Spewing For A Millennia 

Etna has been spewing lava and ash for millennia. Last week, I was so excited to see it do so in person. Thankfully, the ongoing eruption is somewhat staid and very different than the historic events following March 8, 1669, when the citizens of Catania thought they could challenge Etna. Unfortunately, they were wrong. 
Over subsequent weeks, multiple powerful eruptions and noxious fumes killed thousands of people. A group of citizens from the ancient capital city attempted to change the path of the lava flow. When the townspeople of Paterno realized what was going on (mainly that the lava flow was now coming in their direction), a battle ensued. Meanwhile, the population of Catania stayed put, thinking their city walls would be a match Mother Nature’s wrath. Misguided they were, and the city was engulfed by lava, ash, and toxic fumes. Thousands perished. The Catania we know today was built after this event and the devastating earthquake of 1693.

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