Geometry and Pompeii

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Geometry and Significance of Pompeii and Herculaneum

May 4, 2014


Patrick Wilson

Geometry and Significance of Pompeii and Herculaneum

Geometry can be found in a wide array of fields like art, architecture, and science. When looking at these different art forms most people know that when an artist paints a painting, or when an architect designs and builds a building, they placing items with purpose, but what they fail to realize is that they are using forms of geometry to place these items more purposefully. Looking back in ancient times, this geometry can be found in many places. Two cities designed around geometry are Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Pompeii and Herculaneum site along the western coast of Italy, a perfect place to build to thriving roman cities, access to the water make them perfect for trade. In the background sat the looming giant of Mount Vesuvius, an active volcano.

In 79 A.D. Mt. Vesuvius erupted destroying both cities and killing about 2000 and covering Herculaneum in mud and Pompeii in ash (Calter, 2008). In 1748 Pompeii was discovered and excavated by a team which discovered that there was more to the city than a resort for the wealthy and trade, but was geometrically laid out. Later Herculaneum was discovered buried in 65 feet of mud, and like Pompeii, it too had been preserved by the layers that buried it. With the mud and ash acting as a protective barrier from the elements, buildings and even people were unearthed intact allowing scientists to carefully examine the two cities.

What did they discover, both cities used geometry in constructing their buildings. In Pompeii the Labyrinth, which was two squares side by side creating a rectangle, the length was 116 Oscan ft. In Herculaneum the Samnite, the same two squares were used...