PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mask of Thalia fresco from the wall of the Murecine hotel, Pompeii, Italy. Thalia was the Muse of Comedy in mythology. The Murecine was a large hotel and restaurant complex on the outskirts of Pompeii. It was destroyed, along with the rest of the town, by the eruption of the nearby volcano Vesuvius in 79 AD. The eruption buried the town under a thick layer of ash, which preserved the buildings, artifacts, artworks and even human remains in excellent condition. Excavations of the site have provided an enormous amount of information about the daily lives of Roman people at the time. The area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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