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Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum Paperback – 11 Mar 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: British Museum Press; 01 edition (11 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714122823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714122823
  • Product Dimensions: 24.5 x 2.4 x 28.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 189,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"We learn about food preparation, interior decoration and more personal items such as jewellery and grooming equipment. We read about how identification of buildings and their inhabitants have been made. By looking at 250 objects in this way we access the inhabitants' lives in a personal way so that we get to know and understand the Roman people". - Yorkshire Gazette & Herald

"Published to accompany the major exhibition at the British Museum, this wonderful book reveals Pompeii and Herculaneum as they must have been and shows us the tragedy of their loss in AD 79 when Vesuvius erupted, producing an ash cloud 19 miles high ... This is an outstanding publication from the British Museum". - The Press

"Many books have been written about the cities buried by Vesuvius, but few have presented their story with such clarity, sobriety, and so much new material: drawing on overlooked items in museum storerooms and finds from the most recent excavations, Paul Roberts succeeds in making the past tangible". --Kenneth Lapatin, Department of Antiquities, The J. Paul Getty Museum

"[Encapsulates] the latest research and opinions on these once living cities, invaluable in preparation for a visit." - Brian Sewell, The London Evening Standard

"Curator Paul Roberts has done a superb job in bringing these objects to life, using them in such a way that each work in the show adds something new to our understanding of the classical world". --Richard Dorment, The Telegraph

"encapsulating the latest research and opinions on these once living cities, invaluable in preparation for a visit there." --Brian Sewell, Evening Standard

"encapsulating the latest research and opinions on these once living cities, invaluable in preparation for a visit there."
'Family portraits, cosmetics containers, jars that housed edible dormice this is the stuff of real life, so rarely recorded in written sources'

Current World Archaeology
--Brian Sewell, Evening Standard

"encapsulating the latest research and opinions on these once living cities, invaluable in preparation for a visit there." --Brian Sewell, Evening Standard

About the Author

Paul Roberts is head of the Roman section in the Department of Greece and Rome, and is responsible for all of the Roman collections, other than sculpture and wall paintings. Paul's research focuses on aspects of the day-to-day life of the ordinary people of the Roman world. His particular research interests include glass, pottery, bronze and the mummy portraits of Roman Egypt.


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As a lifelong enthusiast for the history and cultures of Greece and Rome and as a lover of the art of the classical world, I'm an absolute sucker for these large, glossy and lavishly illustrated exhibition catalogues. The Italian museums and their publishing houses like Electa always produce superlative examples as does the British Museum and I've collected many of them in recent years. The BM's latest publication, Life And Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum, issued to accompany an exhibition due to run from the 28 March to the 29 September 2013, does not disappoint. Although virtually all of the exhibits are illustrated, it's perhaps wrong to classify it as a catalogue since it doesn't follow the common format of a series of essays followed by extensive descriptions and discussion of each exhibit (although it does contain a concise summary at the end of all of them and where to locate them in the text.) It is perhaps best described as a companion volume intended to give a wide overview of everyday life in the Roman world as it can be reconstructed from the evidence found at Pompeii and Heculaneum.

After briefly summarizing the history of the two cities, the book takes us on a journey through their urban landscapes, taking in their streets, shops, snack bars, commercial premises, public buildings etc and the people who populated them - the freeborn, the slaves, the freedmen, and the nouveau riche who were rapidly elbowing aside the "old money". We then get an extended tour of the Roman Home under the headings Atrium, Cubiculum, Gardens, Living Rooms and Interior Design, Dining, Kitchens, Toilets and Baths, covering diverse topics such as perfumes, hairstyles, erotica, graffiti, food, toilets and sewage, frescoes, marble and mosaic floors, silverware and much more.
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Once again the British Museum have excelled in creating a great tie-in book for one of their exhibitions.

As usual the book is filled with high quality images and informative text.

This book is highly recommended for anyone who is wanting to see the new exhibition, or for anyone with an interest in the Romans.
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This is a very well written book - in my opinion, of course. It brings these sites back to life. Very documented, easy to read and very factual. The quality of the book itself is very good, a pleasure to touch and turn the pages. I am always looking forward to the end of the day, when I can cuddle up in comfort with a nice tea and this captivating book. I will definetely invest in a trip to London to see the exhibition (this might sound odd to Londoners, but for us "provinciaux", one day in the capital easily amounts to £100 pp just in travel expenses and exhibition ticket). But I am sure it will be worth it. The other thing coming out of this read, is planning to re-visit these amazing sites. Thank you.
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By Ian on 4 Jun. 2013
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No mere book can make up for a visit to Pompeii or Herculaneum, but this superb tome comes very close. Superbly illustrated. My only gripe is the colour of the type for anyone with poor eyesight it would be difficult to read. Like so many things today a case of style over function. Nevertheless a brilliant book I can heartily recommend.
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This is a really interesting tome, lavishly illustrated and well written and produced to accompany the British Museum exhibition of the same name. My only issue is that it is so big, I have problems holding it to read! There are many books on this topic and I would place this among one of the best and real value for money. Thoroughly recommend it.
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I had been wanting this book for some time & I wasn't disappointed. It complimented the London exhibition of the same name which I was lucky enough to see as a satellite broadcast in my local cinema. Most enjoyable & informative. Even my husband didn't fall asleep as he usually does !!

The book is a very detailed overview of the exhibition.
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This is a wonderful book, probably one of the best possible non-specialist publications on Pompeii and Herculaneum and the life and abrupt demise of these provincial Roman cities. The exhibition at the British Museum was a marvel, and you will want this if you went. But it is also a good alternative if you are not able to get to there, being distinguished in its own right. It is exceptionally and richly illustrated with wonders to the eye. The text is also engrossing and enlightening, making that human connection between our age and 'theirs' of two thousand years ago. Much is familiar, startlingly so at times, even moving. The Amazon hardcopy I bought was almost half the price of the museum bookshop, by the way. Buy with confidence and cherish.
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You want to read all about it, everything you wanted to know and mre is contained in this beautifully readable book. Large enough (and rather heavy) the format is right for the multitude of wonderful pictures which transport the reader to the towns and help them enjoy learning about how life was for the people who lived there so long ago until the final destruction.

Written by an people who knows the subjects inside out, the book has the ability to convey the stories of the two towns in such an easy manner without having to resort to words and descriptions that might be 'above' the reader. I really enjoyed reading every word and picture and was truly sorry when I reached the end, I felt there is so much more to be told but the book is large enough as it is - perhaps a second volume ?

If you want to find out all about Pompeii this is THE BOOK, there are a great many books on this subject but I venture to say, having read quite a few, they are not a patch on this one, try it, you will not be disappointed.

C.S.J.WOOD.
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