This startling new book concentrates on the twenty years between 59 and 79AD, thus beginning with the earthquake which all but destroyed Pompeii and ending with the volcanic eruption which has become part of our collective popular imagination. Alex Butterworth and Ray Laurence have synthesised the latest research into Pompeii to bring this period of flux and instability back to life. By concentrating on key members from each strata of Pompeiian society we are plunged into the everyday life of a city rebuilding itself, in the knowledge that it will all be for nothing when Vesuvius erupts. So we follow Suedius Clemens who has been sent by Vespasian to settle disputes over land; Decimus Satrius Lucretius Valens who is set to join Pompeii's elite magistrates following the death of his protector; the Vettii brothers who were fabulously rich and ostentacious dealers in wine and perfume; Pherusa, the runaway slave; lusty young Rustus who is contemplating parricide...This exhilirating narrative approach to Pompeii captures the subjective experience of life in the city, and uses Pompeii as an introduction to the cultural landscape of the Roman empire as a whole.
Alex Butterworth is a writer and dramatist, with work spanning books, theatre, film and television. Ray Laurence is a Research Fellow in the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity at the University of Birmingham. Ray Laurence is a Research Fellow in the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity at the University of Birmingham. He was previously a Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Reading. He has published seven academic books on Roman archaeology and history.