Mount Vesuvius & Pompeii

So normally before I write my blogs I like to see what other students have found interesting and I saw that one student posted about Pompeii, which got me really excited. I am very fascinated with the topic and decided to look into it a little bit more and also do my blog on Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius in general.

Mount Vesuvius is located in Europe, along the coast of Italy; on Naples Bay. The name “Vesuvius” has been argued in Latin translation to mean “violent”. This Mountain stretches over the Eurasian and African Tectonic Plates. The height of the volcano is argued as well, due to the changes in height after erupting. It is still considered to be active to this day, but hasn’t erupted since the mid 1900’s. One of the oldest eruptions wiped out the entire city of Pompeii.

The first time I was introduced to the story of what happened in Pompeii was in my Latin II class in my high school. We watched a video about how this once beautiful city existed around 79 AD and was destroyed with one catastrophic event; the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. During the eruption of Mount Vesuvius over 16,000 people were killed. It is considered to be one of the most significant eruptions ever in history and is the biggest eruption from the Campaignian Range.

People were killed by various elements from the volcano eruption. There was ash, sulfur, heat flashes, and pumice. Many people died from heat or from the ash and pumice suffocating them to death. It was said that this lasted for a few days until the entire city was practically wiped out. The most significant discovery and outcome from this tragedy in my opinion is the exceptional preservation of the bodies that came from the ashes and pumice from the volcano. The people were discovered with their clothes still in tact, they could tell the weather based on the bodies clothing, which appeared to be warmer. The fruit in markets was still determinable.

I was very intrigued by researching Pompeii because I really like Roman and Greek mythology and there are stories supporting a legend that the eruption was an outcry from the gods. The gods were upset with the people of Pompeii and struck back by the explosion from Mount Vesuvius. Many philosophers in ancient Rome had made predictions of the gods lashing out. Just one day before the Volcano erupted the roman god of fire, Vulcanalia was celebrated among the people. I just found it interesting by the coincidences and timing of these events.

3 thoughts on “Mount Vesuvius & Pompeii

  1. The first time I heard about Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii was from a Magic School Bus book. Miss Frizzle took the students there to explore ancient Rome but the volcano started to erupt and the children and she didn’t know what to do. Right before the explosion had gotten to them, a mysterious man who they thought to be Hercules saved them before they could perish in the volcanic explosion. This book left a great impression of what Pompeii was for me but I didn’t know much about it except for the brief story that I read. I find it fascinating that the people were preserved underneath the volcanic ash with their clothes still on. Even the fact that they could tell what the weather was like on that day just by interpreting what the clothes were like is amazing. When I think of a volcanic eruption I do not associate it with preservation. I would have assumed that everything would have been destroyed.
    It is even harder for me to believe that the fruit in the market was still determinable. I don’t think scientists would be able to determine the fruit that has been sitting in my garbage can for the past 3 months let alone something that was covered in ash for such a long time.
    I like when stories about natural disasters from the past are associated with stories about the gods. I find it ironic that the people of Pompeii celebrated the god of fire; Vulcanalia was celebrated the day before. I think if the people knew that they were going to die because of lava and fire the next day they wouldn’t have celebrated him but begged him for mercy instead.

  2. Whenever someone mentions Pompeii, I start to realize how quickly a civilization can be wiped off the map. During this entire course we’ve discussed fully developed civilizations that ceased to exist. Most happened over time, but with Pompeii there was an entire city that was removed from the world. Truly, no civilization is fully protected from downfall. Environmental complications can devastate people, no matter how prepared for them. Despite all of the economic issues in our societies, maybe this is what will lead to the downfall of the next modern country. Even in our own backyard we have natural disasters waiting to erupt. One in particular is the geyser Old Faithful. The tourist attraction is actually located on top of super volcano. Not only that, but it is overdue for a full eruption. Just like with Pompeii there will be ash that can ruin the weather of most of the United States. The East coast might be able to hold it together, but anything relatively close to the national park of Yellowstone would be ruined. From the ash alone, most crops would die from the drastic drop in temperature, and the cities located around the area would most likely take years to fully rebuilt to where they currently are. Fortunately, one advantage to paying attention to history is learning from the downfalls of other civilizations. As a society we can learn from what happens due to such a catastrophic event and try our hardest to prepare for what will happen afterward.

  3. I think that Pompeii is a really fascinating subject to look at. I can also remember learning about this natural disaster in school. Pompeii and mount Vesuvius have always been a place I would like to go and visit to see this amazing preservation of ancient life for myself. Your post though made me wonder how exactly did the volcano eruption manage to preserve the entire city underneath it so well. Why had I not heard of something like this having happened before or since, so I wanted to research more information on what made this happen. Mount Vesuvius is a pyroclastic volcano, which means that it only creates an explosion when erupting, no lava. So when this volcano erupted ash and debris were forced out and into the air. Many of the people would of suffocated almost immediately which is why many are found still in the town as their final resting spot. The town was covered in many meters of fine rock in only a few minutes to hours. This very quick entombment helped to keep the city preserved. The city was then lost and not touched again for almost 1,700 years under twelve different layers of soil. The lack of air and moisture combined are what made this site so well preserved. So when it was rediscovered it was exactly the same as it had been when the volcano erupted. I also found that if you want to examine the sites Herculaneum was better preserved because it was rediscovered later than Pompeii and was less disturbed by people.

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