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Pliny the Younger, the eye witness of the eruption of the Mount Vesuvius in 79AD

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At the time of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79 the Roman fleet under the command of Pliny the Elder was stationed across the Bay of Naples at Misenum.

Pliny was a scientist, a historian and a naturalist and he felt the need to get closer to observe the phenomenon of the eruption.

He decided to land in Stabia, where lived his friend, but he died because of the toxic gases.

Miseno_Stabia

The route taken by Pliny the Elder from Miseno to Stabia during the eruption in 79AD

Pliny’s nephew, whom we know as Pliny the Younger, was with him at Misenum, but did not venture out on the ships with his uncle. He stayed back at Misenum and observed the events from there. He also received first-hand reports from those who had been with his uncle at his death. Based on this information Pliny the Younger wrote two letters to the historian Tacitus that recount the events surrounding the eruption of Vesuvius and the death of Pliny the Elder.

The letters survive and provide a vivid account of the events.

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