What Was Pompeii

Pompeii was an Ancient Roman city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania in which the volcanic mountain Mt. Vesuvius erupted in AD 79 that destroyed the city and its inhabitants. Archaeological research has been conducted on Pompeii since it was first discovered by the world in 1599. Since then, the excavations of Pompeii have presented a fascinating picture of what Ancient Roman life was like.
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 was one of the most catastrophic volcanic eruptions in human history, killing thousands instantly and leaving the city locked in time. The thickness of the ash and pumice from the eruption ensured that many of the buildings and streets of Pompeii were remarkably well-preserved for over 1500 years.
The city of Pompeii itself had begun life as an Ancient Greek trading post and over the centuries had grown to become one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire. At the time of the eruption, Pompeii was home to around 12,000-20,000 people, a significant portion of the population of the Roman Empire at the time.
The destruction of Pompeii provided a unique opportunity to study what life was like in Ancient Rome. The well-preserved buildings, frescos, and skeletons have enabled archaeologists to uncover a wealth of information on what everyday life in the city would have been like. It is estimated that over 30% of the city has been uncovered so far, providing an invaluable insight into Ancient Roman culture.
The ruins of Pompeii have become an important archaeological site and are a major tourist destination. Tourists flock to Pompeii to see the ruins and walk around the ghostly streets. A visit to Pompeii can provide an invaluable educational experience, allowing visitors to get an insight into what life in Ancient Rome was like.
The city of Pompeii also has a significant cultural presence, with numerous movies, books, and other works of art exploring the city and its destruction. In particular, the destruction of Pompeii is often compared with other catastrophic disasters and events, such as the destruction of Hiroshima or the Holocaust, to provide a stark reminder of the power of nature.

Social Structure

The social structure of Pompeii has been well documented, thanks to the extensive remains of the city that still remain. Archaeological evidence suggests that the city had a complex social structure, based around the Roman ideals of aristocracy, with the upper classes and the wealthy holding power over the lower classes.
Gains made by the lower classes were slowly eroded by the wealthy and powerful elites, creating a rigid social hierarchy. This hierarchy was further reinforced by the presence of powerful and influential families in the city.
The social hierarchy of Pompeii can also be seen in the city’s architecture, with grand buildings reserved for the rich and powerful, while more humble homes were inhabited by the lower classes. This is one of the main things that sets Pompeii apart from other cities around the same period, as not many cities of the same size at the time had such a clear distinction between the haves and the have nots.

Political Structure

The political structure of Pompeii followed the established Roman system of government, with the city being ruled by a mayor, known in Latin as the Duumvir. The Duumvir was chosen in a popular election and was responsible for overseeing the running of the city and ensuring its laws were followed.
The Duumvir was responsible for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the people of Pompeii, and would have been aided by a council of advisors, known as the Senate, who were answerable to the Duumvir. This council was made up of the most influential and powerful citizens of the city and was an important part of the city’s political structure.
Pompeii’s political structure was similar to the structure of other cities in the Ancient Roman Empire, reflecting the influence of Rome on other parts of the Empire. The presence of a powerful and influential Senate was indicative of the influence of Rome on the culture of Pompeii.


The economy of Pompeii was based around agriculture, as was common in Ancient Rome. The majority of the population were farmers, responsible for producing crops such as grapes, olives and wheat. There is evidence that some of the wealthier citizens of Pompeii were engaged in trade and commerce, selling their produce in the markets of nearby cities such as Naples.
The prevalence of agriculture in the economy of Pompeii is reflected in the layout of the city. The houses of Pompeii were built around elaborate gardens and courtyards, with space allocated for growing crops and raising animals.
In addition to agriculture, Pompeii was also an important port and was home to numerous trading ships. This trade was responsible for a lot of the wealth of the city and was one of the reasons for it becoming one of the most prosperous cities in the Roman Empire.

Art and Culture

The art and culture of Pompeii are some of the most important aspects of the city that remains today. The city was full of art, from the frescos on the walls of the houses to the statues of deities in the city’s temples.
The art of Pompeii was heavily influenced by the culture of Ancient Rome, with the city’s architecture clearly reflecting the grandeur of the Roman Empire. It is thought that the art of Pompeii provided an insight into the attitudes and beliefs of the citizens of the city.
The culture of Pompeii was also rich and varied. The city had a large theatre, which hosted plays and performances, and a number of gladiatorial fights. In addition to the theatre, there were numerous temples and shrines dedicated to a variety of gods and goddesses, as well as public spaces such as baths and spas.

Science and Technology

Pompeii is also known for its advances in science and technology. There is evidence that the citizens of Pompeii had access to running water and sewage systems, allowing them to maintain a reasonably hygienic lifestyle.
The citizens of Pompeii were also adept at engineering and construction, with many of the city’s buildings and aqueducts still standing today. This knowledge of engineering and construction allowed the city to thrive in its time, despite its location close to the dangerous volcano Mount Vesuvius.
Pompeii was also home to a number of advances in medical science. There is evidence that the citizens of Pompeii had some understanding of human anatomy and were able to treat many common ailments. This knowledge may have been acquired from the Ancient Greek civilizations such as Athens and Syracuse, who had a strong presence in the region.


The religion of the people of Pompeii was largely based around Ancient Roman and Greek mythology. The people of the city believed in a variety of gods and goddesses, and it is believed that the city was home to many different cults and temples dedicated to these deities.
One of the most important of these deities was the goddess Venus, who was worshipped by the citizens of Pompeii for her beauty, grace and fertility. Evidence suggests that the citizens of Pompeii also believed in a variety of other gods and goddesses, such as Apollo, Mars, and Minerva.
The religion of the citizens of Pompeii was closely intertwined with daily life, with many public and private rituals taking place throughout the city. The city was home to a number of temples dedicated to the gods and goddesses, and sacrifices were often made to appease the deities.


The city of Pompeii is an important archaeological site and has provided an invaluable insight into Ancient Roman life. The extensive remains of the city have revealed a wealth of information about the social and political structure of the city, and its economy and culture. The art and religion of the city also provide a fascinating insight into the beliefs and practices of the citizens of Pompeii. The destruction of the city also serves as an important reminder of the power of nature and the fragility of human life.

Herman Shaw is a passionate traveler and avid photographer who has seen many of the world's most awe-inspiring monuments. He has developed expertise in various aspects of world architecture and culture which he enjoys sharing with his readers. With deep historical knowledge and insight, Herman's writing brings life to these remarkable artifacts and highlights their importance in the grand scheme of human history.

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