Reference Entry

Pompeii

Tran Tam Tinh, Eugene Dwyer, Volker Michael Strocka, Katherine M. D. Dunbabin and Peter J. Holliday

in Oxford Art Online


Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T068590

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Roman site in southern Italy, located 24 km south-east of Naples. Destroyed by an eruption of Mt Vesuvius in ad 79, it was preserved under layers of ash and lava until rediscovered in the 18th century.

Tran Tam Tinh

Situated in the Sarno River valley, on a gentle slope facing the sea to the south of Vesuvius, Pompeii was already famous in the ancient world, according to Seneca (Naturales Quaestiones VI.i.1) and Tacitus (Annals XV.22). The original town must have existed at least as early as the 6th century. Little is known of its beginnings, and even its name, believed to be Oscan, is something of an enigma; some mythologists link it, without any evidence, to the Latin word pompa or ‘procession’ in celebration of the myth of Hercules. Archaeological evidence indicates that the Oscan city came first under Etruscan political influence (525–474 bc) and then under that of the Greeks (...

Reference Entry.  11540 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Archaeology ; Greek and Roman Art

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