Preserved with eerie delicacy in volcanic lava and ash, the remains of Pompeii provide an intimate and detailed insight into life in a Roman resort town in the 1st century CE. Over 1,100 bodies have been found in the areas so far excavated, suggesting on overall death toll within the town approaching 2,000; many more would have died in flight on the surrounding beaches and countryside. Temples to the major deities fringed the main forum, which was also flanked by the Basilica – a business/administrative centre – and the Eumachia, a statue dedicated to the prominent priestess of Pompeii’s imperial cult. Nearby was the Macellum, a market where fresh produce was sold. Recreation was obviously of prime importance; this is evidenced by two theatres, an amphitheatre for public games and four public baths. The city was fortified by a surrounding wall, with seven access gates. The Palaestra was both an academy with a sporting emphasis, and public meeting place.
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