The Walls of Pompeii / by Anthony Gibbins

The city of Pompeii, that which is contained within its walls, measures approximately 66 hectares. It was enclosed by a 3.2 kilometer or 2 mile wall. The city could be entered or departed through seven gates, five of which led to other towns in the Campania region. The porta gate shown in this photo is the Porta Marina, the gate closest to the Forum and that which led to the town’s harbor. Fishing and maritime trade were important aspects of the Roman economy, and sailors, merchants and visitors would have passed through this gate daily. It is interesting that, despite the huge changes that took place in Pompeii between its birth and its destruction in 79 AD, the circuit of the town walls on their present line dates back to the sixth century BC.

And there are sharp differences of opinion about how the area within the walls was used in the sixth century BCE. One view holds that it was mostly enclosed farmland, and that our [archaeological] finds come from isolated agricultural buildings or cottages or rural sanctuaries. A more recent and rival position sees a much more developed urban framework, even at this early date. This does not mean that sixth-century Pompeii was a densely occupied town in our sense. In fact, even in 79 CE there was plenty of open, cultivated land within the circuit of the walls. Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town, Mary Beard, 2008

Today I arrived at Pompeii so early that the sun was not yet in the sky. The entire town is surrounded by tall walls. I entered through one of the gates.

The Lego model of Pompeii is housed in the Nicholson Museum of The University of Sydney, Australia. Entry to the museum is entirely free, and you may visit Monday to Friday between 10:00 and 4:30. The Nicholson is Australia’s oldest University museum and contains the largest collection of antiquities in the Southern Hemisphere.  

The Pompeii model was commissioned by the Nicholson and constructed by LEGO Professional Builder Ryan McNaught. It is the third such model the museum has exhibited, following the Colosseum and Acropolis.  The Colosseum was returned to McNaught and recently exhibited around Australia. The Acropolis was denoted by the Nicholson to the Acropolis Museum in Athens. The Pompeii model is estimated to include 190 000 bricks and took 420 hours to complete.