Quiz: The last days of Pompeii

By: Isadora Teich
Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

Pompeii is one of the world's marvels, but how much do you know about this ancient city? Take our HowStuffWorks quiz to explore the mysteries of Pompeii.

Where is Pompeii?

The city of Pompeii is in Italy. The modern city of Naples is about 17 miles away.

What is the name of the volcano that erupted and caused disaster in Pompeii?

Mount Vesuvius is located on the Gulf of Naples, in Italy. Its eruption is what doomed Pompeii.

Which other city was destroyed along with Pompeii?

Herculaneum is the smaller, lesser-known neighbor of Pompeii, only a few miles away. It was destroyed in the same eruption and is also very well preserved.

Which festival coincidentally took place the day before the eruption?

The eruption of Mount Vesuvius began one day after Vulcanalia. During this festival, ancient Romans would pay homage to the fire god Vulcan by lighting fires and sacrificing animals.

Is Mount Vesuvius still an active volcano?

Mount Vesuvius is still active. It last erupted in 1944.

Were there brothels in Pompeii?

Several ancient brothels have been discovered in Pompeii. One of the most famous of these is called the Lupanare, which had ten rooms decorated with erotic art.

Was religion an important part of daily life in Pompeii?

Religion was an important part of daily life in Pompeii. Temples and idols dedicated to various gods, cults and belief systems have been found in the city.

When did the famous eruption that destroyed Pompeii occur?

Mount Vesuvius has erupted numerous times throughout history. The eruption that destroyed Pompeii occurred on August 24th, 79 AD.

What are the main classifications of volcanoes?

The three classifications are active, dormant and extinct. Mount Vesuvius is classified as an active volcano. Evacuation plans are in place, in preparation for the next eruption.

How many people died in the city of Pompeii when it was destroyed?

Pompeii was a bustling city at the time, but still small by modern standards. It is estimated that 2,000 people died when it was destroyed.

What was Pompeii mostly known for at its peak?

Pompeii was a popular resort spot for Rome's wealthiest citizens. Elaborate summer homes and tourist shops have been excavated there.

Did ancient locals know that Mount Vesuvius was a volcano?

Those in ancient Pompeii had no idea. Prior to 79 AD, the volcano hadn't erupted in about 1,800 years.

Pompeii is so well preserved because of...

The volcanic eruption led to Pompeii being covered in ash quickly. This preserved perfect snapshots of life in the city.

What "adult materials" were found in abundance in Pompeii?

Erotic artwork was popular amongst the elites of Ancient Rome. In 1819, when King Francis I of Naples visited the Pompeii exhibition, he was so shocked by the sexual art from the city that he had it locked away.

What other disaster frequently struck Pompeii?

Earthquakes were common in Pompeii, due to seismic activity beneath the Earth's surface. This is why no one took note or fled when the ground started to shake on the morning of the eruption.

How did most of the people in Pompeii bathe?

While a few Pompeii homes had running water, most did not. Public thermal baths were not only where people washed, but where many relaxed, exercised and conducted business.

Was slavery legal in Pompeii?

Slavery was legal throughout the Roman Empire. Many families in Pompeii had slaves, both for agricultural activities and domestic service.

Who did ancient Pompeiians believe controlled their daily lives?

It was believed that gods had a direct hand in all aspects of life. Pompeiians went to great lengths to celebrate their gods and try to earn their favor.

What business did Pompeii have a lot of -- about one for every 60 residents?

Evidence of about 200 cafes have been found in Pompeii. The poor of Pompeii, who lived in small homes without facilities, ate mostly cafe food.

What kind of diet did most people living in Pompeii eat?

Ancient Pompeiians ate such a healthy diet that they were slightly taller, on average, than modern Neapolitans. They ate an incredibly balanced diet, featuring grains and produce, with some fish, pork and tasty extras.

What kind of building has never been found in Pompeii?

Pompeii was a vacation hot spot and a number of different types of buildings have been discovered. However, no evidence of classrooms or an ancient school building has ever been found.

What was the mortality rate for Pompeii's children, up to the age of 10?

Illness took its toll on the children of Pompeii. Over half died of sickness or infection by the age of 10.

What kind of entertainment was popular in Pompeii?

Pompeii was a resort town and cultural hub with all sorts of entertainment. It had two theaters and an amphitheater.

Pompeii's walls were covered in:

Historians are not sure how many of Pompeii's citizens could read. The presence of written graffiti might suggest a high literacy rate.

Who mostly visited brothels?

The wealthy in the town could often afford to keep their own concubines. The majority of those visiting Pompeii's brothels were working-class townsfolk.

Which of these was not part of daily life in ancient Pompeii?

There was no electricity in Pompeii. Citizens often rose with the sun.

Pompeii became an important trading hub because it was located near:

Pompeii was located near the biggest port in Italy. Businessmen used it to set up successful business routes and often traded with Greece.

Was wine popular in Pompeii?

Wine was popular in Pompeii and often drank and even made in the town. According to a historical source, the wine from Pompeii caused horrible hangovers.

Before the Vesuvius eruption there was no Latin word for:

Before the famous eruption at Pompeii, there was no Latin word for volcano. It comes from the name of the Roman god of fire, Vulcan.

Mount Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii but also provided what?

Earlier eruptions from Mount Vesuvius created fertile farmland near the city. The volcanic soil was especially good for grapes and olive trees.

How many people lived in Pompeii?

Experts estimate that between 10,000-20,000 people lived in Pompeii at its peak. Many rich Romans had summer homes in the city.

What has preserved the city of Pompeii?

The ash that rained down on Pompeii played a part in the destruction of the city. It also led to large parts of it being preserved exactly as it was.

What was the Emperor of Rome considered?

Ancient Romans considered their emperors gods for centuries. Pompeii was no different.

How did the people of Pompeii worship their gods in private?

Many homes and businesses in Pompeii had altars or shrines in their homes. These were dedicated to different gods.

What makes Mount Vesuvius so dangerous today?

Today over 3 million people live in the area near the active volcano. The large metropolitan city of Naples is nearby, and no one knows when Vesuvius will erupt again.

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