Pompeii – a Roman Sin City

Pompeii, I bet everybody heard of them, at least at a history lesson? I expect that most of you, just like me, were not interested in some random ancient city in Italy, which was flooded by volcanic lava. After all, in primary school, nobody told the children the whole history – and it was really very interesting, rich and probably intimidating every history teacher – the history of life in Pompeii.

The Pompeians, especially those from the upper part of the city, lived a fantastic life (of course, considering the years in which they lived). Before Christ, the city was reportedly one of the most developed port cities, vibrant with life and trade, growing up to 62 AD. Then it was destroyed by an earthquake. Residents were not aware that they live at the base of the volcano. They rebuilt what was destructed, believing that everything would return to normal. The quake, however, was only a warning signal, because in 79 AD, suddenly in the middle of the day, the mountain, whose slope they settled – Vesuvius – stared to spit the fire and stones, and the thick black cloud covered the sun for several days. People who managed to survive the fire and lava, stayed covered with a nearly 30-meter layer of ash and cinder. They were dead already before, strangled with poisonous gases.

During our holidays, we expected a very high temperature and a crowd of tourists, so we planned just an easy walk through the ruins, without a specific plan to “pass” all worth seeing places. Anyway you have to leave something behind to have a reason to come back. Hence, caught up by the wave of visitors, we have missed one of the most interesting buildings in Pompeian ruins – a building of a public house. I regret it, because just recently it was allowed to visit, I read about it and wanted to see it – Lupanar. Place marked with the inscription: “Hic habitat felicitas” meaning “Here lives happiness”. There were discovered app 120 inscriptions, made by residents and their clients (pricelists, love positions, and words of appreciation). Paid love was very cheap at the time. Two Aces was the price for the service, and oral pleasure was often included. For comparison, the worker’s day was 16 Aces, so even a slave, for a small part of his daily wage could afford it. There were numbers of amateurs of paid sex, the competition was high and prices affordable. Adultery was punished, prostitution was legal, thanks to which honest maids and wives remained outside the threat of hungry men.

In the city of 20,000 residents, there were found 17 large whorehouses and 117 places with even cheaper, paid love – taverns, bars and vineyards.

Souvenir shops are full of erotic gadgets. Key rings, pendants, figurines, ashtrays, decorated with phalluses of the great size or erotic scenes in various configurations. I expect that there are not to many Pompeii excursions from elementary school or lost pilgrims from Assisi. Unless the guides know what places and stories to avoid.

I do not think anyone is surprised that after the volcanic eruption, the theory of God’s wrath and punishment for debauchery, which settled in the city, was preached.

My advice:

Give up this place in the highest season (July, August). The temperature and number of tourists are overwhelming and do not allow you to focus on the most important things. Months strongly out of season, are the risky to, because most attractions can be closed or be under renovation, so it’s worth choosing moderately warm months.
You must really enjoy visiting historical places. You know what I mean. Some people love to relax, others climb to the hills, some visit churches and museums. Think about a few days to see Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, Boscoreale and Vesuvius, at the same time you will save on tickets which are valid for several days and places. You will see ruins, ruins, excavations, some more ruins and human fossils. Personally, I felt discomfort taking pictures of twisted human bodies. The exhibition of human mummies behind the window seemed strange to me. However, as I learned (a bit too late though), the presented figures are not human bodies, preserved by volcanic lava. The bodies of victims were naturally decayed, leaving an empty space in the layer of ash and dirt to which archaeologists poured liquid gypsum to make a cast.
Visiting the ruins on your own. Boooring! Invest in a good guide who will tell you how it really was. I was very impressed by the architectural thought of the ancient inhabitants of the city. In addition, a guide with a sense of humor will definitely reveal some spicy stories.
There is one shop / pub inside the are of ruins. It was difficult to get into it. The prices are high and the range is not very sophisticated. In an emergency situation, it is an obvious solution, but it is better to stock up on your own food/snack and bandage plasters!

Pompeii is an unique place. I will come back and follow my own instructions. If there wasn’t such history, the city would probably have already been forgotten. Meanwhile, there is something in this strong feeling that accompanies you, when you stand in the middle of the street, next to the first-century excavated ruin, look at the volcano, you are aware of its great power, you think it could again make a similar surprise. Which gypsum cast would you be? I feel gooseflesh prickle my skin!

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