General Order of a Sentry, No. 5

Faithful Unto Death, by Edward Poynter, 1865, via the Walker Art Gallery in London, where it is on display.

On what was believed by many to be the night of 24/25 August in AD 79, Italy’s Mount Vesuvius lost its top in a spectacular way, burying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum under firey ash.

Scholarly excavations, which have taken place off and on since at least the 18th century, have recovered over 1,000 sets of remains, including at least two who died while wearing armor and carrying arms. In other words, men of the night watch who died at their post.

Herculaneum soldier’s armor and weapons, 79 AD. Via the Royal Historical Society.

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