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Visiting the ruins of a city called Pompeii

POMPEII, ITALY — A Colonial Times news editor went on a tour of Pompeii, a 2,000-year-old city inhabited from approximately the 6th century BC to 79 AD by the Greeks and then the Romans.

By Francesca Di Cristofano, News Editor

POMPEII, ITALY — A Colonial Times news editor went on a tour of Pompeii, a 2,000-year-old city inhabited from approximately the 6th century BC to 79 AD by the Greeks and then the Romans.

Pompeii was buried by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD that preserved much of the city. This followed a violant earthquake that struck the whole Vesuvian area in 62 AD.

“In 79 AD, Pompeii was buried under more than 10 meters of rock and ash,” said Lucia Di Cristofano, a tour guide and this reporter’s aunt. “There was an earthquake during that time. The people weren’t scared because most already experienced it. When the volcano errupted, they thought it was the earthquake. That was very fortunate for us, because it was what conserved (the city) to this day.”

After the introduction, Ms. Di Cristofano brought us into the ruins. To see them too, watch the slideshow that accompanies this story.

When Pompeii was first lived in is uncertain, but the earliest reports come from the 6th century BC, when a wall called Pappamonte was built around an area. It was a mixed civilization of native people, Etruscans and Greeks. This led to the city’s development. Afterwards, in the 5th century BC, tribes came from the mountains and settled near by, in a place now known as la Campania (meaning fertile plain). The tribes conquered the Vesuvian coastal cities, and this helped  Pompeii towards urbanization.

In 343-290 BC, Rome began to grow towards southern Italy, where Pompeii is located. Systems of alliances and victories brought Pompeii into the Roman political organization.  In 90-89 BC, more Italic populations began to move in. They demanded respect from Rome. Eventually, after a minor battle, they surrendered and became Roman too.

After becoming a colony, Pompeii was enchanced with public and private buildings and sevices.

This story also appears on the Colonial Times website.

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