Pompeii was founded in the 8th century B.C. by the Oscans, a tribe of peasants and shepherds. By the 6th century B.C. the area was under Greek influence. About 400 B.C. the city was conquered by the Samnites. Rome conquered Pompeii in 80 B.C.
Above you can see how central Pompeii would likely have appeared from overhead before it was destroyed. The large open area, called the forum, is where urban life was focused. The layout of this once vibrant town was a scaled down version of Rome, a model repeated in towns and cities throughout the Roman Empire.
By 79 A.D. Pompeii was a city covering 160 acres with a population of 20,000. Sixty percent of the inhabitants were free and 40% were slaves.
A prosperous harbor town, part Roman and part Greek, Pompeii was similar in many ways to Corinth of the first century A.D. By better understanding life in Pompeii, we can gain insight about the New Testament books of First and Second Corinthians.