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Pompeii: The life of a Roman town.: Home

With the Vesuvius eruption on August 24, 69 AD, a Roman town was frozen in time, revealing the intimate side of a Roman citizen's life, from entertainment to homelife and personal religious expression.

The Eruption of Vesuvius on August 24, 69 AD.

On August 24, 69 AD, Pompeii was a town much changed by the recent earthquake in AD 62, which had severely damaged two wards in the town, and caused many wealthy residents to flee for safer locations. The large villas transformed into businesses between the two events and the inhabitants of the town had a more working-class population, while pleasure-seekers sought out Baiae, a city that was a pleasure resort that eventually sank. In the amphitheater in Pompeii, the ban that forced the closure of the amphitheater due to a riot in 59 AD, had been lifted, Mount Vesuvius took this opportunity to erupt violently, spewing a cloud of superheated gas, molten rock, pumice, and hot ash into the air and all over the town of Herculaneum and Pompeii. The Romans knew of volcano eruptions but didn't think that Vesuvius was a volcano. Pompey the Elder, Naturalist, author, and head of the navy located in the harbor of Pompeii, thought that this was a great opportunity to study it. According to his nephew, Pompeii the Younger, Pompeii the Elder had a bath and a nap while the situation grew worse. Someone asked for a rescue so Pompeii the Elder set out in a boat to Herculaneum to save them, but never made it out to his ship and died on the beach in Herculaneum while "rescuing' a friend. The eruption lasted for two days, with explosions and pyroclastic flows, and pumice raining down on the cities. Pompeii the Younger escaped and sent a letter to the historian Tacitus about the events of the volcanic eruption and his uncle's subsequent death.

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TR Library - Drisina Miller
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