Mount Vesuvius looms in the background of the civil Forum. The heart of the economic, social and religious life in Pompeii. In the same vicinity is a pre-Roman Basilica and next to it, the Temple of Venus. Inside the sacred enclosure were statues representing several pagan gods including Apollo and Diana. The temple Apollo just to the left, sets in the center of an enclosure surrounded on all four sides by a wide series of grooved columns. The sanctuary gained its appearance in a 2nd-century BC rebuild and another reconstruction to repair the damage from 62 earthquakes. The Amphitheater of Pompeii is the earliest surviving stone amphitheater of the Roman world. It was buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.
Since few paintings have survived from that era. Pompeii is one of the most precious sources for much of what we know about ancient painting and decoration. Fresco painting is one of the earliest and most durable forms of painting. The enduring quality of fresco has meant that the paintings in Pompeii survived the volcanic eruptions and can be seen today with all the freshness they must have exhibited when first painted. The top right photo is of an ancient thermopolium (cook-shop) literally a place where something hot was sold. Pompeii served fast food long before people were in a hurry, with 150 commercial establishments for ready to eat food.
A typical villa might have exquisitely crafted mosaics that adorned the floors. The center photo is an entrance inscription “Cave Canem”- Latin for “Beware of Dog” mosaic. A famous and often replicated mosaic from the House of the Tragic Poet. Most often the atrium area would contain a basin for the collection of rain water. The rear of the villa usually had a garden area surrounded by a peristyle, which is a covered walk-way supported by arches or pillars.Frozen in time. Although the fateful day in 79 AD when Mt. Vesuvius unleashed its fury on 20,000 unsuspecting inhabitants the ash that buried the town served as a sort of mummification for the entire city. Artwork and buildings were preserved and important clues to everyday life in Pompeii were left behind. These little clues give us a glimpse into the past.