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It took 2000 years for this Pompeii man to become Internet famous

An image of a man preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii in 79 CE has recently gone viral and for quite obvious reasons.

The excavated town of Pompeii is famous for its depiction of life cut abruptly by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Many of the figures are of family members holding each other, or of dogs trying to warn their owners of impending doom. Never before has the photo of this particular man…in quite a questionable position…made headlines.

Victims of pompeii

The Twitter community believes that in near-death, the man decided to perform one last act.

Or that he was indeed protecting his most precious asset…

Regardless, the Pompeii resident managed to gain viral fame, a feat his peers couldn’t have dreamed of.

Although there are no answers about the man’s choices, there are some theories about Pompeii’s destruction which illuminate the town’s final seconds.

A study in 2001 suggested that many victims close to Mount Vesuvius died instantly as they were blasted by a hot gas and so did not see their death coming or feel any pain. As Doctor Alberto Incoronato of the University of Naples Federico II suggests, “[There were no signs of a] voluntary self-protective reaction or agony contortions, indicating that their vital organs must have stopped within a shorter time than the conscious reaction time. The cloud was a mixture of hot gas and ash. It caused little damage in the town itself but killed these people instantly.”

Whilst those further from the eruption were killed by the debris from collapsing buildings or by suffocation from the ash itself.

Evidence, however, suggests that our dear masturbating man was one of the former, dying instantly without seeing it ever coming.

About the author

Bethan, though born and raised in Sydney, is also a British Citizen, and lived in London for 13 months. She is currently studying Journalism and International Studies at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst. In her spare time you’ll find her playing with her dogs and cats, or looking at animal memes.

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