Let’s face it, my life is cursed.
And because it is cursed, I like to listen to stories about others who are cursed as well.
And when it comes to cursed, Pompei is right up there.
Both Pompei the man (opposed old Julius Ceaser) and Pompeii the city.
Those of you who know their history know about Pompeii the city – it got its arse seriously kicked by a volcano.
Mount Vesuvius erupted and covered the whole damn city in lava.
That happened in 79 AD….more or less 2000 years ago. Apparently about 20000 people could escape, another 2000 could not.
The most heartbraking of them being be the terrified mother and child
While it doomed the citizens, it proved to be a source of immense joy for archaeologists. The lava preserved the city, including more than 1000 corpses.
And scientists doing scientific things found out that most of those people died due to broken skulls, a case of the sky falling on their heads – literally, metaphorically, grammatically.
More research and restoration continues.
In the meantime, its open to the public.
And that means two things
a. Its selfie time
b. Lets take some souvenirs.
Frescoes in the ancient Roman city, one of Italy’s most popular attractions, fade under the blistering sun or are chipped at by souvenir hunters. Mosaics endure the brunt of tens of thousands of shuffling thongs and sneakers. Teetering columns and walls are propped up by wooden and steel scaffolding. Rusty padlocks deny access to recently restored houses, and custodians seem to be few and far between.
Lots of people have been flicking souvenirs – mosaics, rocks, frescoes, amphora, statuettes – over the ages.
And now they are giving it all back.
Reason – the curse.
You see, some say that the Vesuvius erupted because the Romans had somehow pissed off the gods – probably by desecrating religious places and offerings.
Here’s the chain of events
- Romans desecrate religious stuff
- Gods get pissed off
- Gods go in “unleash the Kraken” mode
- Vesuvius erupts
- Pompeii gets submerged under lava and rocks and ash
- Pompeii gets preserved
- Archaeologists discover remains; go into “partay” mode and dance the conga
- Tourists arrive
- Tourists steal
- Curse transfers from Pompeii to tourists’ homes
- Tourists shit their pants
- Tourists return pilfered stuff
So what have we learned from this whole sorry mess?
- Curses are real
- Europeans have a problem with scale; 2000 people die – they call it one of the biggest devastation of the western world; in India more than 2000 die every month from drinking alcohol
- Modern tourists are namby pamby; just think of all those British, Spanish and French conquerors and looters of the last 200/300 years; mere curses could never stop them; they were so dedicated to their hobby/profession/addiction for looting that even death could not make them return the stuff – case in point Carnavaron and curse of Tutankhamen