Geographical Environment

Geographical Environment
‘The physical environment: the geographical setting, the natural
resources and features of Pompeii and Herculaneum’
The geographical Setting
Located in the fertile region of Campania, on a crescent shaped volcanic plane at
the foot of the Apennine escarpment
Extends from the volturno river in the north to the Sorrentine peninsula in the
Volcano divides campania into two plains, smaller southwest and bigger
o Vesuvius sits on an intersection of two fissures
o Until eruption, it was surrounded by a ridge called Mt Somma
o Strabo provided first accurate description of the volcano in dormant
o Entire landscape was a result of volcanic process’s.
o Popmeii occupied the largest volcanic spur which provided a
commanding position overlooking the mouth of the Sano River
o Hurculaneum was positioned on a steeply sloping spur beginning at
Vesuvius and ending at a cliffface at the headlands, views made it a resort
The Natural Resources
The natural resources of Pompeii were largely a result of volcanic activity.
o Extremely fertile soil rich in photash and phosphorus
o Natural vegetation
o Spongy soil retained a large amount of water allowing a wide variety of
o Evidence of vineyards
o Olives used not only for olive oil but as a basic ingredient in perfume
o Sheep provided wool for textiles industry
o Pumice stone exported and lava was used in stones to grind grain
The Features
Coastline faces Tyrrhenian sea, and proved highly valuable in accommodating
Navel stations, providing natural resources and facilitating trade
o Bay of Naples provided safe anchorages
o Double shaped basin made perfect natural harbor which became the
main Navel station for the Roman fleet, pliny the elder was admiral for
the fleet during the eruption
o Greek port settlements had trading and cultural connections
o Products from salt pans and fish were used in fish sauces
o Bay of Herculaneum provided perfect harbor and port for inland
settlements as the river was navigable for cargo ships
o Port of Pompeii accommodated both imports and exports
‘Plans and Streetscapes of Pompeii and Herculaneum’
Due to magnificent views and scenery, many famous names of Rome such as
Cicero built villas and holiday houses in Pompeii
Pompeii was significantly small in comparison to Naples although not all of the
ruins have been unearthed
Pompeii’s walls were initially big and followed the most defensive line of the
Pompeii was accessed by 7 gates
o The oldest gate was the stabian gate
In the 1st century AD most of the walls were knocked down to facilitate housing
All streets of Pompeii were laid out in a grid system
The main road was 8.5 metres wide however most could not allow two way
The forum accommodated most public buildings such as administration, religion
and commerce
All main Roads intersected at the forum. The structure of Pompeii seemed
dissorganised and showed a jumble of shops.
Evidence has been found of the existence of commercial vineyards and orchards