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Vesuvius: A Biography

Popular Science

By: Alwyn Scarth

342 pages, B/w illus

Terra Publishing

Hardback | Jan 2009 | #182327 | ISBN-13: 9781903544259
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £24.95 $33/€28 approx

About this book

Vesuvius is one of the most dangerous volcanoes on Earth. Its story is fascinating - not only its rich geological and geographical history, but also the changing social, religious and intellectual impact that the volcano has always had upon the people living around it.

This book is based on the latest research and also on a prudent appraisal of contemporary historical accounts. Wherever possible, the story is based on eye-witness reports and there are fresh translations of classical source material. Written with the non-specialist reader in mind, the book will be compelling reading for not only geologists and geographers but also emergency planners and all those fascinated by the dramatic face of the Earth.


Preface; Acknowledgements; 1 Introduction; Ancient settlements; Foreign rule; Authority questioned; Further reading; 2 Campanian volcanoes: in the beginning Campania; The Campi Flegrei volcanic field; The growth of Somma--Vesuvius; The eruptions of Somma--Vesuvius before 1631; Further reading; 3 The Avellino eruption: a prelude to Pompeii Two skeletons from the early Bronze Age; An early Bronze Age village; Calm after the Avellino eruption; Somma--Vesuvius just before AD 79; Further reading; 4 The eruption in AD 79: the day of wrath Roman Campania; The Roman Empire in AD 79; The Pliny family; The two letters of Pliny the Younger; Damaging earthquakes; Pompeii; Herculaneum; The southern flanks of Vesuvius: 24 August AD 79, morning; Misenum: 24 August AD 79, noon; Rectina asks for help; Enquiry and rescue: 24 August, afternoon; Pompeii: 24 August, afternoon and evening; Stabiae: 24 August, evening; Herculaneum: 24--25 August; Oplontis: 25 August; Pompeii: 24--25 August: the day of wrath; Stabiae: 25 August, dawn; Misenum: 24--25 August; Victims of the eruption; Aftermath; Aid; Further reading; 5 From antiquity to the Renaissance: tall stories Limitation of sources; Eruptions from AD 79 until AD 685. More persistent activity, c. AD 787--1139; Dormant Vesuvius; Further reading; 6 The eruption of Monte Nuovo: a new approach An intellectual change; Spanish rule; Pozzuoli and Tripergole; Warnings of an eruption; The eruption begins: Sunday 29 September 1538; The effects of the eruption on Pozzuoli; A calm interlude: Tuesday 1 October to Thursday 3 October; Thursday afternoon, 3 October; Marchesino explores: Friday 4 October; Sunday 6 October; The aftermath; Further reading; 7 The eruption in 1631: the Counter Reformation The wages of sin; Vesuvius in 1631; Real, unrecognized and imaginary warnings from Vesuvius; The eruption begins: Tuesday 16 December; Exodus; The viceroy acts: 16 December; Flight from Torre del Greco; The first religious procession, Tuesday, 16 December; A drumroll; The night of 16--17 December; Pyroclastic flows: Wednesday 17 December; The pyroclastic flows reach Torre del Greco; Tsunamis; The procession on Wednesday 17 December; The processions on Thursday 18 December; The floods at Nola: Thursday 18 December; Rescue and recovery?; Friday 19 December; The waning phases of the eruption; Refugees and sinners; Results of the eruption; Future generations; Further reading; 8 The old cities rediscovered: antiquity protected Old stones come to light; Excavations begin; Excavations at Pompeii; The role of Giuseppe Fiorelli; Further reading; 9 Hamilton and Vesuvius: volcano-watching Questions of pedigree; The envoy in Naples; Trespassing on Vesuvian territory; The eruption of 1766; The eruption of October 1767; The volcanoes of the Campi Flegrei and Etna; Campi Phlegraei; The eruption of 1779; The eruption of June 1794; Enter Nelson; Hamilton as a volcanologist; Further reading; 10 Vesuvius as a tourist attraction: the Grand Tour; Picturesque, sublime and classical; The view of Vesuvius from Naples; The trip to the foot of Vesuvius; Old lavas; Molten lavas; The cone and its crater; Descent; Further reading; 11 Persistent activity 1822--1944: scientific scrutiny; The eruption of 1822; The eruption of 1872; Agitation 1875--1906; The eruption of 1906; The eruption of 1944; Further reading. 12 The Campi Flegrei: an eruption that failed La Solfatara; Bradyseismic movements; Planning for the next eruption; Further reading; 13 The future: the eruption to be avoided The past is the key to the future; Warning signs; When will Vesuvius erupt again?; What will be erupted?; The contingency plan for Vesuvius; Communications and public awareness; The special problems of Campania; Some counter-suggestions; Relocation; Further reading; Appendix 1: The two letters of Pliny the Younger to Tacitus about the eruption of AD 79; Appendix 2: Cassiodorus: Variae Epistolae, letter 50; Glossary; Bibliography; Index.

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