I've just finished reading a book called Pompeii by Robert Harris. Not *just* now, it's not like the book is still in my hand as I'm setting it down while typing this.The book was an imaginative story set in ancient Italy in the days immediately before the eruption of Vesuvius. It was extraordinarily well researched, and even though I caught two historical mistakes, the presentation of the story was very novel. Whoa is that why they call those things 'novels'?
It followed an hour by hour timeline interwoven with documented historical events from the era, which as you can imagine for me was a good read.I won't give away plot points, but there is a strong chance in this book that the volcano erupts at the end.
The main character of the story was a maintenance engineer assigned to work on the various aqueducts around the bay of Naples. I know a few things about the aqueducts, having spent some time around Pont du Gard just north of Nimes, France.
Here are some photos I took of the famous above ground part of the aqueduct. Most all of the aqueducts were below ground, except for these grand bridgey parts. The whole area around there is great, you can kayak on the river (great fun, I highly recommend Kayak Vert for both this place and Fontaine de Vaucluse) and the natural marble outcroppings are fantastic to look at.
Notice the huge shadow the 160 foot tall aqueduct casts on the river?
You can see the flow chanel for the water here, look at all the sediment buildup on the floor. I wonder in ancient Romans had 'Evian'(tm) as an alternative?
As a quick digression about the area around Pont du Gard, did you know that the town of Nimes is the namesake of the mythological 'Nemesis'? A Greek goddess who personified vengeful fate against mortals who were excessively arrogant or tried to achieve too much. Hubris / blind ambition was apparently not appreciated back then, especially by the Roman generals who retired here and patronized the Nemesis temple. Maybe their patronage was motivated by a desire to keep people below them in line?
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