Studying Latin and learning about Pompeii
My school used the Cambridge Latin Course curriculum, which didn’t focus entirely on the grammatical meat-and-potatoes like many books do, but also shared cultural and historical tidbits about the Roman Empire, from how the military was organized to the importance of garum fish paste in ancient cooking. What’s more, the readings in each chapter weren’t random, context-less passages but narratives that followed a handful of characters as they went about their daily lives.
|Ruined homes with Mt. Vesuvius in the distance|
Throughout this first book, the cultural sections explained how roads were paved and graded, how floors in the public baths were heated, and how Pompeii was discovered—complete with scary pictures of skeletons and plaster casts frozen in time. I always found it super interesting how much was left of the city, as if it were a time capsule with a “Don’t Open For 15 Centuries” tag on it.
|Brick columns in disguise as marble ones|
Ascending the crater of Vesuvius
|At the crater|
|Rugged cone layers|
|Bay of Naples|
From the top I took in a glorious view of the Bay of Naples, with Naples proper sprawling out to the northwest, dozens of suburbs squeezing between the coastline and the foothills of the volcano, and finally to the southeast, the peninsula of Sorrento that reaches out to the Isle of Capri, which floats mystically beyond in the Mediterranean.
Nerding-out in Pompeii
|Stepping stones to cross the daily-flooded streets|
|Tons of amphorae in storage|
|Where you got your Pompeiian bar food at|
|Grooves from cart and chariot wheels|
|Cave Canem—Beware of Dog|
|Interior house courtyard|
I’ve been to many Roman ruins all over Spain, but none have been as well-preserved or felt so human as Pompeii did. Places like Itálica and Mérida were either too sparse or too monumental, but Pompeii really gave me a look into the normal, everyday life of an ancient Roman.
Have you ever been to Pompeii before? What other places make you feel that eerie connection to the past? Comment below!
For more pictures, check out my albums on Flickr here and here.