The Ruined Ruins

By Nadeau, Barbie Latza | Newsweek, January 17, 2011 | Go to article overview

The Ruined Ruins


Nadeau, Barbie Latza, Newsweek


Byline: Barbie Latza Nadeau

You may have thought Pompeii died after that battle with Vesuvius in A.D. 79. In fact, the gloriously preserved Roman town is being destroyed now, thanks to human neglect.

In early November a building where athletes once trained to fight collapsed into a pile of rubble. Since then, structures have been tumbling down at an astonishing rate. Huge sections of a garden wall around the House of the Moralist fell on two separate occasions. In early December an ancient shop and the House of the Small Lupanare were reduced to heaps of mortar. Shelves regularly fall from the moldings, and a wooden scaffolding put in place a half-century ago is visibly rotting. Reports in the local newspaper suggest that many more buildings have crumbled without a mention. The government blames an unusually rainy autumn for the recent damage, but since 2008 there have been 15 major catastrophes that experts attribute to neglect. The irony is that if any city should know how to deal with ruins, it's this one: Pompeii.

The ruins of Pompeii, destroyed after the Italian volcano Mount Vesuvius blew its top in A.D. 79, have actually been falling apart for years. "The real truth is, no one has done anything to secure these ancient excavations since they were excavated," says Claudio D'Alessio, mayor of Pompeii. "You'd think that at least [the recent destruction] would have prompted an intervention to prevent new collapses, but there's not much more than a few fences to make sure the next collapse doesn't hurt anyone." Pompeii has intermittently been on the World Monuments Fund's list of endangered sites to watch, and UNESCO dispatched an unprecedented emergency mission to the city in early December after the House of Gladiators fell. Experts from the International Council on Monuments and Sites studied the damage at more than a dozen of Pompeii's most popular relics and demanded that streets be closed on Jan. 1 while emergency fortifications are put in place. But those Band-Aids have about as much chance of saving the city as the locals did when Vesuvius erupted. Some experts predict that Pompeii as we know it is unlikely to survive even beyond the next decade.

Unfortunately, the good people of Pompeii--or at least the ones with the power to throw the city a life vest--beg to differ. Jeannette Papadopoulos, superintendent of the Pompeii archeological park, warns against "useless alarmism" after the recent collapses. "These types of events are expected over the course of the life of a 2,000-year-old vast archeological site," she says. And according to a shocking statement issued in December by Italy's culture minister, Sandro Bondi, the buildings that fell were hardly worth saving. "The collapse did not involve anything of artistic, archeological, or historical worth," he wrote. The preservation community promptly called for his resignation, though it does that almost every time a Pompeii structure crumbles to dust and nothing is done. Well, not exactly nothing. Guards have cordoned off several streets, patrolling vigilantly to make sure none of the 3 million tourists who visit each year steps, sits, or even leans on anything precarious lest it, too, turn to rubble.

If Bondi's and Papadopoulos's arguments hold as much water as a cobblestone street, that's because the government knows full well what it would take to save Pompeii--money. The region of Campania is in financial straits due to a crippling garbage crisis that has seen millions siphoned from all departments and shoveled into waste removal. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Ruined Ruins
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.