Pliny the Elder (Caius Plinius Secundus (23-79A.D.) was a Roman senator and a natural historian, who had a great passion for observing and writing about natural phenomena. He wrote an important work on natural history based on his observations of the world around him. His Natural History was the first encyclopedia ever published. It was his dedication to close observation of
natural phenomena that was directly responsible for his death during the 79 AD eruption. Pliny the Elder was a commander of the imperial fleet at the naval base of Misenum, and was responsible for the safety of the entire western half of the Mediterranean Sea. From Misenum he had an excellent view of Vesuvius volcano across the Bay of Naples.