The morning of August 24th 79 A.D. started out as any other day in Pompeii. The streets were full of people trying to do their daily chores and activities, unaware that it was the day that would be forever engraved in history. The Pompeians settled in that area mainly because of soil and agriculture, but were also mesmerized by the beautiful location. They did not know the dangers of the neighboring volcano and so believed themselves to be very lucky to find such a place. The Pompeians were led to immortalization by uncontrollable forces of nature and their lack of knowledge. Although a very unfortunate disaster, Pompeii provided future generations with a great deal of knowledge about their civilization.
Campania, the region in western Italy where the site of Pompeii is located attracted its inhabitants with its fertility, rich soil and magnificent location. The main reason the Pompeians settled in Campania was for the soil. The ashes from previous eruptions had changed to rich, volcanic soil full of minerals, providing great agriculture. Some areas had up to three crops of grain per year. Historians have concluded, “In ancient times, the region’s crop yield was 6 times higher than the average of the rest of the peninsula.”
However, the soil and the crops were not the only reason the Pompeians inhabited Campania. The splendid and magnificent location did its fair share in attracting the population. Pompeii was situated only 500 m from the Mediterranean Sea, which helped give it a warm, pleasant climate. Unfortunately, the Pompeians were not aware that this picturesque setting was hiding a deadly force hide it, and many souls were trapped and immortalized inside the “paradise” land.
Due to the lack of evidence and knowledge, the people of Pompeii were shocked to have the mountain disrupt a typical day of their simple lives. Several authors say that the inhabitants of Pompeii were attending a performance in the amphitheater at the time of the tragedy. They were completely taken by surprise by the disaster and did not know what they were up against. Farmers from surrounding areas rushed towards death thinking the city’s strong walls could provide the necessary refuge. Some tried to open up different routes in the lava using axes, and others waited and faced the end which they believed to be inevitable. Most skeletons found portray despair and panic and the mold statues preserve frozen moments from a typical day.
“Human life stopped abruptly” and everything was immortalized. Objects were found preserved together. For example, pots along with pans and other dishes were found in the kitchen, and mirrors and combs in the bedroom. Buildings remained for two thousand years in almost perfect condition, complete with wallpaper and furniture. The dinner remains left on the table as people desperately tried to find refuge clearly shows that the Pompeians were taken by complete surprise and were not aware of what faith had in store.