Sunday, February 05, 2012

Today In History: Won't Take A Hint.

On this day in the Year of the Consulship of Marius and Asinius, 815 ab urbe condita (that's 62 AD for followers of that weird offshoot Jewish cult), the prosperous Campanian city of Pompeii was hammered by an earthquake measuring approximately six on the Richter scale. Compounding the damage from the quake were fires caused by toppled candles and lamps. It was easily the worst disaster to befall the city since it had been hit with landslides a couple hundred years earlier.

Showing no more common sense than your average Los Angeleno, the Pompeiians immediately set about repairing their scenic little town, right there in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. They had it all spruced up again by the Year of the Consulship of Augustus and Vespasianus, as many a tourist can attest.

18 comments:

Ferret said...

Much in the same way beachfront property retains its value and is built upon in spite of the history of being periodically scoured clean by way of storms and other natural events.

Bob said...

The Romans of Pompeii had no historical reference of cataclysmic volcanic eruptions the way modern man does. The only one in their historical record was Santorini in 1628 B.C., and that survived to them only as a legend, Atlantis. (they could really get down there; the plankton, the krill, the big ol' underwater pyramid).*

So the Romans of Pompeii, confronted with earthquakes, would not tie it to the possibility of disaster; even if they had, many of them probably were Stoics, and inclined to accept misfortune...well, stoically.

*bonus points for identifying musical reference.

Old NFO said...

Lemmings... Doing the same thing hoping for a different result, but their 'cliff' came to them not the other way around...

Firehand said...

I've done some reading on volcanoes the last few years, and it's amazing how many disasters documented over the last couple of centuries include "The locals had no idea the mountain was a volcano."

Jenny said...

eek!

pictures!

staghounds said...

Apollo help me, Donovan Leitch.

Who oddly enough is Ione Skye's father.

And the captcha word is

UNKIN.

Don M said...

The funny thing: The Vesuvius eruption in 1944 ended up being a minor event in the otherwise earthshaking events taking place just then.

In most earthquakes in CA, there is less damage than occurs every winter in the northeast. It costs less to repair the damage than is spent moving the North east snow around.

Cybrludite said...

So long as the quake didn't destroy whatever feature caused them to build there in the first place, they'd rebuild. It's the same reason we rebuilt here after Betsy & Katrina: New Orleans is the last bit of solid ground before you reach the mouth of the Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

Not much of New Orleans is solid. they have been sucking water out of the ground for 300 years, causing it to subside.

Paul said...

Much of the same thinking in financial services right about now.

DirtCrashr said...

Everyone knows that volcanic activity is caused by the winds underneath the earth that rush around in those big cavernous tunnels.

Ed Foster said...

Pliny the Younger watched the whole thing from across the bay, where he'd headed several days before, and recorded an exceptionally accurate account of the disaster.

Purt' near everybody who was anybody in Roman society had boogied over the preceding several days, leaving mostly the local, non-roman serf types to get turned into statues. The locals were so inbred that they were easy for archaeologists to identify from bone structure and facial features.

No Cletus jokes kiddies, I'm Scotch-Irish and touchy on the subject.

Cybrludite said...

Solid enough to build skyscrapers on. Until that squiggly blue line on the middle of the US map pulls up stakes for Morgan City, New Orleans will still be here.

Robin said...

Well, what have the Romans done for us anyway?

Anonymous said...

My folks visited Naples and Sicily a few years back and noted with some dismay that there is (still) only one highway out of the area. Italian civil defense types assume that most of the people around Vesuvius won't flee until it is too late, with predictable results. After all, it didn't explode the last time . . . A really good book about the history of Vesuvius and vulcanology is Alwyn Scarth "Vesuvius: A Biography."

IIRC, Vesuvius is considered the most hazardous volcano in the world(in terms of number of people in danger if it goes boom), with Mt. Rainier being number 2. Rainier is #1 in North America. Um, yeah, I'm a rock geek, why do you ask?

LittleRed1

Firehand said...

When son first got to Fort Lewis and talked about riding to see some of the mountains, I told him to look up 'Osceola Mudflow' first. And listen for alarms.

Justthisguy said...

Ferret, people used to be more sensible about beachfront property. Look at Tybee Island, where they still do it right. There are some right rich people who keep houses there, but the houses are shacks. You don't keep the good china there, don't shave while hanging out, etc. They do it wrong in FL of course, with lotsa vulgar ostentation of high-rises. I blame rich Midwesterners and their silly wives.

My Dad used to sell furniture and interior desecration to those people; they are the curse, and simultaneously the foundation of the economy, of this benighted place.

elmo iscariot said...

IIRC, Vesuvius is considered the most hazardous volcano in the world...

And completely apart from the human cost, if Vesuvius goes a-blasting again before the Italian government pulls its collective heads out of its collective asses and allows a complete excavation of the Villa of the Papyri, I'm going to be very cross indeed.