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121501.  Mon Nov 27, 2006 11:23 pm Reply with quote

Specifically its demise.

Was it really buried by Mt. Vesuvius? (I doubt that is spelled right.) My friend who traveled to Italy and had a tour of Mt. Vesuvius (not a tour of the inside. That'd be bad.) and the tour guide said it was not the one that buried that city, contrary to the belief of just about everyone ie. BBC, Discovery channel etc.

I agreed after she said that.

Last edited by CaptTimmy on Tue Nov 28, 2006 6:03 pm; edited 1 time in total

121520.  Tue Nov 28, 2006 4:42 am Reply with quote

I think we'll need quite a bit of convincing on that idea, mon capitaine. Etna is in Sicily (37degrees, 43 mins N and 15 degrees E) whereas Vesuvius is near, uh, Pompeii (40 degrees, 45 mins N and 14 degrees 29 mins E).

121521.  Tue Nov 28, 2006 4:48 am Reply with quote

Like this:

121523.  Tue Nov 28, 2006 4:57 am Reply with quote

I'm sure when I went to Pompeii a couple of years ago, the nearest volcano (by a long way) was Vesuvius.

Perhaps we should ask our good old friend Pliny...

121534.  Tue Nov 28, 2006 5:48 am Reply with quote

Pompeii was overwhelmed not by Vesuvius, but by another volcano of the same name.
pace 'Mark Twain' on 'Homer'

121546.  Tue Nov 28, 2006 6:51 am Reply with quote

Patrick Moore had a similar theory about Shakespeare - he expressed it in the wonderfully silly Can you speak Venusian?

Now then Miss _Face, asking Pliny about Pompeii turns out to be a magnificent idea - because he was there. At the time, Pliny the Elder was in charge of a naval detachment stationed at Misenum across the bay from Pompeii. Ever the investigative type, he set out in a boat to have a closer look - but was overcome by the fumes and died.

His nephew, who was seventeen at the time and is now known as Pliny the Younger was also there. Elder invited Younger to join him on the boat, but it seems that Younger was busy with his homework and so passed the opportunity up. Which was just as well really - because Younger later wrote up the events in a series of letters to the historian Tacitus.

Here's just part of what he said (C Plinii Caecilii Secundi Epistularum Liber Sextus; XVI):

Pliny the Younger wrote:
Usus ille sole, mox frigida, gustaverat iacens studebatque; poscit soleas, ascendit locum ex quo maxime miraculum illud conspici poterat. Nubes incertum procul intuentibus ex quo monte; Vesuvium fuisse postea cognitum est oriebatur, cuius similitudinem et formam non alia magis arbor quam pinus expresserit.

(He had sunned himself, then taken a cold bath, and after a leisurely luncheon was engaged in study. He immediately called for his shoes and went up an eminence from whence he might best view this very uncommon appearance. It was not at that distance discernible from what mountain this cloud issued, but it was found afterwards to be Vesuvius. I cannot give you a more exact description of its figure, than by resembling it to that of a pine tree.)

Latin original

English translation (William Melmoth, 1746)

Quaintly Ignorant
121552.  Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:12 am Reply with quote

This always impressed upon me the scale of the catastrophe:
63AD, 16 years before the eruption

After... Notice the mountain's peak has disappeared:
It literally used to have a peak as you would expect a traditional mountain to have; the massive eruption blew it's top off.

121581.  Tue Nov 28, 2006 10:08 am Reply with quote

The Robert Harris book, Pompeii, is a very well-written account of the eruption. It's a novel, but he used a lot of primary sources.

121595.  Tue Nov 28, 2006 10:52 am Reply with quote

I've been on the summit. It's pretty scary, in a way, especially the puffs of smoke that are always coming through cracks in the surface (fumaroles), and the fact that Vesuvius is way overdue for another major eruption.

People living on its slopes stubbornly refuse to move.

121645.  Tue Nov 28, 2006 1:18 pm Reply with quote

Yes Suze, there was a reason I mentioned Pliny! When I went on a tour of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the guides mentioned that Pliny documented the eruption to his cost. There was also a TV programme on it a while back, though I can't remember what it was called now.

Visiting Pompeii is fascinating; there's so many amazing things to be learnt about the place. I'm too lazy to type it out again, so I'll quote from an essay I wrote a couple of years back (hence the writing style) about my visit there:

...I was quite astounded by the initiative of the Romans. Their idea of simply letting sewage flow down the streets was perhaps flawed, but common sense prevailed and, in order to avoid the unpleasant experience of walking through it, they put a raised pathway across the road. However, the Romans were rather intuitive with regards to solving the frustrations of everyday life, realising that putting bumps in the road would be annoying to all the chariot drivers, especially the Italian ones who were not perturbed by the speed of a horse. So little gaps were set into the humps, just so that the chariot wheels would pass through with no disturbance to anyone riding on a chariot.

In fact, by losing Pompeii, it seems humanity may have lost two thousand years of advancements. The Romans can even be credited with the creation of fast food restaurants, though the menu consisted of olives and fruit rather than reconstituted offal pounded into burgers...

121707.  Tue Nov 28, 2006 4:05 pm Reply with quote

smiley_face wrote:
The Romans can even be credited with the creation of fast food restaurants, though the menu consisted of olives and fruit rather than reconstituted offal pounded into burgers...

And - from my holiday snaps - here's yer actual Roman fast-food outlet in Pompeii...

121712.  Tue Nov 28, 2006 4:41 pm Reply with quote

I went on a trip to Rome in Year 13 (October 2002), and as part of it we went on a day trip to Pompeii. It was pretty interesting...I remember the "fast food" place...I probably took a photo of it but I can't remember. There were also brothels which were marked by a errm...thingy (as in "turnip in the shape of a...")...sticking out of the wall above the door, and also one carved here and there in the paving stones as a pointer to find said brothel.
Aaaaanyway...yeah, since we were just walking round Pompeii, that was as close as I got to Vesuvious...first (and only, so far) time I'd seen a volcano for but at the same time sort-of scary...I mean, it's a volcano!
I also know the Pliny story 'cause we did that one in Class. Civ., along with a bunch of other stuff written by Pliny the Younger about him. One line I can remember from the Vesuvius text was "Fortune favours the brave - make for Pomponianus"...except of course it was originally in Latin, hehe :).

121715.  Tue Nov 28, 2006 4:48 pm Reply with quote

Oh yes, I remember the phalluses*. They were carved into the paving stones outside many of the houses, and the larger they were, the higher the status and importance of the inhabitant of the house.

...that kinda thing.

*or is it "phalli"?

121718.  Tue Nov 28, 2006 4:52 pm Reply with quote

Yep, those things. And one of the boys in my year who was on the trip (the only boy actually, I think) went and sat down on one of them so it protruded between his legs...<sigh>

123372.  Sun Dec 03, 2006 7:54 pm Reply with quote

Ahh, the famous phalluses/i of Pompeii. I remember my tour guide mentioning that Priapus was a very popular deity among the nouveau riche, with which Pompeii was filled, being a commerce center. The most well-known images of which were in the House of the Vettii and the famous Lupanare (brothel). The ever-reliable Wikipedia (sarcasm intended) has some links here:

I happened to be on tour with a group of Fundamentalist Christian high schoolers who were shocked and outraged, of course. I believe I was the first one willing to actually enter the brothel and take a look around. Everybody soon followed, of course.


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