Thursday, 18 September 2008

10 things you need to know about Pompeii

in honour of her new book Mary Beard has posted some corrections to well know "facts" about Pompeii;

1. The inhabitants of the Roman town were all killed by the eruption of 79. Wrong. Just over 1000 bodies have been discovered – out of a population of perhaps 12,000. Most of them made it to safety.

2. The city lay undisturbed from the day Vesuvius erupted until its rediscovery in the eighteenth century. Wrong again, I’m afraid. Almost straightway the locals came back to salvage their stuff, digging through the volcanic rubble, and if they were lucky, heaving out some of the most valuable stuff. If they were unlucky, their tunnels collapsed and they got smothered in the process.