Life in Pompeii

Pompei Bodies of Evidence

Pompeii is situated 2km from the coast of Italy. The town had a wall built around it, this area was about 7.5 hectares and inside these walls was a forum, a network of streets. Pompeii was established by the 6th Century BC. In the 1st Century AD, Pompeii joined a rebellion of Italian towns against Rome. They were all besieged and defeated. Pompeii lost its independence and become a Roman Colony. Political and social changes occurred because of this,. But Pompeii still flourished and its population grew, but never the actual size of the town itself. This rise in population led to an increased number of houses, thus some houses were situated outside the walls, as Pompeian’s like spacious houses with large gardens. At the time of the eruption, Pompeii was a busy town with a population of 20 000. Sixty-two earthquakes had occurred between the 1stCentury AD and 79th Century AD which had brought large sections of the wall down. This d! eterioration was never repaired, houses were just placed inside the wall to block entry.

There are 8 main arch entrances into Pompeii. The streets were well built, very advanced for its age. Houses were divided into blocks, intersected by straight very well paved streets. Roads had gutters, raised footpaths for pedestrians, underground pipes for water, mainly for private houses, etc. There were many public amenities; baths, exercise grounds, palaestra, swimming pools, amphitheatres, theatres, forums, law courts, banks, market places and much more.

Not all people believe Pompeii was thriving at the time of the eruption. Penelope Allison, an Australian archaeologist argues that the town was in an economic state of decline in 79 AD. Allison uses evidence from an examination of 30 houses. Some properties were abandoned well before the eruption. Houses were used by squatters, or were not ‘properly’ maintained as was the rest of the town. Some luxurious houses had been taken over and converted into workshops. Many major buildings were destroyed by the 62 earthquakes were still not repaired 17 years. Dr John Dobbins disagrees with this. He believes the repairs were delayed deliberately so that they could rebuild on a grander scale. Evidence to support this is the house of Julia Felix, a wealthy woman who owned much, including clusters of elegant baths, shops, dinning rooms, etc. Both sides agree that some old established families had left Pompeii before the eruption.