Vesuvius: The Giant's Revenge

In AD 79, Vesuvius erupted and destroyed Pompeii. Were the giants imprisoned in the earth by Hercules breaking out to take terrible vengeance on gods and men?

The restored version of John Martin's Destruction of Pompeii and HerculaneumIt was early in the eighth century BC that the Greeks came to the bay of Naples, first as prospectors and traders, and finally as colonists. The earliest and most important of their settlements was Cumae, which in its turn founded daughter-colonies at Dikaiarchia (the modem Puteoli or Pozzuoli) and Nea Polis, 'new city', now Naples.

Further round the bay, under Vesuvius itself, were Herakleion, 'the shrine of Herakles', whose name suggests a Greek foundation, and Pompeia, sited at the mouth of the river Sarno in a favourable position for contact with the hinterland.

To read this article in full you need to be either a print + archive subscriber, or else have purchased access to the online archive.

If you are already a subscriber, please ensure you are logged in. 

Buy Subscription | Buy Online Access | Log In

If you are logged in and still cannot read the article, please email

Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week