Upon entering, the ancient ruins of Pompeii give one an eerie feeling of hindsight. I had read and watched documentaries on this horrific event from 2000 years ago, so had a good idea about the theories to explain what happened and why. What you do not gain from all of those is the feel of the lost spirits. The human emotions that must have run through the minds of those who were here that fateful day in ACE 79.
It is said that the death was by asphyxiation. I know what that is technically, but by the looks of the corpses, it must have been terrifying and painful. Walking about, through the streets of a ghost town; through the homes of people who, like me, had children and work and dreams. People who were honest and joyful and living life to the fullest. Also those who were perhaps a bit less than honest, perhaps had a disability, some may not have been happy in life, but took that as their life and lived it. I could feel the air heavy with hindsight for all that could have warned them to leave but was overlooked. All of that gone: People running inside while the hot ash rained down from Vesuvius, then not finding air worthy of a breath, and in a matter of a few, unending, moments of desperate gasps, all is lost.
Well, the excavation site is vast, and the stories are many about what the life was like and the castes of people there, how many stayed while most of the others left. The site was buried for centuries and excavations brought out the “mine”-ers, who kept what they found in exchange for their respect. Like everything I am finding in Italy, the Romans are recyclers and use the ruins of something old to build something new. I think that is ok. It reminds us that nothing is forever: We can plan for it, but shouldn’t expect it.