Sunday, December 6, 2015

Doomed Pompeii

Pompeii today.
Pompeii was an ancient Roman city near Mount Vesuvius along the west coast of Italy near Naples.

At noon on August 24th 79 AD Mount Vesuvius erupted covering Pompeii in ash. In a 24-hour period this volcano continued to bury the city, first in ash and debris and later with quick moving hot surges known as pyroclastic flows, which caused instant death.

Two thousand of Pompeii’s 11,000 citizens died during this eruption. They were not aware they were living at the base of a volcano for Mount Vesuvius had not been active in 1,800 years.

The site lay buried and forgotten for centuries until 1748 when workers building a palace for King Charles lll stumbled upon it.

This discovery taught us a great deal about everyday life in ancient Rome. For the city was buried but intact—just as it had been 2,000 years before.

Pompeii was a “playground”—resort city for many of Rome’s elite and wealthy. The areas rich soil—a result of previous eruptions was used to grow olives and grapes for wine.

Left behind were elegant houses, elaborate villas, open-air markets, small factories, artisan shops, taverns, cafes, a multitude of brothels and small prostitute cripes, bathhouses and a 20,000 seat arena where animals and Christians were sacrificed for the amusement of the Romans.

Also left behind were many hardened ash shells, which once encased human bodies. They captured the positions in which people died.

One archeologist filled these ash shells with plaster to make casts, which showed the last moments and even the shocked expressions on these people’s faces as they died.

For years it was believed the victims suffocated from the ash and gases but a recent study revealed they actually died from extreme heat. “They were shocked into a sort of instant rigor mortis.”

Lapanare Pompeii's
mail brothel.
One aspect of Pompeii’s culture was kept secret or hidden away for years after the city was unearthed. It had a massive sex-trade culture that was depicted in erotic art displayed throughout the city.

In 1819, King Francis l of Naples while visiting the Pompeii exhibition with his wife and daughter was so embarrassed by this erotic activity he had “the evidence of it” covered up or locked away.

Mount Vesuvius is the only active volcano in mainland Europe. It has erupted over 50 times. The most recent was in 1944 during WWll where it damaged planes at a nearby airfield.

Experts expect it will erupt once more within the next 25 years. This is a tragedy waiting to happen for 1.3 million people live near this volcano today.

Among the thousands of people that have visited the site, many have visited after dark, they have witnessed strange activity which leads some people to believe that the tragic 79 AD eruption left many lost souls behind in Pompeii.

The ruins of Pompeii seemingly normal during the day take on a different feel from dusk onward. People have reported a feeling of eerie doom permeating the area.

Pompeii at night.
Some even take this a step further stating the area feels evil or sinister. Adding to this strange atmosphere is the ever-present smell of sulfur.

Witnesses have reported hearing blood curdling screams as well as seeing dark shadows. These “shadow people” are seen briefly before they disappear.

Here is a brief animated video depicting the destruction of Pompeii.

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