Part of the Farnese collection, this Roman copy of the 2nd century A.D. is from a Greek original. The globe which Atlas carries on his shoulders reproduces astronomical elements in detail. It is the oldest proof of ancient astronomical knowledge.
Though not from Pompeii, this marble statue in the National Archeological Museum in Naples always reminds me that not all the people who lived twenty centuries ago were ignorant barbarians who thought the world was flat. In Pompeii in the first century there were people from every imaginable socioeconomic class with a wide range of educational backgrounds. It's true that they didn't talk like us, dress like us, or worship like us. Their government, taxes, and transportation were somewhat different from ours. Whether slave or free, every ancient resident of Pompeii had hopes and dreams of a better future for themselves and their posterity. They enjoyed successes and endured failures. They loved and hated. They longed for a better understanding of the world around them. They had spiritual, emotional, and physical needs that are really no different from ours today. Not one of them had any assurances that they would live to see tomorrow--just like us.
Above all else I think, we need to learn the following things from Pompeii. Appreciate every day we have, as if it could be our last. Treat others with the same kindness and respect that we'd like to receive from them, as if it could be their last day. A lifetime is but a fleeting moment in the history of humanity. Use yours wisely.