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city of pompei

Pompei (Italian pronunciation: [pomˈpɛi]) is a city and comune in the Metropolitan City of Naples in Italy, famous for its ancient Roman ruins. In 2010 its population was 25,671.

Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area, was mostly destroyed and buried under 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Researchers believe that the town was founded in the seventh or sixth century BC by the Osci or Oscans. It came under the domination of Rome in the 4th century BC, and was conquered and became a Roman colony in 80 BC after it joined an unsuccessful rebellion against the Roman Republic. By the time of its destruction, 160 years later, its population was estimated to be 11,000 people, and the city had a complex water system, an amphitheatre, gymnasium and a port. The eruption destroyed the city, killing its inhabitants and burying it under tons of ash. Evidence for the destruction originally came from a surviving letter by Pliny the Younger, who saw the eruption from a distance and described the death of his uncle Pliny the Elder, an admiral of the Roman fleet, who tried to rescue citizens. The site was lost for about 1,500 years until its initial rediscovery in 1599 and broader rediscovery almost 150 years later by Spanish engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre in 1748.[1] The objects that lay beneath the city have been well-preserved for centuries because of the lack of air and moisture. These artifacts provide an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana. During the excavation, plaster was used to fill in the voids in the ash layers that once held human bodies. This allowed one to see the exact position the person was in when he or she died. Pompeii has been a tourist destination for over 250 years. Today it has UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy, with approximately 2.5 million visitors every year. Read more on wikipedia

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Rediscovery :

After thick layers of ash covered the two towns, they were abandoned and eventually their names and locations were forgotten. The first time any part of them was unearthed was in 1599, when the digging of an underground channel to divert the river Sarno ran into ancient walls covered with paintings and inscriptions. The architect Domenico Fontana was called in; he unearthed a few more frescoes, then covered them over again, and nothing more came of the discovery. A wall inscription had mentioned a decurio Pompeii ("the town councillor of Pompeii") but its reference to the long-forgotten Roman city was missed. Fontana's act of covering over the paintings has been seen both as censorship – in view of the frequent sexual content of such paintings – and as a broad-minded act of preservation for later times as he would have known that paintings of the hedonistic kind later found in some Pompeian villas were not considered in good taste in the climate of the counter-reformation.[18] This view is bolstered by reports[by whom?] of later excavators who felt that sites they were working on had already been visited and reburied.[citation needed] Even many recovered household items had a sexual theme. Herculaneum was properly rediscovered in 1738 by workmen digging for the foundations of a summer palace for the King of Naples, Charles of Bourbon.

Pompeii was rediscovered as the result of intentional excavations in 1748 by the Spanish military engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre.[19] These towns have since been excavated to reveal many intact buildings and wall paintings. Charles of Bourbon took great interest in the findings even after becoming king of Spain because the display of antiquities reinforced the political and cultural power of Naples.[20] Karl Weber directed the first real excavations;[21] he was followed in 1764 by military engineer Franscisco la Vega. Franscisco la Vega was succeeded by his brother, Pietro, in 1804.[22] During the French occupation Pietro worked with Christophe Saliceti. Giuseppe Fiorelli took charge of the excavations in 1863.[24] During early excavations of the site, occasional voids in the ash layer had been found that contained human remains. It was Fiorelli who realized these were spaces left by the decomposed bodies and so devised the technique of injecting plaster into them to recreate the forms of Vesuvius's victims. This technique is still in use today, with a clear resin now used instead of plaster because it is more durable, and does not destroy the bones, allowing further analysis.[25][26][27] This clash of cultures led to an unknown number of discoveries being hidden away again. A wall fresco which depicted Priapus, the ancient god of sex and fertility, with his extremely enlarged penis, was covered with plaster, even the older reproduction below was locked away "out of prudishness" and opened only on request and only rediscovered in 1998 due to rainfall.[28] In 1819, when King Francis I of Naples visited the Pompeii exhibition at the National Museum with his wife and daughter, he was so embarrassed by the erotic artwork that he decided to have it locked away in a secret cabinet, accessible only to "people of mature age and respected morals". Re-opened, closed, re-opened again and then closed again for nearly 100 years, it was briefly made accessible again at the end of the 1960s (the time of the sexual revolution) and was finally re-opened for viewing in 2000. Minors are still allowed entry to the once secret cabinet only in the presence of a guardian or with written permission.[29] A large number of artifacts from Pompeii are preserved in the Naples National Archaeological Museum. Read more on wikipedia


House of the Faun

The House of the Faun (Italian: Casa del Fauno), built during the 2nd century BC, was one of the largest, and most impressive private residences in Pompeii, Italy, and housed many great pieces of art. It is one of the most luxurious aristocratic houses from the Roman republic, and reflects this period better than most archaeological evidence found even in Rome itself. The House of the Faun was built in the 2nd century BC during the Samnite period (200 - 80 BC). There is evidence, most notably in the eastern walls of the tetrastyle atrium, that after the great earthquake in AD 62, the House of the Faun was rebuilt or repaired; yet, the building was only used as a house from the 2nd century BC until AD 79, ultimately rendered unusable by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Although the eruption was devastating, the layers of ash covering the abandoned town preserved artworks, like the mosaics of the House of the Faun, which would have otherwise been likely destroyed or decayed due to the passage of time.The House of the Faun was named for the bronze statue of the dancing faun located, originally, on the lip of the impluvium, a basin for catching rainwater; it has been moved to the center of the impluvium, as seen in the picture to the right. Fauns are spirits of untamed woodland, which literate and Hellenized Romans often connected to Pan and Greek satyrs, or wild followers of the Greek god of wine and agriculture, Dionysus.

It is purely decorative sculpture of a high order: "the pose is light and graceful," Sir Kenneth Clark observed,[4] the modeling well understood, the general sense of movement admirably sustained," though he missed in its suavity the stimulus of sharper contrasts to be found in Renaissance nudes. Read more on wikipedia

"Garden of the Fugitives". Plaster casts of victims still in situ; many casts are in the Archaeological Museum of Naples. 

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