Presentation on theme: "IS HISTORY JUST A QUESTION OF GEOGRAPHY?. FACTORS OF LOCATION- A CURSE AND A BLESSING? LOOK AT THE FOLLOWING SLIDE AND LIST AS MANY FAVOURABLE FACTORS."— Presentation transcript:
The Oldest Image of Vesuvius This painting of Vesuvius was discovered in 1879 on a wall in the Casa del Centenario, one of the largest houses in Pompeii. Bacchus is pictured standing before the mountain; at the time Vesuvius was covered in vineyards.
SettingFeaturesResources Campania, fertile region 200 km south of Rome Area near Pllegrean fields( burning fields)-geothermal activity On the coast of Naples River Sarno flowed into the Bay Climate- Mediterranean, plentiful rainfall and distinct dry season Fertile soils allowed 2-3 crop yields Sea based navigation and resources Soils rich in phosphorous and ash Fish, molluscs,garum and Salt from sea Wine and Olive oil famous from this area Salt used as preservative- near Herculaneum Gate Other crops included wheat barley, cabbages, fruit Sheep and Goats were grazed
marine environment supported a fish & shellfish industry & production of a fermented fish sauce called Garum Salt, used for preserving food was produced by the salt pans in shallow pools Woodland provided building materials & sand was mixed with lime to make cement Fertile soils allowed the cultivation of grapevines & olives. Loamy sand allowed good drainage and an ideal ph for crop growing. Minerals like phosphorous produced abundant flowering of crops Sheep & goats were raised for meat, milk, skins & wool Local clay was used for containers
‘Campania is the fairest of all regions... it flowers twice a year. Nowhere is the soil more fertile... here are the vine- clad mountains... Vesuvius is the fairest of them all’ ~ Florus, ‘The Heracleian Fortress... admirably catches the breeze... a healthful place to live.’ ~ Strabo ‘a fertile region so blessed with pleasant scenery that it was manifestly the work of nature in a happy mood... wonderful and life sustaining and healthy atmosphere that lasts all year through, embracing a climate so mild, plains so fertile, hills so sunny, woodlands so secure & groves so shady... different kinds of forest, breezes, an abundance of corn, vines & olives, splendid fleeces, fine necked bulls, numerous lakes, rich sources of rivers, seas and harbours, lands are open to commerce... even the land runs equally out into the sea as if to assist mankind.’ ~ Pliny the Elder, Natural history ‘The Heracleian Fortress... admirably catches the breeze... a healthful place to live.’ ~ Strabo
Diodorus Siculus (80-20 BC) reports that the Campanian plain was called "Phlegrean ("fiery") from the mountain which of old spouted forth a huge fire as Aetna did in Sicily; at this time, however, the mountain is called Vesuvius and shows many signs of the fire which once raged in those ancients times." Vitruvius, active between 46 and 30 BC, reported in his "The Architectura" that "once fires burnt below Vesuvius and sometimes it spouted flames on the surrounding fields". Strabo (64 BC-25 AD) gives the most accurate description of Vesuvius of his times: "Above these places lies Mt. Vesuvius, which, save for its summit, has dwellings all round, on farm-lands that are absolutely beautiful. As for the summit, a considerable part of it is flat, but all of it is unfruitful, and looks ash-coloured, and it shows pore-like cavities in masses of rocks that are soot- coloured on the surface, these masses of rock looking as though they had been eaten out by fire; and hence one might infer that in earlier times this district was on fire and had craters of fire, and then, because the fuel gave out, was quenched." What degree of understanding did the ancients have of Vesuvius? Why might this contribute to the human reaction to the disaster? How reliable is Strabo’s evidence?
In western Italy, upon the Tyrrhenian Sea, lies the uniquely inviting land of Campania. This coast, starting a hundred and forty-five kilometres south-east of Rome and extending downwards beyond the Bay of Naples, gave Ancient Rome its first good sea-front, its first window upon the Mediterranean, its first idea of becoming a world state. And behind the coast, stretching back to the Apennine range, is a plain which is incredibly favoured by nature. Traversed by two fairly important rivers and fanned by moist south-westerly winds, this territory of spongy volcanic earth, rich in phosphorus and potash, enjoys relatively mild and short winters, and the soil retains enough of the abundant seasonal rainfall to escape ill-effects from three months of summer drought. Campania is alien to the desiccated Italian south—and alien to the modest conceptions of visitors from northern lands. In ancient times, when this was the chief granary of the peninsula, some districts already produced as many as three grain crops every year, in addition, often enough, to a catch-crop of vegetables as well. There were none of the oranges and lemons that can be seen now, but olives and vines grew plentifully, and indeed many of Italy’s principal olive groves were in Campania. Walking out of Pompeii today one can see fields bearing vines, fruit trees and beans at one and the same time. And so it was in antiquity. An extraordinary variety of crops gave constant cover to the fields throughout the year, and yields were perhaps as much as six times higher than the average for the Italian peninsula. And above the plain, for example in the Montes Lactarii (Lattari) at the southern end of the bay, the mountains pastured many thousands of sheep. ‘Nothing,’ said Madame de Stael, ‘gives a more voluptuous idea of life than this climate which intimately unites man to nature’. More than seventeen centuries earlier, the elder Pliny had said much the same; and the Latin writer Florus, though he was a north African who lived in Spain, found Campania the most beautiful place, not only in Italy, but in all the world. And indeed this landscape in the grand style, with its superb sweep of coast, its lush rising shores, its all-enveloping light, its emphatically blue sea and sky, is the perfect illustration of Dr Samuel Johnson’s heartfelt assurance that there is nothing that can equal the Mediterranean. Long before the Romans came, this inviting land had attracted immigrants and invaders. Already in the eighth century BC the Greeks chose Cumae, on the coast just north-west of the bay, for their earliest settlement upon the mainland of Italy. During the two centuries that followed, Cumae exercised widespread control throughout the area, finally becoming one of the main suppliers of grain to other parts of the peninsula. Naples itself, Neapolis, had been settled by Greeks before 650, to judge from reported finds. And then before the end of the sixth century another Greek city was founded next door; this was Dicaearchia, later Puteoli and now Pozzuoli, which in all fields except culture, and particularly in all matters relating to imports and exports, remained more important than Neapolis for hundreds of years. Puteoli lay 11 kilometres to the west of Neapolis, and the much smaller town of Pompeii was 22 kilometres south-east of Neapolis, almost adjoining the same coast. No doubt even before the Greeks there had been a native Italian (Oscan) fishing and agricultural village or small town on this site, though if so we do not know for how long. But in any case it was supplemented, in due course, by a settlement or trading post of the Greeks. On a tall, southward-facing spur, now known as the Triangular Forum, they built a Doric temple. Its fragmentary remains go back to the sixth century, when the little place was no doubt still under the influence or control of Cumae or Neapolis, forming a staging point on their trade route to the south.
The Greek settlement or post at Pompeii was built on an isolated volcanic ridge about 39 metres above sea-level, produced by a prehistoric flow of lava down the slopes of Vesuvius, which towers up just over eight kilometres away. To the south, beyond where the Greeks built their temple, the flow had stopped abruptly, providing a fortifiable boundary which gave protection against surprise attacks. This cliff-like termination overlooked the river Sarnus (Sarno), is quite insignificant today but which in ancient times was navigable by ships of respectable tonnage. The Sarnus, which watered the whole fertile plain south-east of Vesuvius, had already before 700 BC prompted the creation of agricultural villages in the upper reaches of its valley, and not far from the river mouth as well. Then, when Pompeii had been founded, the river meant that the place did not have to depend too much or for too long on the larger harbour towns, Cumae and Neapolis, that lay to the north. For the Sarnus gave Pompeii the role of sea-port for the adjacent hinterland. And, in particular, it became the port of a native town that lay to the east, eleven kilometres inland, Nuceria Alfaterna (Nocera), an important road centre which drew its wealth from the river plain and dominated the southern regions of Campania. The Greeks settled not only at Pompeii but at two points on either side of it, both close beside the coast. To the south, at some date unknown, they founded a town at Stabiae, just below the hills at the southern end of the bay. Stabiae, now the shipbuilding town of Castellamare di Stabia, is only five kilometres from Pompeii, and well in sight of its walls. Such proximity meant that Pompeii, in this direction, could never own much land of its own; and indeed its territory did not extend on any side for more than a few kilometres. But the other Greek coastal settlement, to the north of Pompeii, was a good deal smaller still, indeed not one-fifth of its size. This was Heracleion, later to become Herculaneum. Built on a spur projecting from the lower slopes of Vesuvius, the little town, extending over something less than twelve hectares, was protected on either flank by ravines containing streams which ran down from the mountain to the sea. The streams were not navigable, and the sea-shore did not boast much of a harbour; nor did any suitable roads lead to the interior. However, Herculaneum served as a minor centre of the coasting trade, and as a transit town on the shore road round the bay. It was only eight kilometres from Neapolis and certain Greek settlers—who probably came from that city—found it worthwhile to establish themselves at Herculaneum at quite an early date. According to a legend it was the hero Heracles (Hercules) himself, returning from Spain, who sacrificed a tithe of his spoils to the gods and created this little town on the spot where his fleet was anchored, naming the foundation after himself. From: Grant M, (2001) Cities of Vesuvius – Pompeii and Herculaneum, Phoenix Press, London, pp1-3.
THE Sarnus Lararium in the House of the Centenery Early pre roman coins bore the head of Sarnus the river god