Definitions for pompeiipɒmˈpeɪ, -ˈpeɪ i
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ancient city to the southeast of Naples that was buried by a volcanic eruption from Vesuvius
A ruined Roman town in Italy, destroyed by Vesuvius (a volcano) in 79AD
Origin: From Pompeii.
The city of Pompeii was an ancient Roman town-city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the comune of Pompei. Pompeii along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area, were mostly destroyed and buried under 4 to 6 m of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Researchers believe that the town was founded in the seventh or sixth century BC and was captured by the Romans in 80 BC. By the time of its destruction, 160 years later, its population was probably approximately 20,000, with a complex water system, an amphitheatre, gymnasium and a port. The eruption was cataclysmic for the town. Evidence for the destruction originally came from a surviving letter by Pliny the Younger, who saw the eruption from a distance and described the death of his uncle Pliny the Elder, an admiral of the Roman fleet, who tried to rescue citizens. The site was lost for about 1500 years until its initial rediscovery in 1599 and broader rediscovery almost 150 years later by the Spanish engineer, Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre in 1748. The objects that lay beneath the city have been well preserved for thousands of years because of the lack of air and moisture. These artifacts provide an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana. During the excavation, plaster was used to fill in the voids between the ash layers that once held human bodies. This allowed one to see the exact position the person was in when he or she died.
The Nuttall Encyclopedia
an ancient Italian seaport on the Bay of Naples, fell into the possession of Rome about 80 B.C., and was converted into a watering-place and "the pleasure haunt of paganism"; the Romans erected many handsome public buildings, and their villas and theatres and baths were models of classic architecture and the scenes of unbounded luxury; the streets were narrow, provided with side-walks, the walls often decorated with painting or scribbled over by idle gamins; the number of shops witnesses to the fashion and gaiety of the town, the remains of painted notices to its municipal life; a terrible earthquake ruined it and drove out the inhabitants in A.D. 63; they returned and rebuilt it, however, in a tawdry and decadent style, and luxury and pleasure reigned as before till in A.D. 79 an eruption of Vesuvius buried everything in lava and ashes; the ruins were forgotten till accidentally discovered in 1748; since 1860 the city has been disinterred under the auspices of the Italian Government, and is now a favourite resort of tourists and archæologists.
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