“ONE LAST UNENDING NIGHT FOR THE WORLD.” Overcome by the fumes and falling ash, the famed Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder and his companion collapse in view of the 79 C.E. eruption of Mt. Vesuvius while buildings crumble nearby, as depicted in this 1813 painting Vesuvius Erupting by Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes. First-century accounts of the eruption by his nephew Pliny the Younger and Dio Cassius describe the terror and confusion as the affluent cities of the Bay of Naples, including Pompeii and Herculaneum, were destroyed by the violent volcano. Was this disaster, which occurred almost exactly nine years after Roman troops destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, seen as God’s revenge on the conquerors of the holy city?