Still, life in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius was an ominous affair. And the volcano – which is thought to be many thousands of years old – had a fearsome reputation. Indeed, it had been intermittently spouting lava for generations prior to 79 A.D. One particularly explosive eruption came, however, in around 1780 B.C.
It was then, you see, that Mount Vesuvius detonated millions of tons of ash, rocks and lava 22 miles into the atmosphere. And, alarmingly, it’s thought that the resulting debris demolished every settlement within a 15-mile radius. Nevertheless, life in that sunny part of Italy proved too tempting to resist, and so many people flocked to the region even after that devastating episode.
Still, in the years leading up to the eruption that destroyed Pompeii, there were apparently signs of the catastrophe that awaited. In particular, a huge earthquake that occurred in the region in 63 A.D. is now reckoned to have signaled the inevitable danger. But, regardless, people were seemingly drawn to the area anyway, and the population continued to boom.