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Pompeii “never ceases to surprise us”: frescoes inspired by the Trojan War discovered under the ashes

Splendid frescoes inspired by the Trojan War adorning a banquet hall were discovered in Pompeii, the archaeological site located near Naples, in southern Italy, announced Thursday April 11.

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Pompeii “never ceases to surprise us”: frescoes inspired by the Trojan War discovered under the ashes

Splendid frescoes inspired by the Trojan War adorning a banquet hall were discovered in Pompeii, the archaeological site located near Naples, in southern Italy, announced Thursday April 11. This room of imposing dimensions (15 by 6 meters) presents refined decorations of mythological subjects standing out on walls with a black background as well as mosaics, testifying to the luxurious lifestyle reigning in the ancient city destroyed and buried under the ashes in year 79 by the eruption of Vesuvius.

The dominant theme of the cycle of frescoes is heroism, through representations of the pairs of heroes and deities protagonists of the Trojan War, but these paintings also evoke destiny and the ways in which humans can modify it.

Among the characters represented are Helen and Paris, the Trojan prince who kidnapped the latter, wife of the king of Sparta, Menelaus, triggering the Trojan War. We also discover Cassandra, sister of Paris, and the god Apollo, from whom she received the gift of telling the future even if her predictions will never be believed, including by her family. She thus warned her compatriots in vain that the horse offered by the Greeks was a subterfuge which would lead Troy to its downfall. “The frequent presence of mythological figures on frescoes in the reception rooms of Roman houses had precisely the social function of entertaining guests and guests, providing subjects for conversation and reflection on the meaning of existence,” explained the direction of Pompeii.

Practical and fascinating detail: the walls were painted black to prevent traces of smoke from the lanterns from being seen. In this room, “we gathered for banquets after sunset, the flickering light of the lanterns gave the impression that the painted images were coming to life, especially after a few glasses of good wine,” the director of Pompeii poetically noted , the Italian-German Gabriel Zuchtriegel.

Pompeii “never ceases to surprise us because every time we dig, we find something beautiful and meaningful,” said Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano. The volcanic ash spewed 2000 years ago by Vesuvius sedimented on most of the homes of Pompeii, which allowed them to be almost completely preserved, as did many of the bodies of the 3000 deaths caused by the catastrophe.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pompeii, the second most visited tourist site in Italy after the Colosseum in Rome, covers a total area of ​​approximately 22 hectares, a third of which is still buried under ashes.

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