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Pompeii

Pompeii

Public and Private Life

Paul Zanker

Translated by Deborah Lucas Schneider

ISBN 9780674689671

Publication date: 01/15/1999

Pompeii's tragedy is our windfall: an ancient city fully preserved, its urban design and domestic styles speaking across the ages. This richly illustrated book conducts us through the captured wonders of Pompeii, evoking at every turn the life of the city as it was 2,000 years ago.

When Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. its lava preserved not only the Pompeii of that time but a palimpsest of the city's history, visible traces of the different societies of Pompeii's past. Paul Zanker, a noted authority on Roman art and architecture, disentangles these tantalizing traces to show us the urban images that marked Pompeii's development from country town to Roman imperial city. Exploring Pompeii's public buildings, its streets and gathering places, we witness the impact of religious changes, the renovation of theaters and expansion of athletic facilities, and the influence of elite families on the city's appearance. Through these stages, Zanker adeptly conjures a sense of the political and social meanings in urban planning and public architecture.

The private houses of Pompeii prove equally eloquent, their layout, decor, and architectural detail speaking volumes about the life, taste, and desires of their owners. At home or in public, at work or at ease, these Pompeians and their world come alive in Zanker's masterly rendering. A provocative and original reading of material culture, his work is an incomparable introduction to urban life in antiquity.

Praise

  • Zanker has written what is destined to become a classic study. Quietly authoritative, Zanker's brief yet endlessly suggestive overview of Pompeii and its buildings puts architecture, as it ought to be, squarely in the context of the social and spiritual attitudes that produce it.

    —New York Times Book Review

Author

  • Paul Zanker is Professor of Classical Archeology, University of Munich, and Director of the German Archeological Institute in Rome. He is the author of Mask of Socrates: The Image of the Intellectual in Antiquity and The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus.

Book Details

  • 286 pages
  • 5-7/8 x 8-3/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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