8. Strabo Geography 5.4.8 (pre-eruption)
The next town is Herculaneum, which occupies a cape jutting out into the sea, where it feels the southwest wind to such an amazing extent that the settlement is a healthy one. The Oscans had it first, and likewise Pompeii, the next town, which lies on the Sarno river. After the Oscans came the Etruscans and the Pelasgians, and after them the Samnites. But these, too, were driven from the site. Given its position on the Sarno, on which merchandise travels in both directions, Pompeii serves as the port for Nola, Nuceria, and Acherrae.... Mt. Vesuvius dominates this region. All but its summit is clad in exceptionally fine fields. The summit itself is mostly flat, and entirely barren. The soil looks like ash, and there are cave-like pits of blackened rock, looking gnawed by fire. This area appears to have been on fire in the past and to have had craters of flame which were subsequently extinguished by a lack of fuel. No doubt this is the reason for the fertility of the surronding area, as at Catana, where they say that soil filled with the ash thrown up by Etna's flames makes the land particularly good for vines. The enriched soil contains both material that burns and material that fosters production. When it is over-charged with the enriching substance it is ready to burn, as is the case with all sulfureous substances, but when this has been exuded and the fire extinguished the soil becomes ash-like and suitable for produce. Beyond Pompeii is Surrentum, a Campanian city with a sanctuary of Athena. Some call it "Sirens' Point." The temple of Athena is on the headland; it was build by Odysseus. It is only a short crossing to Capri from here. On the other side of the point there are barren and rocky islands, the "Sirens." Back on the side of Surrentum you can see a temple with some very ancient offerings made by people honoring the spot. This is the southern limit of the bay called "The Wine-Bowl;" it begins and ends with south-facing promontories, Misenum in the north andthe point with Athena's temple in the south. It is entirely settled, both by the cities I have listed, and by the dwellings and plantations which lie in the interstices, giving the whole area the appearance of a single city.