Pompeii (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
The city of Pompeii is a partially buried Roman town-city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the comune of Pompei. Along with Herculaneum, Pompeii was partially destroyed and buried under 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.
Pompeii was lost for nearly 1700 years before its rediscovery in 1748. Since then, its excavation has provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana. Today, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Italy, with approximately 2,500,000 visitors every year.
In the year of 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted in one of the most catastrophic and famous eruptions in European history. Historians have learned about the eruption from the eyewitness account of Pliny the Younger, a Roman administrator and poet.
Mount Vesuvius spawned a deadly cloud of stones, ash and fumes to a height of 20.5 miles, spewing molten rock and pulverized pumice at the rate of 1.5 million tons per second, ultimately releasing a hundred thousand times the thermal energy released by the Hiroshima bombing. The towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were obliterated and buried underneath massive pyroclastic flows.
The 79 AD eruption was preceded by a powerful earthquake seventeen years beforehand on 5 February, AD 62, which caused widespread destruction around the Bay of Naples, and particularly to Pompeii. Some of the damage had still not been repaired when the volcano erupted. The deaths of 600 sheep from "tainted air" in the vicinity of Pompeii reported by Seneca the Younger leads Haraldur Sigurdsson to compare them to similar deaths of sheep in Iceland from pools of volcanic carbon dioxide and to speculate that the earthquake of 62 was related to new activity by Vesuvius.
Another smaller earthquake took place in 64 AD; it was recorded by Suetonius in his biography of Nero, and by Tacitus in Annales because it took place while Nero was in Naples performing for the first time in a public theatre. Suetonius recorded that the emperor continued singing through the earthquake until he had finished his song, while Tacitus wrote that the theatre collapsed shortly after being evacuated.
The Romans grew accustomed to minor earth tremors in the region; the writer Pliny the Younger even wrote that they "were not particularly alarming because they are frequent in Campania". Small earthquakes started taking place on 20 August, 79 becoming more frequent over the next four days, but the warnings were not recognised.
- Copyright: Csaba Witz (csabagaba) (6632)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2012-11-03
- Categories: Architecture
- Camera: Sony DSC R1, ZeissVario-SonnarT*14,3-71,5 f/ 2,8-4,8, Soligor Blueline UV 67mm
- Exposure: f/8, 1/320 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2012-11-26 2:41