APOCALYPSE PICTURES: 10 Failed Doomsday Prophecies

APOCALYPSE PICTURES: 10 Failed Doomsday Prophecies
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November 4, 2009--Just as some people today believe a Maya calendar pinpoints 2012 as the end of the world as we know it, some ancient Romans saw the A.D. 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius (pictured: Pompeiians flee the city in an illustration), as a sign of a coming apocalypse. (See "2012 Prophecies Sparking Real Fears, Suicide Warnings.")

That's because Roman philosopher Seneca, who died in A.D. 65, had predicted the Earth would go up in smoke: "All we see and admire today will burn in the universal fire that ushers in a new, just, happy world," he said, according to the 1999 book Apocalypses.

(Test your Armageddon knowledge on the National Geographic Channel Web site.)

The end never came, but that hasn't stopped people--over centuries and across cultures--from forecasting our collective doom. Click through the gallery for a sampling of end-of-the-Earth scenarios.

ON TV 2012: Countdown to Armageddon airs Sunday, November 15, at 7 p.m. ET on the National Geographic Channel. Preview >>

—Artwork by Peter V. Bianchi, National Geographic Stock
 
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