History and historical sources Jean-Paul Descœudres
The sources of information at our disposal to reconstruct the history of Pompeiican be subdivided into two main categories: the written and the unwritten. The first includes some fifty passages in ancient (Greek and Latin) literature and over 11,000 inscriptions found in the city itself.1 The second category is much more diverse and comprises geographical, geomorphological, and topographical data and, most importantly, the archaeological evidence which means all material remains left behind by the Pompeians. The first part of this chapter aims at a brief examination and assessment of these various sources, illustrating each kind with specific examples. In the second part an attempt is made to sketch a historical survey of the town by combining the information gained from the sources presented in the first part.