Explosion of the Vesuvius volcano, is one of the deadliest known tragedies that rocked European history in 79 AD. Thousands of people became victims of this volcanic eruption. Preserved bodies which were trapped and buried inside the devastated cities are still being discovered.
Many archaeologists as well as the general public are talking about these naturally preserved bodies and the tragic deaths they had to face. Social media users are also interested in these findings. This is our investigation related to such misleading social media posts.
Social Media Posts
Viral social media posts claimed that the public that a dead body found at the destruction site of the Vesuvius volcanic eruption, depicted a man who masturbating at the moment of his death.
“The Pompeii Masturbator, roman empire,79 AD. After a volcano eruption, He died doing what he loved.”
While many had laughed off at these posts, few had inquired more details into this incident.
Similar posts were viral in Facebook.
Let`s check first about the Vesuvius volcanic eruption and related tragedy which occurred in 79 AD, around 2000 years ago.
The eruption is said to have occurred in an area which belonged to the ancient Roman empire at that time (currently this area belongs to Southern Italy). The volcano is even now visible and active, it`s named as Vesuvius. The two cities named as Pompeii and Herculaneum were located near to Mount Vesuvius. Due to the massive eruption, tephra and gases released by volcano to the nearby environment and two nearby cities totally collapsed with thousands of deaths due to the shock waves.
Currently, around 1500 naturally preserved dead bodies were found by archaeologists and it is believed that 20,000 people were living in these ancient cities, when the massive eruption occurred. Still the archaeological excavations are ongoing in the area and the total number deaths are unknown. More information about this can be found from here. Archived
How many people died due to the eruption of Vesuvius??
Scientists have different takes on Vesuvius’ tragedy. While some scientists say it`s mainly due to heat waves generated by volcanic eruption, others suggest it`s due to breathing difficulties related to ash. Also, some are of the view that the deaths occurred due to pyroclastic flows -ash, lava blobs and noxious gases. Details about this can be taken from here. Archived
Masturbating Man of Pompeii
Even though the original post didn’t mention anything about a masturbating man, the preserved body does resemble one. Hence, memes and jokes relating to a masturbating man began to spread about this image ever since.
What Archaeologists Say
However, the view of the archaeologists is different from the view of laymen. Let`s find what archaeologists and subject experts say about this preserved body and it`s posture.
Presenting his views about the issue to the online media Daily Dot, the volcanologist Pier Paolo who had been studying about the Vesuvius victims for around 25 years stated that the dead body of the man is not depicting a masturbation.
Below are his ideas extracted from Daily Dot.
“There is no way to demonstrate any ‘masturbating man,’ and it is out of place to discuss such an affirmation (I hope a joke, however bad) of some young time waster”
“The individual in the photo is an adult man, killed by the hot pyroclastic surge (hot gas and ash cloud which killed most of the population living around Mount Vesuvius), with both arms and legs flexed due to the heat.”
“Most of the human victims found in Pompeii often show ‘strange’ position of arms and legs, due to the contraction of limbs as a consequence of the heat effect on their bodies after death occurred.”
A video about ‘Pompeii Masturbator’ with expert views can be viewed here.
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Title:Experts clarify that the popular meme ‘Pompeii Masturbator’ , could only be a joke!Fact Check By: Kalana Krishantha