Pompeii was the sight of human tragedy and probably the most important documented tragedy of destruction in ancient history. On 24, August AD 79, Mt. Vesuvius erupted and burned Pompeii under a blanket of ash and lava flow. As the day ended, the eruption had stopped. Pompeii buried in ash became a time capsule for later discovery. The life of the Pompeian's and their city were frozen in time. The volcanic eruption destroyed Pompeii, burying and fossilizing thousands of their citizens in less than twenty-four hours. Fifteen hundred years later, Pompeii was accidently discovered, opening up its secrets and giving us a look at its history, the ancient city, its location and its destruction; furthermore a chance to explore and discover a once flourishing town of Roman inhabitants who were all but forgotten and buried.
The history of Pompeii is learned through strong archaeological evidence that has been dug up in excavations in and around Pompeii. The archaeological items that have been unearthed, exhibit early Greek and Roman influences that suggest that Pompeii was founded in the 6th century. In the book, Daily Life in a Roman City: Rome, Pompeii and Ostia written by Gregory Aldrete, Aldrete writes that Pompeii probably became its final development when the Samnites, an Oscan speaking people, settled into a community (221). Mary Beard, author of the book, The Fires of Vesuvius wrote that the Samnites were a "tough race of mountain warriors " who in pre- Roman Italy took control of the region of Campania after defeating the Greeks at Cumae in 420 BC. This only fifty years later, after the Greeks were able to defeat the Etruscans. (Beard 35).
Pompeii continued to evolve in the third century with the formation of many forums, and street grids. By 290 BCE, the Samnites fell to the control of the Romans but, the city still retained its Samnite characteristics (Aldrete 221). In 91 BC, a "Social War " broke out between Rome and its Italian allies, including Pompeii.