Geographical context of Pompeii and Herculaneum

  • Created by: Alice
  • Created on: 07-04-13 03:59

Climate of Herculaneum and Pompeii

- two main climates: hot dry summers and mild wet winters

- adequate rainfall to sustain crops 845mm on the coast

- benefit from sea breeze and breeze from the mountains at night

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Mount Vesuvius and its effect on the landscape (po

  • only active volcano on the euro mainland
  • located on the intersection between two fault lines
  • since AD79 it's erupted 30 times
  • different from AD 79 (2 peaks)
  • 1277m high, 11km crator circumference
  • strabo and diodorus - provide evidence that early settlers were aware of its nature

DOMINATES the region of compania - dividing into two regions

  • 1 Big: NW drained by the volturno river
  • 2 Small: SW transversed by the surno river


  • flows into the tyrranian sea through the plain of nola in low lying coastlines and the southernmost slopes of Vesvuis
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Mount Vesuvius and its effect on the landscape (he

  • steep sloping land and ending in a cliff face where the headland fell into the sea
  • promontory was bounded on both sides by deep ravines
  • ideal resort town
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vegetation and soil

Extremely fertile:

  • due to volcanic matter
  • rich in phosphorus and potash
  • spongy - winter water retained
  • variety of natural vegetation

Natural vegetation before eruption

  • poplars
  • willows and alder trees
  • oak and beech
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Impressive array of crops

  • vines to produce vesuviana olives formed perfume variety of fruit

cato and 'the figs of herculaneum'

3-4 cereal crops a year

Herds of Sheep - wool for textile production, goats were also grazed

volcano provided pumice for exfoliate

  • lava used to grind grain (people of compania had poor teeth from constant grinding)
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The coast line

Faces the Tyrrhenian Sea  partially enclosed by penisulas on the north and south extremetics

Safe for anchorages  e.g. museum

  • perfect natural harbour
  • was a naval station at Eruption time

The mouth of Sarno river was an ideal port for pompeii

greek port settlements had trading connections in the greek east and contributed to the prosperity of other settlements

  • worked hard to establish this area as a famous trading port

Salt pans were developed near Herculaneum (naturally) and produce from this together helped provide material for the famous fish sauce garum

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Plans and Streetscapes of Pompeii and Herculaneum

prescence of villas both luxurious and rusticae around the towns of the bay of naples

Both towns were relatively small and compact

  • pompeii 66 ha
  • Herculaneum harder to estimate (most of it is under Reiina)

Most towns had walls

Pompeii - two stone walls, 6m thick that encircled for 3.5km

  • when roman settlement came the walls were no longer needed
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Pompeii's Gates

  • Vesuvius gate
  • Capra gate
  • Nola gate
  • Sarno gate
  • Nucerian gate
  • Stabian gate
  • Marine gate
  • Herculaneum gate
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Evidence of Greek Occupation

Streets had a grid system

Pompeii's main road was 8.5m wide and have deep wheel groves and stepping stones were placed accross the road when it was rainign so they wouldn't get wet (poor drainage)

Herculaneum, in contrast, were less marked by traffic; storm drains and effecient underground sewer existed

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The Pompeii Forum

Had public buildings asscioated with politics, administration, religion and commerce

chief meeting place

located where the main roads of Naples, Nola and Stabiae met

  • everything was mixed i.e. business and house no commercial segregation
  • land used in Pompeii was not exclusively urban. Polyculture practised (all crops grown together) - this was good for the soil and several commercial vineyards
  • emphasis on commercial success
  • obtained water from aqueducts - the pipes supplied streets fountains, public baths and water storage tower
  • the access to public water supply and aslo drinking fountains were from water aqueducts
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Port of pompeii

Port of Pompeii

  • crossroads of the coastal route for cumae to the Sorrientine penisula
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Volcanic processes on Campania

the whole landscape of Campania is due to the volcanic process

  • volcanic nature seen through the plegraean feilds believed to of the been the opening to the underworld

because of its good location above sea (25-40m) and its commanding position there were good views – wanted to build villas

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