Pompeii: The Living City

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( 188 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780297645603: Pompeii: The Living City

This startling new book concentrates on the twenty years between 59 and 79AD, thus beginning with the earthquake which all but destroyed Pompeii and ending with the volcanic eruption which has become part of our collective popular imagination. Alex Butterworth and Ray Laurence have synthesised the latest research into Pompeii to bring this period of flux and instability back to life. By concentrating on key members from each strata of Pompeiian society we are plunged into the everyday life of a city rebuilding itself, in the knowledge that it will all be for nothing when Vesuvius erupts. So we follow Suedius Clemens who has been sent by Vespasian to settle disputes over land; Decimus Satrius Lucretius Valens who is set to join Pompeii's elite magistrates following the death of his protector; the Vettii brothers who were fabulously rich and ostentacious dealers in wine and perfume; Pherusa, the runaway slave; lusty young Rustus who is contemplating parricide...This exhilirating narrative approach to Pompeii captures the subjective experience of life in the city, and uses Pompeii as an introduction to the cultural landscape of the Roman empire as a whole.

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About the Author:

Alex Butterworth is a writer and dramatist, with work spanning books, theatre, film and television. Ray Laurence is a Research Fellow in the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity at the University of Birmingham. Ray Laurence is a Research Fellow in the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity at the University of Birmingham. He was previously a Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Reading. He has published seven academic books on Roman archaeology and history.

Review:

"It takes a real act of imagination to recreate the life that once filled the city's streets. Ray Laurence is well qualified to make the attempt... Now he has teamed up with Alex Butterworth, a writer and dramatist to bring the city to life in a more readily accessible and attractive fashion. What the authors have done is to attempt to tell the story of the last twenty-five years of Pompeii's existence in somethng of the style of a novel..." -- JEREMY PATERSON LITERARY REVIEW "This book attempts to restore meaning to the dusty ruins with notable success. The authors are an archaeologist/historian and a dramatist: Laurence contributes up-to-date research while Butterworth puts human flesh on dry bones... In other respects, the life of Pompeii seems startlingly contemporary... It is the great achievement of this book that we feel we know these people, and their tragedy moves us. The life and death of Pompeii is evoked with verve and authority." OBSERVER "Brings Pompeii startlingly alive once more" HISTORY TODAY "the most ambitious re-creation yet of life in the city over the 20 years or so leading up to the eruption." -- Mary Beard SUNDAY TIMES "By using the very latest archaeological and historical research, Pompeii offers a vivid portrait of a lost city during the 25 years leading up to the eruption that destroyed it. ... We find a world rich in wine, ritual, sex, political scandal and over-the-top partying. This book is a wonderfully accessible introduction to the social history of the Roman Empire as a whole." DAILY EXPRESS "graphic, ambitious and utterly compelling recreation... Butterworth and Laurence paint a rich, multi-layers and utterly memorable picture of Pompeii and their book is a thumping good read." IRISH EXAMINER "With Pompeii, Ray Laurence (a distinguished Pompeian scholar) and the writer Alex Butterworth have done something quite unusual... The result is the fullest and most readable account I know... Perhaps the most impressive feature is the sheer detail, and the lightness of touch in presenting it." -- PETER JONES SUNDAY TELEGRAPH "An original and vivid recreation of unfolding events in the doomed city... The whole is written in a lively style, with nice touches of humour... a good read." BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGY "a vivid portrait of place and people before the cataclysms of AD 62 and 75" CHURCH TIMES "accessible, wide-ranging and evocative and makes surprisingly compelling reading." CATHOLIC TIMES "For those looking to be transported back to the living city, it will be hard to resist." OXFORD TIMES "... a very detailed narrative, mixture of historical fact and patches of italicised fiction, and Harris wishes that it had been available when he wrote his novel... heavily researched but readable book, which is also splendidly illustrated." -- JANE GARDAM SPECTATOR "Wonderful facts... are laced with humour... With an excellent bibliography, note and index, Pompeii - The Living City fulfils every requirement of an erudite historical exposition, while achieving something far greater through its entertaining and well-written text... I would encourage anyone with a passing interest in ancient history to buy a copy" TRIBUNE

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