Pompeii’s revenge?

I was amused to see that light-fingered but superstitious visitors to Pompeii are suffering from pilferer’s remorse.  The Telegraph reports:

Tourists who took relics from the ruined Roman city have been returning them to the site, claiming they are cursed.

One man wrote from Latin America saying that he and his entire family had experienced “trauma after trauma” after he took a piece of stone from Pompeii.

Massimo Osanna, Pompeii’s archaeological superintendent, said he had received up to a hundred packages from across the world in recent years containing items from the site, often accompanied by letters explaining the relics had brought them bad luck.

. . .

The “curse of Pompeii” is an old story that says the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 was punishment inflicted by the gods after legionaries destroyed holy buildings.

“At a certain point, people started believing in this story again,” said Mr Osanna. “Even proper thieves have returned things to us.”

In one instance, five packages were sent to Pompeii containing stolen items, including a bronze statue that had disappeared in 1987. The accompanying letter was sent from Spain and the writer complained the statue had brought a “curse on his entire family”.

. . .

Mr Osanna is considering setting up an exhibition of all the letters he has received, calling it “What I brought back from Pompeii”.

There’s more at the link.

One’s heard of crime and punishment, of course:  but considering the stone that the eruption of Vesuvius threw out, this may be a case of the pumice-ment fitting the crime!



  1. They told us in Hawaii the same curse goes for natural items taken from the islands. Bad luck falling on the taker.

    I'm not sure its real, but I'm not willing to take the risk – Life is hard enough without extra baggage making it more miserable.

  2. It's all just as well.
    People have no business desecrating and looting from any kind of historical site in the first place anyway.

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