Pompeii - The Life of a Roman Town

  • by Mary Beard
  • Narrated by Phyllida Nash
  • 12 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Pompeii explodes a number of myths - among them, the very date of the eruption, probably a few months later than usually thought; the hygiene of the baths which must have been hotbeds of germs; the legendary number of brothels, most likely only one; and the death count, which was probably less than ten per cent of the population. These are just a few of the strands that make up an extraordinary and involving portrait of an ancient town, its life and its continuing re-discovery, by Britain’s leading classicist.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


This is a great look at Pompeii, I learn something new each time I listen. Phyllida Nash is a good choice as narrator, her accent is pleasant and she modulates her tone well.

Two minor criticisms:
The narrator appears not to know how to pronounce Latin and Italian. Cena (dinner) is not pronounced sea-na, but chena. Bugs me every time I hear it.
The author - very slightly - imposes her own 21st century sensibilities and aesthetic judgment on what she is describing. Slight but somewhat troubling.

This book was recommended on the History of Rome podcast, I'm glad I acquired it, I'll be listening and re-listening often.
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- Catherine

Brings the past to life

What did you love best about Pompeii - The Life of a Roman Town?

An well researched well written piece of detailed history about what it was like to live in Pompeii in the lead up to it being buried under the ash and lava from the volcanic eruption. The author debunks many of the popular myths about life in Pompeii and Roman life generally as she bases her story about the town on detailed archaeological and contempory document evidence.

She covers every facet of life in town, what the roads would have been like, the local politics, the everyday life of the rich and poor.

A very interesting history, well written and well read.

Highly recommend.

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- Paul

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-30-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios