On that sunny, summer morning in 79 AD, people in Pompeii awoke to the grumblings of an unhappy god. Vulcan was angry.
But no Roman had any reason to think that the mountain, which had been silent for generations, would suddenly come awake.
They didn’t even have a word for “volcano,” assuming that the slumbering Vesuvius was nothing more than a rocky monument to the heavens.
As ash and smoke began to fill the streets and shops of the city, residents attempted to gather their belongings and flee, only to find themselves trapped between the erupting volcano and the sea.
Some died instantly, succumbing to the surges of fire and rock and lava. Others suffered slowly, suffocating in the stifling air full of gasses billowing up from the bowels of the earth.
At the end of the day, there was nothing left but the ghosts of Pompeii.
A Day in Pompeii is on display at the Cincinnati Museum Center through August 12, 2012.
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