Pompeii, the ancient Roman town-city near modern Naples, boasted an assortment of baths, houses, graffiti, frescoes and even agricultural produce. But more than any of these antediluvian avenues, the city is best known for our fascination with disaster for over 400 years, after its rediscovery way back in 1599 AD. In fact, the site of Pompeii has been a popular tourist destination for over 250 years – thus merging an unfortunate episode of history and the innate level of human curiosity. However beyond just the ‘popular’ impact of the disaster, there has always been the historical scope of the disaster. And to bring this realistic ambit to the fore, a 2009 exhibition named aptly as the ‘ A Day in Pompeii’ was showcased at the Melbourne Museum. Suffice it to say, the exhibition used 3D renderings to present a more accurate picture of the impending disaster that took place in 79 AD, and its baleful effects in the span of 48-hours surrounding the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. So, without further ado, you can take a gander at this fascinating animation that had successfully wowed over 330,000 visitors at the museum.
Now to accompany this visual scope, we have decided to also include a contemporary passage of the destruction of Pompeii. Pliny the Younger, described the scene of disaster in letters written to Cornelius Tacitus, a friend of his. Written a few years after the event, one of the passages of a second letter reads like this –Ashes were already falling, not as yet very thickly. I looked round: a dense black cloud was coming up behind us, spreading over the earth like a flood.’Let us leave the road while we can still see,’I said,’or we shall be knocked down and trampled underfoot in the dark by the crowd behind.’We had scarcely sat down to rest when darkness fell, not the dark of a moonless or cloudy night, but as if the lamp had been put out in a closed room.
You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men; some were calling their parents, others their children or their wives, trying to recognize them by their voices. People bewailed their own fate or that of their relatives, and there were some who prayed for death in their terror of dying. Many besought the aid of the gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness for evermore