The Living City

Book - 2005
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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.

Publisher: London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005.
ISBN: 9780297645603
Characteristics: 354 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill. (chiefly col.), maps ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Laurence, Ray 1963-


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Nov 17, 2011

Thoroughly enjoyable. The device of non-fiction historical fact with re-created historical semi-fiction works, I think. And the historical conclusions are well-backed up. It was also interesting to see the City in the context of the Empire. Too often all we think of when we think of Pompeii is the destruction in 79, but there was a city before then and the book contextualizes what remains on the ground.

Mar 10, 2011

Interesting but quite a dry read. I thought from the description on the cover that it would read a little more fast paced perhaps like historical non-fiction - I was wrong. This is a good book to have on your bedside table! It is guaranteed to put you to sleep quickly!

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