The ancient lost cities of Pompeii & Herculaneum


  • Partially buried city near Naples in the region of Campania.

  • Was destroyed and completely buried by a long catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mt. Vesuvius. The eruption lasted for two days in August 79 A.D. It left 4-6 METERS of ash and pumice.

  • The city was LOST for 1700 years and rediscovered in 1748.

  • The excavation has provided a detailed insight to a city during the Roman Empire.

  • The forums, baths, house, and villas have all been well-preserved.

  • The oldest preservations are believed to be from 6-8 centuries B.C.

  • Greek and Phoenician sailors used Pompeii as a safe port.

  • It was an important passage for goods from sea to be sent to Rome or southern Italy.

  • The Etruscans were present (there are inscriptions) during the 6th century B.C.

  • It was captured by a Greek colony Cumae With Syracuse from 525-474 B.C.


  • It was a wealthier town than Pompeii before its destruction.

  • Greek origin and early Greek control.

    • 4th century B.C.: Samnite control 

    • 89 B.C.: Roman control

  • The deities worshiped here were Hercules, Venus, and Apollo.

  • With the eruption of 79 A.D. the town was affected by lava and buried under 20 meters of mud and ash. 

  • 1709: it was rediscovered and found that the excavation had not been completed. 

  • It was the first source for Roman skeletal and physical remains to be used for study (most Romans had cremated their dead – the bones were discovered in 1981).

“Mount Vesuvius has not erupted since 1944, but it is still one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Experts believe that another Plinean eruption is due any day–an almost unfathomable catastrophe, since almost 3 million people live within 20 miles of the volcano’s crater.”

For more info on the recent history of Pompeii click here

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