WINNER OF THE WOLFSON HISTORY PRIZE 2008'The world's most controversial classicist debunks our movie-style myths about the Roman town with meticulous scholarship and propulsive energy' Laura Silverman, Daily Mail The ruins of Pompeii, buried by an explosion of Vesuvius in 79 CE, offer the best evidence we have of everyday life in the Roman empire. This remarkable book rises to the challenge of making sense of those remains, as well as exploding many myths: the very date of the eruption, probably a few months later than usually thought; or the hygiene of the baths which must have been hotbeds of germs; or the legendary number of brothels, most likely only one; or the massive death count, maybe less than ten per cent of the population. An extraordinary and involving portrait of an ancient town, its life and its continuing re-discovery, by Britain's favourite classicist.
Mary Beard is one of the most original and best-known classicists working today. She is professor of Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge, and the Classics editor of the TLS. Her books include The Parthenon, The Colosseum, The Roman Triumph, and the bestselling Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town which won the 2008 Wolfson History Prize and was made into a successful BBC documentary. Her popular TLS blog has been collected in the books It's a Don's Life and All in a Don's Day. Her series Meet the Romans on BBC2 attracted over 2m viewers. Her new book SPQR : A History of Ancient Rome will be published by Profile Books in October 2015. She lives in Cambridge.