What Happened to the People of Pompeii?

Pompeii is famous for its tragic ending, due to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The city merely a vast archaeological site in the south of Italy. But what really happened to the people of Pompeii?

Life in Pompeii

Pompeii was a thriving city before the eruption. Established in the 7th century B.C. the area soon grew success in the 8th century B.C. after the ancient Greeks settled in the area. It was a vacation and trade hub for the rich Romans. Bursting with elaborate villas and stylish shops. The beauty, fashion and adornments were all seen as impeccable. With expensive products used for their elaborate uses, such as women washing their hair in perfumed water. Glamorous structures scattered throughout the city, fit for thousands of people. Including famous 20,000-seat arena, large marketplaces, squares, and bathhouses. Although the city was thriving in wealth, there were many unprivileged members of society living within. A range of slaves worked within the city, the majority being either household slaves or sex slaves. At the time of the eruption, it is estimated that roughly 20,000 people were living in and around Pompeii, both rich and poor.

The Eruption

Mount Vesuvius is the only active volcano in the mainland of Europe and is one of the most dangerous volcanos in the world. It is hundreds of thousands of years old and has been erupting throughout its lifespan. Pompeii was unaware that Mount Vesuvius was a volcano, as it had not erupted since 1800 BC. There are many occurrences when a volcanic eruption occurs that can result in destruction. For the people of Pompeii, the rain of ash was their ending. Vesuvius released waves of scorching smoke down towards the city, the ‘pyroclastic flows’ containing gas, ash and rock. This gas was not only destructive but travelling at top speed, gathering speeds of 700km per hour. The gas rained down on the people of Pompeii burning their physical bodies and essentially burring them alive in the thick layer of ash and dirt. However, this caused the preservation of the city and bodies. As the layer conserved the skeletons, leaving hollows surrounding the bones that were perfect negatives of the people within.

Pompeii Now

As the city is frozen in time, as it is a completely preserved archaeological site. After this tragic event, no rebuilding took place due to the extreme damage. Pompeii is now a popular tourist attraction and is bursting with the historic artefacts and remains of this olden day city.

Check out our popular Pompeii Tour today!