10. Pliny Natural History 3.40, 3.60 (pre-eruption)

a. 3.40 How [sc. to describe] the Campanian coast and its happy, indeed blessed delightfulness, plainly the handiwork of Nature in her favorite spot!

b. 3.60 (in the survey of the west coast of Italy, moving south) Next comes Campania, a region blessed by fortune. From this bay onwards you find vine-growing hills and a noble tipple of wine famed throughout the world. Over this area the gods of wine and grain fought their hardest, or so tradition tells us. The territories for Setine wine and Caecuban begin here; beyond these lie Falernum and Calenum. The come the Massic mountains, and those of Gauranum and Surrentum. There lie spread the fields of Leborinum with their fine harvest of grain. These shores are watered by warm springs; they are famed beyond any other for their shellfish and their fine fish. Nowhere do olives produce more oil--the production strives to match the demands of human pleasure.

The area has been in the hands of Oscans, Greeks, Umbrians, Etruscans, and Campanians. On the coast are the Savo river, the town of Volturnum with its stream, Liternum, Cumae (a colony of Chalcis), Misenum, the harbor of Baiae, Bauli, the lakes Lucrinus and Avernus, beside the latter a city, formerly called Cimmerium, now Puteoli, a foundation of Dicaearchus, then the Phlegraean fields, and the Acherusian swamp lying beside Cumae. On the shore is Naples, another Chalcidian colony, called Parthenope for the Siren's tomb, then Herculaneum, Pompeii (with Vesuvius visible close at hand and the Sarno river washing its walls), the hinterland of Nuceria, and Nuceria itself, 9 miles distant from the sea. Then Surrentum and the promontory of Minerva, an ancient abode of the Sirens.