Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/64

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.
50
POMPEII

surer way, by encouraging the king in his debaucheries, and Louis wept over her kindness to his various mistresses. Only once, when the king was wounded by Damiens in 1757, did she receive a serious shock, and momentarily left the court; but on his recovery she returned more powerful than ever. She even ingratiated herself with the queen, after the example of Mme de Maintenon, and was made a lady-in-waiting; but the end was soon to come. “ Ma vie est un combat,” she said, and so it was, with business and pleasure she gradually grew weaker and weaker, and when told that death was at hand she dressed herself in full court costume, and met it bravely on the 15th of April 1764, at the age of forty-two.

See Capefigue, Madame la marquise de Pompadour (1858); E. and J. de Goncourt, Les Maîtresses de Louis XV., vol. ii. (1860); and Campardon, Madame de Pompadour et la cour de Louis XV. au milieu du dix-huitième siècle (1867). Far more valuable are Malassis's two volumes of correspondence, Correspondance de Madame de Pompardour avec son père M. Poisson, et son frère M. de Vandières, &c. (1878), and Bonhomme, Madame de Pompadour, général d'armée (1880), containing her letters to the Comte de Clermont. For her artistic and theatrical tastes see particularly J. F. Leturcq, Notice sur Jacques Guay, graveur sur pierres fines du roi Louis XV.: Documents inédits emanant de Guay et notes sur les œuvres de gravure en taille douce et en pierres durs de la marquise de Pompadour (1873); and Adolphe Jullien, Histoire du théâtre de Madame de Pompadour, dit Théâtre des Petits Cabinets (1874). See also P. de Nolhac, La Marquise de Pompadour (1903).


POMPEII.[1] an ancient town of Campania, Italy, situated near the river Sarnus, nearly 2 m. from the shore of the Bay of Naples, almost at the foot of Mt Vesuvius. Of its history before 79 B.c. comparatively little is recorded; but it appears that it had a population of a very mixed character, and passed successively into the hands of several different peoples, each of which contributed an element to its composition. Its foundation was ascribed by Greek tradition to Heracles, in common with the neighbouring city of Herculaneum, but it is certain that it was not a Greek colony, in the proper sense of the term, as we know to have been the case with the more important cities of Cumae and N eapolis. Strabo (v. 4, 8), in whose time it was a populous and flourishing place, tells us that it was first occupied by the Oscans2 (to whom we must attribute the Doric temple in the Foro Triangolare), afterwards by the Tyrrhenians '(i.e. Etruscans) and Pelasgians, and lastly, by the Samnites. The conquest of Campania by the last-mentioned people is an undoubted historical fact, and there can be no doubt that Pompeii shared the fate of the neighbouring cities on this occasion, and afterwards passed in common with them under the yoke of Rome. But its name is only once mentioned during the wars of the Romans with the Samnites and Campanians in this region of Italy, and then only incidentally (Liv. ix. 38), when a Roman fleet landed near Pompeii in 309 B.C. and made an unsuccessful rnarauding expedition up the river valley as far as Nuceriaf* At a later period, however, it took a prominent part in the outbreak of the nations of central Italy, known as the Social War (91-89 B.C.), when it withstood a long siege by Sulla, and was one of the last cities of Campania that were reduced by the Roman arms. The inhabitants were admitted to the Roman franchise, but a military colony was settled in their territory in 80 B.C. by Sulla (Colonia Cornelia Venefia Pompeianor-um), and the whole population was rapidly Romanized. The municipal administration here, as elsewhere, was in the hands of two duoviri iure dieundo and two aediles, the supreme body being the city council (deeuriones-). Before the close of the republic it became a resort of the Roman nobles, many of whom acquired villas in the neighbourhood. Among them was Cicero, whose letters abound with allusions to his Pornpeian villa. The same fashion continued under the empire, and there can be no doubt that, during the first century of the Christian era, Pompeii had become a flourishing place

For the Oscan inscriptions found in Pompeii see below ad fin; I ° Pompeii was attacked as a member of the Nucerine League. See Conway, Italic Dialecls, p. 51; ]. Beloch, Campanien, 2nd ed., p.'239. ~

with a considerable population. Two events only are recorded of its history during this period. In A.D. SQ a tumult took place in the amphitheatre between the citizens and visitors from the neighbouring colony of Nuceria. Many were killed and wounded on both sides. The Pompeians were punished for this violent outbreak by the prohibition of all *theatrical exhibitions for ten years (Tacitus, Ann. xiv. 17). A characteristic, though rude, painting, found on the walls of one of the houses gives a representation of this event.

Four years afterwards (A.D. 63) an earthquake, which affected all the neighbouring towns, vented its force ' especially upon Pompeii, a large part of which, including most of the public buildings, was either destroyed or so seriously damaged as to require to be rebuilt (Tac. Ann. xv. 22; Seneca, Q.N. vi. 1). From the existing remains it is clear that the inhabitants were still actively engaged in repairing and restoring the ruined ediflces when the whole city was overwhelmed by the great eruption of A.D. 79. Vesuvius (q;'v.), the volcanic forces of which had been slumbering for unknown ages, suddenly burst into violent eruption, which, while it carried devastation all around the beautiful gulf, buried the two cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii under dense beds of cinders and ashes. It is singular that, while we possess a detailed description of this famous eruption in two letters of the younger Pliny (Episl. vi. 16, zo), he does not even notice the destruction of Pompeii or Herculaneum, though his uncle perished in the immediate neighbourhood of the former city. But their fate is noticed by Dio Cassius, and its circumstances may be gathered with certainty from the condition in which the city has been found. These were such as to conduce to its preservation and interest as a relic of antiquity. Pompeii was merely covered with a bed of lighter substances, cinders, small stones and ashes, which- fell in a dry state, while at Herculaneum the same substances, being drenched with water, hardened into a sort of tufa, which in places is 65 ft. deep. The whole of this superincumbent mass, attaining to an average thickness of from 18 to zo ft., was the product of one eruption, though the materials may be divided generally into two distinct strata, the one consisting principally of cinders and small volcanic stones (called in Italian lapilli), and the other and uppermost layer of fine white ash, often consolidated by the action of water from above so as to take the moulds of objects contained in it (such as dead bodies, woodwork, &c.), like clay or plaster of Paris. It was found impossible to rebuild the town, and its territory was joined to that of Nola. But the survivors returned to the spot, and by digging down and tunnelling were able to remove all the objects of value, even the marble facing slabs of the large buildings.

In the middle ages, however, the very site was forgotten. Two inscriptions were found in making an underground aqueduct across the site in 1 594'*1600, but it was not until 1748 that a more careful inspection of this channel revealed the fact that beneath the vineyards and mulberry grounds which covered the site there lay entombed ruins far more accessible, if not more interesting, than those of Herculaneum. It was not till 1763 that systematic excavations were begun; and, though they were carried on during the rest of the 18th century, it was only in the beginning of the 19th that they assumed a regular character; the work, which had received a vigorous stimulus during the period of the French government (1806-1814), was prosecuted, though in a less methodical manner, under the rule of the Bourbon kings (ISI 5-1861). Since 1861 it has been carried on under the Italian government in a more scientific manner, on a system devised by G. Fiorelli (d. 1896), according to which the town is for convenience divided into nine regions-though this rests on a misconception, for there is really no street between the Capua and the Nocera gates-and the results' have been of the highest interest, though the rate of progress has been very slow.

The town was situated on rising ground less than a mile from the foot of Vesuvius. This eminence is itself due to an outflow of lava from that mountain, during some previous eruption in

prehistoric times, for we know from Strabo that Vesuvius had

  1. The etymology of the name is uncertain; the ancients derived it from pompa or vré/4-/rw (Gr. send), in allusion to the journey of Heracles with the oxen of Geryon, but modern authorities refer it to the Oscan pompa (five).