The Destruction of Ancient Pompeii

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Kelly Macquire
published on 03 October 2021

Ancient Pompeii was a Roman city in the region of Campania. In 79 CE, the city and surrounding areas were completely covered in ash by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. This eruption and devastation of settlements would have been a tragedy in the ancient world, but it has meant that many things from the ancient world that are usually lost in time have survived to us, which makes Pompeii the richest Roman archaeological site found thus far.

In 1755, the city was finally rediscovered and from then on, excavations have been undertaken in the regions devastated by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. What was found in Pompeii changed many preconceived beliefs about the Roman world, like how common bronze statues actually were and how bronze was more commonly used in Roman art than previously thought. The skeletal remains of those who couldn’t flee the eruption and the plaster casts of them have shown us the damage to their teeth, caused by stone chips in bread and an over-sweet diet. Other invaluable finds from the site include textual evidence like inscriptions, wax tablets, signs, amphorae labels and graffiti. It’s the graffiti that has truly given us an insight into the thoughts, desires and daily lives of the ordinary people from Pompeii.

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The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2021, October 03). The Destruction of Ancient Pompeii. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Destruction of Ancient Pompeii." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified October 03, 2021.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Destruction of Ancient Pompeii." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 03 Oct 2021. Web. 19 Jul 2024.