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The Power of Mount Vesuvius

When you saw Mount Vesuvius (hard to say that 5 times) in the blog title, did you know its importance in history? When I saw it come up in my listing of events from on-this-day.com, it reminded me. One of those times that admittedly, I’m not sure what I would have remembered.

Yesterday was the anniversary… 79 A.D. , when Mount Vesuvius erupted, killing approximately 20,ooo people and burying the cities of Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum. Pliny the Younger, a Roman administrator and poet, was  the source for historians as an eyewitness account. (And I know what you are thinking, “why don’t more parents name their child Pliny the Younger?”.)

The story of this volcanic eruption includes the fact that over 2,000 citizens of Pompeii ran into their cellars to wait until everything had ended. For 250 years, Pompeii has been a tourist destination because excavators found their bodies still there, over 1,800 years later.

Fascination with those living in Pompeii has caused archaeologists to spend a lot of time trying to figure out “why?”. Here is a portrait of Terentius Neo and his wife, that was found on the wall of a house, found in the remains of Pompeii.  Doesn’t this personalize it a bit?

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Wikipedia has a good history of the amazing city of Pompeii. (here) I am fascinated with the history of this volcanic eruption because it happened so quickly, that there was nothing that the residents of the city could do to escape.

They had been ‘lulled to sleep ‘ by prior eruptions and were unprepared for the explosion that took place after noon on that 24th day of August. Most of the victims died instantly, as the super-heated air burned their lungs and contracted their muscles, leaving the bodies in a semi-curled position.

I blog on this today because it’s a reminder that it is real easy to think that “it won’t happen to me”. The people of these cities had seen effects of earthquakes before, and thought that they could still live right there, because they could always escape. Instead, they became a footnote in history. No plan for escape.

History! If we don’t learn from it, we are destined to repeat it.

I hope you have a great weekend! I may be a bit sporadic with the blog next week because I will be in trial. I will still try to periodically post… even if only for pic o’ days!

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Pompeii Behavior

The ancient city of Pompeii was buried and destroyed by the volcano that erupted from Mount Vesuvius. Before its destruction, Pompeii was a popular holiday resort for rich Romans, who spent their holidays there.

Supposedly, the 79 A.D. eruption started on the morning of August 24, just one day after the celebration of Vulcanalia, the festival of the Roman god of fire.

The walls of the ruins were covered with graffiti. Some of the graffiti written on the walls included Gaius was here, Go hang yourself, Thou art bald, and Atemitus got me pregnant.

History of the disaster and events before and after were detailed at the time by Pliny the Younger, who interviewed survivors and recorded his findings in a letter to his friend Tacitus.

Seismic activity in the region was so common that residents paid little attention when quakes shook the earth on that fateful day. People were unprepared for the disaster.  Wide-ranging estimates of death indicated a number somewhere between 2000- 25000.

The ruins of Pompeii are a reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

For  pic o’ day, I thought this was some interesting “advertising”.

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