The Hong Kong Jockey Club Series
Mare Nostrum: Roman Navy and Pompeii
8/6/2016 – 29/8/2016
Special Exhibition Gallery, Hong Kong Museum of History
Solely sponsored by
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust
Jointly presented by
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department
The Hong Kong Museum of History
Mare Nostrum – "Our Sea": that was how ancient Romans referred to the Mediterranean Sea. A small city-state in the central Italian Peninsula when it was founded in the eighth century BC, ancient Rome had conquered and claimed as its own vast areas of land bordering the Mediterranean Sea by the first century AD. At the peak of its power, its territory spanned Europe, North Africa and West Asia, making Rome one of the largest empires in the ancient world.
Without its dominance over the Mediterranean Sea, the Roman Empire would not have been able to extend its power beyond its heartlands: benefiting greatly from advances in the knowledge and techniques of navigation, the Romans were able to control harbours and cities along the Mediterranean coastline. The development of maritime navigation was intricately connected to a number of different aspects of Roman society, from transport and commerce, through leisure and entertainment, to war and military defence. When Mount Vesuvius on the west coast of Italy erupted in AD 79, spewing out huge waves of volcanic ash and debris that destroyed the city of Pompeii and other nearby towns, the Roman navy's attempt to evacuate victims by sea marked one of the first recorded civilian rescue missions in history as well as the high point of Roman navigational developments.
Bringing together for the very first time around 110 sets of invaluable exhibits from about 10 museums and heritage organizations in Rome, Naples, Pompeii and other parts of Italy, this exhibition showcases jewellery made of gold and precious metals and stones, silverware, statues, marble reliefs and artefacts recovered from shipwrecks. It is also the first time that museum visitors in Hong Kong will be able to see the stunning full body casts of Pompeii's victims. Together with a great variety of multimedia programmes and 3D animation, visitors will be introduced to the development of Roman maritime navigation and get the chance to experience for themselves the formidable force of the volcano that destroyed Pompeii.