Monday, May 27, 2024

Roman art showing Helen of Troy discovered in Pompeii 2,000 years after volcanic eruption

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Rare, centuries-old Roman paintings were uncovered in the ruins of Pompeii.

The frescoes were found in a dining room in the ruined city buried under ash after a catastrophic volcanic eruption in 79 A.D. The room, about 50 feet long and 20 feet wide, opened onto a courtyard with an unroofed room and a long staircase that connected to the first floor, according to the Archaeological Park of Pompeii.

Archaeologists described the room as spectacular and surrounded by elegant black walls and decor displaying mythological character subjects inspired by the Trojan War. The space was discovered in block No. 10 of the site’s ninth section, which was only recently excavated, the museum said in a news release.

“The walls were painted black to prevent the smoke from the oil lamps being seen on the walls,” park director Gabriel Zuchtriegel said in the news release. “People would meet to dine after sunset. The flickering light of the lamps had the effect of making the images appear to move, especially after a few glasses of good Campanian wine.”

A massive pile of building materials was found underneath the arches of the staircase, which displayed two pairs of gladiators drawn with charcoal.

Paintings depicted Helen of Troy, Cassandra

The paintings depicted the Helen of Troy among other Greek figures.

The work showcased themes of heroism through the role heroes and gods played in the Trojan War, as well as themes of fate and the idea that humans can change their own destiny, the release added.

Other characters include Cassandra, the daughter of Priam and Hecuba, king and queen of Troy. In Greek mythology, she has the gift of seeing the future but is cursed by the god Apollo to be unable to change upcoming events after rejecting him.

“The mythological couples provided ideas for conversations about the past and life, only seemingly of a merely romantic nature,” Zuchtriegel said. “In reality, they refer to the relationship between the individual and fate: Cassandra who can see the future but no one believes her, Apollo who sides with the Trojans against the Greek invaders, but being a god, cannot ensure victory.”

Other unraveled discoveries are interconnected two houses in front of living rooms that were being renovated when the eruption happened.

When was Pompeii rediscovered

Spanish military engineer Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre De Alcubierre (re)discovered Pompeii in 1748. An amphitheater and an inscription with the city’s name were some of the first excavations.

The city was buried in debris in 79 A.D. after the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano killing thousands.

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