Rising from the Ashes

You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men," wrote Pliny the Younger, the most eloquent eyewitness to the explosion of Mount Vesuvius on Aug. 24, A.D. 79. "Many sought the aid of the gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness for evermore."

That darkness returns in "Stories from an Eruption: Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis," which runs until Aug. 31 at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. Not only did glowing avalanches of volcanic ash and rock bury the cities (the eruption...

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