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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index P > Category: Pompeii

Pompeii Quotes (6 quotes)

A fearful black cloud was rent by forked and quivering bursts of flame, and parted to reveal great tongues of fire, like flashes of lightning magnified in size. … You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men. … Many besought 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.
Describing the eruption of Vesuvius which destroyed Pompeii. From Letter, Book 6, No. 20, to Tacitus, collected in Betty Radice (trans.) The Letters of the Younger Pliny (2003).
Science quotes on:  |  Cloud (109)  |  Darkness (72)  |  Eternal (112)  |  Flame (44)  |  Lightning (46)  |  Shriek (4)  |  Vesuvius (4)

Man is wreaking a damage far greater than Vesuvius. The moment of Pompeii’s destruction was also the moment of its preservation. The public needs to understand that unless constant efforts are taken to arrest the decay, the site will, within decades crumble to nothing.
Expressing concern about the deterioration of Pompeii, in T. Hurley, P. Medcalf, et al., Antiquity 3 (2005), 65.
Science quotes on:  |  Arrest (9)  |  Constant (145)  |  Crumble (5)  |  Damage (37)  |  Decade (62)  |  Decay (56)  |  Destruction (130)  |  Effort (233)  |  Nothing (987)  |  Preservation (38)  |  Site (16)  |  Vesuvius (4)  |  Wreak (2)

No catastrophe has ever yielded so much pleasure to the rest of humanity as that which buried Pompeii and Herculaneum.
From the original German, about his visit to Pompeii (notes written in Naples, 13 Mar 1787), “Es ist viel Unheil in der Welt geschehen, aber wenig das den Nachkommen so viel Freude gemacht hätte.” in Italienische Reise Vol. 1 (1816), 220. [Goethe continued, “Ich weiß nicht leicht etwas Interessanteres,” meaning, “I don’t easily know anything more interesting.” This subject quote above may seem callous, but he no doubt refers to the elation of modern archaeologists in having such a rare chance to explore and learn from these mummified cities. There are variations in translation, such as: “Many disasters have befallen the world, but few have brought posterity so much joy,” in Ian Jenkins and Kim Sloan, 'William Hamilton and the ‘Art of Going Through Life’', Vases & Volcanoes: Sir William Hamilton and His Collection (1996), 11. Or, translated freely with more sensitivity: “Of all the catastrophes which have been visited upon the world, few have bequeathed such enormous benefit to future generations,” cited in Erich Lessing, Pompeii (1996), 28.” —Webmaster]
Science quotes on:  |  Bury (17)  |  Catastrophe (33)  |  Herculaneum (4)  |  Humanity (178)  |  Pleasure (188)  |  Rest (285)  |  Yield (83)

The Patent-Office Commissioner knows that all machines in use have been invented and re-invented over and over; that the mariner’s compass, the boat, the pendulum, glass, movable types, the kaleidoscope, the railway, the power-loom, etc., have been many times found and lost, from Egypt, China and Pompeii down; and if we have arts which Rome wanted, so also Rome had arts which we have lost; that the invention of yesterday of making wood indestructible by means of vapor of coal-oil or paraffine was suggested by the Egyptian method which has preserved its mummy-cases four thousand years.
In Lecture, second in a series given at Freeman Place Chapel, Boston (Mar 1859), 'Quotation and Originality', Letters and Social Aims (1875, 1917), 178-179.
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What marvel is this? We begged you for drinkable springs,
O earth, and what is your lap sending forth?
Is there life in the deeps as well? A race yet unknown
Hiding under the lava? Are they who had fled returning?
Come and see, Greeks; Romans, come! Ancient Pompeii Is found again, the city of Hercules rises!
Translation as given, without citation, as epigraph in C.W. Ceram, Gods, Graves, and Scholars: The Story of Archaeology (1986), 1. There are other translations of the Schiller’s original German, for example, in 'Pompeii and Herculaneum', Life of Schiller: Poetical Works (1902), 249.
Science quotes on:  |  Ancient (194)  |  Archaeology (51)  |  City (85)  |  Deep (234)  |  Drink (55)  |  Earth (1034)  |  Greek (108)  |  Herculaneum (4)  |  Hercules (9)  |  Hiding (12)  |  Lap (9)  |  Lava (10)  |  Life (1830)  |  Marvel (36)  |  Race (273)  |  Return (131)  |  Rise (166)  |  Roman (39)  |  See (1082)  |  Spring (136)  |  Unknown (187)  |  Water (494)

What strange wonder is this? Our prayer to thee was for water,
Earth! What is this that thou now send’st from thy womb in reply?
In the abyss is there life ? Or hidden under the lava
Dwelleth some race now unknown? Does what hath fled e’er return?
Greeks and Romans, oh come! Oh, see the ancient Pompeii
Here is discover’d again,—Hercules’ town is rebuilt!
Beginning lines of poem, 'Pompeii and Herculaneum', in Edgar A. Bowring (trans.), The Poems of Schiller (1875), 237.
Science quotes on:  |  Abyss (30)  |  Ancient (194)  |  Archaeology (51)  |  Discover (566)  |  Dwell (16)  |  Earth (1034)  |  Flee (9)  |  Greek (108)  |  Herculaneum (4)  |  Hercules (9)  |  Hide (69)  |  Lava (10)  |  Life (1830)  |  Prayer (30)  |  Race (273)  |  Rebuild (4)  |  Reply (56)  |  Return (131)  |  Roman (39)  |  See (1082)  |  Strange (158)  |  Town (28)  |  Unknown (187)  |  Water (494)  |  Womb (25)  |  Wonder (247)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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