What an amazing evening

Just got home from the fantastic new exhibit at the science museum, A Day in Pompeii; this is a core dump of my initial impressions.

The exhibit focuses mostly on what daily life was like the day before the eruption – there are several rooms of artifacts, laid out somewhat like a Roman home (so all the cooking stuff is in one area, and so on). My favorite thing in this room was a brilliantly designed “three-burner” stove – basically a big clay tray to build the fire in, with three round protrusions at the back where coals could be pushed in and a pot or pan set on top. (My daughter was struck by the loaf of fossilized bread; I think that brought home to her the suddenness of the whole thing.)

Among the absolute highlights for me was a selection of lares and penates before a lararium; just standing before these things and realizing that they were the focus of worship – *my* worship, more or less – three thousand years ago was an incredibly intense experience.

There was also a gorgeous status of Bacchus, with ivory eyes with brown ground-glass centers; the eyes made me feel that He was looking right into me. Just stunning. (There is a decent picture of that statue at this link.)

After wandering through several rooms of daily life, we were suddenly directed into a little alcove with a giant hanging depicting the eruption, and gently pulsating red light. Beyond this, an almost
completely black S-shaped corridor led into a large open space… completely void of decoration and containing nothing but eight bodies. (Well, body casts, obviously…)

These were stunningly arranged, each on its own pedastal, on a bed of volcanic rocks that provided a stark contrast with the white plaster bodies. I was especially moved by the body of a slave – still wearing manacles – who had fallen in the street while trying to flee, as well as that of a dog that had been left chained at the gate of his master’s house; but the one that hit me most of all, and really made me feel the tragedy for what it was, was a man who took refuge in a gymnasium, and apparently just sat against the wall, knees drawn up to his chest, and waited to die.

Just… wow.

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4 thoughts on “What an amazing evening

  1. Feral Boy

    Just wanted to mention — given that exhibit, you’ll most likely get a couple of visitors from Saint Louis before the end of the year!!!

    — Feral Boy

  2. executivepagan Post author

    Excellent!! Other than the last week or so of September, we should be in town. Any chance you could bring Kestrel down with you?

  3. Feral Boy

    I’m sure K. would love to come also. Her schedule is still open which is not so good for other considerations than this one :( I was considering going to a harp convention in Asheville, I think in October, it might be possible to combine a visit the week before.

    I will check with She Who Is Mostly Obeyed ;)

    — Feral Boy

  4. Pingback: Coolnesses major and minor | sightless among miracles

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