Ch. 1 - History of Pompei 
The Buried City

If Cumae and Neapolis are Greek cities, by name and by their origin, Pompei, founded by the Oscans of Campania, is a city on behalf frankly italics (in Oscan language: pump). The remains of the Doric Temple and the walls of the era Pre-Samnite do not allow us to go beyond the sixth century BC. J.-C,  AD, that is to say at the time when the city, within the confines of its walls had already reached its full development and has had its first regulatory plan. But it is presumed that there was in its place, at least around the eighth century BC, to town, founded by the harsh populations of laborers and shepherds who occupied the Sarnus Valley. The mouth of the stream that was, until the fatal eruption of Vesuvius, a beautiful navigable river, navigators offered Indeed, Greek and Phoenician coasts of Campania shelter safe and easy;  and one is inclined to believe that the eminence on which was to stand up later Pompei and overlooking the harbor and the river, had been used as the basic natural feature and defense against the influx of people and products, from the high seas.

The fifth century BC, the Greeks had settled along the Gulf of Naples. Under the threat of the Etruscans, masters of all the hinterland of Campania, the young Oscan city was forced to conclude defensive alliance pacts with the Greeks of Neapolis and Cumae and enter the political orbit of the great state cumain. This explains the presence of an archaic Doric temple on the terrace of the Triangular Forum and the fortified system that was originally adopted by the inhabitants.  This system is indeed more related to the type of Greek fortifications at the fortifications italics. Towards the end of the fifth century BC, an Italic tribe, highly seasoned, came up against the aborigines Oscans who did not resist the invasion of the Greeks and Etruscans.

These newcomers were the Samnites (Hyrpins themselves and Samnites), descending from the rugged nearby mountains. Pompei, as indeed all the cities of Campania, fell into their hands. This was the first test of political unification, tried in Campania by italics race peoples. The city was largely rebuilt and even expanded by the victors who naturally imprinted in its architecture, public and private, the character of the genius of their race. Pompei received Samnites its constitution, its language, customs, religion. It has little specific information on the history of Pompei, dating from this period

In the year 310 BC. J.-C, BC, the inhabitants of Pompeii and Nuceria Alfaterna last push their territory foray crew of the Roman fleet, come to land to refuel and to loot. It seems that during the Samnite wars, Pompei was temporarily occupied by the Romans, with other cities of the coast.  But these are events that do Pompei took part as a passive way, as she stood cautiously, even during the wars of Hannibal, was away from the deadly duel between Rome and Carthage. The first time we see it play an active role, direct and decisive, it was during the great Social War, initiated by the Italic against Rome, rebellion war, rude and violent, in which Pompei launched with extreme force to try one last time to win his freedom.

In April of the year 89 BC, Lucius Sulla, after seizing Stabia, laid siege to Pompei. At the head of the armies of the Italic League, L. Cluentius Roman troops forced them to temporarily lift the siege, but the victory of the legions in Nola was for Italics, serious and irreparable disaster. The war against Mithridates, who forced the Romans to once again raise the seat, Pompei was able to enjoy for a few years, an autonomous existence.  But the return of Sylla, winner of the King of Pontus, the Social War was rekindled and Pompei had to open its doors to the dictator, in the year 80 BC Now the Oscan and Samnite city became a Roman colony.

After installing, in his new conquest and throughout the surrounding countryside, many of his veterans, L. Sylla told his nephew, P. Sylla mission to give the colony organization in line with its new status.  This task was quite difficult, because it was difficult to reconcile the interests of the conquerors with those of the vanquished. We find an echo of disagreements and quarrels that lifted this first attempt to establish in the Roman Pompei a new order of things.  Cicero had indeed assume the defense of P. Sylla against the accusations made by L. Torquatus.  However, the first difficulties ironed out, the process of unification and assimilation was at Pompei as elsewhere, quite fast; Pompei became a Roman city, with its Roman municipal organization. Roman even as it adopted the language, customs, character and appearance of a Roman town

Nevertheless, despite this unification, the mob persisted in Pompeian bedrock of ancient italic soul and spirit of the old regional.  We have proof in the tragic episode that broke out in the year 59 AD During a given show in the amphitheater, one of the incidents that frequently broke because of an infatuation part of the audience for a particular pair of gladiators, unleashed a violent brawl between Pompeians and Nucériens.  Blood flowed and Nucériens, beaten, were driven from the amphitheater. Néron déféra l'affaire au Sénat. Nero referred the matter to the Senate. It did not hesitate to apply the toughest sanctions that could hit a city like Pompeii, in which the passion for gaming and entertainment dominated all others.  The amphitheater was closed thinking ten years.

A few years later, in 63 AD C, Pompeii and many cities of Campania were heavily damaged by a violent earthquake. Pompeii, while shopping, industrious, prosperous city quickly rose from its ruins. New buildings sprang up. Was restored temples and public monuments. Private houses, rearrangements or even rebuilt, saw their walls and floors adorn rich and luxurious decorations. Workshops and shops multiplied in neighborhoods that soon regained their full animation. Sixteen years after this vivid warning, in August of the year 79 AD, Vesuvius that we were accustomed to consider as a peaceful and serene mountain under his coat vineyards and forests, is suddenly awoke.

This was the final disaster, irreparable ruin.. The summit of the mountain was rent.  The volcano spews such amount of ash, lapilli and slag that the sky was quite obscured.  The devastating fury of the raging elements can give an idea of the first cataclysms that shook the earth. Pliny the Younger was then living in a villa on Cape Miseno.  He left us, in two letters he addressed to Tacitus, a narrative, thrilling and dramatic, this terrible rash.  Pompeii disappeared, buried under a layer of six to seven meters of lapilli and ash, transported from the crater by the wind.  The people sought for most, their salvation in flight, but they were killed, along the coastline and roads that led to Stabia and Nuceria.  As for those who remained in the city, immobilized by terror or in the vain hope of finding refuge in underground houses, they all died, poisoned by poisonous fumes, the atmosphere was quite full.

This eruption in the year 79 AD may rank in the number of major disasters that have struck humanity. But we need him we have kept the most valuable document and the more admirable that we have on ancient life: the perfect vision of an entire city, in which the life stopped instantly under the influence of a phenomenon violent, however, that the item destroyed. The excavations have allowed us to enter the intimacy of life of the individual as that of the entire community. Thanks to them, we were able to surprise, in the art of construction and decoration, in furniture parts, inscriptions and graffiti, all the secrets of ancient life, public and private.

Ch.2 : The city...