Pompeii: The Living City

Alex Butterworth, Author, Ray Laurence, Author . St. Martin's $27.95 (354p) ISBN 978-0-312-35585-2

The thriving ancient port city of Pompeii was memorably destroyed and its 20,000 to 30,000 inhabitants killed in A.D. 79 by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Archeologists have dug parts of the city out of the rubble, reconstructing its layout and life. Drawing on this evidence and on ancient writings on Pompeii, British popular historians Butterworth and Laurence splendidly recreate the bustling life of this Roman town, as well as the eruption. They tell of Umbricius Scaurus, one of the city's most respected businessmen, who grew wealthy manufacturing the culinary staple garum , a fermented fish sauce. We also read fictionalized accounts of other lives, such as Simulus, a smallholder happy to be farming a plot of rich soil, and Receptus, a slave whose new master made his life miserable. The authors vividly recreate the horrors of the earthquake in A.D. 62 that destroyed much of the town and the terrors of the volcanic eruption. They recount the heroic efforts of one woman to claw her way out of the rubble of the Villa of the Mysteries only to be killed by a new eruption. This is a first-rate and compelling history of an ancient city. 16 pages of color photos. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/07/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 354 pages - 978-0-297-64560-3
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4668-6064-3
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