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Vesuvius, 79 AD

Lights

Lights
Hi, alaskanlaughter.

You hoped that I would post on Vesuvius and here it is.It comes in the odd dream or flashback.

I remember that we lived near Herculaneum. When you came through the front door, there was a room that was painted with some frescoes. The room I remember the most clearly was a room with frescoes with a scene of people that are mythological figures, but instead of the red background quite popular in frescoes in the homes of people I’ve visited, the background is green. The floors are inlaid tiles that have been set inside marble borders. In the central atrium (open courtyard), there is a shallow pool with a mosaic of Neptune. There are benches near it and there is a feeling of serenity. Looking at it, I have a feeling of home. My wife, Marcella and Marcillenus, our son, make it truly a home and not just a house.
Mt. Vesuvius is a constant background to our lives. Covered with vineyards, it is merely another mountain. Looking back, there is no fear of it, for we don’t know what it is capable of. There are earth tremors, and have been for much of my life up until then. There was a large quake when I was about fifteen, and the larger tremors amongst the hundreds that happened after the large quake have made replastering and repainting necessary. However, none of them have been as bad as that quake during my adolescence.
That day, it was quite warm and the air very still, as if nature itself was waiting some momentous event. It is something like the heaviness and stillness in the air before severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in the Midwest. It was strange, but there had been warm, still summer days before this. I remember feeling no premonition.
What I remember is that the day of eruption, I was at home, when a literally earsplitting roar rent the heavy air. I made my way to the atrium and though I could not see the whole mountain, I saw a huge column of smoke rising into the air. Everyone seemed all right and but for a bench and one of the statues near the pool which had fallen over, the house seemed none the worse for the experience.
I remember being surprised since whilst we knew of fire-mountains such as Etna, we did not think that Vesuvius was that sort of mountain. To us, it had always been as we beheld it in our lifetime before that day: vineyards growing up part of the way, and barren toward the top. However, except for some learned people, no one knew that it could produce the column and cloud above it. I could read and write as became my class, but was not a scholar. So at this time I knew nothing of this.
As the afternoon wore on, there were tremors, but no major damage to our home. I thought it best not to leave as the cloud seemed to be drifting over Pompeii rather than Herculaneum. My spouse says that she remembers what sounded to her like roofs collapsing, so there may have been some ash fall, pumice, etc. We stayed inside, hoping and praying that things would get better. I don’t know why we didn’t go down to the beach or the boathouses, though of course in the end, it made no difference.
During the night, we were together: Marcella, Marcillenus, and I. We were in the bedroom which Marcella and I shared. I remember the lamps going out, heard rumbling and felt trembling coming from the ground. I was able to embrace Marcella, but our son was in the darkness, calling for us, and with one arm I groped for him. Then the rumbling became louder and the vibrations increased and all I remember was this intense heat, a heat which cannot be described, only experienced.

I can say without hesitation that, though the end of that life was tragic, the life itself was pleasant and fulfilling. I remember regret at the end—regret that Marcella and I would not have more years together, regret that we would not see Marcillenus grow to manhood, regret that we would not know the joy of grandchildren, and regret that life could not have been longer. If my dreams are accurate, the last thing that flashed in front of my eyes before the pyroclastic surge took our lives was my Marcella in that moment when her flammeum (the e traditional Roman wedding veil of flame-coloured material (in her case flame coloured gauze) to reveal my bride. She was plump, though not fat, her skin lighter than mine since her family had come from the north, whereas I had what would be called Sicilian blood and was darker in complexion. I still dream of her face sometimes: large, strangely-soft, heavy-lidded brown eyes, a slightly aquiline nose and full lips. Her hair was reddish-brown and curly, worn in the style of many Roman ladies—upswept with curls in front, longer tendrils at the temple, and long curls in back. When I see Marcella in my dreams, I experience a feeling of great love. For this reason, along with what memories I do have, I believe that ours was a true love match even though, as was the case in many if all upper class marriages, ours was an arranged marriage. It may have been arranged, but ours was a very happy marriage. Marcella was a wonderful wife and made my life very worthwhile. I couldn’t have done better if I’d designed her myself. I was especially happy that she gave me a son. I know that isn’t that big a deal nowadays, but back in Roman Times, most men preferred a son, especially if it was a firstborn and I was no exception. Well, that was where we were back then. I was a product of my times.
Our deaths were horrific but, compared to the deaths of the people of Pompeii. We died instantly—just one of heat and searing pain. The people of Pompeii had it much worse—they had to breathe in the ash from Vesuvius, slowly smothering to death. No one deserves a fate such as that.
 

W.A. HEART

Senior Registered
Hello Light!


Wow - thank you so much for sharing that! I was awed by how vivid your memories are! I think it must be difficult for the soul to forget such a moment - horrific indeed!


I'm glad that your other memories of that life are pleasant ones. I think it's very comforting to recall love like that, to re-experience it.


I look forward to hearing more about this past life of yours!


Thanks again


Welsh at Heart
 

alaskanlaughter

Senior Registered
Thank you so much for sharing your memories. Wow what vivid memories! I could practically picture it. It all seemed oddly familiar to me, although I have no memories of those times, especially the part about vineyards growing up the sides of the volcano.
 

soulfreindly

Senior Registered
I too felt my short life of 17 years there was lovely until it ended in Pompei. It was a a beautiful simple life.


And I too remember the lovely sunny warm days..


In my memory I remember knowing of the coming disaster, people running. and me having to make a decision.. should I run and forewarn my husbands parents { I am not sure where he was } or run and save my own life.. I regretted my lack of courage as I ran for my own life.. as it happened not having any where to go to avoid death...


I had a strong attraction to that same man this life.. As well being married in another life in Roman times as Christians.. suffering a horrible fate in the coloseum..This life he was a womaniser , so it put a damper on my interest in pursuing him.. I became best freinds with his ex partner without even knowing of their connection. We do come back in groups.


soufreindly
 

ChrisR

Administrator Emeritus
Staff member
Super Moderator
Thanks for sharing your experience Lights, and as a victim of a volcanic eruption in my past life, I was more than interested to read your account, it was very similar to my own memories. The eerie silence, the tremors, and like you I remember that deafening 'bang' that turned my legs into jelly, the momentary disorientation and the shock and fear made me lose control of my bladder. Do you remember the terrifying sight of the cloud rolling down the side of the mountain? It almost feels as if it's alive and singling you out as it's target.


I've spent the last few hours since I first read your post trying to think of a description of what it feels like when the cloud engulfs me. I think I could only have lived for no more than 2 seconds and the feeling is completely indescribable. I remember a 'whooosh' sound and the scorching heat took the breath out of my lungs and burned the scream in my throat just before the cloud swept me away, I can't describe the feeling just before my brain must have simply shut down to cope with the shock I guess as I can't remember anything physical beyond that point.


soulfreindly, I also struggle with a lot of guilt over the fact that I ran to save my own life, knowing that I was leaving my father behind in an injured state and facing certain death. Even though I was only a child, I know my last feelings besides the obvious terror, were of disloyalty and abandonment. Had I survived the eruption, I don't know how I would have been able to live with myself.


Sorry Lights, I don't want to hijack your thread. I wonder if you feel drawn towards going back to Herculaneum one day as I feel drawn back to the scene of my death? I saw an interesting tv documentary a while ago about Herculaneum, they've excavated a large percentage of the city now, it's a place I've always wanted to visit, the story of Pompeii and Vesuvius always fascinated me from a very early age. Thanks again for sharing :thumbsup:


Chris :)
 

Lights

Lights
I think the only way that I could describe the feeling of that pyroclastic cloud hitting me was a brilliant flash, unbearable pain and swiftly, a merciful blackness. Since pyroclastic flows kill instantly, I belive it a more merciful end than those in Pompeii who took several LONG seconds to die as the ash they took into their lungs smothered.


I didn't see the pyroclastic cloud because my family and I hid in our home, hoping to ride th eruption out. The fact that you saw the flow coming says that you were either in Herculanum when a pyroclastic flow hit during the night--you likely would have been on the beach or in the street. Alternatively, you could have been in the street or open area when th pyroclastic flow hit Pompeii around 6:40 AM or the final flow which struck between 7 and 8 in the morning and which dvastatd the entire area and actually travelled across the Bay of Naples.


Soulfriendly, I understand how you feel about having left your father behind. I still feel regret at not having got my family out when the eruption began. My spouse says that it was our fate for that life, but the decisions of so many that day cost them their lives and the lives of their loved ones.


I have had a wonderful flashbackof Marcillenus sitting near me and he is eating a honey cake, and a cup of cold water is near him on the bench. He is a cute little boy, his features a mixture of Marcella's and mine: slightly slanted brownish-gold eyes. There is just a bit of tan to his skin--a mixture of her fair, northern complection and my darker full lips and what will likely be a Roman nose one day. He is dressed in a tunic of blue cloth, attractive but not exhorbitant.


We love him dearly as he is an only child, but we do not overly coddle him as we both want him to grow up as a solid, virtuous Roman. Marcella comes from a family with Etruscan lineage and she is proud of that fact, as she should be. They are a solid part of the Empire and have contributed much in the way of culture. The Etruscans before Rome were a bit too free-spirited and the women a bit too free with their favours, but her family has been Roman for many generations and she combines the passion of her female Etruscan ancstors with the virtue of a good Roman wife. We have discussed the upbringing of our son--as paterfamilias I am entitled to make decisions by myself, without a need to listen to advice from my wife, but I have found her advice sound in the past--and her advice in the case of our son is no exception. Like me, she believes that he should know that we love him a great deal but that he should not be overly spoiled. We have seen children of friends who have been given everything they want, have been coddled and spoilt and have turned out to be brats--and we do not want that for our son. We want him to grow up to be a credit to both his family and the Empire. To that end, we raise him strictly--no staying up late, he is to listen to the teaching given him by his tutor-slave, and if he does not, I have no difficulties in giving him a sound spanking. However, he is generally a good child, so spankings were few and in between.


My spouse recently reminded me that Marcillenus could be mischievous at times. Once we had a dinner party, and Marcillenus. not wanting to be caught out late, acted like a statue and doing a very fair job of it. Of course, we saw through it right away, but said and did nothing. His inventiveness was interesting and we saw no reason to let him know that we were onto him.


The death of Marcillenus was the most tragic death in our family--Marcella and I had a wonderful life; Marcellinus never got that chance.
 

ChrisR

Administrator Emeritus
Staff member
Super Moderator
Lights said:
The fact that you saw the flow coming says that you were either in Herculanum when a pyroclastic flow hit during the night--you likely would have been on the beach or in the street. Alternatively, you could have been in the street or open area when th pyroclastic flow hit Pompeii around 6:40 AM or the final flow which struck between 7 and 8 in the morning and which dvastatd the entire area and actually travelled across the Bay of Naples.
Sorry Lights, I didn't explain very well in my post, I wasn't there when Vesuvius erupted, I was the victim of a volcanic eruption in a remote part of Ecuador in 1957 :eek: But I was still very much drawn to the Pompeii story when I was little because I could relate it to the nightmares I'd been having.


Thanks for sharing your memories though, I'm very fascinated to read all the details.


Chris
 

Lights

Lights
ChrisR said:
Sorry Lights, I didn't explain very well in my post, I wasn't there when Vesuvius erupted, I was the victim of a volcanic eruption in a remote part of Ecuador in 1957 :eek: But I was still very much drawn to the Pompeii story when I was little because I could relate it to the nightmares I'd been having.
Thanks for sharing your memories though, I'm very fascinated to read all the details.


Chris
Hi again, Chris. I'm sorry...I thought that you were speaking of Vesuvius. It sounds as if it was an awful experience--glad you survived. :)


I didn't see the pyroclastic flow but from pictures I have seen of flows at night. it would have been both eerie and awesome:


the lightning flashes in the part of the eruption column that has not collapsed. the fiery rock within the flow lighting it up from within, it's silent approach--at least while it is still in the distance.


I heard that sound in my final moments and it is indescribable--it's a rumbling but a rumbling of a magnitude that did not occur except perhaps in a pyroclastic surge. I certainly had never heard in that life. I know my spouse still dreams of those last moments, and so, less frequntly, do I.
 

Peter V

Senior Registered
Eyewitness to the Eruption


I thought you might find this interesting, so I've scanned and uploaded this PDF. Its the account of Pliny the Younger, talking to Tacitus about his uncle, who died in the eruption.


Just click here to download it: (Deleted)
 

Maxine

New Member
So far as I know I have never had any past life involving a volcanic eruption. But I went to the whole Bay of Naples area as a young teen on holiday in this life.


I just found it is creepy. It did have a big impact on me, but I do not think, for me, it is past life. Just the awful thought of those people, going about the day to day, so swiftly overwhelmed.


Lights, 'enjoyed' is not the right word, but I was moved by your description of your past life families last hours. I gather from what you say you must know your spouse, at that time, again this life. I do hope you both find your then son again.


Chris, I read your blog about the little girl you were in immediate past life and her/her dad's awful fate caught up in the eruption. I do hope you do get to go back to the scenes you recall, as a 'tourist'. Though I think it would be difficult and shocking, I think it might also be healing for you. Especially so as it is so close in time. Though I know that is irrelevant really - time as we view it in life.
 

Sunniva

Administrator Emeritus
Thank you for sharing your story Lights! It was a very interesting read. I'd love to hear more about that life :)
 

Lights

Lights
I think what I remember the most was the generally pleasant life my wife, our son, and I shared in Herculaneum. Recently I had a very vivid dream of taking Marcillenus to the baths in Pompeii--I'd decided to make a day of it with him and took him into Pompeii for the first time. We are sitting in water--actually, I am holding him on my lap as the water is just a bit too deep for him to sit on the side. He is enjoying the bath and laughs as I dunk him up and down in the water. I do remember feeling a tremor, but it is not a big one so we are not worried. Almost everyone there has felt these tremors for years. It stops after maybe fifteen or twenty seconds.


I then see us walking through the Forum. Marcillenus is wearing a blue tunic with some new sandals and I am wearing a white tunic and toga with a bit of green trim on it. I have just got Marcillenus a cake to eat--honey cake is what he likes best and since he has been so good on his first big outing, I have gotten him one from a vendor. I am eating a flatbread with some cheese and in between bites, telling him about the first time my father and I visited.


I realise that he is growing up and soon I will have to obtain a tutor for him, someone who can give him the education that will help him run the family business when I am gone. True, my father is still alive and I have a hope of a decently-long life, but I feel it is not too early to begin his education--to lean to read, write, and to learn some of the things he will have to learn to be a citizen of Rome.
 

Lights

Lights
One of the things I find very familiar is the taste of olive oil--not the really light, refined kind, but the darker, heavier virgin or extra virgin oil.


In my twenties I went to a Russian Christmas celebration where I drank a drink that is a very sweet, spiced wine which has been cooked very slowly until it is a thin syrup consistancy. I just recently heard of passum, a sweet raisin wine which was boiled until a syrup, and used in Roman cooking about the time of the Vesuvian eruption. The drink I tried nearly thirty years ago was like the ancient Roman sauce I remember--thick and sweet it was wonderful.


To this day I am fond of cold pickled vegetables and whole grain breads, the latter of which in Roman times, was heartier by far than the breads we eat nowadays. It is a flatter, round bread which we tear into smaller pieces. The bread I see in dreams/flashbacks has been marked with a knife into wedges before being baked.


We eat the food of the famed Roman banquets mostly on holidays or when entertaining--most of the time we eat lighter dishes at lunch--breakfast was often fruit with bread or a sort of porridge of wheat. In the evenings we have a somewhat more elaborate meal of cooked meat, vegetables, bread, and fruit dishes. As I write this I can almost taste them.
 

Karoliina

Moderator Emerita
I believe it's possible I lived around the area at that time. When I was a child I was hooked on a historical TV series about the eruption (I wouldn't normally watch programmes like that), and later in my teens I was fascinated by that Roman era. For example the film Quo Vadis made a strong impact on me, when we watched it in high school.


In recent years, when I've done PL research, it has started to seem likely I had two or three past lives in ancient Rome.


One thing just occurred to me: When I was a child I had a very awful nightmare, in which I saw a huge tidal wave coming closer and closer. Well, I always thought it was a tidal wave, but it was black in colour. Now I'm wondering if a pyroclastic cloud could look a little like a huge wave? Hmmm.


It always puzzled me why it was black and how it could be so terribly high.


Karoliina
 

Sunniva

Administrator Emeritus
Lights,


I find that so interesting! A while ago I suddenly had a craving for 'fig bread' without really knowing what it was - I could just taste, although I've never heard of such a thing in this life. Very weird and I still haven't found out where my knowledge of fig bread comes from.


Do you remember if you recognized the taste of the sweet Russian drink or is it something you've only thought of afterwards? :)


Karoliina,


I hope you'll try to find out more about that life, because I'd love to hear more! :D
 

sarque

New Member
You have such vivid memories, that's so amazing. When I was reading your memories I almost felt as though I could picture everything you were saying. I think the recollections of the food is particular fascinating. I haven't had an experience like that, but reading yours was very interesting.


I hope you continue to find out things about this life, it's so interesting:)
 

ChrisR

Administrator Emeritus
Staff member
Super Moderator
Karoliina said:
One thing just occurred to me: When I was a child I had a very awful nightmare, in which I saw a huge tidal wave coming closer and closer. Well, I always thought it was a tidal wave, but it was black in colour. Now I'm wondering if a pyroclastic cloud could look a little like a huge wave? Hmmm.
It always puzzled me why it was black and how it could be so terribly high.
Karoliina, I think it's more than possible that you were remembering a pyroclastic cloud rather than a tidal wave. From what I can remember in my own experience, the cloud does take on a 'liquid' like appearance as it rolls down the side of the mountain gathering speed, very fast, and very eerie. Take a look at this video which I posted on my website as it looks very much like what I saw in my nightmares for all those years. Whoever shot that video is very lucky to be alive!
 

Peter V

Senior Registered
Here's a pretty cool video of a pyroclastic flow as seen from the ISS recently:


That would definitely look like a massive black wave coming towards you.


EDIT: Be sure to click the HD button.
 

Lights

Lights
Thanks, Chris and Peter V for those clips. I'm just as glad not to have seen that headed toward Herlulaneum--it would have been even more terrifying at night because the hot gases and incandescent rock within the flow become visible after dark.


I can only say that the sweet Russian drink was very familiar when I first tasted it--not sure why it was familiar, just that it was.


Figs were very popular in old Rome and used in many different dishes. I would think that there are recipes for fig bread--in fact I have found many recipes in googling for it.


I am putting this here and hope people will find it interesting.

https://www.thoughtco.com/what-the-romans-ate-120636

It is a site about Ancient Roman Cuisine--I believe there are even recipes!
 

Karoliina

Moderator Emerita
Thanks for linking to the videos, Chris and Peter! Watching them makes me think the "wave" in my dream really was actually a pyroclastic cloud/flow.


Looking at the clip Peter linked to, I realised I forgot to say earlier that besides the colour and height of the wave, I always wondered also, how a tidal wave could be so "narrow" - I mean I didn't see it coming widely in horizon, but it was much higher than wide. (Sorry I don't really know how to explain this well in English.) Just like in the latter video.


So maybe my childhood nightmare was a PL memory of a volcanic eruption. It doesn't mean the memory is definitely of the Vesuvius and year 79, but it's possible considering my childhood/youth fascination with the topic, area and era.


Karoliina
 

Lights

Lights
True, it doesn't mean it was Vesuvius you were dreaming about...but it does definitely sound like a past-life memory of a pyroclastic surge.
 

Lights

Lights
Tonight whilst watching "the Last Days of Pompeii", I had a flashback to taking my wife and young son to Rome. Marcella and Marcillenus had never visited, so when friends invited us for a few weeks' stay, we headed north to Rome.


What I remember was the sheer grandeur of the Forum and the large civic buildings along with the residence of the Emperor. Marcella just stood there in awe, unable to speak. I suppose because she had never been to a city the likes of Rome.


I remember the stench of some of the streets and was glad when we came into the part of the city where my friends lived.


Here it was cleaner and there were baths a short walk from my friend's home. The house itself was partially two storied, the part back from the street and separated from the front of the house by the open area boasted two stories. It was quite impressive when compared to our home which was smaller.


One day, I went out to the games. I had seen them in Pompeii as a boy and did not like them. I thought that I would change my opinion as adult, but the sight of animals mauling other animals and slaves did not appeal. The gladiator contests were at least more equally-matched, but I confess to not liking the sight or scent of blood.


Still there was something about Rome that made one proud to be Romans. My family had originally hailed from Rome but by the time of my birth, we had settled as merchants in Herculaneum for at least three generations. Still to know that this is where my ancestors had walked and lived caused a surge of pride within me.
 

yeehaarider

yeehaarider
Something along these lines, lines up with a very vivid dream I had twice when I was six (it really stayed with me).


I was a child, perhaps four. I was actually in the gutter, while my mother was on a raised sidewalk. We were moving fast and I was complaining. I remember asking, "What happened ?" to which she replied "A mountain blew up." I turned to look and that was where it ended.
 
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