Pompeii

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categorie: Istorie

nota: 10.00

nivel: Liceu

By at least the eight century B.C., a group of Italic people known as the Oscans occupied the region; they most likely established Pompeii, although the exact date of its origin is unknown. "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, was settled by a family group (gens Po[...]
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By at least the eight century B.C., a group of Italic people known as the Oscans occupied the region; they most likely established Pompeii, although the exact date of its origin is unknown. "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, was settled by a family group (gens Pompeia)"(Kraus 7). In the course of the eight century B.C., Greek and Etruscan colonization stimulated the development of Pompeii as a city around the area of the Forum. A point for important trade routes, it became a place for trading towards the inland.

Up until the middle of the 5th century B.C., the city was dominated politically by the Etruscans. In the course of the 6th century B.C., the influence of Greek culture is also documented by terracottas, ceramics and architecture. A group of warriors from Samnium, called Samnite, invaded the region in the 400's B.C. Pompeii remained a relatively unimportant village until the 200's B.C., when the town entered a prosperous period of building and expansion. The Romans defeated the Samnites, and Pompeii became part of the emerging Roman state. Pompeii joined the Italic revolt against Rome, the Social War of 91-87 B.C., and was crushed by Sulla.

Although the city was not destroyed, it lost its autonomy, becoming a colony called Colonia Veernia Cornelia P, in honor of its conqueror L. Cornelius Sulla. By 79 AD, Latin had replaced Oscan as the principal language, and the laws and culture of Imperial Rome were implanted. The "romanization" had began. Pompeii grew from a modest farming town to an important and sophisticated industrial and trading center. In 62 A.D., the first disaster, a terrible earthquake hit the city. As the city was being rebuilt the second disaster struck. In the summer of A.D. 79, Vesuvius suddenly erupted with violence.

Hot ashes, lava and stones poured into Pompeii. The eruption caught Pompeians by surprise: "They heard the crash of falling roofs: an instant more and the mountain-cloud seemed to roll towards them, dark and rapid, like a torrent; at the same time, it cast forth from its bosom a showe of ashes mixed with vast fragments of burning stone! over the crushing vines- over the desolate streets- over the amphitheater itself- far and wide- with many a mighty splash in the agitated sea- fell that awful shower.", (Bulwer-Lytton 1).

The remains of about 2,000 victims out of a population of 20,000 have been found in excavations. Some of them were trapped and killed in their homes. Others died as they fled. Archaeologists have found the shells (molds) of the bodies preserved in the hardened ash. By pouring plaster into the shells, they can make copies of the victims, even to the expressions of agony on their faces. Pompeii was not forgotten. Peasants in the area searched for hidden treasure and they made tunnels.

In the 1500's workers digging a tunnel to change the course of the Sarno river discovered parts of a temple and the forum, but no one paid much attention. In 1748, a farmer discovered a wall and the authorities in Italy began a series of excavations. After 1860, Giuseppe Fiorelli served as director of the excavations. He directed the first uncovering of the whole city block by block. The Italian government has provided funding money for this project. After many years of work, we can now walk in Pompeii "as Pompeians did". After standing in line for quite a while and paying for a ticket, the tourist experiences what are about to live are quite unique.
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