It only took well over 2,000 years for Hollywood to make a 3D blockbuster version of the surreal story of Pompeii. With all the trappings of a best-selling fiction novel, we have a fascinating first-hand account from Pliny the Younger, a Roman citizen who managed to escape the wrath of the volcano that buried Pompeii and the surrounding regions. Be sure to read the full story here before you watch the film. They always say the book is better than the eponymous movie, which opens this weekend in the U.S.
Here's an excerpt:
"It now grew rather lighter, which we imagined to be rather the forerunner of an approaching burst of flames (as in truth it was) than the return of day: however, the fire fell at a distance from us: then again we were immersed in thick darkness, and a heavy shower of ashes rained upon us, which we were obliged every now and then to stand up to shake off, otherwise we should have been crushed and buried in the heap.
I might boast that, during all this scene of horror, not a sigh, or expression of fear, escaped me, had not my support been grounded in that miserable, though mighty, consolation, that all mankind were involved in the same calamity and that I was perishing with the world itself."
- Pliny the Younger