We took the opportunity of the Hari Raya Haji holiday to visit the Pompeii exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore. Pompeii holds special interest for us because Kenneth and I visited the actual site when we were touring Italy as part of the Europe student tour back when we were undergraduates. For Lesley-Anne, she studied Pompeii under history in sec 1.
For those not in the know, Pompeii was a bustling roman town with a population of about 20,000 until Mount Vesuvius erupted and completely buried the city in 4m of volcanic ash and pumice in 79 CE. It was then forgotten until the mid-18th century when archaeologists restored it.
Because it was completely covered, much of the infrastructure and objects were well preserved, giving us a rare glimpse into life back then. They even found complete casts of humans and animals in their exact positions when they died. Can you imagine the terror they must have felt?
Pompeii revealed that many of the modern amenities and conveniences we enjoy today already existed back then, the Pompeiians were very advanced in their day. They had a monetary system (left) and scales (right).
They had medicine with intricate medical implements (left) and an aqueduct system which supplied running water directly via lead pipes to fountains and public baths, which the Romans loved. This pic on the right shows a faucet. The Pompeiians even had a heated swimming pool!
Dice was a popular game and we were so amused to learn that even back then, they had loaded dice! Looks like cheating is as old as time.
Roman art and pottery was as refined and exquisite as they come. Here's a glass cremation urn and a fountain from a rich man's house with an elaborate mosaic fresco (wall painting).
And you thought the "Beware of Dog" sign was a modern invention! (Kenneth and I saw the actual one - it's made of mosaic and at the doorstep of a rich man's house. Hysterical!)
The Romans of course, are famous for their military might. This is a pic of their armour - shoulder and shin guards, and a small shield.
On the streets of Pompeii.
The exhibition is on until 23 Jan 2011. Tickets for adults are $12 each and local students get free entry. It's a super deal, visitors can take home a free activity pack and near the exit, loads of kids were crafting a paper gladiator helmet provided freely. That's what I call a child-friendly exhibition.