It would be hard to find someone who has never heard of Pompeii; the glorious Ancient Roman city that got destroyed and buried under ash after the volcano Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Hidden from the world beneath pumice and ash, it was all but forgotten for nearly 1,500 years. This all changed in 1738, when the site was discovered; preserved beneath the dust and debris. To expand your knowledge of the Pompeii destruction, we have compiled 8 bizarre facts, which will give you some insight into what life was like in the ancient city.
8. Lack of appropriate treatments caused infectious diseases such as syphilis to spread widely among children.
Founded around 7th century BC, Pompeii was a highly developed and flourishing city before the disaster. Rich Romans came to spend their holidays at Pompeii, which was considered to be a popular holiday resort. However, in Pompeii, surviving until the age of 10 would have been a feat. Scientists have been able to determine causes of death and common diseases in Pompeii; proving just how low a child’s survival rate was. The markers on the bones of a pair of 10-year-old twin boys point to congenital syphilis.
7. The position of the bodies indicate the cause of death.
A study conducted by a team of experts from National Geographic determined that ash from the volcano eruption was not the key killer.
The famous lifelike poses of many victims at Pompeii—seated with face in hands, crawling, kneeling on a mother’s lap—are helping to lead scientists toward a new interpretation of how these ancient Romans died in the A.D.
Until now it’s been widely assumed that most of the victims were asphyxiated by volcanic ash and gas, however, a recent study indicates that most died instantly of extreme heat, while many other casualties were shocked into a sort of acute rigor mortis.
6. Pompeii in the first century was a community of multicultural neighborhoods.
According to professor Massimo Osanna, the visionary Italian archaeologist who oversees Pompeii, the city was full of people from Greece, Gaul and other Mediterranean countries. It was a first century community of multicultural neighborhoods, where people spoke different languages. It was filled with fast-food restaurants and many that indulged at home on costly imported delicacies.
5. In 2015, archeologists performed CT scans on the bodies and discovered that Pompeians had amazing teeth.
Scientists used new imaging technologies to examine in detail the bones and teeth of those killed in the blast. Through the study, they discovered that the 19th-century plaster was so dense that today’s standard imaging technology couldn’t distinguish between the thick outer cast and the skeletal pieces inside.