It is thought that the city of Pompeii was founded in the 8th century B.C. by the Osci, Italic peoples descended from Indo-Europeans who migrated into Italy in the second millennium. Pompeii was under the influence and control of various powers over the centuries: the Greeks, Etruscans, Samnites and finally the Romans at the start of the 3rd Century B.C. It later rebelled against Rome with other Italic towns but was reconquered and became a Roman colony in 80 B.C.
In 62 A.D., an earthquake struck the region, destroying or damaging numerous buildings. As a result, much of the city had to be rebuilt. In 79 A.D. Pompeii was a vast construction site with cranes and scaffolding dissecting it, a bustling, vibrant city on the move. That year, Pompeii and neighboring Herculaneum were buried by a catastrophic volcanic eruption in just 24 hours. While it violently ended the lives of the inhabitants, it also preserved Pompeii’s living environment making it possible for us to explore what life was like nearly 2,000 years ago.
The site was lost for almost 1500 years. Now the most advanced scientific research brings to light the extraordinary achievements of Pompeii and the Roman world. Discover a remarkable civilization that pushed the envelope of innovation. Over 100 unearthed objects from Pompeii demonstrate Roman knowledge of nature, science and technology and confirm the extraordinary heights they achieved.
A Pompeiian Family
You’ll begin your visit by meeting the characters who will accompany you throughout the exhibition. Caius junior and his close relatives are excited about preparations for a forthcoming banquet and are busy rebuilding the thermal baths destroyed by that earthquake 17 years earlier. You’ll learn what life was like for Pompeiians in the first century A.D.
The Destruction of the City
An immersive multimedia experience will plunge you into the heart of the drama as you hear the roar of Mount Vesuvius and feel the earth move under your feet when it erupts before your eyes.
Next, you’ll discover Pompeii as it was in ancient times. 3D reconstructions, artworks and artifacts excavated from the ruins take you into the world of an ancient Roman city.
Craftsmen and Technicians
Many craftsmen shaped the face of the city we admire today. The architects and engineers, who were most often slaves, played a key role. Discover metal-working, stonemasonry and the revolution in glass. See a calcatoria, the largest construction crane used at the time.
The Romans scientific know-how helped them devise machines, instruments and a variety of mechanisms. See reconstructions of a number of them. You’ll admire the way in which they distributed water to every part of the city and be astonished by their medical progress: cataract operations, the healing of broken bones and dental care – very similar to our own!
Meet the Inhabitants
Another immersive moment, no doubt the most emotional. The bodies immobilized in ash speak from beyond the years and are transformed, come back to life as the inhabitants of former days.
Grapes, olives and wheat were cultivated in the region around Pompeii and several species of land animals and marine life were bred or farmed here – including dormice! See a loaf of bread, ready to be eaten, that has reached us intact from so long ago.
Pompeii: The Immortal City
Exhibition developed and produced by TEMPORA in collaboration with Civita and Filmmaster based on the scientific research of Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli and Museo Galileo Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Firenze and distributed by Exhibits Development Group.
When Did Vesuvius Explode?
Thursday, February 20, 2020, 6:30 pm
Dr. Pedar Foss, DePauw University, shares a multidisciplinary reconstruction of what happened over the two terrifying days of the eruption of Italy’s Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79 and answers the question of precisely when Vesuvius really exploded.
Crafting Glass: From Roman Pompeii to Today
Saturday, March 7, 2020, 2 pm
WSU Art Historian and Clinical Assistant Professor Hallie Meredith examines the varied types of glassware displayed in Pompeii: The Immortal City – such as bath flasks and transport vessels – focusing on their production, importance of colors, and distinct social uses.
Technology and the Future of Classical Archaeology:
The View from Pompeii
Thursday, March 19, 2020,
Dr. Eric Poehler, University of Massachusetts (Amherst) explores, explains, and demystifies three forms of digital archaeological practices focused on the ancient city of Pompeii.
Roman Gladiators: Killing Machines? Fact and Fiction
Sunday, April 5, 2020, 2 pm
Classical archaeologist and historian Dr. Andrew Goldman, Gonzaga University, discusses some of the latest theories about Roman Gladiators - the ultimate fighters, famous for their blood-thirsty behavior and the kill-or-be-killed world in which they lived. Dr. Goldman separates fact from fiction, offering a more complex, nuanced and interesting story.
Prostitution in the Immor[t]al City: Investigating Pompeii's Brothel
Friday, April 10, 2019, 6 pm
Dr. Sarah Levin-Richardson, University of Washington, brings to life Pompeii’s purpose-built brothel, the only certain brothel from Greco-Roman antiquity. She’ll lead a virtual tour of the structure and introduce you to a world in which male and female prostitutes could flout the norms of society and proclaim them-
selves sexual agents, and where slaves could act like free men.
Local support provided by
The Broadway Group
City of Spokane Lodging Tax
Joel E. Ferris Foundation
Global Credit Union
Carl M. Hansen Foundation
Tim and Rachel Mitrovich
Spokane International Airport
Tourism Promotion Area
Washington Trust Bank
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