Pompeii was an ancient Roman city near modern Naples in the Campania region of Italy, in the territory of the comune of Pompei. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area (e.g. at Boscoreale, Stabiae), was buried under four to six meters (13 to 20 feet) of volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Many of the inhabitants were also buried before they could escape.
The catastrophe was described in a surviving letter by Pliny the Younger who saw the eruption from a distance and described the death of his uncle Pliny the Elder, an admiral of the Roman fleet, who tried to rescue citizens. The site was eventually lost until its initial rediscovery in 1599 and broader rediscovery almost 150 years later by Spanish engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre in 1748. The city has been largely preserved because of lack of air and moisture. The artifacts preserved provide an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of the city. During excavations liquid plaster was used to fill the voids in the ash that once held human and animal bodies, giving often gruesome images of their last moments.
Pompeii has been a tourist destination for over 250 years. Today it has UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy, with approximately 2.5 million visitors every year.
Pompeii in Through Darkest Europe
While Pompeii was known from Pliny the Younger's writings, the Italians were too disorganized to excavate this great source of archaeological treasure. It was not until the 1410s AH/1990s AD that a team from Tuskalusa, Arkansistan began excavating Pompeii in earnest. Teams from other countries, including the Republican Sultanate of the Maghrib, soon followed.
In AH 1439/AD 2018, Lisarh ibn Yahsub, head of a Maghribi expedition, showed Khalid al-Zarzisi and Dawud ibn Musa pictures of paintings on the walls of a recently excavated whorehouse. Lisarh said that if the Aquinists knew about this, they would blow up the ruins. However, he wasn't afraid to publish the findings, knowing how unlikely Aquinists were to go into a madrasa library and read an academic journal.
- Through Darkest Europe, pgs. 167-171, HC.