Pompeii in popular culture
Pompeii served as the background for the historic novels The Last Days of Pompeii (1834) by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (since adapted for film and TV), Arria Marcella (1852) by Théophile Gautier, The Taras Report on Pompeii (1975) by Alan Lloyd as well as appearing in Shadows in Bronze (1990) and other novels in the Marcus Didius Falco series.
Book I of the Cambridge Latin Course teaches Latin while telling the story of a Pompeii resident, Lucius Caecilius Iucundus, from the reign of Nero to that of Vespasian. The book ends when Mount Vesuvius erupts, where Caecilius and his household are killed. The books have a cult following and students have been known to go to Pompeii just to track down Caecilius's house.
The 2003 bestseller novel Pompeii by Robert Harris tells the story of a (fictional) aquarius of the real life Aqua Augusta named Marcus Attilius. The story itself also features a Pliny the Younger reference to the Estate of Julia Felix, as well as also including the Piscina Mirabalis in Misenum, Pliny the Elder, and his nephew Gaius Pliny.
- The Birmingham Museum of Art is hosting Pompeii:Tales from an Eruption from October 2007 to January 2008. The show was on exhibit in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, it will later move on to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.
- Charlotte, North Carolina held an exhibit of "A Day in Pompeii".
- The Naples National Archaeological Museum from October 2007 to March 2008 held an exhibition called "Alma Tadema e la nostalgia dell'antico" or "Alma Tadema and the longing for the antique", showing how Lawrence Alma-Tadema and other painters represented the ruins of Pompeii in their pictures. A book of this exhibition has also been published.
- 1900 - The Last Days of Pompeii (UK), directed by Walter R. Booth.
- 1908 - The Last Days of Pompeii (Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei) (Italy), directed by Arturo Ambrosio and Luigi Maggi.
- 1913 - The Last Days of Pompeii (Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei) (Italy), directed by Mario Caserini.
- 1926 - The Last Days of Pompeii (Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei) (Italy), directed by Carmine Gallone.
- 1935 - The Last Days of Pompeii, an RKO film, with Preston Foster and Basil Rathbone, which carried a disclaimer that, although the scenes of Vesuvius erupting had been inspired by the novel, the movie did not use its plot or characters.
- 1950 - The Last Days of Pompeii (Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei / Les Derniers Jours de Pompéi) (Italy/France), directed by Marcel L'Herbier and Paolo Moffa.
- 1959 - The Last Days of Pompeii (Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei) (Italy), directed by Sergio Leone.
Productions using Pompeii as a story backdrop include:
- 1958 - Curse of the Faceless Man
- 1971 - Up Pompeii a comedy which followed the eponymous TV series (see below), culminating in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
- 2014 - Pompeii an upcoming American film set during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
Pompeii is featured in many television biographies and documentaries. It is also featured in ABC's television series called Roman Mysteries.
- It was the setting for the British comedy television series Up Pompeii!, the 1971 movie of the series Up Pompeii, and its two one-off specials Further Up Pompeii! (1975) and Further Up Pompeii (1991). Only in the movie does Mount Vesuvius actually erupt.
- The Last Days of Pompeii (Italy/UK/U.S.) is a television miniseries from 1984 based on Edward Bulwer-Lytton's book The Last Days of Pompeii.
- In The Simpsons episode The Italian Bob the family visits the remnants of Pompeii where Lisa refers to the numerous victims whose bodies were preserved by the ash in the position they were in the moment they died. One group of plaster cast victims include a family exactly resembling the Simpsons with a Homer look-alike strangling a Bart look-alike.
- Pompeii featured in the second episode of the fourth series of revived BBC drama series Doctor Who, named "The Fires of Pompeii", where it transpires that the Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble caused the eruption in order to save the world from an alien invasion.
- "The Fires of Vulcan" - Doctor Who audio drama in the city just before the eruption with the Seventh Doctor.
- Within the universe of the Highlander franchise, immortals are not allowed to take heads on holy ground. According to the character Joe Dawson in the episode Little Tin God, there is a story that tells of how two immortals engaged on holy ground resulted in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
- In the television series Forever Knight, vampire Lucien Lacroix was a Roman general who returns home to Pompeii to find his daughter Divia has become a vampire. He is turned into a vampire by his daughter during the fall of Pompeii.
- An hour-long drama produced for the BBC entitled Pompeii: The Last Day portrayed several characters (with historically attested names, but fictional life-stories) living in Pompeii, Herculaneum and around the Bay of Naples, and their last hours during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, including that of a fuller and his wife, a duo of gladiators, a family with an adolescent pregnant daughter, and the stories of Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger. It also portrays most of the facts of the eruption. However, it is heavily influenced by Edward Bulwer-Lytton's book The Last Days of Pompeii (see above), which – while being responsible for the popularization of Pompeii in Western culture – has been dismissed for its lack of historical credibility. To give some historical reality to the characters, the death throes of the characters portrayed are based on actual skeletons and bodies found during excavations in the 18th century, while Pliny the Elder's death is shown as based on the accounts of how he actually died. Although in the story the narrator uses reports that Pliny the Elder died from inhaling the fumes of the final and greatest pyroclastic surge, as many reports have found, he most likely still had suffered a heart attack or stroke.
- Pompeii Live, Channel 5, 28 June 2006, 8pm, live archaeological dig.
- Pompeii: Uncovered, National Geographic Asia
In 1769, the famous musical composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, visited the Temple of Isis, which had been recently unearthed. His visit and the memories of the site inspired him 20 years later in his composition of The Magic Flute.
In October 1971, the band Pink Floyd performed at the vacant 2,000-year-old amphitheater in Pompeii, to an audience composed of film crew including camera operators. This performance, including some exterior shots of the ruins, was released as part of a movie entitled "Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii".
Last Days of Pompeii is the 1991 rock opera by alternative rock band Nova Mob.
"Pompeii am Götterdämmerung" is the name of a song by the band The Flaming Lips on their album At War with the Mystics. The song narrates the tale of a couple who, in reaction to their families' rejection of their love, commit suicide together by simultaneously jumping into a volcano.
"Pompeii" is the title of a song written by Seattle-based progressive rock band Gatsbys American Dream. It is the second track of their 2005 release, "Volcano" - based loosely around the story of Pompeii.
A musical track of the same name is also produced by E.S. Posthumus and has been used in films like Planet of the Apes and many others, under the Unearthed album. This music is said to be the favorite among the listeners who have the mentioned album due to the dramatic and imposing tempo.
Canadian band The Tragically Hip's lead singer Gordon Downie refers to a dying family member as "the rock-plug of Vesuvius" in the song Toronto #4.
The city of Pompeii is mentioned in the band, The Mars Volta's song, Cicatriz ESP.
Pompeii is a post-rock band from Austin, Texas USA.
"This Was Pompeii" is the name of a song by Dar Williams about the city.
Pompeii is a composition by the band E.S.Posthumus
There is a popular band from Kentucky named "We Are Pompeii".
Composer Frank Ticheli wrote a song entitled "Vesuvius" which depicts the last days of Pompeii
The Decemberists from Portland, Oregon have a song entitled "Cocoon" which is about the victims of Vesuvius who were encased in volcanic ash.
Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, the seventh studio album by the Finnish rock band HIM, features a song entitled "Like St. Valentine" in which one line reads "Like the couple from Pompeii, our drama's put on display".
Polish singer, songwriter, poet and author, Jacek Kaczmarski wrote a two songs about Pompeii. Pompeja from 1978, depicts last moments of Pompeii and later excavations of it, but allegorically song also refers to Polish cities like Warsaw or Gdańsk, and talk about ignorance of warning signs and voices in times of crisis. Kaczmarski actually wrote this song before seeing Pompeii, which he visited just year later due winning trip to Italy in Students' Song Festival in Cracov in 1978 (or 1979?). Second one, Pompeja Lupanar (or just Pompeja II) from 1980, talks about live of various peoples in Pompeii before Vesuvius eruption.
- The theme park Busch Gardens Williamsburg features an attraction entitled "Escape from Pompeii", which carries riders through the city as flaming ruins topple around them, ending in a fifty-foot plunge.
- Rexford (Rex) Phillips, a.k.a. "Rexino Mondo", wrote, sang, narrated and produced a 210-minute audio book entitled Messenger From Pei in 1992.
- A Macintosh and Windows computer game was called TimeScape: Journey to Pompeii (2000) by DreamCatcher Interactive Inc.. The storyline involved both time travel and ancient pagan gods.
- Pompeii is also the title of an Aristocrat Mark VI slot machine. It features a volcano wild symbol which erupts as well as a free games scatter feature sounding "Veni, Vidi, Vici!"
- English comedian Al Murrays running gag about Italy being lazy includes him saying "Pompeii, clean up for god sake!
- In the PC/XBOX 360 game Darkest of Days, the player fights through the streets of Pompeii as the volcano is erupting in an effort to save 'The Father of Time'.
- Vesuvius is the name of the fictional glam metal band in the 2008 comedy The Rocker, which produces a hit song called "Pompeii Nights", depicting a glorified but grim version of the disaster.
- In the manga NG Life, the story revolves around a Japanese student who has apparently retained his memories of having been a gladiator in Pompeii, who lost his wife in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
- Classics at RGSW
- Alma Tadema and the longing for the antique
- Eugenia Querci, Stefano De Caro, Alma Tadema e la nostalgia dell'antico (Milan 2007) 312 p., ISBN 978883705336.
- BBC - Doctor Who - News - Rome Sweet Rome
- pompeii live | revealed | five.tv
- Romano-Campanian Wall-Painting contains chapters on: The Neoclassicising of Pompeii; Tourism, Romanticism and Pompeii; and Roman Wall-Painting and Film Culture