Monday 24 August 2009

24th August AD 79

Well, today is supposed to be the anniversary of the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. It might be, it might not be. The jury is still out, and has been for around 150 years. And, honestly, does the exact date matter? What does it change? But if you feel like celebrating the anniversary today, check out today's Rogue Classicism for a clip of the 1960s version of the Last Days of Pompeii. Cheesy, but fun.

More important to my mind is the news that we will have a new Superintendent at Pompeii and must bid Prof. Guzzo a sad farewell. Today marks the start of another new era at Pompeii.


Laura Nissin said...

Greetings from the HOT Roman August!

Just came to my mind that the date of eruption could have importance on the distribution patterns of heating equipment (braziers etc.).
Has anyone an idea of the mean temperatures in that area for the different dates suggested for the eruption?
Could there be a change significant enough to influence the need for heating?

Jo Berry said...

That is an excellent point. I wasn't thinking in terms of distribution of artefacts - I had in mind the general state of preservation and the nature of the records that we use to reconstruct the site. But the distribution of artefacts probably WAS influenced by the time of year. Different rooms probably would have been used in different ways in different seasons and some activities may have been seasonal. I don't know about heating. How frequently do you find braziers in houses? The sample I studied all those years ago didn't have a large number of them. What have you found?

Laura Nissin said...

I myself have not found anything on heating equipment, but I just happened to go trough P.Allison's database in "Pompeian Households, An On-line Companion" (, where she lists more than 10 cases of braziers: most commonly in her room type 9 (peristyle). In some cases a brazier has been found in a closed room; Allison interprets these cases as being in storage.
Braziers could probably not have been used in closed rooms, due to smoke etc.
I'm not sure whether two months or so make a great change in the need of heating, but it is something worth considering anyway!

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