In this brilliant portrait of the 'life in a Roman town', Mary Beard uses the relics buried by the eruption on AD79 to bring everyday Roman culture alive.'
Pompeii explodes a number of myths - from the very date of the eruption, probably a few months later than usually thought; the hygiene of the baths which must have been hotbeds of germs; and the legendary number of brothels, most likely only one, to the massive death count which was probably less than ten per cent of the population. Street Life, Earning a Living: Baker, Banker and Garum Maker (who ran the city), The Pleasure of the Body: Food, Wine, Sex and Baths, these chapter headings give a surprising insight into the workings of a Roman town. At the Suburban Baths we go from communal bathing to hygiene to erotica. A fast-food joint on the Via dell' Abbondanza introduces food and drink and diets and street life. These are just a few of the strands that make up an extraordinary and involving portrait of an ancient town, its life and its continuing re-discovery, by Britain's leading classicist.
Mary Beard is a Professor of Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge. Her books include The Parthenon and The Colosseum, and the recent The Roman Triumph. She lives in Cambridge.
Winner of the 2008 Wolfson History Prize 0
Paperback - B format
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Ancient history: to c 500 CE