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It’s well known that the city of Pompeii was destroyed when Mount Vesuvius erupted, killing nearly everyone and leaving bodies preserved in ash. But the story of Pompeii has a little more to it than that. Expand your knowledge with these 11 facts about Vesuvius and Pompeii.
1. With modern geological knowledge, there were signs that Vesuvius was set to explode in the form of earthquakes.
2. Thanks to Pliny the Younger, we have an eyewitness account of the explosion of Vesuvius. He not only watched the explosion but also spoke to survivors and wrote the whole thing in a letter to his friend Tacitus.
3. After being buried alive in ash, the bodies of Pompeii’s inhabitants were preserved, along with most of the buildings. It gave researchers a glimpse into the everyday life of ancient Rome.
4. One of the reasons the eruption was so unexpected was because the citizens of Pompeii had no idea they were living next to a volcano. It hadn’t erupted in 1800 years.
5. Pompeii was much older than the Roman Empire. It was originally settled in the 7th century BC.
6. Before the eruption of Vesuvius, there was no Latin word for volcano.
7. It’s no surprise people didn’t have much time to react. The eruption put out 1.5 million tons of lava per second.
8. In the early 1800s, King Francis I of Naples visited Pompeii and decided that the erotic artwork was inappropriate. In response, he locked it up for only “mature and moral” people to see.
9. Over 3 million people, more than near any other active volcano, live close to Mount Vesuvius.
10. Even at the time of the explosion Pompeii was a venerable old city. Some of the houses had been around since 300 BC (for reference, the explosion happened in 79 BC).
11. Vesuvius is still considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, and it’s the only active volcano in mainland Europe.