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Pompeii: Legacy of a tragedy

As is the case in many cities around the world, it is not uncommon to experience an earthquake that is rated between 5 and 1 on the Richter scale, and not even realize that you've been through an earthquake until hours or days later seismologists inform the media of an earthquake, or a cross-town neighbor wants to know if what woke them was an explosion, or plates shifting on some nearby fault-line they didn't know existed.

Sixteen years before Mount Vesuvius erupted on 24 August, AD 79, instantly burying the peninsula city of Pompeii, there were numerous earthquakes in the region of Campania, Italy; earthquakes which caused extensive damage to not only Pompeii but the city of Herculaneum as well.

Earthquakes that had been well documented by (Lucius) Seneca—adviser to Emperor Nero. Seneca concluded that earthquakes occurring in the region were interconnected; he also felt thunderstorms played a part.

Unfortunately, no one made the connection of the series of tremors that caused extensive structural damage to their homes and infrastructure, to the volcanic eruption that would find the people of Pompeii going about their daily routine as an avalanche of rocks, poison gas, and hot ash rushed through the city at more than 60 miles per hour or faster.

A long interval between eruptions combined with mounting seismic activity was a sure sign of impending disaster.
Mount Vesuvius had lay dormant for a long period of time. It’s last eruption: 1800 B.C. before the disaster of A.D. 79.

Not many live in the shadow of an active volcano like Washington state's, Mount Saint Helens, or on top of a volcano like the city of Jackson, Mississippi and even less in the shadow of a killer like Vesuvius. Pompeii’s economy was thriving and many of its inhabitants were living in the lap of luxury—except for slaves like Milo (Kit Harington) turned gladiator and made to fight for their lives.

Janet and Lee Batchler’s tragic depiction tells the tale of a slave trying to outsmart his captors, a gladiator attempting to defeat his opponents, and a hero toe to toe against the invincible foe…Vesuvius.

Emily Browning is Cassia, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Atticus, Sasha Roiz (Grimm), Kiefer Sutherland (24), Jessica Lucas plays Ariadne, and Jared Harris is Severus.

Pompeii opens: 21 February, 2014, Friday.

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