Showing posts with label Herculaneum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Herculaneum. Show all posts

Pompeii


Standing at Via dell’Abbondanza towards the west and how it appeared before the war. Today the buildings on the left show signs of decay due to the infestation of various plants, while the debris accumulating on the footpath indicates erosion of the infrastructure. 
Looking in the other direction towards me after the bombing in an October 1943 photograph. The footpaths and road have also been worn down by pedestrian activity since excavation. Tourism has been a mixed blessing for the site. As there are 2.5 million visitors to both cities every year, their presence allows for education on the conservation issues on the site. Additionally, a law was passed in Italy in 1997, which allowed for all money raised from these tourists to be directly channelled to helping with the conservation of the site.  However, the massive number of tourists also causes many problems. The general movement of them causes the gradual wearing down of the roads and pavements, particularly in the more frequented areas like the Pompeiian Forum complex. Tourists also might take chips of rock or stone from the site, as well as accidentally brushing against the walls and frescoes, further increasing their rate of deterioration. The open nature of both sites to tourists is also a leading cause in vandalism and theft.
   
Via dell’Abbondanza in 1932 and today, looking along the north side and looking south down via di Nocera towards the tombs.
The Stabian baths in 1945 and today with considerable alterations   This is the town's most ancient bath building (2nd century ВСE), built over a previous facility (4th-3rd century ВСE) and later restored. East of the porticoed central palaestra are the bathing rooms, divided into women's and men's sections: frigidarium (with tub for cold bath), apodyterium (dressing room), tepidarium (warm room), caldarium (hot bath), furnaces (to produce heat). To the north is a large latrine, to the west a swimming pool (natatio). At the entrance and in the palaestra we can still see elegant decorations of polychrome stucco, dating from just before the eruption in 79 AD, with figurative and mythological subjects in the 'fourth style'; made of lime and calcite, stucco was moisture resistant. One should note the method used to heat the rooms: the floor was supported by short brick pillars (suspensurae) to leave an empty space (hypocaustum) below, through which the warm air produced by the furnaces could circulate: it also flowed through ducts in the walls, to envelop the room completely.  

The caldarium in the female baths showing the damage over time; the latest photo shows steps being taken to reduce this by limiting access.
 Inside are the plaster casts of two victims
     
The Statue and Arch of Marcus Holconius Rufus in 1900 and today, the statue since having been removed. The inscription reads:
M. HOLCONIO M. F. RVFO
TRIB. MIL.
A POPVL. II VIR. I. D. V.
QVINQ. ITER.
AVGVSTI CAESARIS SACERD.
PATRONO COLONIAE.

[Dedicated] in accordance with a decree of the city council to Marcus Holconius Rufus the son of Marcus, five times duumvir with judiciary authority, twice quinquennial duumvir, military tribune by the choice of the people, priest of Augustus, and patron of the colony.
The caldarium in the Forum baths, built after 80 ВСE following the same layout as the larger Stabian Baths: on either side of the furnaces are the men's and women's sections, according to the sequence apodyterium (dressing room), frigidarium (cold bathing room), tepidarium (warm room), caldarium (hot room). The porticoed palaestra could be entered from Via del Foro or the dressing room of the men's section. The tepidarium was not heated using modern means, but by a large bronze brazier donated by M. Nigidio Vaccula. Telamons separate the niches to hold unguents and bath items; stuccoes in relief (from the later restoration in 62 CE) decorated the vault with geometric partitions and mythological figures. Public baths were inexpensive and heavily used: bath time was apparently in the early afternoon.

The tepidarium (lukewarm bath) as illustrated in the Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities published 1898
Beside the statue of Apollo on east side of Temple of Apollo, shown in 1944 and today. Along with the Doric temple, this is the most ancient sanctuary in Pompeii as evidenced by the surviving architectural decoration dating from 575-550 ВС, although the current layout is from the 2nd century ВСE, (subsequently redefined until the earthquake in 62 CE), when the tufa quadriporticus was built with its Ionic columns and Doric trabeation with metope and triglyphs. The building combines Italic (high podium with front entry stairs) and Greek elements (colonnade around the cell). The floor of the cell is made of polychrome stone diamond shapes, creating a cube-like effect. On either side of the portico are the statues of Apollo and Diana, depicted as archers (originals at the Naples Museum); the altar at the foot of the steps is from the Sullan period (approximately 80 ВС); the colonnade with sundial dates from Augustus. 
Standing in the so-called House of Loreius Tiburtinus or House of D. Octavius Quartio in front of the painting of the myth of Pyramus and Thisbe. The remains partly retain its original layout (2nd century ВСE): the bedrooms (cubicula) and triclinium open onto the atrium, the heart of the dwelling. The side towards the Amphitheatre renovated after 62 AD, still has a garden lush with greenery and ponds, imitating country residences, according to the 'villa living' fashion typical of the time. This 'parkland' is divided into two long pools (euripi) arranged in a 'T'. The porticoed upper euripus was decorated with statues alluding to Egypt, homeland of the goddess Isis: in the centre is a sacellum with fountains, at the back a double bed for outdoor dining, and a cave-like niche, decorated with frescoes in mythological themes. The lower euripus, divided into three basins (perhaps for fish), extends across the entire garden and was traversed by tree-lined lanes, recently restored.
 
The so-called House of the Fugitives, showing the shed wherein were found thirteen unfortunate victims:
This is a large space cultivated as a vineyard, which houses the plaster casts of a few of the victims from 79 AD, overcome by the fury of the eruption while they sought an escape. The director of the Pompeii digs from 1860 to 1875, Giuseppe Fiorelli, introduced the plaster cast method that is still essentially the same one used today: liquid plaster is poured into the cavity left in the bed of ashes by the gradual decomposition of the victim's body. As the plaster solidifies, it reproduces the body's shape. The vineyard also contains a triclinium, with masonry couches for dining outdoors.
Comparison of the bodies found at Pompeii with Herculaneum:
 
The Forum Holitoriumis, formerly the grain market, is now used as a storage area, with bodies of victims exhibited among so many vases, urns and debris. One such victim is this dog:
As the cinders raining down through the hole in the centre of the roof (compluvium) accumulated in the passageway, he climbed on top of them, twisting himself with his back to the ground and his legs raised upwards, wrenching his neck and his head to get free from the rope fastened to a ring of bronze which can still be seen attached to his collar.
Ruggiero (1879)
 
The man splayed out at the bottom of the staircase behind me was discovered in the house of Fabius Rufus along with several others, whose casts have since been lost.
 
View of the Macellum then and now. In the foreground, part of the stylobate (the top step of the crepidoma, the stepped platform on which colonnades of the temple columns are placed). The platform was built on a levelling course that flattened out the ground immediately beneath the temple. The building, which was the city's main market, dates from the 2nd century ВСE and underwent subsequent renovations: the bases in front of the entrance portico held commemorative statues of illustrious citizens. The interior has a porticoed courtyard with shops. The twelve bases in the centre acted as stands for wooden poles that supported a conical roof; at the back, the room on the right was used for the sale of meat and fish, the one on the left perhaps for banquets in the emperor's honour, to whom was dedicated a sacellum in the centre of the back wall. The northwest wall has frescoes in 'fourth style': fantasy architectural elements alternating with panels of isolated figures, paintings of mythological figures, popular still lifes. 
 
Two bodies used to be exhibited here as seen in photos I took over a decade earlier.
 
The woman is presented on her back although she was found sprawled on the ground face-front, to better engage the interest of paying tourists.
 
This one was first discovered on December 28, 1882 
 
Wearing a heavy belt, his skeletal remains are evident under the plaster mould 
 
Looking towards the  Macellum from the forum after the war and today
   
The Stabiae Gate in a 1910 print and 1936 and its dilapidated form today. It was one of Pompeii’s most heavily trafficked gates, as well as the earliest of those standing in 79 CE. It is 26 feet high and had been uncovered in 1851.
The temple of Vespasian (or Temple of the Genius of Augustus). Attributed to the worship of the Genius of the emperor Vespasian, the building was under construction or being remodelled at the time of the eruption. At the back of an outdoor courtyard is the small temple, with four columns on the front, accessed by stairs on either side of the podium, with the statue of the emperor In the centre, on a low plinth, is the white marble altar: on the long side is the scene with the sacrifice of a bull, typical of the imperial cult; in the background, a temple similar to this same building has led scholars to suggest that it is a sacrifice celebrated for its inauguration. On the short sides are the tools of the ritual; on the other long side is the civic crown of oak leaves resting on a shield, a prerogative of his imperial majesty. A few scholars believe that the temple was dedicated to the Genius of Octavian Augustus, the first Roman emperor: the religious title of 'Augustus' was granted by the Senate in 27 ВСE, then to the Genius of the various emperors that followed, and finally to Titus Flavius Vespasian.
 
American troops around the altar of Vespasian in 1944, and today
 
The altar close-up
 House of the Tragic Poet
This is a typical 'atrium style' house, although rather smaller compared to other grandiose dwellings. The name comes from the mosaic emblema in the tablinum, depicting the scene of a theatre rehearsal by a choir of satyrs, now at the Naples Archeological Museum along with other paintings of Admetus and Alcestis and episodes from the Iliad: the remaining ones those of the oecus (living room) depicting Ariadne abandoned by Theseus and a nest of cherubs. At the entrance of the house is the famous mosaic with a chained dog and the message CAVE CANEM ("beware of the dog"), typical of other dwellings in Pompeii: this warning is also recalled in literary sources, such as in the entertaining episode of Petronius's Satyricon, in which the protagonist is frightened to death by the large painted cane. This is the house, at the time just uncovered (1824-1825), that served as a model for the home of Glaucus in the novel by E. Bulwer-Lytton, The Last Days of Pompeii (1834).
Drake and I in front of the painting of the marriage of Mars and Venus on the west wall of northern portico of the House of Ephebus, and showing it as it appeared when first excavated. It is on a wall hiding a water tank beside the arched lararium niche behind us, shown on the right also when just excavated.
New Zealand troops in January 1944 looking at a painting from a felt shop showing Venus being driven by elephants whilst below shows felt makers.


Drake at the House of Fabius Amandius, and how it appeared when excavated in the early 20th century showing how much has been reconstructed.

The Herculaneum Gate, looking down the Street of Tombs. The gate is so named because it opened onto the road linking Pompeii to Herculaneum. It has three barrel arches, of which the side ones are smaller: the vault is partly collapsed. The gate was built after the city was conquered by the Roman general and dictator Publius Cornelius Sulla in 89 ВСE. Inside, the walls adjacent to the gate date from the 3rd century ВСE. The staircase visible to the right of the gate allowed easy access to the patrol walkway. Outside the gate, on the left, there are still the walls built with large blocks of tufa, approximately 7 metres high. Along this section we can still see the marks left by the stone shots launched against the city during Sulla's siege. You can see a section of the walls by entering the gate on the left.
 
The junction of Via Consolare and Vicolo di Narciso
 
The House of the Faun in the 1860s with the empty plinth and today topped by a copy with the wife and Drake Winston. 
During the war under German occupation from a soldier's personal photo album. At 2,970 square metres it is the largest house in Pompeii: built over a previous dwelling at the beginning of the 2nd century ВСE, its current form is the result of subsequent alterations. The entrance on the left leads directly into the public section, the door on the right to the private rooms: an atrium whose roof is supported by four columns, stalls, latrine, baths, kitchen. At the entrance is the Latin message HAVE. The 'first style' decoration, the floors of sectile opus, and the mosaic threshold (now at the Naples Museum) highlight the dignity of this house, more similar to the aristocratic Roman domus than local upper class dwellings. In the centre of the impluvium is a bronze statue of the 'faun' dating from the 2nd century ВСE- the original is in Naples and a facsimile has since been added); around it are rooms that held mosaic paintings on the floor and 'first style' decorations on the walls. Between the two porticoed gardens is the exedra, the core of the dwelling, with Corinthian columns, stuccoed and painted capitals, a splendid mosaic (now at the Naples Museum) depicting the victory of Alexander the Great over Darius, King of Persia, which has helped suggest a connection between the Macedonian ruler and the unknown, educated, and wealthy owner of the house.
 
Standing in front of the original Alexander mosaic found in the House of the Faun on October 24 1831 and now in the Naples Archaeological Museum

The original location and the reconstruction since placed in situ
At the brothel (Lupanare) excavated 1862; it is clear how poorly the site has been preserved since. It is the most famous brothel and is of particular interest for the erotic paintings on its walls. Lupanar is Latin for "brothel". The Pompeii lupanar is also known as Lupanare Grande. Lupa in Latin means prostitute, and this is the best organised of Pompeii's many brothels, the only one designed specifically for this purpose: the others were simply single rooms, or part of the top floor of a shop. There are five rooms on the ground floor as well as the upper floor plus a latrine; the stone beds were covered by a mattress. Paintings depicting the different positions to be used in the erotic games decorated the lupanare. The prostitutes were slaves, usually of Greek or Oriental origin. Prices ranged from 2 to 8 as (a portion of wine cost 1) but the revenues, being earned by women without legal standing, went to the owner or manager (lenone) of the brothel. The building dates from the city's final days: in one cell, fresh plaster captured the print of a coin from 72 CE. There have also been 134 graffiti transcribed from the Lupanar which served as one of the criteria for identifying the building as a brothel.  Examples include:      Hic ego puellas multas futui ("Here I fucked many girls").     Felix bene futuis ("Lucky guy, you fuck well," a prostitute's blandishment to her client, or "Lucky guy, you get a good fuck").  Other examples can be traced to other locations in Pompeii. Persons of wealth generally did not visit brothels because of the availability of mistresses or slave concubines. The graffiti do tell stories, however. Various authors respond to each other's carvings in a sort of dialogue.


 At the Casa della Venere in Conchiglia (House of Venus in the Shell) or House of D. Lucretii Satrii Valentes. Damaged by one of the bombs that fell on Pompeii in 1943, and uncovered in 1952, this house seems to be built over an older one, with a larger peristyle and triclinium and new arrangement of the rooms, which go almost all the way around the garden. The house was made famous by the beautiful painting on the south wall: a lush garden, filled with flora and fauna, with a low transenna and other decorative elements spread across three panels. To the right is a fountain basin painted with birds, to the left a statue of Mars. A centre window gives the illusion of opening onto the sea, where the goddess Venus lies with two cherubs in a pink seashell, practically thrust towards Pompeii, of whom she was protectress. Although clumsily painted, the composition is not lacking in dramatic effect if viewed from a certain distance.



Entrance to the so-called House of the Bronze Bull, named after a small fountain statuette found on the edge of the impluvium in the atrium. It is therefore also sometimes referred to as the House of L. Pontius Successus after a seal stamp found near the main entrance inscribed T(iti)  Pont(i)  Success(i). The house is now in a poor condition having been neglected and left to the ravages of the elements since it was initially excavated in 1836. The monumental entrance on the Via di Nola, built of regular blocks of tufa, was crowned by figured capitals, of which the eastern one was found in situ; note how the capital has since been removed. When first excavated the walls of the atrium were found to be decorated with frescoes in the second style. Unfortunately little trace of this decoration remains today.
Inside, seen roughly a century apart- the bronze bull too having been removed and looking eastwards across the atrium, then and now
Immediately outside Porta Nocera is this necropolis of considerable importance with its exedra and aedicula tombs. The funerary building, dating from the Tiberian period (14-37 CE) is architecturally imposing, built by Eumachia, priestess of Venus, for herself and her family members: the exedra stands on a high terrace, with the burial chamber and fence in the back. The structure, in opus caementicium, was covered with Nocera tufa and divided into niches with statues, separated by half columns and crowned with a decorated frieze. The tomb was inserted between two other previously existing aedicula burial sites, from the late Republican period, consisting of a podium supporting the cell containing the statues of the dead.
Just beyond is this containing the plaster cast of a victim
The so-called Arch of Caligula in 1944 on the left, with Vesuvius still erupting in the background, and comparing it with how it might have appeared. This arch marks the start of Via di Mercurio, in front of the Forum Bath and the Temple of Fortuna Augusta, near the intersection where Via delle Terme, Via della Fortuna, Via del Foro and Via di Mercurio cross. This is an honorary arch in brick with a single passage-way and its attribution to Caligula is based on an equestrian statue in bronze, found in fragments, which must have originally been set on top and which has since been identified as Caligula. 
  
On the left is a fresco from the Casa della Rissa nell'Anfiteatro showing the Amphitheatre at Pompeii, depicting the riot between the Nucerians and the Pompeians. This occurred in about 59 CE when a deadly brawl occurred between Pompeians and residents of Nuceria during games in the amphitheatre, resulting in a 10 year ban on such events, a provision cancelled after the earthquake in 62 CE: the outbreak may have disguised some resentment towards Nocera by Pompeii, since the former had recently become a colony and absorbed part of its territory. 
  The amphitheatre in 1944 and today, showing how much is a reconstruction. Built around 80 BCE, this is the earliest Roman amphitheatre known to have been built of stone; previously, they had been built out of wood. The next Roman amphitheatre known to be built from stone is the Colosseum in Rome, which postdates it by over a century. Contemporaneously, it was known as a spectacula rather than an amphitheatrum, since the latter term was not yet in use at the time. It was built with the private funds of Quinctius Valgus and Marcius Porcius.  The amphitheatre's design is seen by some modern crowd control specialists as near optimal. Its toilet, located in the neighbouring palaestra has also been cited as an inspiration for better bathroom design in modern stadiums. Built (approximately 70 ВСE) , this is one of the oldest and best preserved amphitheatres in existence, and held over 20,000 spectators. The auditorium is divided into three sectors: the ima cavea (front row) for important citizens, and the media and summa, higher up, for everyone else. A velarium, or awning, was often spread over the stands to protect spectators from the sun. The building was used for gladiator battles. Two gates opened onto the main axis of the arena: participants in the games paraded in through one gate, while the dead or injured were carried away through the other.
From Marc Monnier's The Wonders of Pompeii (1871) on the left, and during the war under German occupation and with my mother in the centre today.
Modern Crowd Control Lessons (from Ancient Pompeii) 
 
Drake Winston atop the Large Theatre 
 
The House of Narcissus or Maxim Altar in 1908 and today
   
Close-up of Ares and Aphrodite in 1904, the arrival of Dionysus on Naxos with a sleeping Ariadne in 1908, and an episode from a myth of Hercules  and how they appear today.

 Painted lararium with Mercury depicted in the niche with the Agathodaemon, a large snake representing a nature spirit and companion to the household guardian spirit of the place in the criptoportico that survived the September 19, 1943 bombing which had destroyed the portico next door. Here it is shown before the war and today.
 
The tomb of Aesquillia Polla in 1910 and today
 
The fountain nearby
American troops at the Temple of Isis during the war and at the site today; it's clear how much has been reconstructed since. Dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Isis, this small and almost intact temple was among one of the first discoveries during the excavation of Pompeii in 1764. Its role as a Hellenised Egyptian temple in a Roman colony was fully confirmed with an inscription detailed by Francisco la Vega on July 20, 1765. Original paintings and sculptures can be seen at the Museo Archaeologico in Naples; the site itself remains on the Via del Tempio di Iside. In the aftermath of the temple's discovery many well-known artists and illustrators swarmed to the site. The preserved Pompeian temple is actually the second structure; the original building built during the reign of Augustus was damaged in an earlier earthquake of 62 AD. Seventeen years later with the massive volcanic eruption, the Iseum alone was the sole temple to be completely re-built—ahead even of the Capitolium. Although the Iseum was wedged into a small and narrow space, it received significant foot traffic from theater-goers at the Large Theatre, businessmen in the Triangular Forum, and others along the Stabian Gate.  Principal devotees of this temple are assumed to be women, freedmen, and slaves. Initiates of the Isis mystery cult worshipped a compassionate goddess who promised eventual salvation and a perpetual relationship throughout life and after death. The temple itself was reconstructed in honour of a 6 year-old boy by his freedman father, Numerius, to allow the child to enter elite society. Many scenes from the temple are re-created in the dining rooms of Pompeians, however, indicating that many individuals visited this temple for political, economic, or social reasons.
Mozart is known to have visited the Temple of Isis at Pompeii in 1769, just a few years after it was unearthed and when Mozart was himself just 13 years old. His visit and the memories of the site are considered to have inspired him 20 years later in his composition of The Magic Flute.
At the so-called Villa of the Mysteries. Built on the slope towards the seaside in the 2nd century ВСE, it was renovated around 60 ВСE, then again in the 1st century AD: it is one of the more than 100 villas discovered in the Vesuvian area, usually related to agriculture, but it was also fashionable for the upper classes to have an out of town "getaway" where they could recreate an environment suffused with Greek culture. It includes a residential section overlooking the sea and decorated with splendid specimens of 'second style' (early 1st cent-20 ВСE), and a servants' section next to the winery rooms (torcularia): here stands a rebuilt grape press, with its ram's head trunk. Along the walls of the triclinium is the large fresco (megalographia) depicting a mystery ritual scene (whence the name of the villa), a woman's initiation to marriage. Splendid examples of 'third style' on a black background are found in the tablinum, with miniaturist motifs drawn from Egyptian art.
 
A wine-press was discovered when the Villa was excavated and has been restored in its original location. It was not uncommon for the homes of the very wealthy to include areas for the production of wine, olive oil, or other agricultural products, especially since many elite Romans owned farmland or orchards in the immediate vicinity of their villas.
American B-25 Mitchell Bombers Flying Past Vesuvius, March 17–21, 1944. Such bombers dropped 150 bombs on Pompeii in the Second World War as part of Operation Avalanche to liberate southern Italy in the autumn of 1943. British and American forces fought to dislodge German soldiers and disrupt their resupply routes. Important targeted roads, railways, bridges, and overpasses were located near the archaeological site of Pompeii, whose ruins were badly damaged by a series of bombings carried out by American and British fighters. Significant destruction occurred throughout the site, and some of Pompeii's most famous monuments, as well as its museum, were struck. After the war, many of the structures were rebuilt. Ironically, the recent, highly publicized collapse of some Pompeian buildings did not involve ancient structures but rather post–Second World War reconstructions shown in the comparison photos below. The map on the right shows the bomb damage on Pompeii.
We have received from a British officer, who recently visited Pompeii, an account of the damage done to the place during September, when the Germans were encamped on the site and allied aircraft were obliged to treat it as a military objective. The following is a summary of the damage observed:                                     
“There is one crater in the arena of the Amphitheatre, and several near misses. The wall of the Gladiator's Training School was hit in three places. There is a crater in the eastern end of the Via dell' Abbondanza, to which incomplete excavation had prevented further damage. The houses of Rex Tiburtinus and of Trebius Valens were hit. The Cenacoli and house of Epidius Rufus were destroyed. The houses used for restorations north of the Via degli Augustali and the adjoining house were destroyed. The Temple of Jupiter on the western side of the Forum was hit. The Temple of Apollo and the House of Triptolemus north of the Via Marina were badly damaged. The Museum is now in ruins, but how much of the contents perished remains to be disclosed. The director of the excavations at Pompeii, Professor Maiuri, whose contributions to The Times will be remembered, was last heard of in a hospital at Torre del Greco with a leg injury received in an air raid.”  
The officer was told that two bombs had fallen on the Temple of Hercules in Region 8, and that the Houses of Sallust and Pansa in Region 6 had also received direct hits.
From The Times, 9 November, 1943
 Much of what we see are reconstructions after the original sites were destroyed in allied bombing:
The Large Palaestra




Behind the temple of Isis, the 'Samnite palaestra', which a dedication engraved in the Oscan language dates to the second half of the 2nd century ВСE stating that the building was erected by the duumvir Vibius Vinicius with money which Vibius Adiranus had left for the benefit of Pompeii's youth. It has a rectangular layout, with porticos on three sides and a pedestal in the centre of the south side, where various and award ceremonies were held. Though small, during the Oscan period this space could host athletic competitions among the young people of Pompeii, and meetings by political-military "associations" of adults.
The House of Triptolemus (aka House of the Cissonii or House of L. Calpurnius Diogenes) located in front of the Basilica and adjacent to the Sanctuary of Apollo. The residence had been named after a fresco depicting Triptolemus destroyed by the 1943 bombing (shown on the right in a 1944 USAAF photo from the air). Triptolemus was usually depicted as the messenger of Demeter when she restored fertility to the ground having taught and spread her arts of agriculture to new lands at that time and later, often travelling in a magical car drawn by winged dragons, a gift of Demeter. He is sometimes merged in identity with the infant Demophon of the Hymn or said to be his brother; in Plato, Triptolemus is a judge of the dead.

The Schola Armaturarum Iuventutis Pompeianae (aka House of the Gladiators) from the early 1930s and after it had been been bombed in 1944 after having been reconstructed from the wartime bomb damage.
 
How it is thought to have originally looked, with the façade in 1916 and today
 
How it appeared before and after its sudden collapse on November 6, 2010. Known officially by its Latin name “Schola Armatorum ” the structure was not open to visitors but was visible from the outside as tourists walked along one of the ancient city’s main streets. There was no immediate word on what caused the building to collapse, although reports suggested water infiltration following heavy rains might be responsible. There has been fierce controversy regarding the collapse.


Porta Marina before the war and today, and surveying the bomb damage in 1944. This is the most imposing of the seven gates of Pompeii and takes its name from the fact that its road led to the sea. It has two barrel arches (round arch opening), later combined into a single, large barrel vault in opus caementicium. The ring of walls visible today, already present in the 6th century ВСE, is over 3,200 metres long: it is generally a solid ring of wall, protected on the outside by a moat and inside by an embankment, atop which runs the patrol walkway. Twelve towers to the north, where the flat ground made Pompeii more vulnerable, also ensured its defence. Pompeii's definitive entry into the Roman orbit (with the Sullan colonisation: 80 ВСE) reduced the importance of the walls, which were occasionally reused or destroyed to make room for houses and baths.
 
Damage is not of course always accidental. Whilst Pompeii is supposedly guarded, many artefacts still find their way to the illicit antiquities market. Often these acts of theft also cause accidental damage to surrounding objects, and the thieved antiquities are no longer in situ and lose their context and cultural associations.  In 2003, two frescoes were hacked off a wall in the House of the Chaste Lovers in Pompeii. This act of theft also damaged several other frescoes in the house, and, though a camera system exists in Pompeii, it had been out of operation for several months when the event took place. These frescoes were recovered some months later, but many others have disappeared from the site, never to be returned.
 
Vesuvius erupting in 1944, seen from Naples

From where the so-called Secret Cabinet (Gabinetto Segreto) is found, containing the collection of erotic or sexually explicit finds from Pompeii including this formidable statue depicting Pan engaging in sexual congress with a goat.
A piece from Pompeii contributes to a surviving legacy of the fascist era in Japan- Benito Mussolini had heard of the story of the Byakkotai- a group of very young soldiers who committed ritual suicide- and was deeply impressed despite the fact they had been fighting against the militarists who dominated the Meiji restoration and who would become the bestial eastern allies of Hitler and Mussolini.  In 1868 a group of 20 teenage samurai, known as the Byakkotai (White Tigers), looked down upon Tsuruga-jō, saw it shrouded in smoke, and concluded that imperial forces had captured the castle. Rather than surrender, they committed seppuku (ritual suicide by disembowelment). In reality it was the surrounding area that was ablaze and it would be weeks before the Aizu clan would fall; one lad survived and devoted the rest of his life to passing on the story. This strange tale greatly tickles Japanese sensibilities, with its tragi-comic blend of blind loyalty tempered by utter futility and a ruthless universe. To the outsider, there’s a dark side. In 1928, he donated a column from Pompeii to be erected by the graves at Iimori Hill; this column remains there to the present day. Topped by an eagle, it surveys the horizon from the top of Iimori-yama, surrounded by Byakkotai graves and the steady stream of Japanese tourists scanning the horizon to see what the White Tigers couldn’t: a fully intact castle.
It reads (in preposterously pompous language):
S.P.Q.R.                                                                                     S.P.Q.R.
NEL SEGNO DEL LITTORIO                                                  IN THE NAME OF FASCES
ROMA                                                                                      ROME
      MADRE DI CIVILTÀ                                                   MOTHER OF CIVILISATION
CON LA MILLENARIA COLONNA                                 WITH THIS COLUMN MILLENARY
TESTIMONE DI ETERNA GRANDEZZA                          WITNESS FOR ETERNAL GREATNESS
     TRIBUTA ONORE IMPERITURO                                  GRANTS IMPERISHABLE HONOUR
   ALLA MEMORIA DEGLI EROI DI BIACCO-TAI       TO THE MEMORY OF THE HEROES OF BYAKKOTAI
ANNO MCMXXVIII - VI ERA FASCISTA                              YEAR MCMXXVIII - VI FASCIST ERA







Sacred to Augustus. Aulus Lucius Proculus and Aulus Lucius Julianus, sons of Aulus of the voting tribe Menenia, at their own expense.