Is Pompeii an Ancient Civilization?

Pompeii is a name that resonates with history buffs and archeology enthusiasts alike. This ancient city, located in the Campania region of Italy, was buried under volcanic ash and pumice when Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79.

For centuries, Pompeii lay beneath the surface until it was rediscovered in the late 16th century. Since then, it has been a topic of fascination for many people around the world.

But is Pompeii an ancient civilization? The answer to this question may not be as straightforward as it seems.

What is an Ancient Civilization?

Before we can answer this question, we need to understand what constitutes an ancient civilization. An ancient civilization is typically defined as a complex society that has developed in a specific geographic location over a long period of time. These societies are characterized by their own unique culture, language, art, religion, political systems, and economy.

The History of Pompeii

Pompeii was founded in the 7th or 6th century BC by Oscan-speaking people who were later influenced by Greek culture. Over time, the city became a thriving hub of commerce and industry due to its strategic location near the Bay of Naples.

The Roman Empire conquered Pompeii in 80 BC and made it a prosperous Roman colony. Many public buildings such as theaters, temples, and baths were constructed during this period.

In AD 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried Pompeii under several feet of volcanic ash and pumice. The city remained untouched for centuries until it was rediscovered by archeologists in the late 16th century.

Is Pompeii an Ancient Civilization?

Based on the definition provided earlier, it can be argued that Pompeii does not qualify as an ancient civilization. While Pompeii did have its own unique culture and language, it did not develop over a long period of time in a specific geographic location. Instead, it was primarily influenced by the Greek and Roman cultures that dominated the Mediterranean region at the time.

However, Pompeii was an important city during its time and played a significant role in the ancient world. Its ruins provide valuable insights into the daily lives of people living in that era.


In conclusion, Pompeii may not be considered an ancient civilization in the traditional sense. Nevertheless, its history and archeological remains continue to captivate people around the world. The city’s legacy is a reminder of the fragility of human life and how easily it can be wiped out by natural disasters like volcanic eruptions.