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Description

Pompeii explodes a number of myths - among them, 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; the legendary number of brothels, most likely only one; and the death count, which was probably less than ten per cent of the population. 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.
©2008 Mary Beard (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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Notations

Global

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Histoire

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating!

In this lively and well researched book, Mary Beard lives up to her reputation of shaking up information that has become ‘common knowledge’, at times baselessly.

Essentially from the local archaeological digs but also from other sources, she reconstructs in this work what life conditions prevailed in Pompeii before the Vesuvius erupted.

With much curiosity and a pinch of amusement, she covers multiple and varied topics, from street life to earning a living to baths and religion.

The result is globally very informative, for those who have already visited the site, plan to do so or are simply interested in the topic.

It must be pointed out however that the audio version presents the obvious shortcoming of not including any illustrations, which presumably enhance further the author’s points.

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  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • 16/12/2012

Brings the past to life

What did you love best about Pompeii - The Life of a Roman Town?

An well researched well written piece of detailed history about what it was like to live in Pompeii in the lead up to it being buried under the ash and lava from the volcanic eruption. The author debunks many of the popular myths about life in Pompeii and Roman life generally as she bases her story about the town on detailed archaeological and contempory document evidence.

She covers every facet of life in town, what the roads would have been like, the local politics, the everyday life of the rich and poor.

A very interesting history, well written and well read.

Highly recommend.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Erik
  • 06/09/2012

Good study of Pompeii

Any additional comments?

A solid history book with good narration. This would be a tough slog unless you have a genuine interest in Roman history. This would best be reviewed before or after a visit to the town itself.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Gordon Stromkins
  • 03/09/2012

Wrong voice

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

The reader is too formal and doesn't seem interested in the material. A different style would have made the town come alive.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Catherine
  • 12/10/2010

Fascinating

This is a great look at Pompeii, I learn something new each time I listen. Phyllida Nash is a good choice as narrator, her accent is pleasant and she modulates her tone well.

Two minor criticisms:
The narrator appears not to know how to pronounce Latin and Italian. Cena (dinner) is not pronounced sea-na, but chena. Bugs me every time I hear it.
The author - very slightly - imposes her own 21st century sensibilities and aesthetic judgment on what she is describing. Slight but somewhat troubling.

This book was recommended on the History of Rome podcast, I'm glad I acquired it, I'll be listening and re-listening often.

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