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The Destruction of Pompeii and the Future of Rome

            On typical summer afternoon on August 24th, 79 A., the beautiful Roman city of Pompeii had suffered a severe volcanic eruption. All of a sudden, a living city fell into ruin. Because the local population was completely unprepared, about 16000 people died from the disaster, which was four-fifth of the city population. Mountain Vesuvius, the only active volcano in mainland Europe, was located in the gulf of Naples, nearby Pompeii (Scandone). Pliny the Younger, the eye-witness to the eruption of Vesuvius, wrote a letter to describe his experience during the eruption, when he was staying with his brother Pliny the Elder, an admiral of the Roman fleet, who tried to rescue citizens. He described "cloud of unusual size and appearance" as a pine tree that "rose to a great height on a sort of trunk and then split off into branches" (Pliny). Surprisingly, Roman society did not seem to be affected by such a catastrophe, and Roman Empire did not fall until 400 years after Pompeii's destruction. Since then, the city of Pompeii was forgotten by the world for 1700 years, until it was rediscovered in 1748, when construction workers were working on the summer palace renovation for the king of Naples (Wallace). Even though the transportation of goods was shortly affected by the disaster, the eruption of Vesuvius did not create significant effect on Roman society, due to the tactful way that Titus, who was the emperor at that time, responded to the disaster, Rome's city planning, and the tradition and norms of Pompeian. .
             Facing the destruction of Pompeii, the new Emperor, who had only succeeded the throne for less than two months before the eruption, took decisive actions, which eventually minimized the effect of the disaster on Rome. Above all, Titus' priority was to convince his Empire the eruption had nothing related god or any sort of divine disapproval (Alex 309). Surprisingly, the disaster happened nine years, almost to the day, after the Roman legions devastated Jerusalem and burned Herod's Temple (Church).

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