Publication Abstracts

Stothers 2002

Stothers, R.B., 2002: The case for an eruption of Vesuvius in 217 BC. Anc. Hist. Bull., 16, 182-185.

Little is known about the activity of Mount Vesuvius before the great eruption in AD 79. Silus Italicus, however, writing shortly after this eruption mentions in his epic poem, Punica, an earlier eruption in 216 (properly 217) BC. This brief notice occurs at the end of a long list of prodigies for that year. Virtually all modern authors have rejected this eruption, and it may be necessary to go back to Lemaire in 1823 to find even a hint of some earlier acceptance of it. Nevertheless, a possible case for its historicity was recently made by me and M.R. Rampino.

Three possible interpretations of the historical evidence were offered in our study: (1) Vesuvius had a large eruption, with possible atmospheric aftereffects; (2) Vesuvius had only a small or moderate eruption; or (3) Vesuvius did not erupt at all. For good reason, we attached a question mark to the word Vesuvius for 217 BC in our table of ancient Mediterranean eruptions. The two more positive of these interpretations have since been criticized on historical grounds.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Stothers, R. B.},
  title={The case for an eruption of Vesuvius in 217 BC},
  journal={Anc. Hist. Bull.},

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RIS Citation

ID  - st06900t
AU  - Stothers, R. B.
PY  - 2002
TI  - The case for an eruption of Vesuvius in 217 BC
JA  - Anc. Hist. Bull.
VL  - 16
SP  - 182
EP  - 185
ER  -

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