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Ancient Frescoes Found in What Was a Hotel at Pompeii

November 09, 2000

Frescoes nearly 2,000 years old have been discovered in what appears to be the remains of a luxury hotel at Pompeii, the Italian city destroyed in AD 79 by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. One of the best preserved frescoes (above) portrays Calliope, the Greek muse of epic poetry, against a vivid red backdrop. Others depict Erato, the lyre-playing patron of erotic lyric poetry, and Urania, the muse of astronomy. Salvatore Nappo, the archeologist in charge at the site, said the luxurious building suggests Pompeii was at the peak of its wealth when it was buried in lava and volcanic ash.

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--Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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