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Pompeii : The Life of a Roman Town - Mary Beard

Pompeii : The Life of a Roman Town

Paperback Published: October 2009
ISBN: 9781861975966
Number Of Pages: 416

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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.

Author Biography: Mary Beard is a Professor of Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge. Her books include The Parthenon and The Colosseum (with Keith Hopkins), and the recent The Roman Triumph. She lives in Cambridge.

Industry Reviews

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 thoroughly worthy winner of the 2008 Wolfson History Prize, Mary Beard's bedroom-to-boardroom tour of the life of a Roman town is disgracefully enjoyable for such a deeply learned and sceptically debunking book -- Boyd Tonkin * Independent *
This marvellous book won the Wolfson History Prize and is a model of subtle but accessible writing about the past -- Judith Rice * Guardian *
[A] brilliant portrait...This meticulous, vivid study of life in the town, the winner of the 2008 Wolfson History Prize, rightly and resolutely focuses on the living city -- James McConnachie * Sunday Times *
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 Pompeiana 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 * The 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 Best Holiday Books *
Wonderful piece of scholarship worn lightly and wittily -- Tom Widger * Sunday Tribune *
Wittily written...evoking in all who read it the insatiable need to see the town for themselves -- Georgie Durkheim * Catholic Herald *
A myth-breaking expedition, grandiose in scale, vibrant in its telling -- Colin Gardiner * Oxford Times *
Engaging and defiantly otherworldly * Business Destinations *
A learned and fascinating book * Guardian *
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.' * Sunday Times *
Compelling * Independent *

Plan of Pompeii
Living in an Old Cityp. 26
Street Lifep. 53
Mouse and Homep. 81
Painting and Decoratingp. 120
Earning a Living: Baker, Banker and Garum Makerp. 152
Who Ran the City?p. 188
The Pleasures of the Body: Food, Wine, Sex and Bathsp. 216
Fun and Gamesp. 251
A City Full of Godsp. 276
Epiloguep. 309
Making a Visitp. 314
Further Readingp. 317
Acknowledgementsp. 336
List of Figuresp. 338
List of Illustrationsp. 339
Indexp. 346
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781861975966
ISBN-10: 1861975961
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 416
Published: October 2009
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9  x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.32
Edition Number: 1

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Mary Beard

About the Author

Mary Beard is a professor of classics at Newnham College, Cambridge, and the classics editor of the TLS. She has world-wide academic acclaim. 

Her previous books include the bestselling, Wolfson Prize-winning Pompeii, The Parthenon, Confronting the Classics and SPQR and Women and Power. Her blog has been collected in the books It's a Don's Life and All in a Don's Day. She is in the 2014 top 10 Prospect list of the most influential thinkers in the world.

Visit Mary Beard's Booktopia Author Page