Famous Mosaics: The Ancient City of Pompeii

This summer the Tile Park is taking the show on the road! We're paying a virtual visit to the most famous mosaics of the world... from China to Spain to the US... tile parks, record-breaking installations, ancient murals, points of interest and so much more. Join us!

This week’s virtual tour brings us to Pompeii, the ancient civilization frozen in time under the ashes of Mt Vesuvius. In August of 79 AD, on what would have been a normal day in a bustling Roman city, the whole town was stopped in its tracks instantly as the volcano blew, burying everything under hot, heavy, volcanic ash.

In that moment the entire city was perfectly preserved… houses just as they were, markets stocked with merchandise, political propaganda on the streets, lovers clinging to each other in fear and awe as everything came to a standstill on that fateful day.

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Because of this perfect preservation, the ancient civilization of Pompeii is an archaeologist's dream. Located near modern-day Naples and originally discovered in 1748 under meters of volcanic ash, it’s an incredible study of how the people of that time lived.

These days anyone can visit, and if you’re so inclined, you’re likely to be amazed by some of the things you see. Theaters, sculptures, frescoes. Private homes, temples, the famous thermal baths… it’s all here. While a lot of what you’ll see in the city itself is a reproduction, many of the original and important findings were moved and preserved in a nearby museum.

Plenty of visitors to Pompeii say the same thing: it doesn’t matter in the least that some parts of it are reproductions. It’s incredible just to be there. Plus it’s all right over there in the museum and many folks like it all in one place

Among the important findings of the ruins: loads and loads of mosaics. Around this time mosaic was rapidly evolving, and one of the really wonderful things about Pompeii is that it contains examples of more rudimentary work as well as quite refined.

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It’s always been an approachable artform, mosaic, and archaeologists found many of the citizens’ own private homes decorated with simple patterns and rough-cut tesserae (tiles). Even the ubiquitous “Beware of Dog” sign we all know… it was way cooler back in the day... appearing on the doorstep of many Pompeiian homes as a warning to would-be trespassers: stay out.

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The public buildings of course displayed much more grand and refined designs, adorning floors and walls alike. The famous “Battle of Alexander” mosaic which now lives in the museum is perhaps one of the most significant and well-preserved.

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It seems there’s no limit to the subject matter of the mosaics; if it struck the artist’s fancy it would find a way to be tiled. This leaves no shortage of interesting things to study and interpret, and makes Pompeii a place that will always hold intrigue for those who are curious.

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Learn more about Pompeii here: https://www.pompeionline.net/pompeii/index.htm