The Roman Empire has long been thought of as one of the most dominant and successful empires in the history of the world. At the height of its success, it controlled the entire Mediterranean basin and the empire covered more than three continents.
But around 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted and covered the Roman city of Pompeii in ashes.
Pompeii, now modern-day Naples, was decimated by a force equivalent to that of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII.
Although Mount Vesuvius had been dormant for years, when it did explode it not only destroyed Pompeii but also ruined neighboring cities such as Herculaneum, Oplonti, and Stabiae.
Thousands of people were killed and they were literally frozen in time, preserved in ash for historians and scientists to uncover them.
More than 1,700 years later, bodies and artifacts from ancient Rome were discovered since they were preserved by the molten debris and ash.
The massive eruption was recorded by a man known as Pliny the Younger and his accounts were later found through his letters to the famed Roman historian, Tacitus. Pliny wrote: ‘the cloud was rising from a mountain at such a distance we couldn’t tell which, but afterward learned that it was Vesuvius. I can best describe its shape by likening it to a pine tree.’
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