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The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found

1810

Pompeii is the most famous archaeological site in the world, visited by more than two million people each year. Yet it is also one of the most puzzling, with an intriguing and sometimes violent history, from the sixth century BCE to the present day. Destroyed by Vesuvius in 79 CE, the ruins of Pompeii offer the best evidence we have of life in the Roman Empire. But the eruptions are only part of the story. In The Fires of Vesuvius, acclaimed historian Mary Beard makes sense of the remains. Sh…

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I went to Pompeii today, and learned that they used to mark the roads with “arrows” directing men to the nearest brothels. There were several of these throughout the city(r/pics)

Classicist here: ITT, a ton of myths perpetrated by tour guides on unsuspecting tourists who can’t be expected to know any better. The phalli are not arrows to brothels, no archaeologist believes that. The phallus was an incredibly common symbol of good luck with very little of the sexual connotation that we view it with today. It is shocking to us because we are viewing it with a puritanical post-Christian mindset, it would be quite mundane for a Roman. There are dozens of these around the city, pointing to buildings that are quite obviously not brothels.

Nor are the sexual wall-paintings a “menu”. Sexual wall-paintings are found in cubicula (rooms that can be locked) in homes that are clearly not brothels. Again, it is fun to believe the Romans to be an incredibly sex-driven hedonist society, but this is not the case, they just had very different aesthetic tastes than most modern societies.

If you want to read further on these matters, and have your information at the hands of scholars rather than tour guides who profit most by giving the juiciest folklore, check out The Fires of Vesuvius by Mary Beard, head of Classics at Cambridge.

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pics

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Amazon Price

$12.26

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SFW

Book Binding

Paperback

Type Code

ABIS_BOOK

Book Author

Mary Beard

Book Edition

1

Book Publisher

Belknap Press

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The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found

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I went to Pompeii today, and learned that they used to mark the roads with “arrows” directing men to the nearest brothels. There were several of these throughout the city

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