by Neda Helena Jeny, Ph.D.
Even in the United States, practically everybody has heard of Pompeii—the Roman city in Italy wonderfully preserved (along with the neighboring Herculaneum) because of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which covered it with ash in 79 C.E. Tens of thousands of Americans visit Pompeii every year. I have never visited it, but of course, I have read books, seen photos and movies, and gone to various exhibitions that showed artifacts excavated there. I especially remember an exhibition in the National Gallery a few years ago. It was about how the wealthy people of Pompeii and Herculaneum lived—what their houses and gardens were like, their furniture, utensils, jewelry, frescoes and statuary, their leisure activities, etc. Impressive even by our standards. (And, I will add, Roman notions of the high life were not all that different from ours.) Continue Reading