Exhibit puts history in new light

Published 3:45 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2007

By Staff
Imagine a bustling community where citizens work and live close together, enjoy sporting events on the weekends, and gather for meals with friends and family.
Imagine that world completely destroyed in less than 24 hours.
We've all heard about Pompeii, the Roman city buried under ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. As a Latin student for four years in high school, I translated entire stories about the kind of characters who must have lived in the small walled city.
But they were just stories.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to see the Pompeii exhibit at Mobile's Exploreum. The exhibit - amazing, though too short - was an opportunity to see just how much the lives of those in Pompeii mirrored our own.
It's difficult to imagine that people who lived not long after the time of Christ had such modern lives. But the objects on display at the Pompeii exhibit show a world much more advanced than we might think for people who lived 2,000 years ago.
And the preservation of those objects through the very means that killed so many people is a cruel irony.
Marble tables that would look at home in the finest living rooms, gold necklaces I'm sure I've seen in stores downtown and medical instruments that look quite a bit like our own are among the items on display at the Exploreum this spring.
Seeing how people lived certainly puts the tragedy of their death into new perspective. The residents of Pompeii lived in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius for years, and most never suspected it was a volcano. They went about their daily lives - living, working and playing together - just as we do.
What they left behind, though, enables us to see how we as humans are connected across centuries and even millennia.
I wonder what we will leave behind.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 867-4876 or by e-mail at kerry.bean@brewtonstandard.com.

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