5/31/16

The Dog of Pompeii: Immortalized in Plaster



This dog became famous in history when recreated hundreds of years after its unfortunate death in Pompeii.




In 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the Roman city of Pompeii. Of the more than 20,000 inhabitants, several hundred died that day under a thick carpet of volcanic ash. The city was largely written out of history until the mid 1700s when archaeologists slowly began to excavate the site. About a century later, it was discovered that the decomposed bodies entombed in volcanic rock left cavities behind capturing the contours of the corpses. Plaster was poured into these spaces and what came out were near perfect statues of the bodies revealing the last frightening moments of their lives.

In 1874, the cavity of the dog from Pompeii was discovered in the house of Marcus Vesonius Primus, in the corridor at the entrance of the house. The unfortunate dog, wearing a bronze-studded collar, was left chained up at its assigned place to guard the house and was unable to escape when the eruption occurred.