Winifred Mary Beard, The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found. Cambridge. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008. 360 pages. Maps, photographs, illustrations, bibliography, index.
Born in England 1955, Winifred Mary Beard, after finishing an all-girls high school, attained both a Bachelors and Doctorate from King’s College, in Cambridge. She married historian Robin Cormack, with whom she had two children. Her many accolades include; Professor of Classics at Cambridge University, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Board of Trustees for Royal Academy of Arts, and in 2013 was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Beard has written a three part documentary for British Broadcasting Channel called; Meet the Romans with Mary Beard. In addition to many co-authored works, her books include The Roman Triumph , The Invention of Jane Harrison ,and Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures and Innovations. The most interesting fact about Beard’s life was, during her high school summers, she worked on archaeological excavations to earn extra money.
In the book, The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found, author Beard details more than just the eruptions of a volcano at the Mountain of Vesuvius and its effects on the city of Pompeii. Her thesis explores the meticulous nature of archeological findings in the excavation of Pompeii, to historically document the interesting and unique features of this trade city. The nature of this volcanic event essentially freezes Pompeii in time; Beard uses these details to give an exotic view of the city’s life before 79 C.E. in a Roman empire.
After an introductory reconstitution of the destruction of the city, Beard explains the signs of the eruption manifested for several weeks and the vast majority of people left Pompeii. This is a clever way to begin the intrigue for the citizens of Pompeii, its individuals and what they chose to escape the city with. From this...
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