Pompeii Rises from the Ashes

pompeii columnsOn August 25, AD 79 the great city of Pompeii laid at the feet of Mount Vesuvius. It began with a light rumble that came upon the city, knocking off ceiling tiles and tipping jars from shelves. No one knew that the rumble was a sign that Mount Vesuvius would erupt. People went about their day. Adults were shopping in the forums. Children were playing in the courtyards.

Out of the 20,000 citizens who lived in Pompeii, 2,000 were slaves. Most Pompeiians were craftsmen or traders providing for themselves or their masters.

The people of Pompeii worshiped many gods and goddesses.They prayed for them in a public temple or a private shrine in their homes.

Most of the shopping and restaurants were located in a place called “The Forum”. Here the people enjoyed visiting with others as they went about their day.

Their diet consisted of bread, lamb, fish, and fruits including peaches, apples, pears, and grapes. They liked to drink goat milk and wine.  The people consumed grains, fruits, nuts, olives, lentils, local fish, and chicken eggs. Only the rich enjoyed more expensive meat and salted fish.

pompeii bathsIn their free time, they enjoyed going to the public bath. There were separate quarters for men and women. Here, they could bathe in the hot waters, get a massage, and hear the latest gossip. In the central courtyard was a large exercise field.

Around 9:00 a.m., there was a small explosion of tiny ash particles that sprinkled the city. The ground continued to rumble. Gradually the larger chunks of pumice and rock began to fall on Pompeii.

At 1:00 p.m., an enormous cloud made of ash, pumus, and rock apeared over the top of Mount Vesuvius. Pliny the younger watched from across the water and in a letter to Tacitus later wrote, “The cloud was shaped like an umbrella pine, with a long trunk that branched at the top. Soon, ashes were falling; hot and dense. Next came pumice stones, black and scorched by fire.”

Within thirty minutes the cloud was over ten miles high heading straight for Pompeii. The cloud was so dark it blocked out the sun. According to Pliny, “Soon the courtyards … filled with ash. The buildings swayed with heavy tremors. The sky turned blacker than night. Then flames and sulphur fumes sent everyone into flight.”

At 5:30 p.m., pumus and rock two inches in diameter began to fall on Pompeii. By 8:00 p.m. most all buildings had burned down or were buired by ash. By 12:00 a.m, the first story of the buildings were blocked by ash.

Two hours later, the second phase begins – six pyroclastic surges of hot gas and ash that blew down the mountain. Each surge was larger and spread farther than the one that preceded. The surges ranged in speed from 60 -180 mph. In the end, over 18,000 people died.

pompeii tragedyFor over 1,500 years, people had forgotten about Pompeii. The ash that had buried the city provided good soil for farming olive trees and grapevines. Periodically, farmers and canal workers would uncover statues, beautiful marble, and brick walls.

In 1863 archeaologists found cavities which they poured plaster into to make a cast. This revealed the people had been caught by surprise and their bodies were buried in the ash and debris. Skeletons were also found.

Scientists discovered that “a person who died during the surge of hot gas and ash after dawn on the second day of the eruption was more likely to create a cavity in the volcanic material than someone who had died the first day during the pumice fall.” (Deem 2005) Soon the casts were put on display for all who visited.

Since then, about 60% of Pompeii has now been excavated. Though excavations have now stopped, the focus today is on restoration and perservation. Today there are more than two million people who come to visit the ruins each year.

Mount Vesuvius is still an active volcano. Scientists are monitoring the activity to help warn the people who live in the vicinity. If the mountain were to awake, the hope is that the people could be evacuated in time.

Bibliography

  • Caseli, Giovanni. In Search of Pompeii: Uncovering a buried Roman city. New York: Peter Bedrick Books. 1996.
  • Damon, Cynthia (translated). Pliny Letter 2.16. http://faculty.cua.edu/pennington/pompeii/PlinyLetters.htm
  • Deem, James M. Bodies from the Ash: Life and Death in Ancient Pompeii. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 2005.
  • Osborne, Mary, Pope. Pompeii Lost and Found. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 2006.

The Napa Rose Restaurant: A Review

NapaRoseThe Napa Rose is the flagship restaurant of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim California. It is located in the Grand Californian Hotel. The Napa Rose is quality you can taste. They know how to make each guest feel special.

When I entered the Napa Rose, the smell of warm baguettes and French wine filled my nose. The maître d dressed in fine attire led me and my family to a table. As we walked through the dining rom, I listened to a great pianist play Beethoven and Mozart on a grand piano.

I liked how you could see the kitchen with the chefs cooking and preparing the food. There were chefs making desserts and pastries while others were cooking steaks and preparing main courses. Patrons were sitting at a bar encircling the kitchen and enjoying Chef Andrew Sutton’s nightly special selections.

The waitress brought us a basket of bread and took our drink order. As we looked over the menu, we enjoyed the assortment of breads. The outside was crisp and crunchy,  the inside soft and moist. I broke off a piece of bread and dipped it in some olive oil. It was delicious.

Napa Rose Restaurant Review @WellTraveledFamily.netTonight was a special occasion. My mother was celebrating her birthday. I wanted tonight to be special. Before my main dish arrived,  we chatted amongst ourselves. We shared what moments of the day were most memorable to us.

When my food arrived I marveled at the presentation. I had ordered a filet mignon. It was served with a side of mashed potatoes and broccoli. The steak was juicy and tender,  the mashed potatoes were moist, and the broccoli was tender.

Our waitress surprised my mother with a delightful fruit tart and berry sorbet. Seeing the smile on her face made everything perfect.

The Napa Rose Restaurant is a five star establishment. The service, the food, and the decor are excellent. I would certainly dine here again. In the future, however, I would make reservations with the maître d so I can sit at the chef’s table.

Jelly Beings

Once upon a time, there was a bowl of jellybeans. They were all cherry flavor and red in color. The bowl was sitting on a table in an attic. It had been forgotten so the jellybeans were old and sticky.

One day, Harry Potter was a little curious so he went up into the attic to see what was there. When he entered, he saw the bowl of jellybeans next to the stairs. He ate some and then got an idea. He cast a spell on every jellybean by saying,

“Magic for fun. Magic for beans.
Make these cherry jellies little human beings.”

All of a sudden the jellybeans came to life. Tiny little jelly people appeared in the bowl. They were all moving around and trying to climb out. They made a little jelly ladder and climbed one over the top of the other. Soon little jelly people were walking all over the attic.

 

Admin Note :: This story was originally narrated to me. It is the first story in which he made changes as suggested in our Writer’s Workshop. I typed it up for him upon request.