Pompeii (Paperback)

The Life of a Roman Town

Mary Beard

'Much of what you think you know about Pompeii may turn out, on reading this eye-opening book, to be wrong. The town was not full of brothels (Beard counts only one), its water engineering, pace the novelist Robert Harris, was pretty substandard (there may have been aqueducts, but there were no sewers) and the site didn't lie undisturbed until the eighteenth century (many townspeople, for instance, came back soon afterwards to dig up their valuables). Beard, a professor of classics at Cambridge, always wears her learning lightly, and in this outstanding book she has excelled herself, puncturing preconceptions and exposing a whole layer of myth about the world's best-preserved ancient town. The result is an often gripping piece of detective work that also offers a tantalising window into the reality of daily Roman life.' The Sunday Times History books of the year, Andrew Holgate

WINNER OF THE WOLFSON HISTORY PRIZE 2008

'The world's most controversial classicist debunks our movie-style myths about the Roman town with meticulous scholarship and propulsive energy' Laura Silverman, Daily Mail

The ruins of Pompeii, buried by an explosion of Vesuvius in 79 CE, offer the best evidence we have of everyday life in the Roman empire. This remarkable book rises to the challenge of making sense of those remains, as well as exploding many myths: the very date of the eruption, probably a few months later than usually thought; or the hygiene of the baths which must have been hotbeds of germs; or the legendary number of brothels, most likely only one; or the massive death count, maybe less than ten per cent of the population.

An extraordinary and involving portrait of an ancient town, its life and its continuing re-discovery, by Britain's favourite classicist.

Publication date: 16/07/2009

£9.99

ISBN: 9781861975966

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

Pompeii (Ebook)

The Life of a Roman Town

Mary Beard

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'The world's most controversial classicist debunks our movie-style myths about the Roman town with meticulous scholarship and propulsive energy ... scrutinising and animated in equal measure' Laura Silverman, Daily Mail

WINNER OF THE WOLFSON HISTORY PRIZE 2008

'The world's most controversial classicist debunks our movie-style myths about the Roman town with meticulous scholarship and propulsive energy' Laura Silverman, Daily Mail

The ruins of Pompeii, buried by an explosion of Vesuvius in 79 CE, offer the best evidence we have of everyday life in the Roman empire. This remarkable book rises to the challenge of making sense of those remains, as well as exploding many myths: the very date of the eruption, probably a few months later than usually thought; or the hygiene of the baths which must have been hotbeds of germs; or the legendary number of brothels, most likely only one; or the massive death count, maybe less than ten per cent of the population.

An extraordinary and involving portrait of an ancient town, its life and its continuing re-discovery, by Britain's favourite classicist.

Publication date: 09/07/2010

£5.99

ISBN: 9781847650641

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

Pompeii (Paperback)

The Life of a Roman Town

Mary Beard

'The world's most controversial classicist debunks our movie-style myths about the Roman town with meticulous scholarship and propulsive energy ... scrutinising and animated in equal measure' Laura Silverman, Daily Mail

WINNER OF THE WOLFSON HISTORY PRIZE 2008

'The world's most controversial classicist debunks our movie-style myths about the Roman town with meticulous scholarship and propulsive energy' Laura Silverman, Daily Mail

The ruins of Pompeii, buried by an explosion of Vesuvius in 79 CE, offer the best evidence we have of everyday life in the Roman empire. This remarkable book rises to the challenge of making sense of those remains, as well as exploding many myths: the very date of the eruption, probably a few months later than usually thought; or the hygiene of the baths which must have been hotbeds of germs; or the legendary number of brothels, most likely only one; or the massive death count, maybe less than ten per cent of the population.

An extraordinary and involving portrait of an ancient town, its life and its continuing re-discovery, by Britain's favourite classicist.

Publication date: 04/11/2010

£9.99

ISBN: 9781846684715

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

Reviews for Pompeii

'This marvellous book won the Wolfson History Prize and is a model of subtle but accessible writing about the past'

Judith Rice Guardian

'Classicist Mary Beard has had a great time rooting about that ghostly place, and she has brought it quite splendidly back to life.'

Nicholas Bagnall Sunday Telegraph

'To the vast field of Pompeiiana she brings the human touch... this absorbing, inquisitive and affectionate account of Pompeii is a model of its kind. Beard has caught the quick of what was and, in our lives today, remains the same.'

Ross Leckie The Times

'Very readable and excellently researched... Beard's clear-sighted and accessible style makes this a compelling look into history.'

Alexander Larman Observer

'If you want to know what really happened in the last days of the petrified city, Beard's meticulous reconstruction will fill you in, scraping away many of your preconceptions as it goes, while her evocative writing will transport you back.'

 Guardian

'The world's most controversial classicist debunks our movie-style myths about the Roman town with meticulous scholarship and propulsive energy ... scrutinising and animated in equal measure.'

Laura Silverman Daily Mail

'A brilliant portrait ... this meticulous, vivid study of life in the town rightly and resolutely focuses on the living city.'

James McConnachie Sunday Times

Mary Beard

Mary Beard

Mary Beard is one of the most original and best-known classicists working today. She is Professor of Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge, and the Classics editor of the TLS. She is a fellow of the British Academy and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her books include the Wolfson Prize-winning Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town (2008) and the best-selling SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (2015). Her popular TLS blog has been collected in the books It's a Don's Life and All in a Don's Day. Her latest book is Women & Power: A Manifesto (2017).

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