Geographical Environment

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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
south

Volcano divides campania into two plains, smaller southwest and bigger
northwest
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
phase.
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
town.
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
crops
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
landscape

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
access

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