Pompeii has many temples in its walls, so I thought I would tell you a little bit about the Gods and Goddesses associated with the town.
Venus - Goddess of Love and Beauty - Greek: Aphrodite
Venus is the patron goddess of Pompeii. She is depicted in many paintings, most famously Botticelli's 'The Birth of Venus' (1485), depicting Venus being born from the sea, fully grown, riding on a clam shell. However, one early image of Venus rising from the ocean on a clam shell was found in Pompeii itself, in The House of the Marine Venus (Reg II, Ins. II).
Jupiter - King of the Gods, God of Sky and Thunder - Greek: Zeus
Jupiter is the King of the Roman Gods. Jupiter is the father of the god Mars, and thus grandfather of Romulus, legendary founder of Rome.
Apollo - God of The Sun - Greek: Apollo
Apollo is primarily depicted as the god of The Sun and Archery, however his toga fastens up tightly over a number of other duties. He is also considered the God of truth and prophecy, medicine and healing, poetry, song and art. He is the son of Jupiter and Leto, and twin brother of Artemis.
Isis - Goddess of Motherhood, Fertility and Happiness
Isis is an Egyptian Goddess, however she was widely worshipped accross the Greco-Roman world after the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great. The Isaeum, or Temple of Isis, in Pompeii's location, near the Theatres, is likely due to her role as Goddess of Happiness.
Lares - Gods of the Hearth and Home/The Town
The Lares were worshipped at shrines in Pompeiian houses and offerings to them were made in the hope that they would protect the house and its occupants. However, there was also a temple to the 'Lares Publicus' in the Forum to protect the city, built after the Earthquake which destroyed much of Pompeii.
The Story of Pompeii
In 79 AD, Pliny the Elder died during the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius. His nephew, Pliny the Younger escaped the destruction of Pompeii and left a written account of the eruption.
" The carts that we had ordered brought were moving in opposite directions, though the ground was perfectly flat, and they wouldn't stay in place even with their wheels blocked by stones. In addition, it seemed as though the sea was being sucked backwards, as if it were being pushed back by the shaking of the land. Certainly the shoreline moved outwards, and many sea creatures were left on dry sand.
Behind us were frightening dark clouds, rent by lightning twisted and hurled, opening to reveal huge figures of flame. These were like lightning, but bigger. At that point the Spanish friend urged us strongly: "If your brother and uncle is alive, he wants you to be safe. If he has perished, he wanted you to survive him. So why are you reluctant to escape?" We responded that we would not look to our own safety as long as we were uncertain about his. Waiting no longer, he took himself off from the danger at a mad pace.
It wasn't long thereafter that the cloud stretched down to the ground and covered the sea. It girdled Capri and made it vanish, it hid Misenum's promontory. Then my mother began to beg and urge and order me to flee however I might, saying that a young man could make it, that she, weighed down in years and body, would die happy if she escaped being the cause of my death. I replied that I wouldn't save myself without her, and then I took her hand and made her walk a little faster.
She obeyed with difficulty, and blamed herself for delaying me. Now came the dust, though still thinly. I look back: a dense cloud looms behind us, following us like a flood poured across the land. "Let us turn aside while we can still see, lest we be knocked over in the street and crushed by the crowd of our companions." We had scarcely sat down when a darkness came that was not like a moonless or cloudy night, but more like the black of closed and unlighted rooms. You could hear women lamenting, children crying, men shouting.
Some were calling for parents, others for children or spouses; they could only recognize them by their voices. Some bemoaned their own lot, other that of their near and dear. There were some so afraid of death that they prayed for death. Many raised their hands to the gods, and even more believed that there were no gods any longer and that this was one last unending night for the world. Nor were we without people who magnified real dangers with fictitious horrors. Some announced that one or another part of Misenum had collapsed or burned; lies, but they found believers.
It grew lighter, though that seemed not a return of day, but a sign that the fire was approaching. The fire itself actually stopped some distance away, but darkness and ashes came again, a great weight of them. We stood up and shook the ash off again and again, otherwise we would have been covered with it and crushed by the weight. I might boast that no groan escaped me in such perils, no cowardly word, but that I believed that I was perishing with the world, and the world with me, which was a great consolation for death.
At last the cloud thinned out and dwindled to no more than smoke or fog. Soon there was real daylight. The sun was even shining, though with the lurid glow it has after an eclipse. The sight that met our still terrified eyes was a changed world, buried in ash like snow. We returned to Misenum and took care of our bodily needs, but spent the night dangling between hope and fear.
Fear was the stronger, for the earth was still quaking and a number of people who had gone mad were mocking the evils that had happened to them and others with terrifying prognostications. We still refused to go until we heard news of my uncle, although we had felt danger and expected more.
You will read what I have written, but will not take up your pen, as the material is not the stuff of history. You have only yourself to blame if it seems not even proper stuff for a letter. Farewell. "
The Calidarium was the first stop after entering a Roman Therme. It was a huge place with a very hot temperature (range from 30° to 60°C), that helps the body to have a skin more elastic and also the blood circulation and the arterial pressure too. it also can be used to eliminate toxins. We can think about a calidarium as a modern turkish bath. In the middle of the calidarium in Pompei there was a big basin of hot water into the floor, and there was sometimes even a laconicum- a very hot and dry room like a sauna. After entering the calidarium and the tepidarium you should come into the Frigidarium, a place were you could find a cooler temperature. It was the last phase of the Thermae treatment.
TEPIDARIUM is a term that means “given warm”in latin. TheTepidarium was one of the most important moment of the Roman lifes, when they went to the Romans Baths (Thermae). The Thermae were a place when Romans usually went to relax and to meet friends and important families in the political scenary. So we can say that they were not just one of their “healthy” locations! The Tepidarium was composed by a great central hall, covered by a decorated semicircular vault, and a group of niches where people talked and enjoying the warm, after having a series of hot baths.
This fresco is located in The House of Misteri, a residential house situated a bit far from Pompei and very close to the sea. This house has many frescos but this one is the most important and the better preserved as its brilliant colours show. The fresco represents the celebration of the "Dionysian mysteries".
Dionysio or Baccus was the God of wine and of the pleasure of the senses, and the Baccanti, young and nice ladies, celebrate the God, dancing, drinking wine and making orgiastic rituals.
In this picture you can see some cooking utensils, I saw inside the house of the Vetti. As you can notice the shapes of the pots are not too different from the modern style, and at the first sight it seems they stands on a "kitchen-place", (I'm sorry I don't know exactly the word to describe it in english! I hope you will understand as well :-). House of the Vetti was also a kind of pub or better a night club, where people went for something to eat and for spending a night with some prostitutes, that is why people that works there must cook a lot!
Maybe the second well known house in Pompei, the house of the Faun is another beautiful example of the Roman art and architecture. This house, built u in the II centuries B.C., is the biggest house in Pompei (3.000 mq) and takes its name by the little bronze statue of a Faun, discovered in the atrium. The house has a huge variety of mosaics, and the one you can see in my picture is the best one in my opinion.
The Vetti house is full of rare frescos and statues, that offers to the tourist an idea of the life in Pompei. As you will probably read below (after looking at my peristyle picture), Vetti were probably two brothers, ex-slaves, became citizens of the Roman Empire and with the great ambition of a fast social rise. Becuase of it, they filled their rooms up with wonderful frescos that can be considered a sort of "open books" where you can read the story of the pompeians and their traditions. The fresco in my picture represents a Good called Priapo; he simbolized the nature's reproducer strenght, that is why he was always painted in an indecent attitude. To have a fresco of Priapo was also a mean to wish prosperity and to send away the envy of the people that knows the Vetti family.
This picture shows exactly the position the woman had at the moment she died becuase of the poison gas and the rain of pumice-stone. Most of the victims died in their houses, while they were sleeping, as probably did her, without understanding what was happening. Some people instead, died while they were running away, and their bodies were found along the main streets of the town.
The House of the Vetti is the best preserved example of an aristocratic dwelling in Pompei. On the floor plan above, the front door is midway on the right. The garden on the left occupies about a third of the area inside the house. In the first century the house apparently belonged to two brothers (surnamed Vettius) who were prosperous merchants. Of all the houses in Pompei, this one alone can be considered a rare, ancient art gallery. Because of its artistic importance, no one should visit Pompei without touring this villa.
The center of action in Pompei, as in other Roman cities, was undoubtedly the Forum, which was a center for matters religious, governmental, and economic. There were probably some good restaurants here as well!
There are a few old religious places dotted through-out the ruins that some of the locals visit and use. Every frw days some of the locals will come to these places and pray and leave flowers or candles.
If you have used a tour guide for your visit to Pompeii it is customary to give a gratuity (tip) to them.
We have found that 5 to 10 Euros is a good tip for the full day at the site but it is up to you.
The roads in Pompeii had little drainage and so to avoid getting dirty or wet a Pompeian would cross the road using stepping stones. These stepping stones were cleverly designed - not only did they enable people to cross the road but they also allowed carts to pass as their wheels fit in between the gaps of the stepping stones. Various stepping stones can be seen in this photograph.