Historical Interruptions In Robert Harris's 'Pompeii'

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The novel, Pompeii by Robert Harris, recreates the events of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in an easy to understand fictional account. This book takes place, in the Ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum which, over a period of 4 days, the last day being the day of the wretched eruption August 24, 79, around the Bay of Neapolis. There are many historical facts and descriptions taken from the actual written accounts of two citizens of Pompeii and these accounts tie into the story along with creditable facts from Volcanology by The protagonist of this novel is a young engineer named Marcus Attilius Primus who has recently taken charge over the Aqua Augusta, the famous Roman aqueduct that supplies water to the various towns in the region…show more content…
In the novel he reports people climbing through waves of ash to escape the fury of the volcano. His account of the large amounts of pumice, rock and ash cloud that Vesuvius spewed combined with the preserved evidence left over in Pompeii after the eruption, indicates that presumably 2,000 residents of Pompeii survived the initial eruption of Vesuvius on August 24. This fact and description in the novel was very accurate and precise. Evem though it bothered me slightly that Harris did not add much to Pliny’s original description, it was exactly how it was written the day of the eruption. It was the following morning when another, more powerful eruption killed everyone in an instant, this was not mentioned in the novel but the effect of the lingering ash cloud gave the necessary effect of another eruption. When the rain mixed with the ash, it formed a sort of concrete, preserving the city, this was also briefly mentioned in the novel, the town of Herculaneum was also buried on August 25, but by a mudslide set off by the eruption and accompanying tremors this was not mentioned. According to History.com, it is estimated that approximately 13,000 people in total died from the

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