The Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD

The eruption is reported to have occurred in the later part of the year. Various dates that have been given are August 24, October 17, October 30, November 1, or November 23. The eruption has been categorized as a Plinian eruption.

The August 24 date came from a 1508 printed version of Pliny the Younger’s letter to Tacitus. The October 17th date is from graffiti that was written in charcoal on the wall of a room in the Regio V area of Pompeii. The later dating is considered to be more accurate due to archeological findings such as what the victims were wearing and what types of foods were found were being sold in the shops at the time of destruction.

The primary textual sources that contain information about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD are as follows:

Pliny the Younger (61-112) in his Letter to Tacitus, written c.107 (28 years later)

Josephus (37-100) in his Antiquities of the Jews

Suetonius (69-130) in his Life of Titus

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5 – Vesuvius Before the 1631 Eruption

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