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It was the 24th August A.D. 79. It was just another summer’s day. As I walked through the town of Pompeii I saw the tradesmen removing the shutters from their shops and hanging up their merchandise. Clothes were being washed in the laundry of Stephanus. The baker placed his dough next to the fire. I felt the earthquake so strongly that morning it shook the whole town. I had noticed several small shudders before today, but nothing as intense as the shudder we just had. It was then when Mount Vesuvius erupted.

The ground shook and charred fragments began to fall. It spread as far as Stabie. I grabbed a cushion and tied it to my head, hoping to protect myself from the hail of pumice that was pelting down onto me. By the end of the following day, few were dead but many were left homeless. I had lost my home, covered in ash and solidified mud along with the flourishing Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The eruption was unexpected even though there had been small shudders. I had no water as our water supplies had dried up.

It was thought that the hot summer had caused the water sauces to disappear. I thought that the Gods must have been filled with so much anger to cause such damage to our towns, killing our people with the eruption of the volcano. I saw debris thrown into the heavens and it spread like an umbrella pine. The rocks and debris fell onto the towns which surrounded the volcano. The towns included Herculaneum, Pompeii and Stabie. I could avoid the falling rubble if I hid indoors. This became difficult because the roof then started to catch fire.

Most of the people died when the poisonous gas came, for those who died in this way it would have been very painful. I thought that to inflict this form of death onto the people of Pompeii was an extremely cruel act of the Gods. I was disheartened to find that the lava had destroyed all of my belongings. The amount of rubble was enormous in areas close to the eruption. Afterwards I felt very ill and frail for at least a week. My horse collapsed, unable to carry on towards the outskirts of the blast, which left me to travel the rest of my journey on foot.

I saw so many people trapped, injured and choking. I will remember those images for the rest of my life. I thought of those buried under rocks and pumice and how they would remain there for eternity. I was surprised to see the people of lower and higher classes sheltering together, in the hope that they would survive. Pompeii is in a state of disrepair. The eruption could be seen for miles around and it lasted for many days. The people of Pompeii will have to rebuild their homes and start their life again without any of their close relatives.

Pliny was one of few young witnesses to see the eruption. He has written a letter about his experience. He tells us of how his father took over a boat and his crew to save as many of the people as he could. When they could not land at Pompeii and the seas were getting extremely rough Pliny the elder was asked if he would like to turn back but the reply was to go ahead in the hope to save as many as possible. The volcano was so bad that they couldn’t even get to the Pompeian shore instead he had to land in Stabie.

Pliny and his mother left their home, as they suspected that the debris from the eruption would be able to reach them. His uncle was suffocated along with the majority of his ship members. For the next week the sky remained pitch black. The seas were still too rough to leave by boat, and all animals had either died in the tragedy or been taken by people already. Every person that I met within the month were sobbing continuously and crying out for their loved ones.

The whole event has been a tragedy for Roman Society and will be remembered for eternity. I just hope that the Gods are not still angry, as another tragedy like this would set Rome back many years. Here is a picture of the areas in which Mount Vesuvius erupted and the path Pliny took to get to Stabie. It shows how he tried to get to Pompeii, but had to go to Stabie because of the storms and falling rocks. This has been a tragic event and will shock the world for the rest of earth’s years.

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