Aphrodite & Ares at Pompeii

F10_2Aphrodite& Ares PompeiiAphrodite, the Goddess of Love and  her lover, Ares, the God of War are pictured in this fresco in Pompeii, Italy. Aphrodite had many lovers and Ares was one of the long-term paramours. Aphrodite/ Venus was a frequent subject of the artists of the ancient world.

To produce a fresco, paint is applied to wet plaster that has been spread on a wall. While some examples of fresco survive the media itself is susceptible to deterioration over time, destruction by human hands,  and to external damage from weathering, floods, or earthquake.

Frescoes survive in Pompeii probably more often than any other site of the ancient world. In 79 AD  Pompeii, a small but wealthy town on the Mediterranean south of Naples, was buried under volcanic ash and rocks when Vesuvius erupted. Prior to the eruption the volcano was covered by trees, vineyards, villas, and pastureland and the populace was unaware that they were living on a time bomb. The eruption was totally unexpected and resulted in the death of many of the citizens and the preservation of much of Pompeii in a hardened ash and volcanic rock. Consequently, many frescoes – like the one here –  were preserved in all their magnificent colors.  Tomorrow, More Aphrodite.

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