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The city of Pompeii was originally founded by the Oscans in the 8th century BC. It was given its name by gens pompeiana, who belonged to the Osci, one of the oldest of the Italic peoples. Located on the only route between the north and south, lying between the sea and the fertile valleys. It is thought that Pompeii started as a small farming settlement and founded at the mouth of the River Sarnus (now called Sarno).

Pompeii became an important road junction and port. It wasn't long before it drew the attention of the powerful states around it. It was highly influenced by nearby Greek settlements and the Greek state of Cumae was the first to subjugate Pompeii. The Greeks were ousted between 525 and 474 BC by the Etruscans and the fifth century BC, the city was taken over by the Samnites, who in turn were defeated by the Romans. The Romans gained control in 80 BC and Pompeii became part of the emerging Roman State.
Pompeii joined the Italic revolt against Rome, the Social War of 91-87 BC, and was crushed by Sulla. Although the city was not destroyed, it lost all trace of autonomy, becoming a colony called Colonia Vernia 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 had been absorbed.

Pompeii grew from a modest farming town to an important industrial and trading center. It was a very wealthy part of Italy, with very rich citizens and very poor slaves. Pompeii was only about two miles across and the 4,000 ft. volcano Mt. Vesuvius loomed overhead.

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The streets of Pompeii were laid out in a standard grid format with a Central Square or forum. The city had two theaters, luxurious public baths, and temples.

Unlike many cities at such a time in history, streets in Pompeii were stone and so were the edges of pavements.

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Click on image

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Pompeii was a demanding city for water because of the numerous public baths and lavatories. As a result, the people of Pompeii used aqueducts. An aqueduct is a water channel running from another source, usually a river or spring, to the city.

It is believed that the people of Pompeii thought Vesuvius was just another mountain, and had no knowledge of it's volcanic activity. The people had no warning of what disaster was about to come.

To learn about the fate of Pompeii and its people, click on the image below.

Though the disaster was a tragedy for the people of Pompeii, of whom about 2,000 died, from sculptors and surgeons to fishermen and bakers, it has been a Treasure for archaeologists.

To see the people of Pompeii that archaeologists have uncovered, click on the image below.

Many buildings and structures were in very good condition when discovered, and on some structures, the roofs were still intact. To see some of the buildings and structures that archaeologist have uncovered, just click on the images below.




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