Escape from Pompeii: the untold Roman rescue is at the Maritime Museum in Fremantle


A cast of two of the residents of Pompeii embracing when the Vesuvius eruption hit-part of the new Maritime Museum exhibition.
A cast of two of the residents of Pompeii embracing when the Vesuvius eruption hit-part of the new Maritime Museum exhibition.

THEY have survived a volcanic eruption, the obliteration of a city and almost 2000 years underground, but now some of Pompeii’s most prized artefacts are in Fremantle for a new exhibition.

Many know the plight of the Pompeii residents who succumbed to the lava, ash and gas spewing from Mount Vesuvius, but few have heard of the Roman navy’s attempts to save them.

WA Museum chief executive Alec Coles said this story would be brought to life in the new exhibition Escape from Pompeii: the untold Roman rescue.

“This exhibition offers new insight into the Pompeii tragedy by focusing on the story of the Roman navy’s dramatic rescue attempt, ordering ships into the heart of the danger when everyone else was fleeing,” he said.

“I’m sure that many people are aware of the eruption but I think few would know about the Roman navy’s attempt to rescue victims stranded at the foot of the volcano.

“That’s what makes this new exhibition so interesting.

“The exhibition features rare artefacts from Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Bay of Naples and includes precious gold and jewellery, everyday household objects and, of course, most haunting of all, replicas of the body casts of victims of the eruption, capturing their final living moments.”

Escape from Pompeii: the untold Roman rescue is at the Maritime Museum in Fremantle until February.