Pompeii Discoveries

Created by Taylor Wilson

What was everyday life like in Pompeii before the eruption?

Well if you were wealthy life was good.  If you were poor you were most likely either a slave or a merchant.  The wealthy were served all their meals (by slaves) and ate laying down on reclined couches.  Sometimes the kids would play games with the slave children.  In addition, the summer afternoons were hot in Pompeii so most people either went to the baths or took a short nap after lunch. The public baths were for the Pompeians to come and relax and unwind after a long morning's work.  Apart from bathing the Pomeians chatted with their friends on the latest gossip, disputed about politics, made buisness deals, played games, and even exercised.  In the center of the bath was most likey a palestra, or courtyard, which was used for jogging, wrestling, weightlifting, ball games, and fencing matches (with wooden swords so no one got hurt).

(Above) This shows the palestra from one of the public baths found in Pompeii.

Did the Pompeians have sports?

Yes, the Pompeians did have one sport in particular that was fairly popular to them, but we would not consider it a sport today.  The Pompeians were a bloodthirsty bunch, so bloodthirsty, that they wanted to see people get killed.  They liked when two people fought to their death.  It was usually gladiators who fought to their death.  The gladiators were trained in special schoools and lived like soldiers.  Most of them were slaves, condemmed criminals, or prisoners of war; others were volunteers, who longed for glory. They fought in the amphitheater, which was basically just a huge arena , with sand in the fighting ground.  With sand it was easier to clean up the blood from the looser.  The winner was awarded prize money, plus if they won it was a matter of great honor and pride. 

An amphitheater in Pompeii acheologists uncovered in the early 1900s.

Did the residents get any warnings before the eruption?

There were numerous warnings.  In Pompeii, in the four days leading up to the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius there were small earth tremors, that occured reguarly.  The lamps would sway side to side, the glasses fell and shattered all over the floor, and the doors would creak.  For me, I would get scared and leave, but no, the Pompians were fearless.  Few of them left, grabbing whatever possesions they could carry.  The others ignored the signs, since earth tremors would occur every year, it wasn't that out of the ordinary for them.  What the people didn't realize was that Mt. Vesuvius was about to kill them all.  When they did figure out they needed to leave it was already too late.

A painting showing how the Pompeians may have reacted to the situation.