National Geographic's In the Shadow of Vesuvius (VHS) Cover Art

National Geographic's In the Shadow of Vesuvius (VHS)

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"Vesuvius slumbers, but his heart is still awake," wrote one scientist about southern Italy's Mount Vesuvius. Active for more than 17,000 years, Vesuvius wiped out two nearby towns in A.D. 79, with a blast 10 times greater than Mount St. Helens's 1980 eruption. Pompeii and Herculaneum were lost beneath gravel and ash until relatively recently. Now archaeologists consider Pompeii the largest preserved site of the ancient world. In this hour-long program, originally released in 1987, much is methodically explored. In Herculaneum a baby's cradle, delicate hand-blown glass, and a lunchtime meal are all intact. How did ancient Romans live and how did Vesuvius kill them? Viewers will learn all this and more about the last moments of life near Europe's most active volcano. --Cristina Del Sesto

Release Note

Since the days of the Roman Empire, Italy's Mount Vesuvius has erupted more than 50 times, devastating whole cities and towns. In A.D. 79 it destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, burying people alive as they ran to escape the volcano's fury. Lost and forgotten for more than 1,600 years, the once-thriving trade center of Pompeii has been successfully uncovered by archaeologists. At Herculaneum, human skeletons were found in a fatal embrace. Although Vesuvius is sleeping now, this active volcano is never far from the minds of the two million people who live in its shadow.

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