The Last Day of Pompeii

Who isn’t fascinated by the explosion of Mount Vesuvius in 79 Anno Domini (you’re never going to find me writing “Common Era”), when the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed in an awe-inspiring natural calamity? Now, just in time for the fateful anniversary (Aug. 24-25) comes this riveting computer animation of what a god’s-eye view of wicked Pompeii‘s annihilation might have looked like:

For a dramatized version — very good, actually — check out this BBC version, which focuses on the fates (all of them bad) of several people whose lives we can reconstruct from the physical evidence, as well as that of Pliny the Elder, who died on a rescue mission to the doomed area.

The disaster happened right after the feast of the Roman god Vulcan. Interesting to note that the Romans had no word for “volcano” until Vesuvius explained the facts of nature to them. And then they did.

Moral: live each day like it’s your last. And enjoy the last days of summer.