• Alternative view 1 of Pompeii
  • Alternative view 2 of Pompeii
  • Alternative view 3 of Pompeii
<Previous >Next


3.5 2
by Filippo Coarelli, Emidio De Albentis

View All Available Formats & Editions

Pompeii is one of the most important archeological sites in the world. Destroyed by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that began on the morning of August 24, 79 A.D., the buried city has preserved for all time a unique record of the life of its inhabitants. Unlike other ancient cities such as Rome that have a continuous history and layer upon layer of subsequent


Pompeii is one of the most important archeological sites in the world. Destroyed by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that began on the morning of August 24, 79 A.D., the buried city has preserved for all time a unique record of the life of its inhabitants. Unlike other ancient cities such as Rome that have a continuous history and layer upon layer of subsequent development, Pompeii has revealed itself to its excavators exactly as it was on that fateful day. Scorching clouds of fine ash suffocated every living creature, making it impossible for them to flee. Roofs collapsed and buildings were buried under the weight of the stone fragments hurled by the volcano. The massive destruction deprived the city and its people of a future, but also recorded their mute testimony for later generations.

This is the most complete, informative, and beautiful book on Pompeii ever published. Written by scholars who have been active participants in the excavation and study of Pompeii, it offers the latest research yet is addressed to a general audience. More than 500 color photographs convey the incredible richness of the city, the unsurpassed elegance of its interiors, and the great beauty of its art, including sculpture, frescoes, and mosaics. There is fabulous jewelry, including rings, necklaces, and bracelets. Fifteen individual houses receive detailed attention, along with the famous suburban villas, the Villa of the Mysteries and the Villa of Poppea at Oplontis.

The urban development of the city, including the construction of its walls and the function of its government buildings, is explained. A separate section describes the major temples and religious practices. The interesting and varied economic activities in Pompeii are explored through descriptions of the meat and fish market, the office of weights and measures, the taverns and cafes, and the workshops that cleaned and processed cloth. Bread is given its due, with the description of a bakery. And there is a rustic villa, the Villa della Pisanella at Boscoreale, with its machinery for producing oil and wine, its apartments for the owners, and dormitory for the slaves.

The fascinating social life of Pompeii is seen in descriptions of the gladiator games, athletic competitions, the theaters, and the public baths. There is a section on the famous Lupanare, or brothel, and a concluding chapter on funeral practices and the many tombs that line the streets outside the city walls.

This book will appeal to travellers, to students of Rome and the ancient world, to artists, designers, architects, urban planners, historians, and anyone else who might wish to understand and appreciate the beauty and achievements of Pompeii.

About the Authors

Filippo Coarelli (Rome, 1936) is Professor of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the University of Perugia. He is one of the foremost experts on Roman antiquities, a connoisseur of the history of early Rome, and a leading expert on Roman topography.

Emidio de Albentiis (Milan, 1958) received his degree with a thesis devoted to one of the insulae in Pompeii, and has written many studies of Roman houses and of the artistic culture of the Republican and Imperial eras. He presently teaches art history at the Academy of Fine Arts of Perugia.

Maria Paola Guidobaldi (Colonella, 1961) received her doctorate from the University for Studies in Perugia. Besides works on history, topography and Roman antiquities meant for a popular audience, she is the author of scholarly papers on various aspects of the Romanization of ancient Italy. On the staff of the Archeological Superintendence of Pompeii, she is currently director of the excavations at Herculaneum.

Fabrizio Pesando (Ivrea, 1958) is Associate Professor of Classical Archeology at the University of Naples and teaches Archeology of Magna Graecia and Antiquities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. He has specialized in the history of the private house in Greece and Rome, the archeology of the Vesuvian cities and the historical topography of Greece and ancient Italy. He is in charge of excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum for the Istituto Universitario Orientale.

Antonio Varone (Angri, 1952) is the Coordinating Archeological Director for the Ministry of Cultural Assets and Activities and since 1984 has been in charge of the scientific-cultural service of the Archeological Superintendence of Pompeii. His many publications include one on the excavation of the Insula of the Chaste Lovers that began in 1987, and a study of inscriptions on walls in the area surrounding Vesuvius for a new supplement to volume IV of the Corpus Iscriptionum Latinorum.

Editorial Reviews

Coarelli and his colleagues have produced the best summary view of ancient Pompeii in English since Theodor Kraus's Pompeii and Herculaneum (CH, Jun'76). This sturdy book combines up-to-date essays by specialists on Pompeii with a wealth of excellent illustrations, including over 500 drawings, maps, and photographs, most in vibrant color. The texts are not mere descriptions, but detailed discussions based on recent excavations and new interpretations. As such, they presuppose a basic knowledge of Roman history generally, and of Pompeii in particular. Divided into public life, private life, and cult of the dead, topics include political, social and economic life, religion, wall paintings, and tombs. Fifteen houses, plus several villas located outside the city, receive detailed treatment. The translation from the Italian is mostly very good, but occasionally apparent misunderstanding of the original imparts serious errors to the text. The glossary and short bibliography are helpful, but the lack of an index makes the book difficult to use. Although general readers may find the text heavy reading, everyone will find the photographs a visual delight. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels and collections.
Frozen in time when Mount Vesuvius erupted on August 24, 79 C.E., Pompeii, gradually rediscovered and slowly excavated, has had an enormous impact on the "collective imagination." Editor and contributor Coarelli, an expert on Roman antiquities at the Univ. of Perugia, and his equally impressive contributors, trace Pompeii's profound influence on literature, history, art, music, and film, and examine the major role it has played in the evolution of archaeology. But these are only two strands in a vividly detailed tapestry that also includes an overview of Pompeii's history, a chronicle of its daily life, and a comprehensive tour of the spectacular city itself, from its awe-inspiring temples to its taverns, gladiator barracks, bakeries, baths and shops. And then there are the 500 breathtaking, brand-new color photographs of city vistas, architectural marvels, and exquisite sculptures (some sacred, some erotic). Once a vibrant community, now a city of dreams, Pompeii, as this impressive book proves, remains utterly compelling.
Library Journal
Amery and Curran, director and former director of the World Monuments Fund (WMF) in Britain, respectively, and photographer Chris Caldicott, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, acknowledge that Pompeii is endangered by its very popularity. Vesuvius's ash has perfectly preserved frescoes and mosaics for centuries, but fluctuations in temperature and humidity, four million trampling feet each year, and thefts by souvenir seekers imperil the future of this historic site. Yet these books may unwittingly contribute to the danger by presenting the site in all of its mysterious and compelling beauty. The Lost World of Pompeii does more than give the reader a compelling account of life in Pompeii. Quotes from contemporary observers of Pompeii's destruction and from ancient writers and modern archaeologists enliven very readable accounts of the beginnings of Pompeii, the evolution and influence of its architectural and artistic styles, and the phases of its destruction. Proceeds from sales of this book support the WMF. Thoroughly illustrated and well indexed, this volume is highly recommended for both public and academic libraries. Pompeii is the larger and more detailed of the two volumes. Its list of contributors is a who's who of distinguished Italian archaeologists and professors, the majority of whose work has not previously been available in English. The text covers the entire range of Pompeii's architecture, from temples to brothels, often displayed in two-page spreads. It also shows how the preservation of numerous paintings allowed archaeologists to determine the phases and chronologies of Roman wall and floor decoration, making it a welcome supplement to Nancy and Andrew Ramage's introductory Roman Art: Romulus to Constantine. Lavishly illustrated, with a glossary, an extensive and current bibliography organized by subject or building, but no index, it is recommended for larger public, larger academic, or specialized libraries that can afford the steep price.-Nancy J. Mactague, Aurora Univ. Lib., IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Barnes & Noble
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.63(w) x 12.38(h) x 1.75(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Pompeii 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best picture books of Pompeii. Many beautiful works of art and household items, along with photos of the ruins, are shown in large color photographs, along with plans and some early paintings of the excavations. As for the text, if you happen to stumble on the scathing review at the Bryn Mawr Classical Review site, be sure to seek out also Coarelli's rebuttal. The B&N reprint is of excellent quality and a steal at the price.