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A brief history of the tragedy of pompeii

The warning signs were all present at Pompeii, yet no one really seemed to notice.

Today volcanologists constantly monitor any changes in the levels of seismic activity on Vesuvius, which continues to experience low-level activity. The eruption in 79 AD however, was due to the extended period of inactivity.

The Fall and Rise and Fall of Pompeii

Many Romans were aware of the signs of burning at the peak of the mountain, but they were almost in denial about the mountain because it had been dormant for so long. The legend said that Hercules had fought there against giants in a fiery landscape.

Ironically, the nearby town of Herculaneum, which was named after the legend, would suffer the same fate as Pompeii. The morning of August 24th came with a bang literally. It seemed as though the mountain was showering off a fireworks display, but at noon an even bigger explosion began to happen and a mushroom cloud of pumice particles rose 27 miles into the sky.

The power of the explosion has been calculated to 100,000 times greater than the nuclear bomb that hit Hiroshima in 1945.

The ash that started to rain down on Pompeii was so dense that within minutes, everything was covered in centimeters of the ash. At this point, people tried to flee the town or tried to seek shelter wherever they could and those who could not find shelter tried desperately to stay above the layers of volcanic material. In the late afternoon, another massive explosion rang through the air, now sending a column of ash six miles higher than the previous cloud.

Now the ash began to fall heavier than before, buildings started to collapse under the weight, while survivors huddled near walls and under stairs for protection. The ash kept falling and buried the city meters deep, the once vibrant town, was now lost, destroyed and forgotten.

  1. Now the Getty team has applied that technique at Herculaneum.
  2. Francesco Lastrucci The Temple of Apollo is one of the oldest in Pompeii—some of the surviving decoration dates to 575 B.
  3. The most important earlier eruption, known as that of the 'Avellino pumice' occurred around 1800 BC; several sites, especially one near Nola, reveal the destruction of Bronze Age settlements, with their huts and pots and pans and livestock.
  4. In 2012 the European Union gave the go-ahead for its own version of a Herculaneum-style initiative.
  5. They also installed temporary networks of aboveground and underground drainpipes.

Work did not begin at Pompeii until 1748, and the work at Pompeii marked the start of the modern science of archaeology. The disaster that had wiped out the town of Pompeii had also preserved every inch thanks to the muddy ash. As the ash poured over top the city, people were killed instantly.

Pompeii: Portents of Disaster

The tradgey of Pompeii has given historians and archeologists a view into the past. The ancient Roman city that was preserved left artifacts, signs and letters and even people. The warning signs of Mount Vesuvius were not enough to warn the people of Pompeii, but the people will never be forgotten.