Pompeii and Herculaneum | Giuliana Militello

The British Museum’s Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition was a cultural highlight.

It wholly enraptured its visitors in the Ancient Roman #lifestyle, proving to be both historically mesmerising yet expressively poignant.

Romans took great pride in lavishing their homes. Everything from intricate mosaic decors to #extravagant garden sculptures. However when Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, it wiped out this #heritage and #civilisation. With 250°C hot surges travelling 30m every second, its people were killed instantly. Astonishingly, human corpses were sealed in ash and resin; the preserved skeleton of the ‘resin woman’ is palpable.

Thanks to Pliny the Younger, a Pompeian citizen who kept a diary record of the eruption, historians were able to retrace the ruined cities and rewrite its antiquity.

The #Romans, having lived a life of pleasure and relative modernity (the exhibit featured piping from a complex water system as well as early structures of kitchen stoves), rendered it difficult for visitors not to be moved by the experience, as their homes were the prototypes of the modern day society known today. This, in addition to the ubiquitous human nature, means that the ancient cities are UNESCO World Heritage Sites visited by circa 2.5 million visitors per year.


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