A Brief History of Dumplings: An Animated Introduction

Dumplings are so delicious and so venerable, it’s understandable why more than one country would want to claim authorship.

As cultural food historian Miranda Brown discovers in her TED-Ed animation, dumplings are among the artifacts found in ancient tombs in western China, rock hard, but still recognizable.

Scholar Shu Xi sang their praises over 1,700 years ago in a poem detailing their ingredients and preparation. He also indicated that the dish was not native to China.

Lamb stuffed dumplings flavored with garlic, yogurt, and herbs were an Ottoman Empire treat, circa 1300 CE.

The 13th-century Mongol invasions of Korea resulted in mass casualties , but the silver lining is, they gave the world mandoo.

The Japanese Army’s brutal occupation of China during World War II gave them a taste for dumplings that led to the creation of gyoza.

Eastern European pelmenipierogi and vareniki may seem like variations on a theme to the uninitiated, but don’t expect a Ukrainian or Russian to view it that way.

Is the history of dumplings really just a series of bloody conflicts, punctuated by periods of relative harmony wherein everyone argues over the best dumplings in NYC?

Brown takes some mild potshots at cuisines whose dumplings are closer to dough balls than “plump pockets of perfection”, but she also knows her audience and wisely steers clear of any positions that might lead to playground fights.

Relax, kids, however your grandma makes dumplings, she’s doing it right.

It’s hard to imagine sushi master Naomichi Yasuda dialing his opinions down to preserve the status quo.

A purist – and favorite of Anthony Bourdain – Chef Yasuda is unwavering in his convictions that there is one right way, and many wrong ways to eat and prepare sushi.

He’s far from priggish, instructing customer Joseph George, for VICE Asia MUNCHIES in the proper handling of a simple piece of sushi after it’s been lightly dipped, fish side down, in soy sauce:

Don’t shake it. Don’t shake it! Shaking is just to be finished at the men’s room.

Other takeaways for sushi bar diners:

  • Use fingers rather than chopsticks when eating maki rolls.
  • Eating pickled ginger with sushi is “very much bad manners”
  • Roll sushi on its side before picking it up with chopsticks to facilitate dipping
  • The temperature interplay between rice and fish is so delicate that your experience of it will differ depending on whether a waiter brings it to you at a table or the chef hands it to you across the counter as soon as it’s assembled.

Explore TED-Ed’s Brief History of Dumplings lesson here.

For a deeper dumpling dive, read the Oxford Symposium’s Wrapped and Stuffed Foods: Proceedings on the Symposium: Foods and Cookery, 2012, available as a free Google Book.

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Ayun Halliday is the author of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto and the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

What a Disney Version of A Clockwork Orange Would Look Like

“Family-friendly entertainment” means different things to different people, despite nearly a century of the Walt Disney Company attempting to associate the concept exclusively with its own brand. And on the business level, Disney has become increasingly identified with entertainment itself. “With Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and their princess content tucked safely in their portfolio,” writes Boing Boing’s Devin Nealy, “Disney is only a few studios away from having a monopoly on nostalgia. At this point, it’d be easier to count the IPs that Disney doesn’t own.”

When it comes to extracting all possible value from IP — that is, intellectual property — no company shows quite as much determination as Disney. This goes for the creations it has lately acquired as well as those it already owned.

Witness, for instance, its recent spate of live-action remakes: The Jungle Book directed by Jon Favreau, Aladdin by Guy Ritchie, Dumbo by Tim Burton. That these are hardly the least plausible products to be put out by Disney Studios in the twenty-first century sends the imagination toward ever more incongruous possibilities for IP-reusage. What if Disney remade, say, Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange?

Such is the premise of the uncanny trailer above, created by Youtuber JabaToons. Using audio taken straight from Kubrick’s eclectically nightmarish vision of Anthony Burgess‘ dystopian novel, it also renders a host of its scenes not in the style of the CGI extravaganzas Disney puts out today, but the more traditional, two-dimensional animated pictures it still did in the nineteen-nineties. The trailer announces the film as “Disney’s 35th animated classic,” a position occupied in reality by Hercules: also a hero’s journey, albeit with a much different tone, to say nothing of outcome, than A Clockwork Orange. Alex Delarge may look strangely plausible as a Disney character, but a protagonist with a less family-friendly set of interests would be hard to imagine.

via Boing Boing

Related content:

A Lccokrkow Garneo: All 245,000 Frames of Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange Randomized

Monty Python and the Holy Grail Re-Imagined as an Epic, Mainstream Hollywood Film

The Shining and Other Complex Stanley Kubrick Films Recut as Simple Hollywood Movies

Donald Duck Discovers Glenn Beck: A Remix

Mickey Mouse In Vietnam: The Underground Anti-War Animation from 1968, Co-Created by Milton Glaser

When Stanley Kubrick Banned His Own Film, A Clockwork Orange: It Was the “Most Effective Censorship of a Film in British History”

The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

Watch the Titanic Sink in This Real-Time 3D Animation

Minute by minute timelines have become a staple of disaster reporting.

Knowing how the story ends puts the public in the position of helpless bystander, especially at those critical junctures when someone in a position of authority exercised poor judgment, resulting in a larger loss of life.

Youtuber Phillip W, creator of Titanic Animations, allows us to experience the famed luxury liner’s final two and half hours as a timestamped horror show, above, without resorting to theatrics, or a crowd pleasing fictional romance.

Verified crew orders, CQD reports, and vacant lifeboat seats provide ample drama alongside mesmerizing CGI recreations of the doomed luxury liner, its lighted portholes reflected in the dark water.

It took around 2 and a half hours for the Titanic to sink, just four days into her maiden voyage, after striking an iceberg around 11:40 pm.

As the Smithsonian National Museum of American History recounts:

The berg scraped along the starboard or right side of the hull below the waterline, slicing open the hull between five of the adjacent watertight compartments. If only one or two of the compartments had been opened, Titanic might have stayed afloat, but when so many were sliced open, the watertight integrity of the entire forward section of the hull was fatally breached. 

Titanic Animations tracks myriad crew members from this moment on, using factual titles, lightly supplemented with sound effects of ocean noises, alarm bells, and period tunes that would’ve been in the repertoire of the band that famously did (or didn’t) play on. The head baker directs staff to carry armloads of bread to provision the lifeboats. These morsels of information and the relatively placid views affords our imagination free rein to fill in the confusion, panic and mounting desperation of those aboard.

This real time sinking animation is rendered without human figures, but Titanic Animation’s Twitter indicates that Phillip W has been hard at work on a new project that places crew and passengers on deck, a – forgive us – titanic undertaking that also finds him striving to recreate every rivet and ripple. A status update from earlier this spring reads, “2.5 months in. 52,035 frames completed.178,364 left to go.”

The original animation, above, took multiple years to complete:

A friend and I started working on the first version back in 2012/2013 and it was released in 2015. It’s been updated over the years, and now I’m the only one left after my friend departed after losing interest. So around 8-9 years, give or take, and about $8000 in research and renderfarms to complete.

If you’re inclined to mess around with your own Titanic animations, Philip W. has shared a Cinematic Filming Model of the Titanic’s exterior, featuring accurate porthole placements, telegraphs, funnels, rigging, ventilation equipment placements, lifeboats, and approximately 95,000 rivets.

Subscribe to Titanic Animations here. Those with an interest in 3D animation will appreciate archived livestreams that give a peek at the process.

Navigate to key moments in real time sinking animation using the links below.

00:00:00 – Intro

00:05:00 – Iceberg Collision

00:10:00 – 10 Degree List to Starboard

00:11:00 – Steam begins to escape the Funnels

00:15:45 – Mail Room begins to flood

00:25:00 – Midnight

00:30:00 – Squash Court begins to flood

00:37:15 – Lifeboats ordered to be readied

00:42:00 – Band Begins Playing

00:49:40 – Thomas Andrews relays news to Capt. Smith

00:51:40 – First Distress Call is Sent

01:01:18 – Distress Coordinates are Corrected

01:01:38 – Carpathia Makes Contact

01:04:00 – Boat 7 (First Boat) is Launched

01:06:00 – The Straus’ Refuse Entry to Boat 8

01:07:00 – Grand Staircase F-Deck Begins Flooding

01:08:10 – Boat 5 is Launched

01:10:00 – Boxhall & Smith spot Carpathia

01:12:10 – 1st Distress Rocket Fired

01:15:00 – Grand Staircase E-Deck Begins Flooding

01:20:00 – Boat 3 is Launched

01:21:00 – Titanic Begins Sending SOS

01:25:00 – 1AM Boat 8 is Launched

01:30:00 – Boat 1 is Launched

01:35:00 – Boat 6 is Launched

01:35:15 – Boiler Room 5 Floods

01:40:00 – Water Climbs Grand Staircase

01:44:30 – Boiler Room 4 is Abandoned

01:45:00 – Boat 16 is Launched

01:50:00 – Boat 14 is Launched

01:55:15 – Boats 9 and 12 are Launched

02:00:00 – Boat 11 is Launched

02:04:00 – Titanic lists to Port

02:05:00 – Boat 13 is Launched

02:06:00 – Boat 15 is Launched

02:09:00 – D-deck Reception Room Floods

02:10:00 – Boat 2 is Launched

02:12:00 – Well Deck is Awash

02:14:00 – D-Deck Reception Room Goes

02:15:00 – Boat 10 is Launched

02:15:10 – Boat 4 is Launched

02:25:00 – 2AM Boat C is Launched

02:26:10  Power Begins to Fade

02:29:00 – Boat D is Launched

02:37:15 – Nearer My God to Thee

02:40:00 – Final Plunge

02:42:00 – Breakup

Related Content 

Titanic Survivor Interviews: What It Was Like to Flee the Sinking Luxury Liner

The Titanic: Rare Footage of the Ship Before Disaster Strikes (1911-1912)

How the Titanic Sank: James Cameron’s New CGI Animation

“Titanic Sinking; No Lives Lost” and Other Terribly Inaccurate News Reports from April 15, 1912

Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro Is Getting Adapted for the Stage by The Royal Shakespeare Company & Jim Henson’s Creature Shop

The films of Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli have won immense worldwide acclaim, in large part because they so fully inhabit their medium. Their characters, their stories, their worlds: all can come fully to life only in animation. Still, it’s true that some of their material did originate in other forms. The pre-Ghibli breakout feature Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, for instance, began as a comic book written and drawn by Miyazaki (who at first laid down the condition that it not be adapted for the screen). Four years later, by the time of My Neighbor Totoro, the nature of Ghibli’s visions had become inseparable from that of animation itself.

Now, almost three and a half decades after Totoro‘s original release, the production of a stage version is well underway. Playbill‘s Raven Brunner reports that the show “will open in London’s West End at The Barbican theatre for a 15-week engagement October 8-January 21, 2023.

The production will be presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company and executive producer Joe Hisaishi.” Japan’s most famous film composer, Hisaishi scored Totoro as well as all of Miyazaki’s other Ghibli films so far, including Porco RossoPrincess Mononoke, and Spirited Away (itself adapted for the stage in Japan earlier this year).

As you can see in the video just above, the RSC production of Totoro also involves Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. “The puppets being built at Creature Shop are based on designs created by Basil Twist, one of the UK’s most innovative puppeteers,” writes Deadline’s Baz Bamigboye, and they’ll be supplemented by the work of another master, “Mervyn Millar, of Britain’s cutting-edge Significant Object puppet studio.” Even such an assembly of puppet-making expertise will find it a formidable challenge to re-create the denizens of the enchanted countryside in which Totoro‘s young protagonists find themselves — to say nothing of the titular wood spirit himself, with all his mass, mischief, and overall benevolence. As for how they’re rigging up the cat bus, Ghibli fans will have to wait until next year to find out.

Related content:

The Films of Hayao Miyazaki Celebrated in a Glorious Concert Arranged by Film Composer Joe Hisaishi

Studio Ghibli Producer Toshio Suzuki Teaches You How to Draw Totoro in Two Minutes

Jim Henson Teaches You How to Make Puppets in Vintage Primer From 1969

Build Your Own Miniature Sets from Hayao Miyazaki’s Beloved Films: My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service & More

Studio Ghibli Releases Tantalizing Concept Art for Its New Theme Park, Opening in Japan in 2022

Hayao Miyazaki, The Mind of a Master: A Thoughtful Video Essay Reveals the Driving Forces Behind the Animator’s Incredible Body of Work

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

How the Byzantine Empire Rose, Fell, and Created the Glorious Hagia Sophia: A History in Ten Animated Minutes

If you only know one fact about the Roman Empire, it’s that it declined and fell. If you know another, it’s that the Roman Empire gave way to the Europe we know today — in the fullness of time, at least. A good deal of history lies between our twenty-first century and the fall of Rome, which in any case wouldn’t have seemed like such a decisive break when it happened. “Most history books will tell you that the Roman Empire fell in the fifth century CE,” says the narrator of the animated TED-Ed lesson above. “This would’ve come as a great surprise to the millions of people who lived in the Roman Empire up through the Middle Ages.”

This medieval Roman Empire, better known as the Byzantine Empire, began in the year 330. “That’s when Constantine, the first Christian emperor, moved the capital of the Roman Empire to a new city called Constantinople, which he founded on the site of the ancient Greek city Byzantium.” Not only did Constantinople survive the barbarian invasions of the Empire’s western provinces, it remained the seat of power for eleven centuries.

It thus remained a preserve of Roman civilization, astonishing visitors with its art, architecture, dress, law, and intellectual enterprises. Alas, many of those glories perished in the early thirteenth century, when the city was torched by the disgruntled army of deposed ruler Alexios Angelos.

Among the surviving structures was the jewel in Constantinople’s crown Hagia Sophia, about which you can learn more about it in the Ted-ED lesson just above. The long continuity of the holy building’s location belies its own troubled history: first built in the fourth century, it was destroyed in a riot not long thereafter, then rebuilt in 415 and destroyed again when more riots broke out in 532. But just five years later, it was replaced by the Hagia Sophia we know today, which has since been a Byzantine Christian cathedral, a Latin Catholic cathedral, a mosque, a museum (at the behest of secular reformer Mustafa Kemal Atatürk), and most recently a mosque again. The Byzantine Empire may be long gone, but the end of the story told by Hagia Sophia is nowhere in sight.

Related content:

An Introduction to Hagia Sophia: After 85 Years as a Museum, It’s Set to Become a Mosque Again

360 Degree Virtual Tours of the Hagia Sophia

Hear the Hagia Sophia’s Awe-Inspiring Acoustics Get Recreated with Computer Simulations, and Let Yourself Get Transported Back to the Middle Ages

Hear the Sound of the Hagia Sophia Recreated in Authentic Byzantine Chant

French Illustrator Revives the Byzantine Empire with Magnificently Detailed Drawings of Its Monuments & Buildings: Hagia Sophia, Great Palace & More

Istanbul Captured in Beautiful Color Images from 1890: The Hagia Sophia, Topkaki Palace’s Imperial Gate & More

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

Hayao Miyazaki, The Mind of a Master: A Thoughtful Video Essay Reveals the Driving Forces Behind the Animator’s Incredible Body of Work

“If the cinema, by some twist of fate, were to be deprived overnight of the sound track and to become once again the art of silent cinematography that it was between 1895 and 1930, I truly believe most of the directors in the field would be compelled to take up some new line of work.” So wrote François Truffaut in the nineteen-sixties, arguing that, of filmmakers then living, only Howard Hawks, John Ford, and Alfred Hitchcock could survive such a return to silence. Alas, Truffaut died in 1984, the very same year that saw the release of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the first animated feature by what would become Studio Ghibli. Had he lived longer, he would certainly have had to grant its mastermind Hayao Miyazaki pride of place in his small catalog of master visual storytellers.

“He doesn’t actually write a script,” says Any-Mation Youtuber Cole Delaney in “Hayao Miyazaki: The Mind of a Master,” the video essay above. “He might write an outline with his plan for a feature, but generally he draws an image and works from there.”

My Neighbor Totoro, for instance, began with only the image of a young girl and the titular forest creature standing at a bus stop; from that artistic seed everything else grew, like the enormous tree that Totoro and the children make grow in the film itself. Delaney also explores other essential aspects of Miyazaki’s process, including the creation of full worlds with distinctive funiki, or ambience; the incorporation of Ozu-style “pillow shots” to shape a film’s space and rhythm; and the creation of protagonists whose strong will translates directly into physical motion.

“What drives the animation is the will of the characters,” says Miyazaki himself, in a clip Delaney borrows from the NHK documentary 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki. “You don’t depict fate, you depict will.” The master makes other observations on his work and life itself, which one senses he regards as one and the same. “I want to make a film that won’t shame me,” he says by way of explaining his notorious perfectionism. “I want to stay grumpy,” he says by way of explaining his equally notorious demeanor in the Ghibli office. As for “the notion that one’s goal in life is to be happy, that your own happiness is the goal… I just don’t buy it.” Rather, people must  “live their lives fully, with all their might, within their given boundaries, in their own era.” The surpassing vitality of his films reflects his own: “Like it or not,” he says, “a film is a reflection of its director,” and in these words Truffaut would surely recognize a fellow auteurist-auteur.

Related content:

The Philosophy of Hayao Miyazaki: A Video Essay on How the Traditional Japanese Religion Shinto Suffuses Miyazaki’s Films

Watch Hayao Miyazaki Animate the Final Shot of His Final Feature Film, The Wind Rises

What Made Studio Ghibli Animator Isao Takahata (RIP) a Master: Two Video Essays

How Master Japanese Animator Satoshi Kon Pushed the Boundaries of Making Anime: A Video Essay

The Aesthetic of Anime: A New Video Essay Explores a Rich Tradition of Japanese Animation

Japanese Animation Director Hayao Miyazaki Shows Us How to Make Instant Ramen

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Watch a New Animation of Richard Feynman’s Ode to the Wonder of Life, with Music by Yo-Yo Ma

…I would like not to underestimate the value of the world view which is the result of scientific effort. We have been led to imagine all sorts of things infinitely more marvelous than the imaginings of poets and dreamers of the past.

– Richard Feynman

In 1955, theoretical physicist Richard Feynman gave a talk on the value of science to members of the National Academy of Sciences at at Caltech University.

In the wake of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, his involvement with the Manhattan Project had been cause for serious depression and soul searching.

He concluded that the pursuit of scientific knowledge remained valuable to society, even though such knowledge comes without operating instructions, and thus can be put to evil purposes.

In the Caltech speech, he cited the life improving technological and medical breakthroughs that are the result of scientific explorations, as well as the scientific field’s allegiance to the concept that we must be free to dissent, question, and discuss:

If we suppress all discussion, all criticism, proclaiming “This is the answer, my friends; man is saved!” we will doom humanity for a long time to the chains of authority, confined to the limits of our present imagination.

(This strikes a profound chord in 2022, remembering how some extremely vocal politicians and citizens took changing public health mandates as evidence of conspiracy, rather than an ever-deepening scientific understanding of how an unfamiliar virus was operating.)

Any child with an interest in STEM will be gratified to learn that Feynman also found much to admire in “the fun …which some people get from reading and learning and thinking about (science), and which others get from working in it.

Throughout his speech, he refrained from technical jargon, using language that those whose passions skew more toward the arts can understand to invoke the experience of scientific discovery.

His meditations concerning the interconnectedness between every molecule “stupidly minding its own business” and everything else in the known universe, including himself, a human standing beside the sea, trying to make sense of it all, is of a piece with Shakespeare and Walt Whitman.

Untitled Ode to the Wonder of Life

by Richard Feynman

I stand at the seashore, alone, and start to think.

There are the rushing waves

mountains of molecules

each stupidly minding its own business

trillions apart

yet forming white surf in unison.

Ages on ages before any eyes could see

year after year

thunderously pounding the shore as now.

For whom, for what?

On a dead planet

with no life to entertain.

Never at rest

tortured by energy

wasted prodigiously by the sun

poured into space.

A mite makes the sea roar.

Deep in the sea

all molecules repeat

the patterns of one another

till complex new ones are formed.

They make others like themselves

and a new dance starts.

Growing in size and complexity

living things

masses of atoms

DNA, protein

dancing a pattern ever more intricate.

Out of the cradle

onto dry land

here it is

standing: atoms with consciousness;

matter with curiosity.

Stands at the sea,

wonders at wondering: I

a universe of atoms

an atom in the universe

The Marginalian’s (formerly Brain Pickings) Maria Popova seizes on this interlude for the final installment of her video series, The Universe in Verse, above, collaborating with animator Kelli Anderson on a “perspective-broadening, mind-deepening” visual interpretation of Feynman’s excerpted remarks.

Flowing under and around Feynman’s narration is an original composition by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, whose renown in the field of music is on par with Feynman’s in physics, and who notes in the introduction to The Quotable Feynman:

While he paid close attention to problems we face and generate, he also knew that humans are a subset of nature, and nature held for him the greatest fascination – for the imagination of nature is far, far greater than the imagination of man, and nature guards her secrets jealously.

Read Feynman’s complete speech to the National Academy of Sciences at at Caltech University here.

Watch all nine chapters of The Universe in Verse here.

via The Marginalian

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Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Behold 3D Recreations of Pompeii’s Lavish Homes–As They Existed Before the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius

“I pray that to their share of noble fortunes [Zeus] send no Nemesis of jealous will, but in prosperity and free from ills, exalt them and their city.” Pindar, Olympian Ode 8

Why are humans awestruck by natural disaster? Or — more to the point — why are we dumbfounded when disasters destroy cities? We should hardly be surprised at this point when nature does what it invariably does: tectonic plates shift, volcanoes erupt, hurricanes and typhoons sweep the coasts…. These things have always happened on Earth, with or without our help, and for many millions of years before anything like us showed up.

Like the mythical Narcissus, we can only see ourselves and assume everything that happens must be for us. After the Great Lisbon Earthquake in Portugal in 1755, “Lisbon’s devout Catholic population saw the ruined city as divine punishment,” writes Laura Trethewey.

“The Protestant countries of Europe also saw the destruction as punishment, but for backward Catholic behavior.” Meanwhile, philosophers like Voltaire, who wrote Candide to satirize responses to the quake, saw the catastrophe as more evidence that a creator, if such a being had ever cared, cared no more.

In Greek and Roman mythology, the gods never stop meddling, punishing, rewarding, etc. Narcissus is tempted to gaze at himself by Nemesis, the goddess who meets hubris with swift retribution. While generally invoked as a leveler of individuals who overstep, she also levels cities, as fifth century BC Greek poet Pindar suggests when he begs Zeus to spare the island city of Aegina from her wrath. Perhaps, then, it was Nemesis, winged vengeance herself, that the citizens of Pompeii believed bore down upon them, as molten lava, smoke, and ash.

From its earliest status as a Roman-allied city (then Roman colony), Pompeii grew into a very wealthy area, its surrounding lands rich with villas and farms, its city center anchored by its Amphitheater, Odeon, Forum Baths and temples, its running water arriving from the Serino Aqueduct. Maybe they had it too good? Maybe their extravagant good fortune caused too much jealously in the neighbors? Maybe the gods demanded balance. It’s very human to think so — to ascribe divine will, in the lack of explanation, for why something so filled with teeming life should be destroyed for no reason at all.

It must have been the gods, who looked down on Pompeii’s wealth and grew jealous themselves. In these 3D animated videos, see why ancient Pompeiians would have been proud of their city, recreated here in part by Sweden’s Lund University and Storied Past Productions. “While in Pompeii few could reach the elite,” notes the latter in their description of the video above, “many tried to recreate ‘the good life’ in their own ways…. From grand urban villas, to small private homes, to smaller apartments.” In these walkthroughs, you can “see all the different things ‘home’ could mean in ancient Pompeii.” You might also, if you aren’t careful, find yourself getting a little envious of these doomed ancient urbanites.

Related Content:

Pompeii Rebuilt: A Tour of the Ancient City Before It Was Entombed by Mount Vesuvius

The Little-Known Bombing of Pompeii During World War II

Archaeologists Discover an Ancient Roman Snack Bar in the Ruins of Pompeii

A Drone’s Eye View of the Ruins of Pompeii

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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