention of the vanquished.
Pompeii gives the visitor a chance to see what life was like in 79AD without it being wiped out by another story. Life just stopped and the artifacts are numerous, generally in very good shape and they tell an interesting story.
Of course four hours is simply not enough to understand that story, but it was a great experience and seeing items like the coins, the home designs, the kitchens, the baths and all of the public spaces provide a much better sense of life in the area than is possible from places like Paestum or Matera.
Stop looking Jinhee it’s just art!