"The morning of 24 August A.D. was just another summer's day. In the town of Pompeii tradesmen removed the shutters from their shops and hung up their merchandise. Lunch was being prepared in the laundry of Stephanus. A group of gladiators met in a bar. Moedestus, the baker, stocked his oven and carefully placed the dough alongside the flames. Suddenly the air was split by a resounding crash and the ground shook. People rushed into the streets. The sky became overcast and darkness descended. Within hours Pompeii and a number of other towns were buried under several meters of pumice and ashes. This was the greatest natural disaster in European history."
From the remarkable pen of Peter Connolly comes a comprehensive look at the ancient city of Pompeii. He begins with the scientific facts: How was Pompeii destroyed? How did Mount Vesuvius become an active volcano? What happened during the erruption? How long did Pompeii lay buried and forgotten and how was it finally rediscovered? What was Pompeii's history before the disaster?
Then, Peter Connolly does what he does better than anyone--he rebuilds the past in words and pictures, allowing us to imagine what it was like to live in old Pompeii. Like an archaeological detective, he sifts through the ruins and artifacts to reconstruct one area of the town in minute detail. With maps and cross-sections, photographs, drawings, and an engrossing and fact-filled text, Connolly takes us into the very homes of its citizens--into the kitchens, atriums, bedrooms and out into the gardens. We learn what the furniture looked like, how the homes were lighted and heated, what kind of jewellry was popular, and what the gladiators wore. We view the varied styles of architecture and decoration, attend a grand dinner party, visit local shops, go to the theatre, to a public bath, and to the gladiators' arena. We gain an understanding of this ancient civilization, and begin to see how much was lost when the city fell prey to the million of tons of lava and ashes that fell on it during the devastating disaster.
The story of Pompeii is one of the most terrible and fascinating in history. Connolly brings it alive for children, adding another distingished volume to Oxford's Rebuilding the Past series. [via]