Pompeii & HerculaneumIn the summer of 79 BCE, one of the greatest natural disasters of antiquity happened: Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried several towns and countless farms and country mansions in ash.
Today, no other place gives us such a sense of the ancient world as the excavated remains of those towns. They provide a glimpse of the life of Romans of all classes: The city of Pompeii was an average provincial centre, neighbouring Herculaneum was a small fishing town; both of them were full with ordinary people living their everyday lives. But even then, the Gulf of Naples was a popular destination for the wealthy, many of whom had built splendid mansions in the area – such as the Villa dei Papiri just outside Herculaneum, the largest Roman “rural villa” ever discovered.
Life and Death in Ancient RomeThere’s no other place like Pompeii and Herculaneum. It’s a bitter irony that one of the most deadly disasters of antiquity helps us gain more insight into the life of ordinary people in a Roman provincial town than ever before.
Pompeii and Herculaneum – Treasure Troves of the PastThe eruption of Mt. Vesuvius brought death to thousands – but for us, in the streets of Pompeii and Herculaneum the Roman Empire comes back to life. Renowned scholars like Prof. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill from Cambridge help us understand the past…
Life and SocietyToday, the houses that line the streets of Pompeii and Herculaneum are empty – but once they were full of life. People had decorated their homes and filled them with their belongings from furniture to pots and pans. What do the finds tell us about their lives 2000 years ago?
Pompeii and Herculaneum – Prestige is EverythingRoman houses may appear forbidding - but in reality they were open to all. Rich people used them to demonstrate their wealth. Surprisingly, they lived door-to-door with the poor. But for all of them, the concept of space was very different from ours.
From Bakeries to Vineries: WorkHow did Romans work? More than 50 professions have been identified in Pompeii, from Baker to Public Pig Keeper, and we can still see many workplaces. There were vineries, and fishermen produced Garum, a weird delicacy famous throughout the Empire.
Freedmen and Patricians, Men and Women: Power and PoliticsWhat do all the graves outside Pompeii tell us about Roman society? How did elections and the administration work? Did women have any rights at all? And who paid for it all? A close look at politics - and the surprising role of slaves…
But the Emperor’s a Must: ReligionWas the emperor really a god? Romans were exceedingly tolerant when it came to religion - but you were expected to join in the imperial cult. We take a close look at the mystery cult of Isis and at the House of the Mysteries, or Villa dei Misteri…
Brothels and Baths, Taverns and Theatres: EntertainmentHow many brothels were there really in Pompeii? At any rate Roman business men liked to meet in the nude - public baths were popular meeting places. Other diversions were dice, taverns - and the theater. This was the scene of a brawl and an epic scandal…
The EndOut of the blue, the Pompeiians’ comfortable life came to a gruesome end. Many people living around the bay of Naples hadn’t even known that the mountain overlooking their homes was a volcano. One summer day, however, all hell broke loose...
Death and Destruction: The Great Catastrophe of AD 79On 24 August AD 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted, killing thousands and destroying towns, villages and countless farms. Pliny the Younger had seen it coming, but many people underestimated the danger. In Herculaneum, more than 300 died a hellish death…
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