According to Theodor Kraus, "The root of the word Pompeii would appear to be the Oscan word for the number five, pompe, which suggests that either the community consisted of five hamlets or, perhaps, it was settled by a family group gens Pompeia. It stands on a spur formed by a lava flow to the north of the mouth of the Sarno River known in ancient times as the Sarnus. The city had suffered from other seismic events before the eruption. Three sheets of sediment have also been found on top of the lava that lies below the city which were created by large landslidesperhaps triggered by extended rainfall.
Written accounts—those that have come down to us from antiquity and those produced by generations of later historians—lay a foundation for understanding. But turning data into history inevitably entails interpretation, and historical interpretation, while it must be based in fact, also requires imagination.
Here another category comes into play: At their most vivid, these re-creations—paintings, novels and movies—shape how we picture the past in persuasive and Classical pompeiiand nowadays essay ways. Co-organized by the J.
Pompeii was a thriving cosmopolitan Roman enclave when it was destroyed, along with Herculaneum and a few other fashionable resort towns around the Bay of Naples, by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 ad. Its reemergence in the early decades of the eighteenth century caused a sensation.
Three centuries later, the resurrected cities continue to attract archaeologists and scholars,1 and to loom large in popular culture. The Getty curators call Pompeii a modern obsession. The catalogue essays range across subjects as varied as technology, installation history, erotic art and fantasy, and the Pompeian legacy in fiction and cinema.
The unearthing was a catalyst for the fledgling discipline of archaeology. Architects and designers—Piranesi, Robert Adam, Josiah Wedgwood—built up a repertoire of neoclassical motifs based on the excavated artifacts, which were quickly documented by illustrators such as William Gell — The Topography of Edifices and Ornaments of Pompeii —18, with an edition updated to include the latest excavations had enormous influence.
Pompeii took its place in the itinerary of the Grand Tour—a magnet for artists, writers and collectors—and later became an important destination for less-august travelers.
A Romance gives us a heady drama based in the Neapolitan milieu of wealthy foreign visitors. Her protagonist, the Cavaliere, is a lightly fictionalized version of Sir William Hamilton, a noted connoisseur of—and occasionally less-than-reputable dealer in—antiquities, eventually undone by the waves of revolution sweeping Europe and the notorious affair of his wife, Emma, with Admiral Horatio Nelson.
The volcano was often active in the era of Pompeian rediscovery, and modern observers testified to the aptness of the ancient description of an ash cloud like a huge umbrella pine. The Roman admiral and naturalist Pliny the Elder was the most famous person to perish in the 79 ad disaster, which his nephew, Pliny the Younger, described in detail.
Latter-day naturalists and scientists were curious about the still-active volcano. Landscape painters were drawn to Vesuvius as the embodiment of Sublime Nature at its most terrible. Like Wright, Sebastian Pether belonged to a school of painters who specialized in nocturnal effects, often juxtaposing moonlight with some lurid conflagration—an iron foundry, a burning ship, a volcano.
Pether came from a family of artists who experimented with telescopes and electricity. His Eruption of Vesuvius with Destruction of a Roman City contrasts the Bay of Naples, shimmering in silvery moonlight, with the fiery clouds swirling around the volcano and the vermilion rivulets cascading toward the ancient town at its base.
The tiny cluster of buildings is an anachronistic capriccio, complete with post-antique cupola. Through all the clear-eyed observation and wild-eyed fantasy, the volcanic cone persists as an iconic shape. The doomed Pompeians are overwhelmed by vortexes of fire, smoke, ash and lightning in a proto-Hollywood spectacle, but the figures are too insubstantial to engage us as potential characters in a narrative.
The Russian painter Karl Briullov suggested a more accessibly human drama in his epic-scale canvas The Last Day of Pompeii —33exhibited to great acclaim in Rome and at the Louvre.
Alexander Pushkin composed a poem about it. Seydl writes in the Getty catalogue: Edward Bulwer-Lytton came up with a best-selling scenario in The Last Days of Pompeiithe novel that gives the Getty exhibition its title. The author dedicates the work to Gell, praising Pompeiana as a sourcebook.
While somewhat pedantic—Latin terminology is copiously deployed—this archaeological fidelity has aged better than the banal characters and awkward dialogue. Edward John Poynter painted Faithful unto Death on the subject, showing the soldier, standing tall and calm at his post while, in the background, disheveled citizens flee in desperation.
Nydia, who has an adolescent crush on Glaucus, the hero, leads him and his beloved, Ione, to safety, then drowns herself out of unrequited love. For centuries, artists and writers had been finding subjects in the great events and myths of antiquity, and the monuments of Rome were a constant presence in the mind of the West.
But Pompeii was a special kind of time machine: The girls and the man lay with their faces upon their arms, as if they had tried to shield them from the enveloping cinders.
Yet we know how some of the citizens looked as they fell because, inGiuseppe Fiorelli, the man in charge of the excavations, invented a method of plaster- casting that gave sculptural form to the hollowed-out spaces. One of the best- known of these casts was that of a dog, chained and frantically struggling to escape.
Conjured, literally, out of empty space, the rough-hewn casts have taken on a modern, anticlassical sculptural presence, Seydl suggests.What comparisons and contrasts can be made between the entertainment in classical Pompeii and nowadays?
Which would you have preferred? From what we know of classical Pompeii, we are given a good idea of their interests and their entertainment. Rarely does L.P. Hartley’s dictum that “the past is a foreign country” hold more firmly than in the area of sexuality in classical art.
Erotic images and depictions of genitalia, the phallus in particular, were incredibly popular motifs across a wide range of media in ancient Greece and Rome. Hbs application essay An analysis of the isolation experienced in the novel the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne Analyse daniel defoe’s robinson crusoe within.
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23). I. Classical Pompeiiand nowadays. What comparisons and contrasts can be made between the entertainment in classical Pompeii and nowadays? Which would you have preferred? From what we know of classical Pompeii, we are given a good idea of their interests and their entertainment.
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