Sunday, January 29, 2017

Pompeii the Sin City?

What was Pompeii like?  I saw a sizeable, fairly organised city.  However, it was said that the streets are so filthy that stones had to be placed in the middle of the streets so that people can cross without getting their feet sullied by the muck.  

It had a theatre, which is quite modest in size, perhaps befitting the estimated 20,000 population.  

It had sophisticated, hidden-in-the-wall plumbing, which was coloured red.  I found very similar drain pipes in Palermo.  However, it proved insufficient for preventing the streets from getting filthy.

It had drinking fountains not too different from fountains still functioning all over Italy.  

The baths were sophisticated, with hidden-in-the-wall atmospheric heating systems, and intricate carvings in the wall.  

It had impressive mosaic floors. 

It had pretty frescos.  The frescos provide vivid illustrations of the use of slaves.  The slaves were evidently blacks from Africa who were bigger and taller than their masters. 

What people talk about the most, however, are the brothels, with their small rooms with a single bed and nothing else.  

And the vivid illustrations of sexual techniques over the doors. 

There was a sign (in the form of a penis) in the street pointing in the direction of the brothel.

Some say it is the “sins” of the city that prompted God to destroy the city with the volcano eruptions.  I am not convinced.  The sexual exploits of the Romans here are certainly graphic.   But they are perhaps no more shocking than many other cities in the Roman Empire, and elsewhere in the world.  Why pick on Pompeii?

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