Death of Pliny the Elder

Death of Pliny the Elder

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: The death of Pliny the Elder as a result of the catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius in AD79 which overwhelmed Pompeii and Herculaneum. His nephew, Pliny the Younger, gave the only eyewitness account of the eruption in his letters to the historian Tacitus. Gaius Plinius Secundus, Pliny the Elder. (AD23-79), was a Roman author, natural philosopher and naturalist. He was also the commander of the Roman fleet based in the bay of Naples. Pliny the Younger (AD 61-113), recalls how his uncle ordered the fleet to sail towards the coastline close to Vesuvius to evacuate survivors. Landing at Stabiae, four miles south of Pompeii, he was affected by the falling ash, rocks, and pieces of pumice. His nephew believed that as he already had respiratory problems, the dense fumes must have choked his breathing, thus causing his collapse and death on the beach.

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Keywords: ash, author, bay of naples, death, eruption, fleet, natural philosopher, naturalist, naval commander, pliny, pliny the elder, pliny the younger, pompeii, pumice, respiratory problems, roman, rome, stabiae, vesuvius, volcano

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