THE BURIED CITIES
TITUS, the son of Vespasian, was joyfully received as
his successor, and became one of the best rulers that
Rome had ever seen. He was as good as he was brave;
and, although he was not a Christian, he is known as one
of the best men that ever lived, and could serve as an
example for many people now.
He soon won the hearts of all his people, and he fully
 deserved the title which they gave him, "Delight of
Mankind." True and just, Titus punished informers,
false witnesses, and criminals, and made examples of
all sinful people. But he was very generous, too, and
very courteous and ready to do good. Whenever a whole
day passed without his being able to help any one, he
would exclaim with regret, "Alas, I have lost a day!"
It was fortunate that the Romans had so good an emperor
at that time, for a very great calamity happened, which
filled the hearts of all with horror.
You may remember that Spartacus and the revolted slaves
fled at first to a mountain called Mount Vesuvius.
Well, in those days this mountain was covered with
verdure, and near its foot were the two rich and
flourishing cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The
people felt no fear of the mountain, because it was not
then, as now, an active volcano.
But one day they began to feel earthquakes, the air
grew hot and very sultry, smoke began to come out of
the crater, and all at once, with an awful noise, a
terrible eruption took place. Red-hot rocks were
shot far up into the air with frightful force; great rivers of
burning lava flowed like torrents down the mountain
side; and, before the people could escape, Pompeii and
Herculaneum were buried under many feet of ashes and
Thousands of people died, countless homes were burned
or buried, and much land which had formerly been very
fertile was made barren and unproductive.
Pliny, the naturalist, had been told of the strange, rumbling
sounds which were heard in Vesuvius, and had journeyed
thither from Rome to investigate the matter. He was on
 at the time, but when he saw the smoke he went ashore
near the mountain, and before long was smothered in the
Sixteen hundred years after the two cities were buried,
an Italian began to dig a well in the place where
Pompeii had once stood. After digging down to a depth
of forty feet, he came across one of the old houses in
a remarkable state of preservation.
Interior of a House in Pompeii.
Since then, the ruins have been partly dug out, and
many treasures have been found there buried under the
soil. The ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum are visited
every year by many travelers from all parts of the
world. They go there to see how people lived in the
days of the Roman emperors, and to admire the fragments
of beautiful paintings, the statues, pottery, etc.,
which have been found there.
Most of the large houses in Pompeii had a central
court or hall, in which was a large tank of fresh
water. This was the coolest place in the house, and
the children had great fun playing around the water and
plunging in it.
When Pompeii was destroyed all Italy was saddened by
the terrible catastrophe, but the Romans soon had cause
to rejoice once more at the news of victories won
abroad. A revolt in Britain was put down, and the
people there soon learned to imitate their conquerors,
and to build fine houses and solid roads.
The good emperor Titus died of a fever after a reign of
about two years. His death was mourned by all his
people, who felt that they would never have so good a