While reading Pompeii I referred back to many other books on the subject and found Beard has made them redundant. What previous books state as fact, she shows such evidence can be questionable, she shows us what is theory and guesswork and while this may seem faint praise it is anything but. Her questioning approach is refreshingly different involving the reader not just in the fascinating subject of Pompeii but the greater question of what can be gleaned from the historical evidence we have.
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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.
'Much of what you think you know about Pompeii may turn out, on reading this eye-opening book, to be wrong. 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
Publication date: 16/07/2009
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
|Publication date:||16th July 2009|
|Publisher:||Profile Books Ltd|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, History,|
|Categories:||European history, Ancient history: to c 500 CE,|
Mary Beard is a professor of classics at Newnham College, Cambridge, and the Classics editor of the TLS. She has world-wide academic acclaim, and is a fellow of the British Academy and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her previous books include the bestselling, Wolfson Prize-winning Pompeii, Confronting the Classics, The Roman Triumph and The Parthenon. Her TLS blog has been collected in the books It’s a Don’s Life and All in a Don’s Day. Mary Beard's Inheritance Books...1. Charlotte Bronte, Jane EyreThe classic novel about what women ...More About Mary Beard