Visiting Pompeii in Ancient Rome

Whether it is the fact that Pompeii was completely destroyed in 79 B.C., or whether it is the fact that Pompeii was preserved, rediscovered and restored in the 18th-20th centuries, people feel a strange draw toward the city and that fateful day. Pompeii remains a popular time travel destination despite the extreme dangers one faces if one does not do the proper reconnaissance.

Pompeii is a city in Ancient Rome located about 8 miles southeast of the volcano Mt. Vesuvius, which not only destroyed the city on August 24th, 79 A.D., but had tormented it for years with earthquakes. The most notable occurs on the 5th of February 62, which did a great deal of damage to Pompeii resulting in fires. The days after the earthquake should be avoided as the city is in absolute chaos with anarchy followed by starvation and disease due to the social breakdown. Nearby Herculaneum and Nuceria were also affected.

Image of Pompeii and Vesuvius

The day before the final eruption, Pompeii and the surrounding cities ironically celebrated Vulcanalia, which is a festival celebrating the Vulcan, the god of fire. This is a relatively popular time travel destination, though one must take care not to get so caught up in the festivities so as to sleep in on volcano day.

Mt. Vesuvius begins erupting on August 24th, 79 A.D. It is advised to be completely out of the area on that day. The inhabitants of Pompeii and the nearby cities met their fate due to the heat of the volcanic vents, which reaches temperatures of almost 500F (250C). The city was buried days later under tons and tons of ash.

One of the sights to see in Pompeii is the Temple of Jupiter. The first time traveler should be prepared for the lavish colors with which the marble is painted. One familiar with Roman ruins and statues circa 2000 A.D. is accustomed to the beautiful bright white marble. However, the Romans actually painted these statues, which to our modern eyes looks rather silly. Regardless, nothing rivals seeing this Roman architecture at the height of its glory! These cities are amazing and experiencing them firsthand really puts our modern accomplishments in a new light.
Image of the Temple of Jupiter in Pompeii

The following map shows the region affected by Vesuvius. The entire area should be avoided in the day of and following the eruption as there are a good number of earthquakes and aftershocks followed by severe social breakdown. It is relatively safe however to view the eruption off the coast of Herculaneum. Keep in mind that it wont do to hire a vessel since the captain will panic during the eruption. It is best to procure your own vessel if this is something that interests you.
Vesuvius map

Other events of interest during this year was the ascension of Emperor Titus after the death of his father Vespasian on 23 June 79. Later that year Titus dedicates the coliseum. If you want tickets to the grand opening of the Flavian Amphitheatre (known today as the Coliseum), be prepared to work hard for them. This will take some serious infiltration into Roman aristocracy. I know some individuals who have devoted years of their life for this opportunity. Some feel its worth it. However, one must keep in mind that about 5000 animals were killed that day along with half as many Roman soldiers. This experience may not be for everyone from our more animal/human-rights minded time.

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