Pompeii: The Doomed City is a three HISTORY episode collection looking at one of the worst natural disasters in Italian history; the massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius and its subsequent destruction of Pompeii, the neighboring town of Herculaneum as well as the surrounding villas. There are three HISTORY documentaries, Digging for the Truth: Pompeii Secrets Revealed, History’s Mysteries: Pompeii, and Mega Disasters: The Next Pompeii, which look at the disaster from different viewpoints.
Digging for the Truth: Pompeii Secrets Revealed
Starring Josh Bernstein, this Digging for the Truth episode explores the Pompeian past but also the work that is going on at the site, as it is still an active archeological dig. Just this fact alone, shows the magnitude of the disaster that it is still being newly discovered. This episode also briefly discusses the fact that at the time of the disaster Pompeii was bigger and more influential than Rome. Admittedly I would have liked to see more of the archeological evidence that supported this claim.
History’s Mysteries: Pompeii
History’s Mysteries: Pompeii looks at why and how the volcanic eruption in 79AD had the destructive power it did and why the people of Pompeii were caught so off guard. History’s Mysteries does a thorough job of looking into what the people of Pompeii knew at the time and why they didn’t head the natural warning signs that come along with an eruption in the magnitude of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. What was known of volcanic eruptions prior to Mt. Vesuvius and how much time did the residents of Pompeii have in order to evacuate the city? These are two of the biggest questions behind the terrible eruption in 79 AD. This episode was informative and explored the impact of the destruction of Pompeii on history, society, and science.
Mega Disasters: The Next Pompeii?
In this episode of Mega Disasters, HISTORY explores whether an event on the scale of the 79 AD eruption of Mt. Vesuvius could occur today and what the effects would be on modern society. The conclusion is that the effects would be much greater than Pompeii. This isn’t due to our society not understanding the volcano and its warning signs; it is more to do with the sheer number of people that live around the Bay of Naples and Mt. Vesuvius today and its underprepared evacuation systems. Although there have been eruptions from Mt. Vesuvius on a relatively regular schedule, none have been the magnitude of the 79AD eruption and so people have ‘forgotten’ about the true nature of the volcano. At times, this episode can be downright scary in its ability to describe the probability and sheer destruction of the modern population of the area.
Together, these three episodes of popular HISTORY television series, highlights the various aspects of the 79 AD eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and its destruction of not only the city of Pompeii buts its inhabitants and society as well.