The Untold Roman Rescue
International exhibition featuring 2,000 year old artefacts from Pompeii, Sicily, Naples and Rome.
Many people know of the tragic eruption in 79 AD that buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum under huge avalanches of volcanic ash and debris, preserving them and the eruption’s victims for 2000 years. Few, however, would know that the Roman navy attempted to evacuate people affected by the eruption or its important role in the success of the Roman Empire.
The fleet was led by the fleet’s commander Pliny the Elder, who was not a military man – he was famous for his writings, not for any warlike exploits. In 79 AD he had just completed his Natural History, an encyclopedia of how the Romans understood the world around them – a reference work for the masses that would continue to be used for the next 2,000 years.
We know of the rescue attempt through the letters of his nephew Pliny the Younger. Around 17 years old at the time of the eruption, he was living with his uncle and his mother at the naval base at Misenum, across the bay from Pompeii. He was asked many years later to write an account of what happened to his uncle on that fateful day – it is the only surviving firsthand account of the disaster and the attempted rescue of civilians by the Roman navy.
The exhibition brings to Australia rare artefacts from sites from around the Bay of Naples: Pompeii, Herculaneum and lesser-known ones such as Baiae, Puteoli and Misenum. They give insight into the lives of sailors of the Roman fleet and to the people who lived on the Bay of Naples, considered by many Romans to be the most beautiful place on earth – that was, until the eruption.
Visitors will see:
Gain a greater understanding of the significant objects, the important role of the Roman navy in the Roman Empire and how the Roman navy attempted to evacuate people affected by the eruption. Week days at 3pm.
How Pliny the Elder led the Roman navy on a voyage to save the people of Pompeii during the cataphoric eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD.
Download our Pompeii Kids Activity Trails.
An extraordinary opportunity for teachers and students, Escape from Pompeii covers key areas of the History Syllabus, both for NSW and nationally, with a series of targeted education programs being developed to accompany the exhibition.
See Our Pompeii: School Excursions Page for more information.
Delve further into histories most famous archaeological site with a selection of books and DVDs available at our online store or when you visit the exhibition.
A Day in Pompeii is a 3D rendering of the final days of Pompeii, following the exact timetable of events, showing you what it was like living those final hours under the shadow of an erupting Mount Vesuvius.
Ever wondered what goes on behind-the-scenes of an ancient history exhibition?
Tie on your togas and travel back in time to the heyday of the Roman Empire these school holidays with activities, performances, art making, tours, creative workshops and more to enjoy!
Grab a bite to eat at Yots Café and enjoy the Roman-inspired menu.
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Escape from Pompeii is developed by the Australian National Maritime Museum in association with Expona and Contemporanea Progetti.
Scale model of the full size operating replica of the
Athenian trireme OLYMPIAS 5th century BC, commissioned into the Greek
Navy in 1987.
The model that currently hangs in the foyer of the Maritime Museum is an exact replica of fully functioning life-sized replica of the 5th century trireme, the Olympias, added to the Greek navy in 1987. In its sea trials, Olympias proved fast and highly maneuverable, attaining a speed of 17km per hour and able to perform a 180 degree turn in one minute.
The Olympias is on loan from the Hellenic Maritime Museum and will be on display at the museum in conjunction with the exhibition Escape from Pompeii – The Untold Roman Rescue, until the end of August 2017.
Triremes were the standard warship of the ancient Mediterranean world
for nine hundred years from the 5th BC to the 4th AD. Triremes had
three banks (remes) of rowers on each side, hence the name. 170 rowers
were required. A flute player kept them in
time, with 10 sailors and 5 officers to sail the vessel. The metal ram (rostrum) at the bow of
the trireme was the primary weapon used to disable and sink enemy
The complement of soldiers on board was quite small, with only 10 armoured spearmen (hoplites) and 4 archers.
All this has been made possible with the kind support of the following 'Friends of the Trireme':
The museum has partnered with our friends at Foxtel's HISTORY channel to produce a range of short videos exploring some of the key themes of the exhibition.
In this series – to be aired on HISTORY – and also available here online - we delve into ancient maritime archaeology from the bay of Naples, uncover the life of Pliny, and gain a better understanding of the surprisingly sophisticated life of the citizens of Pompeii.
Don't miss out on a delicious break during your visit to the museum.
Click on the links below to view our new Pompeii-inspired:
Our special thanks to all the museums who have lent objects used in Escape from Pompeii:
Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
Parco Archeologico dei Campi Flegrei
Soprintendenza Speciale di Pompei
Museo della Nave di Comacchio
Soprintendenza del Mare
Australian Centre of Ancient Numismatics Studies
Museum of Ancient Cultures, Macquarie University
Nicholson Museum, Sydney University Museums
The Art of Science
Extended to 6:00 pm in January
Last boarding time for Submarine and Tall Ships – 4.10pm
Closed Christmas Day 25 December.
+61 2 9298 3777
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© Copyright 2013
Australia National Maritime Museum
Every day 9.30 am - 5 pm
Extend to 6.00 pm in January
Closed Xmas Day 25 Dec.
2 Murrey Street
sydney NSW 2000, AU
+61 2 9298 3777