Humanities West presents a fascinating and educational look at two very different cities that were destroyed by a massive volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The bustling city of Pompeii and the nearby seaside resort town of Herculaneum were perfectly preserved under the ash for centuries, providing an archaeological snapshot of what everyday life was like during the Roman Empire. Stanford University classics professor Gary Devore explains how their rediscovery triggered a wave of excitement about Roman art and culture, with ongoing scientific excavations and historical art investigations continuing to offer fresh insights into ancient daily life and culture, the nature of Roman urbanism, and how the distant past influences today's world. The Friday night seminar wraps up with a performance of the music of father/son composers Domenico and Alessandro Scarlatti by featured guest soloists Anne-Kathryn Olsen (soprano), Danielle Reutter-Harrah (mezzo-soprano), Susie Fong (harpsichord), and Hallie Pridham (violoncello). The Saturday seminar delves deeper into Pompeii's economic life, ongoing archaeological research, the reconstruction -- in vivid detail -- of The House of Julius Polybius in Pompeii, and the public and private paintings created in Pompeii. The day wraps up with a panel discussion in which presenters address written questions from the audience.
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