A jewel in the crown of the Empire
In 90 BC, a regional rebellion broke out against the Romans, and a year later the Roman Dictator Sulla besieged and captured Pompeii. Reprisals followed, and Pompeii transformed itself again, this time into a Roman colony. Latin became the official language, and a Roman constitution was imposed on the new colony.
By the time Augustus became the first Roman Emperor in 27 BC, prominent Pompeians had become devotees of Roman fashion and custom. Pompeii had come a long way from its humble origins. Now a bustling town, it was home to about 10,000-12,000 people, with as many again living in the surrounding countryside. As Pompeii’s population increased, so did its urbanisation, as older houses were subdivided and upper storeys added to make room for the newcomers. The social structure underwent a shake-up, as the old ruling aristocracy began to lose ground to a new class of self-made men who built larger and showier villas in the Roman style.