On that sunny, summer morning in 79 AD, people in Pompeii awoke to the grumblings of an unhappy god. Vulcan was angry.

A Day in Pompeii Exhibit

Relics from the Lost Pompeii

But no Roman had any reason to think that the mountain, which had been silent for generations, would suddenly come awake.

A Day in Pompeii Exhibit

One of the elaborate paintings that lined the walls of homes in Pompeii

They didn’t even have a word for “volcano,” assuming that the slumbering Vesuvius was nothing more than a rocky monument to the heavens.

A Day in Pompeii Exhibit

A Turkish idol imported to Pompeii that combines religious symbols from all over the Orient

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.

A Day in Pompeii Exhibit

What Remains

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.

A Day in Pompeii Exhibit

What did this man see on his last day?

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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