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Location: Oplontis, Campania  Map




Plan of the villa Poppaea in Oplontis

Oplontis Map


Description of Villa Poppaea in Oplontis


Oplontis is a city buried by mount Vesuvius eruption of August 24th, 79 AD along with Pompeii and Herculaneum. It is located in modern city of Torre Annunziata. The most famous feature of Oplontis is Villa Poppaea once owned by second wife of emperor Nero. Poppaea Sabina did not live to see the destruction of her beloved home. In 65 AD she was killed by her husband who kicked her in the abdomen in the late stages of her pregnancy according to Suetonius. After death of Nero in 69 AD the Oplontis villa changed hands was probably in the state of reconstruction when eruption happened. Roof tiles were preserved thus preventing massive damages to the frescoes inside villa that are some for the most colorful and beautiful left since the Ancient Roman Empire. Although coins and jewelry were found inside the house, archaeologists did not discover remains of human victims. This led to suggestion that the inhabitants of the Oplontis villa had enough sense to abandon riches of the private residence and flee for safety. 


Oplontis Washroom. Wooden seats was not get preserved, but gutter is still visible.



Villa of L. Crassius Tertius aka Vila B of Oplontis


OplontisVilla of L. Crassius Tertius aka Vila B of Oplontis has kept an interesting secret since the eruption. On that August day mount Vesuvius quickly spew tons of ash and geologic material into air. The skies over Bay of Naples made everything dark. There was virtually no way to get out of here without a torch or a lamp. Volcanic pumice was falling down. So many decided to hide in the underground structures. Unfortunately this proved to be a costly mistake. Over 50 people were entombed in their underground hiding place.


One of the most striking things about this cache of skeletons in this part of Oplontis is a distinct difference in the social classes. Survivors of the first wave of an eruption even in a face of deadly threat separated into two groups. One was obviously rich, while another was obviously very poor. While analysis of both groups of skeletons showed relatively good nutrition and similar state of health, the items they took with them very different. Many in the rich group had golden bracelets, ear rings, silver and gold coins. One of the women carried over a sum that was equivalent to 10 years of annual pay to a regular Roman legionnaire. Another difference that divided the two groups was ironically the color of their bones. Those who had many bronze coins and bronze items had their bodies covered in a superficial patina of green color. Green color came from the oxidized metal that over time seeped through ground and covered bodies of its former owners. The poor group did not have none of such discoloration.


One of the surprising things that were discovered here two bodies of victims of obvious Sub- Saharan African descent. One man and one women were actually present in the rich group of skeletons. The body of a man, just like many other bodies of his class were covered by green patina indicating that he was buried along with some personal treasure.


One of the saddest archeological findings in Oplontis also lie near by. It is body of a woman who was pregnant at the time of the eruption. She obviously couldn't run from the danger and instead decided to stay in the cellar. It spelled here doom as well as death to her unborn child. Little bones that were discovered next to her indicated that she was in he ninth or eight month of pregnancy and was supposed to give birth very soon. She and her child were sealed underground where they died.









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