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Id wuz so bery excitin’! Pitchurs are much bedder dan words:

20 comments to Pompeii!

  • Hanneke

    Thank you for sharing that!

  • cherryhfan

    Thank you so much for taking us on this wonderful tour through the exhibit! This is one that I really wanted to see, but knew it wasn’t coming to my neck of the woods. Just amazing. The quality of your photography is marvelous, too. And, of course, kudos to our Tour Guide, who not only had a delightfully lighthearted touch, but whose comments were very “educationable”!

  • witchyg

    Thank you so much for sharing your trip to the exhibit, Wiishu 🙂 As I was enjoying the pictures I was wondering if they had included anything about the sexual pictures/paintings/carvings that have been uncovered and it’s nice to know they didn’t exclude that huge part of the city’s history.

    • Dey had a widdow bit, bud I din’t weely unnerstan it. Mom sez it wuz a widdow warped to d’ low side.

      It was a little strange. Even as they explained that the social mores were different, they still made it sound as if the brothels were dives. They didn’t mention the religious associations of some or the ladies who walked the streets with sandals carved with “follow me” on the soles. 😀 Only a couple of pictures came out of that section (which was adult supervision only and quite dark, but I’ll get them up tomorrow. I got distracted by incoming trees. :D)

      • witchyg

        Wish I could remember the name of the show I watched that spent almost an hour discussing the carvings, etc. They showed one high ranking citizen’s home which had a section across the courtyard for the ladies and gents business with beautiful paintings and occasionally peepholes so the owner could watch if I remember correctly. If I find it, I’ll post the name of it. Have watched it twice and seems to discover something I’ve missed the prior watch lol.

  • As I recall, Dionysus’s staff was called a “thyrsus”.
    Amphorae were shaped with conical bottoms so that when carried in the holds of ships, they fit neatly into racks along the inside of the hull and didn’t tip over as a flat-bottomed vessel would do, or roll around and end up breaking.

    You did a great job as tour guide, Wiishu!

    • Tanks you!!!

      I debated whether to have him use the correct terminology on the amphorae, and decided amphorases was more his style. 😀 The curious thing is, there are subtle differences in the shape, esp the top, which I couldn’t help but wonder if it helped them tell at a glance what was in it.

      • I believe there were differences…they might even have used a color code, or a banding system, the ancient world’s equivalent of the placards on rail cars and semi-trailers. It’s been so long since I read the history books, I don’t remember. I know that wine, olive oil, other oils and liquids would have been transported via amphorae, so there would have to be a way to differentiate between what could be used for each commodity. You wouldn’t want to be using an olive oil amphora for transporting a non-food item.

  • Wow, what great art! I want to look through these again and read the text and check out the images some more.

    Really amazing and evocative stuff there, both the art and artifacts, and the casts of the people. I had commented elsewhere that at least they are showing us this is what they were like, real Romans. Not a bad thing, to show people for centuries later what they were like, real people, who had much the same mix of high and low as we do.

    Hmm, the young woman, the tour guide opening the doors with the kids and other visitors? That looks like a good model photo for a science fiction and fantasy illustration, somehow. They look good. She looks like she could be a young space officer, warrior woman, or…well, some neat character.

    LOL! The “casually dressed / fashion challenged” aspect. (Say, I could stand to look at him, or him, again….) — Well, it’s still spring here, but temps are rapidly going to climb into the 90’s (already in the 80’s some days). And then into the 70’s and 80’s at night, upper 90’s to 100’s in the daytime. (And I can’t get my A/C compressor fixed for most or all summer, unless my budget has a huge magic increase.)

    If summers in Pompeii were anything like that, then the more optional attitude towards the attire makes a lot more sense. Linen would be cool enough, but wool? No way! And itchy. (I’m not sure what other cloth they had, besides very expensive imported silk.) No cotton, I think. — But my former teenage self would have been embarrassed and trying to act like it was no big deal, and that he wasn’t really looking. Yeah, my teenage self was too uptight. Poor guy. (Though, hmm, probably would’ve still noticed, in between trying not to notice.) And would’ve enjoyed the art and history, even so.

    Of all things, of course, I had to wonder about examples of lettering and calligraphy and carving, from the exhibit.

  • CJ

    I was also quite reassured to see in a note Jane’s photography captured (my eyesight excludes reading such cards without my glasses!) that the casts they sent were duplicates, and that they hadn’t taken these people from their groups after all. Archaeology is not a ‘cold’ discipline: it deals with people often in the saddest part of their lives, and you can’t help but worry about them. I think the advances in laser measurement and modelmaking have made these possible. They are exacting in every respect. The real people are safe where they belong, and I am glad of that.

  • Hanneke

    Yes, I’m glad Jane included the panels with explanations. I like reading those; for me knowing a bit more greatly enhances the experience.

  • sky_barnes

    Thank you for posting this. My mother and I went to this exhibit when it was at the exposition park science center in Los Angeles, but as is typical of our trips, neither brought a camera nor took pictures.

    It is always amazing to see the richness of history, and your photos are excellent! (especially with Wiishu’s entertaining commentary)

    The pictures of the Seattle science center were a fun reminder, too, as the last time I was there (visiting my dad, who moved there in 2012), we saw the tut exhibit, which I had managed to miss every time it rolled through Los Angeles as I was growing up. (When it has even more of the *real* stuff, but $30/person to enter was completely out of the family budget).

    I too am glad that they are mostly touring reproductions these days (such as the entirety of the Terra-cotta warrior exhibit), as travel accidents happen, and most of this stuff is fragile, even though it dilutes some of the awe of being close an object shaped over 2000 years ago. This exhibit had a happy mix. There is no way not to be awed.

    One suspects they went light on the sexual aspects of roman culture due to the puritanical and yet exploitative way we treat sex in the United States, choosing to de-emphasize things that were part of every day culture because the target audience for science centers is k-12, and it would be highly controversial to display phallic symbols, especially in conjunction with religious practice. Nude statuary and the “adults only” brothel area, were likely as far as they were willing to go.

    The countdown room was scary. It brings home some of the possibilities inherent in living in a world with active tectonics (thank goodness, as that means we also have an atmosphere), and on the ring of fire.

    I’m just glad of the reminder that not all disasters are caused by people, the way it seems watching the news or reading most history. (I was flipping through a book titled Sapiens, which came through on a new book cart recently, and was really disturbed about how each land mass of the world had a large-land-animal extinction event within 10,000 years of homo sapiens arrival. Every single one. Australia (one of the more recent examples) included. Humans are scarily good at exploiting all avenues to survival). In the realm of natural disasters, unlike the weather (which likely is being affected by human activity), geological disasters are almost certainly not triggered by people.

    • Last week, I watched a documentary, a few years old, a History Channel Special on life 10,000 B.C., which includes discussion of a science theory involving evidence for a comet or meteor collision around that time, connected with a glacial warming period and mini ice age. According to the theory, this had a profound extinction effect on large animals throughout the northern hemisphere, including some human populations. The special also goes into prehistory and theories about early North American native populations coming in from Asia and (surprise) Europe, via land bridges and glaciers / ice floes and (like they think Australia was first settled) by small boats skirting the coasts (and icebergs etc.) of the early Pacific and Atlantic.

      In other large, like Vesuvius and Pompeii, large-scale geological events, as well as objects from space (meteors, comets, solar flares) can cause massive changes on Earth, affecting all life over large areas, or the whole planet. — Including humans and other primates and large animals and plants.

      The theory still says humans would have caused some of this by hunting and population growth, but that most of it was from climate change and a comet / meteor strike. The theory was plausible, though I’m no geologist or astronomer.

      The title of the documentary is, History Channel Specials: Journey to 10,000 B.C. — Like a lot of recent documentaries, they think they have to repeat too much to make up for commercial breaks and short attention spans. But what they do present was good, I thought. Worth the watch. (iTunes, Amazon video, probably Netflix, other services, should carry the show.)

  • CJ

    THere’s another theory that neolithic life in the Med was profoundly altered by a major landslide off the flank of Aetna, thus giving rise to a collection of flood legends among those who weren’t caught unawares. Hunters or offshore fishermen (who could ride out such a wave)would have come back to a village now nothing but a mud flat.

    Curiously, it seems easier to remember such things in legend or remotely in some fashion. I have surveyed almost everything we have of Roman lit, plus a lot of the graffiti—and they don’t talk about losing the whole Herculaneum-Pompeii complex. It doesn’t scar the national memory. They just—don’t talk about it. They don’t compare it to anything, or memorialize it. If it had been an invading army, they would have remembered it, memorialized it, as they did with Hannibal’s invasion. But it was an act of nature. There was no enemy. So they just moved on. They rebuilt. It was as if they could only defy it by rebuilding and forgetting it. I detect something of the same in the Katrina disaster: those who survived of course remember. Weathermen use Katrina as a benchmark. But it’s very rapidly passing as the city rebuilds. Just strikes me as curious—that until we found Pompeii, we knew of Pliny’s one account—and nothing else. The information about Vesuvius’ many puffs of smoke and quakes, that’s in the annual records, but nothing else. Were there other accounts? Was it nationally remembered? Not that we can find.

  • Pence

    Sounds like a fascinating show.
    The lack of folk memory of the eruption may also have something to do with the periodical acutely ‘interesting times’ in the Roman Empire every time it changed regimes.

  • CJ

    True enough, that. The emperor Titus’ brief (two year) reign held two events of note: the Vesuvius disaster and another major fire in Rome, not to mention an outbreak of some highly contagious illness, of which he died—if he was not assassinated by Domitian. (The fire is not Nero’s fire. This is yet another one.)

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