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公元前79年的今天,维苏威火山爆发

更新时间:2017-8-24 9:56:46 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

We often go back in history for our back stories, but today we’re going way back.

我们经常回顾时报以往的报道,今天我们要再往历史深处追溯。

Mount Vesuvius erupted on this day in 79 A.D., burying the Roman town of Pompeii under a heap of ash, rocks and pumice.

公元前79年的今天,维苏威火山(Mount Vesuvius)爆发,将罗马小城庞贝掩埋在灰烬、岩石和浮石之下。

Most of what we know of the event we owe to Pliny the Younger, who described it in a letter to the Roman historian Tacitus. According to the account, in the early afternoon that day, Pliny’s mother told his uncle, Pliny the Elder, that “a cloud which appeared of a very unusual size and shape” was approaching.

我们对这一事件的了解主要仰赖于小普利尼(Pliny the Younger),他在给罗马历史学家塔西陀(Tacitus)的信中描述了此事。据记载,当天下午稍早时,小普利尼的妈妈告诉他的叔叔老普利尼(Pliny the Elder),“一片看起来大小和形状都十分怪异的云彩”正在飘来。

“I cannot give you a more exact description,” Pliny the Younger wrote of the cloud, “than by likening it to that of a pine-tree, for it shot up to a great height in the form of a very tall trunk, which spread itself out at the top into a sort of branches.”

“我给不出更准确的描述了,” 小普利尼写到这片云时说,“它像是一棵松树,树干长得极高,顶部像枝叶一样散开。”

Pliny the Elder set off by boat to explore the cloud’s source, encountering “black pieces of burning rock” along the way. Yet he continued onward, reportedly telling his pilot, “Fortune favors the bold.”

老普利尼乘坐小船去探索这片云彩的来源,一路上遇到许多“滚烫的黑色石块”。然后他继续对船员说,“幸运总是偏爱大胆的人。”

The maxim, however — at least that day — proved false.

然而这句格言被证伪了——至少在那天。

“He suffocated,” his nephew wrote, “by some gross and noxious vapor.”

“他闷死了”,侄子写道,“被恶臭的毒气。”

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