Some Thoughts on Recent Pompeiian Collapses

There’s been another collapse at Pompeii … today’s seems ‘minor’ and the story seems to be the same as the others. An excerpt from the Reuters coverage:

A small chunk of a side room in the “House of the Small Lupanar,” which was not open to the public, also fell, the statement said, adding both collapses were probably due to the heavy rains of the last few days.

On Tuesday a section of a modern retaining wall in the “House of the Moralist” crumbled and on November 6 the “House of the Gladiators” collapsed, shining a spotlight on the decay of the ancient city buried by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

The AFP coverage puts a slightly different spin on the cause … here’s the incipit:

Two more ancient Roman walls fell down in the archaeological site of Pompeii on Wednesday following the collapse of one on Tuesday and the ruin of a frescoed house last month.

Experts blamed persistently heavy rains which have lashed the site in recent weeks, wearing away the ancient mortar between the stones. […]

… which I find to be interesting, given that the wall at the House of the Moralist was, as yesterday’s coverage said, reconstructed after bomb damage in WWII. Similarly, the coverage of the collapse of the House of the Gladiators a while ago also stressed that the building had been damaged during WWII and restored. There is on the web a brief eyewitness report of the damage from the bombings during WWII, including such well-known items as the House of Sallust. Just a hunch, but it’s looking to me that the structures most in danger are the ones which were restored in the wake of the WWII bombings. Or perhaps we should just include recent restorations in general if we want to include the House of the Chaste Lovers in the mix as well. Whatever the case,  if the specific concerns for ‘mortar’ mentioned above (as opposed to the more general “heavy rains” which always seems to be the reason for collapses of monuments in Italy)  have any validity, maybe the powers-that-should-be  ought to  be checking the integrity of the mortar of some of these ‘recent’ restorations?? Just sayin’ …

This Day in Ancient History: kalendas decembres

Faustina the Younger (130–175 AD). Marble, ca....
Image via Wikipedia

kalendas decembres

  • rites in honour of Neptune (connected with an altar rededication or a temple dedication?)
  • rites in honour of Pietas near the Circus Flaminius (not much known about this one, apparently)
  • 147 A.D. — Annia Galeria Faustina, wife of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, is given the title of Augusta


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