Pompeii was completely buried by the dust and ash that descended upon it when Mount Vesuvius erupted on August 24th, 79, A.D. and remained so until 1748, when it was rediscovered and when the first excavations began. Archaelogists are still working the site, and Pompeii is still yielding interesting and valuable information about Roman town life.
But reading about the destruction of Pompeii (or Herculaneum or Stabaie which were also obliterated by the eruption), or even seeing pictures of the now excavated city, does not prepare one for the impact of standing in the midst of its ruins, or looking at the bodies of the dead, frozen in last moments of horror.
Pompeii, about 20 miles south of Naples, is on a fertile plain, with the Bay of Naples to the west, and the Appenine mountains on the east.
The first settlers in the area were likely a tribal group, the Oscans, who may have founded Pompeii in the 8th Century BC. There are also traces of Ionian settlements tracing back to the same century. Eventually, the surrounding area came under Hellenic control, with Pompeii and Herculaneum serving as principal cities in the region.
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