Historical Reprints History Museum of Antiquity

Museum of Antiquity

Museum of Antiquity
Catalog # SKU2295
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 2.00 lbs
Author Name L.W. Yaggy T.L. Haines


Museum of Antiquity

A Description Of
Ancient Life:
Employments, Amusements, Customs And Habits.
The Cities, Palaces, Monuments And Tombs.
The Literature And Fine Arts
Of 3,000 Years Ago

L.W. Yaggy
T.L. Haines
187 Illustrations

Egypt, Greece and Italy were the fountain heads of our civilization and the source of our knowledge; to them we can trace, link by link, the origin of all that is ornamental, graceful and beautiful. It is therefore a matter of greatest interest to get an intimate knowledge of the original state, and former perfection, the grandeur, magnificence and high civilization of these countries, as well as of the homes, the private and domestic life, the schools, churches, rites, ceremonies, &c.



The many recent excavations in Troy, Nineveh, Babylon and the uncovering of the City of Pompeii, with its innumerable treasures, the unfolding of the long-hoarded secrets, have revealed information for volumes of matter. But works that treat on the various subjects of antiquity are, for the most part, not only costly and hard to procure, but also far too voluminous. The object of this work is to condense into the smallest possible compass the essence of information which usually runs through many volumes, and place it into a practical form for the common reader. We hope, however, that this work will give the reader a greater longing to extend his inquiries into these most interesting subjects, so rich in everything that can refine the taste, enlarge the understanding and improve the heart. It has been our object, so far as possible, to avoid every expression of opinion, whether our own or that of any school of thinkers, and to supply first, facts, and secondly, careful references by which the citations of those facts, may be verified, and the inferences from them traced by the reader himself, to their legitimate result.

Before we close, we would tender our greatest obligations to the English and German authors, from whom we have drawn abundantly in preparing this work; also to the Directors of the British Museum of London, and the Society of Antiquarians of Berlin, and especially to the authorities of the excavated City of Pompeii and its treasures in the Museum of Naples, where we were furnished with an intelligent guide and permitted to spend days in our researches. To each and all of these, who have so kindly promoted our labor, our heartfelt thanks are cordially returned.

Many of the engravings are from drawings made on the spot, but a greater number are from photographs, and executed with the greatest fidelity by German and French artists.

Pompeii was in its full glory at the commencement of the Christian era. It was a city of wealth and refinement, with about 35,000 inhabitants, and beautifully located at the foot of Mount Vesuvius; it possessed all local advantages that the most refined taste could desire. Upon the verge of the sea, at the entrance of a fertile plain, on the bank of a navigable river, it united the conveniences of a commercial town with the security of a military station, and the romantic beauty of a spot celebrated in all ages for its pre-eminent loveliness. Its environs, even to the heights of Vesuvius, were covered with villas, and the coast, all the way to Naples, was so ornamented with gardens and villages, that the shores of the whole gulf appeared as one city.

What an enchanting picture must have presented itself to one approaching Pompeii by sea! He beheld the bright, cheerful Grecian temples spreading out on the slopes before him; the pillared Forum; the rounded marble Theatres. He saw the grand Palaces descending to the very edge of the blue waves by noble flights of steps, surrounded with green pines, laurels and cypresses, from amidst whose dark foliage marble statues of gods gleamed whitely.

The skillful architect, the sculptors, the painters, and the casters of bronze were all employed to make Pompeii an asylum of arts; all trades and callings endeavored to grace and beautify the city. The prodigious concourse of strangers who came here in search of health and recreation added new charms and life to the scene.

But behind all this, and encased as it were in a frame, the landscape rose in a gentle slope to the summit of the thundering mountain. But indications were not wanting of the peril with which the city was threatened. The whole district is volcanic; and a few years before the final catastrophe, an earthquake had shaken Pompeii to its foundations; some of the buildings were much injured. On August 24, A.D. 79, the inhabitants were busily engaged in repairing the damage thus wrought, when suddenly and without any previous warning a vast column of black smoke burst from the overhanging mountain. Rising to a prodigious height in the cloudless summer sky, it then gradually spread out like the head of some mighty Italian pine, hiding the sun, and overshadowing the earth for miles in distance.

The darkness grew into profound night, only broken by the blue and sulphurous flashes which darted from the pitchy cloud. Soon the thick rain of thin, light ashes, almost imperceptible to the touch, fell upon the land. Then quickly succeeded shower of small pumice stones and heavier ashes, and emitting stifling eruptic fumes. After a time the sounds of approaching torrent were heard, and soon streaming rivers of dense black mud poured slowly but irresistibly down the mountain sides, and circled through the streets, insidiously creeping into such recesses as even the subtle ashes had failed to penetrate.

There was now no place of shelter left. No man could defend himself against this double enemy. It was too late for flight for such as had remained behind. Those who had taken refuge in the innermost parts of the houses, or in the subterranean passages, were closed up forever. Those who sought to flee through the streets were clogged by the small, loose pumice stones, which lay many feet deep, or were entangled and overwhelmed in the mud-streams, or were struck down by the rocks which fell from the heavens. If they escaped these dangers, blinded by the drifting ashes and groping in the dark, not knowing which way to go, they were overcome by the sulphurous vapors, and sinking on the highway were soon buried beneath the volcanic matter. Even many who had gained the open country, at the beginning of the eruption, were overtaken by the darkness and falling cinders, and perished miserably in the field or on the sea-shore, where they had vainly sought the means of flight.

515+ pages - 10¾ x 8¼ softcover

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