History in Review
Secrets of Pompeii: Everyday Life in Ancient Rome
By Emidio De Albentiis. Photography by Alfredo and Pio Foglia. (Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum: 2009. Pg. 200. 170 Color Illustrations, Maps, Drawings.) ISBN: 978-0-89236-941-6.
Reviewed by Auggie Moore - September 9, 2009
The mystery of Pompeii has intrigued historians and the general population ever since the remains of this once grand city where rediscovered. Little by little, Pompeii has been revealing her secrets, and providing new light upon the lives of the Ancient Romans. When Pompeii was buried in A.D. 79 by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, it became an entombed time capsule. In Secrets of Pompeii: Everyday Life in Ancient Rome, Emidio De Albentiis opens up this time capsule and provides an overview of what life was like, to the best of our knowledge, for the Ancient Romans who inhabited Pompeii. Resplendent with more than 170 color illustrations, this book serves equally well as a historical text and as a coffee table book.
Within the pages of this book, De Albentiis chronicles the daily life of the Pompeians in both the public and private spheres. As such, his narrative is organized into thematic sections covering:
>From beginning to end, Secrets of Pompeii: Everyday Life in Ancient Rome offers readers a unique window through which to view the everyday life of Ancient Romans in Pompeii in the moments before the city was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. This book will intrigue anyone with an interest in Roman history and culture, or specifically in the history of Pompeii. It will also make a fine addition to all public and private libraries.
- The Forum - including political and economic aspects of daily life.
- Temples and the Religious Sphere - such a detailing blood sacrifices and the Cult of Dionysos's association with Pompeii.
- The Palestae - covering physical fitness and public games and gladiatorial combats.
- The Baths - detailing what the Pompeian baths were like and the role that they played in Roman life.
- The Theaters - including the various genres that where popular and the role that music played in Roman culture.
- The Market, Shops, and Taverns - this section also details multiuse buildings and artist workshops.
- Houses of Pleasure - detailing the role of sex in Ancient Rome, and the plethora of brothels that existed in Pompeii when it was destroyed.
- The Houses - examines both the architecture and decoration of houses in Pompeii, and it examines what home life was like for the Pompeians.
- The Necropoli - lastly, this book examines death in Ancient Rome, both the rituals surrounding it, and its cultural significance.
Eroticism in Pompeii, by Antonio Varone.
In this work, Varone provides an overview of eroticism and sexuality in Pompeii, offering the reader an objective introduction into an often overlooked aspect of Roman history.
The Lost World of Pompeii, By Colin Amery and Brian Curran Jr.
This is a stunningly illustrated history of the lost world of Pompeii and the ongoing conservation and restoration efforts currently underway.
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