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While this was going on, an inconceivable quantity of ashes was blown out, which covered both sea and land and filled all the air …It buried two entire cities, Herculaneum and Pompeii …Then came the smell of sulfur, announcing the flames, and the flames themselves …onto the ships, darker and denser the closer they went.Buildings were being rocked by a series of strong tremors and appeared to have come loose from their foundations and to be sliding this way and that. We had scarcely sat down when a darkness came that was not like a moonless or cloudy night, but more like the black of closed and unlighted rooms.Outside, however, there was danger from the rocks that were coming down … You could hear women lamenting, children crying, men shouting.There were some so afraid of death that they prayed for death.Outside, however, there was danger from the rocks that were coming down …It was daylight now elsewhere in the world, but there the darkness was darker and thicker than any night …

I believed that I was perishing with the world, and the world with me, which was a great consolation for death. I had already asked this of several other scholars, but none had any sources for me, although they said there must be some.Shaye, however, immediately replied, “Try Book 4 of the Sibylline Oracles.” He was right on.The free e Book Life in the Ancient World guides you through craft centers in ancient Jerusalem, family structure across Israel and articles on ancient practices—from dining to makeup—across the Mediterranean world.Book 4 of the Sibylline Oracles is thought to be mostly Jewish oracles by a so-called sibyl (in Greek legend an aged woman who uttered ecstatic prophecies) that were composed shortly after the eruption of Vesuvius in 79.

The oracles were preserved by Christians who believed they gave pagan testimony to the true religion and to Christ.

The manner of its demise also protected it, however.

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