When considered in light of contemporary seismological and volcanological research, an abundance of literary, archaeological, and epigraphic information can illuminate the natural and historical circumstances marking a series of natural disasters that beset coastal Campania between 62 CE and the early 80s. During this time, towns extending from Neapolis east and south to Salernum suffered damage from several earthquakes. The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 subjected the entire zone to damage as well, but outside the core pyroclastic zone the effects were variable. The quakes seriously affected Neapolis and its territory, yet the city survived and prospered due in part, it is argued, to an unusual and fortuitous antiseismic feature of its urban fabric. The volcanic eruption dealt a grievous blow to the local landscape and economy but Neapolis again demonstrated its resilience, providing assistance to the emperor's relief commission and refuge to many who escaped the eruption. In the aftermath of 79 this city may have undergone a mild form of colonization, selling the emperor agricultural land for future veteran settlement in areas where recovery could be expected and establishing a permanent suburban neighborhood, perhaps more than one, for refugees. Keywords: Naples, Vesuvius, Earthquake, Eruption, Roman
Journal of Ancient History – de Gruyter
Published: Dec 1, 2015
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