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Pompeii Timeline

Pompeii Timeline

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  • c. 80 BCE

    Roman aqueduct built at Pompeii.

  • 80 BCE

    Sulla sacks Pompeii following a rebellion and founds the 'Colony of Venus', resettling 4-5,000 war veterans.

  • c. 75 BCE

  • 59 CE

    A riot in the arena of Pompeii between locals and citizens of Nuceria results in a ten-year ban on gladiator games in Pompeii.

  • 5 Feb 62 CE

    A violent earthquake damages Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other towns in Campania.

  • 64 CE

    Emperor Nero visits Pompeii.

  • Aug 79 CE - Oct 79 CE

    Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in southern Italy burying the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash.


Pompei (Italian: [pomˈpɛi] Neapolitan: Pumpeje [pumˈbɛːjə] ) is a city and comune in the Metropolitan City of Naples in Italy, home of the ancient Roman ruins Pompeii that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

History of excavations of Pompeii

The first excavation in the area of Pompeii dates back to the age of the emperor Alessandro Severo but the works failed because of the thick blanket of lapillus. It was only between 1594 and 1600 that the excavations started to discover traces of buildings, inscriptions and coins.
However a dramatic earthquake in 1631 cancelled the results of these works.
Other excavations started in 1748 by order of Carlo of Borbone whose only intention was to enrich the museum of Portici.
These works were directed by the engineer Alcubierre but they still weren&rsquot realized in a systematic and scientific way.
Nevertheless in those years the excavations reached important results: the Villa of the Papyri was found in Herculaneum, in 1755 it was the turn of Villa of Giulia Felice and in 1763 Porta Ercolano and an epigraph.
With Joseph Bonapart and G. Murat the road between Villa Diomede and other buildings came to light, the House of Sallustio, the House of the Faun, the Forum and the Basilica.
As we have already said under the Bourbon domination the excavations of Pompeii weren&rsquot carried out systematically.
This becomes a prerogative only with the new Italian kingdom when the works are entrusted to Giuseppe Fiorilli.
For the first time the old town was schematically divided into agglomerates of houses and quarters, while the recovery and preservation techniques of the buildings and of the artistic heritage reach extraordinary levels of efficacy thanks to Antonio Sogliano and Vittorio Spinazzola.
During the last century the main aims of Maiuri and Alfonso De Franciscis were to preserve the original architectonic structure of the buildings and the wall paintings inside them.
The earthquake in 1980 slowed down these works but new government has permitted the of &ldquoPompeii Project&rdquo a programme aimed at the valorizzazione of the whole archaeological area.

Pompeii Facts for Kids

Find below a brief history of Pompeii, and some some facts about the Pompeii for kids.

Brief History of Pompeii

Pompeii was a prosperous Roman town located near modern day Naples. It was filled with exquisitely decorated villas, beautiful monuments, and well-maintained gardens in its heyday. Not hard to believe that it was a popular vacation destination for wealthy Romans.

Unfortunately, not everything good lasts forever. On the 24 th of August, AD 79, Pompeii was completely buried under volcanic ash from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius nearby. More than 10,000 people living in Pompeii were caught off guard and ran for their lives. Not all of them could make it out alive.

A thick layer of ash enveloped the entire city. The thriving life of Pompeii was lost to the world for many centuries after that.

Pompeii, Frozen in time

High heat and molten lava caused Pompeii to be caught in a time warp. People were frozen in whatever position they were in. Ironically, the eruption of Vesuvius preserved the city of Pompeii very well.

Pompeii was accorded the UNESCO heritage status in 1997 because of the complete and unique picture it provides of life in those times.

The House of the Faun, the Villa of Mysteries, a large theater, and the Garden of Fugitives are some of the iconic remnants of Pompeii’s past. Extremely well-preserved ruins, frescoes, and other archaeological remains make Pompeii an excellent destination to experience Roman history.

Interesting facts about Pompeii

  • Mt. Vesuvius erupted in AD 79 that is nearly 2000 years ago from today.
  • More than 10,000 people lived in Pompeii during the eruption. Some of them were able to escape. However, not all were lucky.
  • Because of multiple layers of ash that covered Pompeii, the city was caught in a time capsule. The ash actually helped preserve buildings, artwork, even jars of fruit, and loaves of bread.
  • Human plaster casts are the most famous and recognisable artefacts of Pompeii.
  • Even before the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, Pompeii had been shaken by multiple earthquakes. The one in AD 62 was particularly destructive.
  • Today, Pompeii is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. It attracts more than 2.5 million tourists every year.

Military history museum hanoi Vesuvius (Pompeii Documentary) | Timeline

Check out our new website for more incredible history documentaries: HD and ad-free.

Exploring what really happened at Herculaneum following the eruption of Vesuvius.

Pompeii, the lost Roman city buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD, has long been a source of fascination to archaeologists. But its sister city Herculaneum, buried in the same eruption but to a much greater depth than Pompeii, reveals far more detail of how the Romans lived.

For many years the city appeared to have been abandoned and it was assumed the inhabitants had managed to escape in the hours before Herculaneum was engulfed by the volcano. Then in the 1980s a macabre discovery was made. Burrowing through the volcanic mud, archaeologists found hundreds of bodies huddled pitifully together. Vesuvius is still active and is on course to erupt again. The lure of its rich volcanic soil and the delights of the Bay of Naples have attracted a far greater population than lived there in Roman times. And while civil servants at the Vesuvius observatory express confidence that there will be ample warning and time to evacuate the surrounding population, many geologists disagree. Evidence from an eruption in 4000BC reveals that the volcano is capable of destroying Naples, a cataclysm far greater than that of 79AD. If that were to happen today it could engulf 3 million people. On that scale, in an area where motorway traffic jams are a fact of daily life, present evacuation plans are completely inadequate.

Romans and Pompeii

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If successful, the effort would mark the first positive identification of the remains of a high-ranking figure from ancient Rome, highlighting the work of a man who lost his life while leading history's first large-scale rescue operation, and who also wrote one of the world's earliest encyclopedias.

Given that Italian cultural and scientific institutions are mired in budget troubles, the Pliny project is seeking crowdfunding for the scientists, who also studied Oetzi the Iceman – the 5,300-year-old mummy found perfectly preserved in an alpine glacier.

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Sailing into the dark

The remains now believed to be Pliny's were found more than a century ago. But identifying the body has only recently become feasible, says Andrea Cionci, an art historian and journalist who last week reported the findings in the Italian daily La Stampa.

Gaius Plinius Secundus, better known as Pliny the Elder, was the admiral of the Roman imperial fleet moored at Misenum, north of Naples, on the day in 79 C.E. when Vesuvius erupted.

A burnt Roman boat, possibly part of the rescue fleet, found on the coast near Herculaneum, one the towns destroyed in the Vesuvius eruption. Flavio Russo

According to his nephew, Pliny the Younger, an author and lawyer in his own right who was also at Misenum and witnessed the eruption, Pliny the Elder's scientific curiosity was piqued by the dark, menacing clouds billowing from the volcano. Initially he intended to take a small, fast ship to observe the phenomenon. But when he received a desperate message (possibly by signal or pigeon) from a family he knew in Stabiae, a town near Pompeii, he set out with his best ships to bring aid not only to his friends "but to the many people who lived on that beautiful coast."

A deadly cloud

He would have had about a dozen quadriremes, warships with four banks of rowers, at his disposal, says Flavio Russo, who in 2014 wrote a book for the Italian Defense Ministry about Pliny's rescue mission and the tentative identification of his remains.

These ships were some of the most powerful units in the Roman naval arsenal, capable of carrying some 200 soldiers (or survivors) on deck while braving the stormy seas and strong winds stirred up by the eruption, Russo told Haaretz in an interview. "Before him, no one had imagined that machines built for war could be used to save people," he said.

The Roman fleet made the 30-kilometer journey across the Gulf of Naples at full speed, launching lifeboats to collect the hundreds of refugees who had made their way to the beaches.

According to Pliny the Younger, his uncle also disembarked and went looking for his friends in Stabiae. But as he was leading a group of survivors to safety, he was overtaken by a cloud of poisonous gas, and died on the beach.

Bodies found in Pompeii's boat sheds after Vesuvius erupted 2,000 years ago.

We do not know how many people reached the safety of the ships before the cloud moved in. Russo estimates the fleet may have saved up to 2,000 people – a number roughly equal to the estimated number of those killed in the eruption, as the volcanic spew wiped out the towns of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae.

Pliny the Younger's description of the eruption is considered so accurate that experts today call similarly explosive volcanic events as "Plinian eruptions."

Map of cities and towns affected by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE. The general shape of the pyroclast is shown by the dark area to the volcano's southeast. MapMaster

Indirect evidence confirming his story was found in the 1980s, when archaeologists digging at the ancient port of Herculaneum uncovered the remains of a legionnaire and a burnt boat, possibly one of the lifeboats and a crew member dispatched by Pliny's fleet. They also found the skeletons of some 300 people who had sought refuge in the covered boat sheds of the port, only to die instantly when the so-called pyroclastic surge, a superheated cloud of volcanic gas and rock typical of these kinds of eruptions, rolled down Vesuvius, killing everyone in its path.

Wouldn't prance like a ballerina

In the first years of the 20th century, amid a flurry of digs to uncover Pompeii and other sites preserved by the layers of volcanic ash that covered them, an engineer called Gennaro Matrone uncovered some 70 skeletons near the coast at Stabiae. One of the bodies carried a golden triple necklace chain, golden bracelets and a short sword decorated with ivory and seashells.

Matrone was quick to theorize that he had found Pliny's remains. Indeed, the he place and the circumstances were right, but archaeologists at the time laughed off the theory, believing that a Roman commander would not run around "covered in jewelry like a cabaret ballerina," Russo said.

Humiliated, Matrone sold off the jewels to unknown buyers (laws on conservation of archaeological treasures were more lax then) and reburied most of the bones, keeping only the supposed skull of Pliny and his sword, Russo said.

These artifacts were later donated to a small museum in Rome – the Museo di Storia dell'Arte Sanitaria (the Museum of the History of the Art of Medicine) – where they have been kept, mostly forgotten, until today.

Russo, who has been the main driving force behind efforts to confirm the identification, says that judging by Matrone's drawings, the jewelry found on the mysterious skeleton as well as the ornate sword are compatible with decorations common among high-ranking Roman navy officers and members of the equestrian class, the second-tier nobility to which Pliny belonged.

Furthermore, an anthropologist has concluded that the skull held in the museum belonged to a male in his fifties, Russo said. We know from Pliny the Younger that his uncle was 56 when he died.

With evidence mounting, Russo and Cionci turned to the Oetzi the Iceman team to have them perform more tests on the skeleton from Stabiae.

"We are not saying that this is Pliny, merely that there are many clues that suggest it, and we should test this theory scientifically," Cionci said. "This is something unique: it's not like we have the bones of Julius Caesar or Nero."

Tell-tale teeth

Researchers plan to carry out two tests: a comparison between the skull's morphology with known busts and images of Pliny, and, more importantly, an examination of the isotope signatures in his teeth.

"When we drink water or eat something, whether it's plants or animals, the minerals from the soil enter our body, and the soil has a different composition in every place," explains Isolina Marota, a molecular anthropologist from the University of Camerino, in central Italy.

By matching the isotopes in the tooth enamel, which is formed in childhood, with those in soil samples, scientists can determine where a person grew up. In the case of the Iceman, they managed to pinpoint the Alpine valley where he had spent his childhood. For Pliny, they would look for signatures from the northern Italian town of Como, where he was born and bred, Marota told Haaretz.

She estimated the tests would cost around 10,000 euros. Once the money is found, obtaining the necessary permits and performing the research will take some months, she said.

For its part, the museum hosting the skull would be happy to sacrifice a bit of a tooth to highlight the importance of their exhibit, said Pier Paolo Visentin, secretary general of the Accademia di Storia dell'Arte Sanitaria, which runs the museum.

Visentin noted that while we have names on Roman sarcophagi and burials in catacombs, there are no cases of major figures from ancient Rome whose remains have been positively identified – leaving aside traditions and legends linked to the relics of Christian saints and martyrs.

For one thing, Romans have favored cremation throughout much of their history. And when they did bury their dead, they did not embalm them like the Egyptians, who have left us a multitude of neatly labeled mummies of pharaohs and officials.

Finally, the Italian climate isn't dry like the Egyptian desert and the looting of ancient monuments that was common during the Middle Ages would have done the rest, he says.

"This is quite a unique case, since these remains were preserved in the time capsule that is Pompeii," Visentin said.

You quote Pliny all the time

Besides his last, humanitarian gesture, Pliny is known for the books he wrote, ranging from military tactics, to history and rhetoric. His greatest and only surviving work was his Naturalis Historia (Of Natural History): 37 books filled with a summation of ancient knowledge on astronomy, mathematics, medicine, painting, sculpture and many other fields of the sciences and arts.

Pliny's work inspired later encyclopedias: most of us at some point have unknowingly cited him. Perhaps, looking at these experiments on his possible remains, he would be skeptical of any conclusions, telling us to take them "with a grain of salt" and reminding us that "the only certainty is that nothing is certain."

Or perhaps he would encourage scientists to forge on, repeating what, according to his nephew, he said when his helmsman suggested they return to port as scalding ash and fiery stones began raining on the fleet headed for Vesuvius. His response was: "Fortune favors the bold."

Pompeii, The Forgotten City

Pompeii, also known as the forgotten city, was a Roman settlement that was devastated by volcanic eruptions in 79 A.D. It is located in the province of Naples (Campania, Italy). The city was first occupied by Romans in the 6th century and converted into a resort city. Today, it is an attraction for archaeologists from all over the world due to the fact that most of the architecture has been preserved by the ashes from the volcanic eruption.

The volcano that was responsible for the destruction of Pompeii is Mount Vesuvius. The eruptions from the volcano were so strong that the buildings and the people were covered in twelve thick layers of mud and ash. After the city was covered in volcanic ashes, it was slowly forgotten and erased from the history books until it got rediscovered in 1738 by workers working for the King of Naples. Since then, it has become one of the earliest excavated cities in the world.

Before Pompeii succumbed to the eruptions, it was a blossoming township and a progressive commercial port of the Sarno River in Italy. The most notable buildings that have been excavated from the ashes are a Roman basilica and an amphitheatre. The excavations also include many intact wall paintings, pottery, and coinage.

In today’s world, the University of Bradford is responsible for most of the excavations and provides the history of the great city in the form of photos available on the internet. The city of Pompeii is a highly-visited tourist place due to its unique architectural designs and its history.

Pompeii Timeline Activity

This resource provides the information for students to construct a timeline of the events that led to the destruction of Pompeii caused by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The timeline tracks events over the course of two days. Students may make the timeline from scratch using the provided data. Alternatively, the events are provided in typed format for students to cut and paste into a blank timeline which is also included this allows you to differentiate the activity.

Other Resources for Volcanoes

All of the above resources are found in a Volcano BUNDLE.

Terms of Use

Copyright © Dr. Dave’s Science. All rights reserved by author. This product is strictly for individual use and may not be copied or given to other teachers. Copying any part of this product and placing it on the Internet in any form (including a personal/classroom website) is strictly forbidden and is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Pliny the Elder and the Destruction of Pompeii

On August 25 , 79 AD , Roman author, naturalist and natural philosopher Pliny the Elder died, while attempting the rescue by ship of a friend and his family from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that had just destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum . Unfortunately, there don’t exist contemporary pictures or portaits of Pliny the Elder . Thus, I decided to show you an also imaginary picture of the destruction of Pompeii instead.

“Fortes Fortuna iuvat.”
(Fortune favours the brave.)
– attributed by Pliny the Younger to his uncle during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in which the Elder died

Pliny the Elder

Gaius Plinius Cecilius Secundus , known as Pliny the Elder , was a Roman scholar, encyclopedist, and nationalist who was born in 23 AD , in Novum Comum in Gallia Cisalpine (today Como, Italy ). He completed his studies in Rome where he received education in literature, oratory, and law, as well as military training. In 46 AD at the age of 23, he began a military career by serving in Germany under Pomponius Secundus , rising the rank of cavalry commander.[1] Twelve years later, he returned to Rome . Legal advocate during the reign of emperor Nero (died in 68) he gained favor under Vespasian and assumed various official positions: he served as a procurator in Gaul , Africa and Spain , where he gained a reputation for integrity. He also served on the imperial council for both Vespasian and Titus .

Despite his active public life, Pliny the Elder still found time to write enormous amounts of material. He was the author of at least 75 books, not to mention another 160 volumes of unpublished notebooks. His books included volumes on cavalry tactics , biography , a history of Rome , a study of the Roman campaigns in Germany (twenty books), grammar , rhetoric , contemporary history (thirty-one books), and his most famous work, his one surviving book, Historia Naturalis ( Natural History ), published in A.D. 77. Natural History consists of thirty-seven books including all that the Romans knew about the natural world in the fields of cosmology , astronomy , geography , zoology , botany , mineralogy , medicine , metallurgy , and agriculture .[1]

Pliny the Elder, Natural History in ms. Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. 82.4, fol. 3r.

Naturalis Historia

Published during the last two years of Pliny ‘s life, the Naturalis Historia is one of the largest works surviving from classical times. And, although it contains many mistakes, some due no doubt to the author’s untimely death, which prevented any revisions, there is a surprising level of accuracy. He states correctly, for example, that Venus is the only heavenly body , other than the Sun and Moon, that casts a visible shadow or that a bird egg can be made flexible by placing it in vinegar and dissolving away its hard outer shell. Pliny’s writings offer not only insights into nature itself, but also into the Roman conception of nature, which differed substantially from our own.[2] In Naturalis historia, Pliny arranged traditional scientific knowledge of Greek authors such as Aristotle , Theophrastus and Hippocrates of Kos directly from manuscripts and related it to new geographical knowledge of Cato, Varros, Mucianus and others. The work is especially characterized by its structure: It consists of 37 volumes that can be used independently of each other. One volume of the Naturalis historia could thus serve as a handbook for one subject area. The encyclopedia covered cosmography (Book 2), geography (Books 3-6), anthropology (Book 7), zoology (Books 8-11), botany (Books 12-19), medicine (20-32), metallurgy and mineralogy as well as painting and art history (Books 33-37). Book 9 on zoology deals with the purple dyeing of this period.

Pliny (left) presents Emperor Titus with a volume of writing with the dedication of his work. Book illumination in a manuscript of the Naturalis historia. Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. 82.1, fol. 2v (early 13th century)

Pliny’s Death

Pliny the Elder did not marry and had no children. In his will he adopted his nephew, Pliny the Younger ( Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus Minor ), which entitled the latter to inherit the entire estate. An account of Pliny’s death is given in a letter from his nephew to the historian Tacitus :

He [ Pliny the Elder ] was at that time with the fleet under his command at Misenum. On August 24th [ 79 AD ], about one in the afternoon, my mother asked him to look at a cloud of the most peculiar size and shape. He had been sunbathing earlier, which he had followed with a cold bath and a light lunch. He had then returned to his books. But he rose at once and went to high ground where he could get a better view of this remarkable phenomenon.[…] To a man of such learning as my uncle, this phenomenon seemed extraordinary and well worth investigation. He ordered a light ship prepared, and told me I could come along if I liked.[…]They tried to decide whether it would be wiser to remain inside their houses — which now were being shaken to their foundations with repeated, violent concussions from the eruption — or to flee to the open fields, where the stones and cinders rained down in such heavy showers that, although they were individually light, they seemed to threaten annihilation. […] They decided to go down to the shore to see whether they could escape by sea, but the waves were still running too high. There my uncle lay down on a sail that had been spread for him, and called twice for some cold water, which he drank. Then a rush of flame, with the reek of sulfur, made everyone scatter, and made him get up. He stood with the help of his servants, but at once fell down dead, suffocated, as I suppose, by some potent, noxious vapor. He had always had a weak respiratory tract, which was often inflamed and obstructed.[3]

The cause of death is now considered unclear. Researchers are discussing death by suffocation, poisoning, asthma attack, heart attack or stroke as possible causes.

At yovisto academic video search, Diana E. E. Kleiner explores the civic, commercial, and religious buildings of Pompeii as part of her lecture on ‘Roman Architecture‘. She is an art historian known worldwide for her expertise on the art and architecture of the ancient Romans.

Watch the video: Πομπηία Pompei Italy (June 2022).