庞贝 – 火山下毁灭的城市
Pompeii is an ancient city of Roman empire located in the south of Napoli. It was buried under volcanic ash of thickness up to 4 to 6 m in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. The city was well preserved under the ash for 2000 years. After the excavation, it displayed the unique view of Roman life and Roman buildings. It becomes a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. For the fans of Roman Empire, this will be a place of must-see.
I took the circumvesuviana train to the station Pompei Scavi-Villa dei Misteri and visited this place on July 19th 2020. This is entrance of the pompeii archaeological park. From here to the insides of the city, the aspects of the city are gradually shown to my eyes.
我乘坐circumvesuviana火车到Pompei Scavi-Villa dei Misteri车站，在2020年7月19日参观了这个地方。这是庞贝考古公园的入口。从这里进入城市深处，庞贝的风貌在我眼里逐渐展现出来。
I walked along the streets of the city under the scorching sunlight. The wide streets are made of uneven stone blocks. There are many similar streets in the city arranged horizontally and vertically. The city is planned like a chess board. The brick made houses along the streets were the residential place for local people when they were buried under the volcanico ash. When I idled along this road, I was really amazed at the historical vicissitude.
The Via dell’Abbondanza was the main street of ancient Pompeii, which was in the direction east/west from the Forum to the Porta Sarno. The street used to be full of hustle and bustle with many shops, snack-bars and restaurants but now the only things remaining are the cold stones and bricks that recorded the city’s history.
There are many houses in the city and most of them are forbidden to visit for the reason of protection. This is one of the common residential houses that allow visitors to enter. I could enter and know more about the structure of their houses and how the room is arranged. The wall faces had showed signs of decay due to the infestation and erosions of ages.
In the southwest region of the city, I could see this small theatre The Odeon. It was a smaller roofed theatre built in 80 BC that could contain 1500 spectators. The Large Theatre in the city was used for staging drama whereas the Odeon was built for a more educated audience, as well as a musical concert performance.
It was said that Roman empire finally collapsed because they lost the desire to fight and indulged in comforts like baths. It was true that I could find the ruins of bath in many Roman cities like Arles, Pisa, Roma, Tarragona … Roman citizens really enjoyed having bath so they built many luxurious bath houses in their cities. The Central Baths were under construction at the time of the eruption so it was just an open court yard after it was excavated.
In Pompeii, every house records the daily activity of the local people before they are buried under the volcanico ash. This is the house of Cecilio Giocondo who was a banker. His identity and name was deduced from the archive of 154 waxed boards excavated which recorded the amounts paid by the persons who buy the goods or paid the rents.
This house attracted me a lot because of its elegant garden surrounded by the perystyliums; in the Roman epoch, perystylium is the symbol of residence of wealthy family and is regarded as the symbol of upper class in the classical era.
The garden was also decorated with reliefs and marble sculptures, and was dedicated to the Egyptian gods. There was a painting of Anubis, god of the dead, here. The house is called in this way because Cupids is engraved on two gold medallions that decorate the portico.
Before visiting Pompeii, I did not make a specific travel plan so I just visited in the city aimlessly and entered the room that I thought beautiful. This house has a small garden with a marble fountain. The statue inside the fountain is Silenus, a companion of the god of wine Dionysus in Greek mythology. The wall of the house is decorated with fresco and on the floor, there is a delicate moisac diagram.
The interesting thing in Pompeii is when you cross one street by street, you could not find any modern elements in every corner of the city. Every piece of stone and brick in this city has the history of 2000 years. In this street corner, I found this building called Lupanar which stands for brothel in Roman word. The building was classified as brothel because many erotic paintings and graffis were found after excavations. Prostitution in ancient Rome was legal and licensed so it would not be a surprise to find a brothel at that time.
The Pompeians relaxed in the weekends not only in brothels but have spa as well. The Stabiane bath is the place for them to have their daily break in the spa. The baths culture of Roman Empire had a long history. This bath could be traced back to the 2nd century BC. The heating was guaranteed by a piping system in the walls and double floors that circulated the hot air coming from the furnaces and from braziers.
This spectacular house was built in 2 century B.C. It belongs to Marcus Epidius Rufus so it is called house of Epidii. It draws my attenton due to its 16 doric columns in the center of the house. The columns are located in the atrium of Corinthian type which is widely applied in Athens but quite rare in Pompeii.
这个壮观的房子建于公元前2世纪，它属于Marcus Epidius Rufus，所以被称为Epidii的房子。房子中央有16个多立克圆柱，它因此吸引了我的注意。柱子所在的是科林斯式的中庭，在雅典广泛使用，但在庞贝城中很少见。
To see the most traditional building of Roman Empire, the Forum is always the best place. It is the core of daily life of the city and houses all the main public buildings for city administration and justice, business management, trade activities, and religious worships.
For example, we could find this temple of Jupiter at the north end of the forum, built in mid-2nd century BC. Jupiter was the ruler of the gods and the protector of Rome so his temple was always the center of Roman Religion. Unfortunately, now we could simply imagine how it looked like because the only remaining on the square is the base and several columns.
On the east of the forum, we could see the Macellum, the market of Pompeii. It is difficult to know the function of the buildings for me but the archeologists could judge it from the remains of cereals and fruits in the north side of the building and fish scales and bones in the middle of the courtyard. The entrance of the market could be recognized by the three marble columns at the left side of this picture.
On the sides of the temple of Jupiter, there were two old honorary arches made of bricks. This arch dedicated to Drusus, son of Emperor Tiberius was built in the era of Tiberius (14-37 AD) near the temple of Fortuna Augusta. The arch together with many buildings represented the imperial cult. It is a form of state religion in which an emperor of Roman Empire are worshipped as demigods or deities. This is an effective tool for dictators to rule the country.
This is the temple dedicated to the Emperor Augustu. It has marble capitals and columns and with the altar at the front. It is also one example of the imperial worship throughout the Roman Empire. This kind of worship has left a deep impact to many people even after the empire collapsed. Many european rulers had claimed that they inherited the Roman empire but obviously there is no such a relationship at all.
Another typical symbol of Roman city is the Amphitheatre. This one is the earliest Roman amphitheatre built of stone. It is located at the east side of the Via dell’Abbondanza. Its past represents the bloody gladiatorial culture of Roman Empire. Now it becomes a place for public event and concert.
I totally spent more than 5 hours in Pompeii. Lastly I have to highlight this one, Casa del Fauno. It was one of the largest and the luxurious private residences in Pompeii. The house was named by the bronze statue of the dancing faun located in the impluvium, a basin for catching rainwater. Fauns are spirits of untamed woodland.
我在庞贝旅游总共花了5个多小时。最后我要特意提一下这个房子Casa del Fauno。它是庞贝最大的豪华私人住宅之一。这座房子的名字是由舞池中的青铜雕像福恩命名的。福恩是未驯服的森林精灵。
The House of the Faun covers nearly 3000 square metres and has two atriums, the Tuscan and the peristyle atrium. Its colonnaded gardens contain Ionic and Doric columns. The jewel of the crown for this house is the famous Alexander Mosaic, depicting the Battle of Issus in 333 BC between Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia. The mosaic is now preserved in the museum of Napoli so we could not see it here.
The house 2000 years ago includes one kitchen, one living room and many bedrooms with furnitures. It is even equipped with a private bath system. Its owner must be a very wealthy person.
This is the exit of the archeological park. The park is so large that it is difficult to cover every corner in the city but for most people it was enough for them to familiarize with the buildings of Roman empire. In this picture, we could see clearly the volcano Vesuvius that caused the ruin of the city. On one hand, it was a tragedy that the volcano was the murderer who had killed 20,000 people in the instant. However, on the other side, the volcano ash kept the original form of the city and Pompeii is the only city of Roman empire that is well preserved. So whether the volcano did it correct or not? Who knows ?! Let the history jusge it.