On August 24th in the year 79 A.D. the Roman city of Pompeii was buried by a massive volcanic explosion from nearby Mount Vesuvius. The city, which sits on the Bay of Naples in Italy (South of Rome), was frozen in time and miraculously preserved by the volcanic ash. This eruption took place during the height of the Roman Empire. Just one year before the Roman Colloseum opened it’s doors in the capital city.
Pompeii lay buried until the 18th century. When excavators began to uncover the city from the rubble, they were amazed at the large collection of sexual images, in particular the abundance of phalluses throughout the city. They were found carved into walls and pathways, and depicted throughout homes in murals, household items and hanging mobiles. The excavation of the Roman city continues today. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has over 2 million visitors each year.
Art & Sex in Pomepeii
In ancient Rome, including Pompeii, sex was openly Acknowledged and Celebrated. Sexuality was an ordinary daily part of every Roman’s life, just as it is for our lives, though we don’t like to talk about it openly. The idea that you would be hiding sexuality in any way, to an Ancient Roman, would seem absurd.
Sexuality was commonly a part of religious expression and rituals. It eventually got removed from western religious practice largely through Judeo-Christianity.
Murals and Wall Paintings depicting Nudity and Sexuality were prevalent and commonplace throughout homes and public spaces.
|Casa del Centenario||Mural on Wall in the Garden|
|Pompeian Public Baths||Pompeian Mural Painting|
|Mural of Dionysiac Mysteries Initiation||Mural of Dionysiac Mysteries Initiation|
|Mural from House of the Gladiator
|Mural from Dining Room (Triclinium) of
a Pompeian Home
|Mural from Household Shrine|