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Pompei: The Day The Sun Hid

2099 words - 9 pages

The vibrant mosaic tiles of the bath house became monochrome as thick grayness shrouded it, hiding the sun behind a wall of dust and ash. The bathwater, previously still and clear, rippled and reflected the dark sky. A glaring spew of fire lit the darkness, taking over the top of Mount Vesuvius. Nothing cascaded from the volcano except for rocks and ash. People stood up, confused as to where the day went. But soon, debris dropped from the sky like pebbles thrown from the heavens, covering the town and causing destruction in its path. Panicked, people ran everywhere, some to the roads and some to the harbor, searching for a clear sky to stand under. Mount Vesuvius had been dormant for hundreds of years, but suddenly erupted on August 24th, 79 C.E. Pompeii was a resort town in the Roman Empire, filled with summer homes of wealthy people and shops, entertainment and dining. Tiles adorned the streets and mosaic made up the walls, basking the town in an artistic beauty. But the everyday life of the citizens stopped harshly in their tracks as people dropped what they were doing to find safety and each other. Soon, the life within Pompeii was buried with its disaster. The culture of Pompeii, as well as Mount Vesuvius’ history and impact, destruction of Pompeii and the reaction that it brought throughout Italy is looming in that area, and their past is still being unearthed in modern times.
With shops lining the streets and entertainment right around the corner, Pompeii was a cultural hub. Originally a small coastal town, Pompeii soon grew as merchants set up trade routes and the Roman Empire continued its expansion, handing Pompeii more wealth and allowing the small town to grow. The Etruscans dominated the city and Greek influences were apparent throughout the culture. As more Greeks settled in the area, Pompeii attracted wealthy people who created vacation homes there. By the first century C.E., Pompeii was a popular spot for some of Rome’s wealthiest citizens who wanted to live on the Bay of Naples. Due to its location near the large port Pozzuoli, the coast of Pompeii was used to set up successful businesses and trade routes, adding to the growing wealth and settlement of Pompeii. People flocked to this area to set up homes and businesses as the attraction of the town increased. Soon, the paved streets were filled with shops and tourists. Public bathhouses complete with spas and gyms were common. Bathing was an important aspect of Roman life and served as a social center. Bath houses were a daily part of their life and were visited near noon for a minimal entrance fee. There were three main bathhouses; the Stabian baths, the Central baths and the Forum baths. The Stabian baths are the oldest baths in Pompeii, with the oldest sections dating from the 4th century B.C.E. and the newest rooms from the 1st century B.C.E. It consisted of rooms of tubs (known as palaestras), sweat baths (laconicum), where they would “relax and sweat” (Patent 47) and...

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