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The Last Days of Pompeii

All-Day Seminar

Saturday, March 16, 2013 - 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Code: 1M2656

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Pompeii, the vibrant Roman resort on the Amalfi coast, was suddenly and dramatically destroyed in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24, 79 A.D. It has fascinated us ever since its rediscovery in the mid-18th century.

Pompeii and nearby Herculaneum became a must-see destination for travelers on the Grand Tour of Europe (especially when Vesuvius was active), inspiring design trends and the creation of art and works of literature.

9:30 to 11 a.m.  Decadence and Destruction

Pompeii’s everyday life as a thriving port city was completely destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that froze it in time

11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Rediscovery

The archaeological unearthing of Pompeii and Herculaneum and the lure of its exhumed artifacts and treasures 

12:30 to 1:45 p.m.  Lunch

Participants provide their own lunch.

1:45 to 3:15 p.m.  Resurrection

The continuing inspiration of Pompeii and Herculaneum in art; the important role of Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s popular novel The Last Days of Pompeii is examined

Presenter Bonita Billman teaches art history at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies.

Smithsonian Connections

Discover how Pompeii’s affluent residents used art and architecture to fashion a seaside retreat where beauty and pleasure were prime pursuits.

Hidden TreasuresExplore the ancient sites that were destroyed by the catastrophic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79 on the voyage of 
Hidden Treasures of the Mediterranean.

Visit the Smithsonian Journeys page to see more
trips to Europe



S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Drive, SW
Metro: Smithsonian Mall Exit (Blue/Orange)