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Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town

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One junior colleague still remembers Beard introducing herself, at a conference almost 25 years ago, with the overture, “Give us a fag, darlin’. She decided to study classics for the simple reason that she was good at it, and therefore liked it. But it was her moment: at the time, the BBC was being sued for age discrimination by presenter Miriam O’Reilly and the paucity of older women on air was becoming painfully obvious.

Pompeii | The Folio Society Pompeii | The Folio Society

After The Good Working Mother’s Guide, her next sole-authored book was a biography of one of her foremothers at Newnham, the early 20th-century classicist Jane Harrison. Life was comfortable for the wealthy, living in large – albeit often rather dark – houses, with gardens and shady colonnades.There were no such features at the nearby town of Herculaneum, where there was a developed system of underground drainage. One of the most impressive sights at Pompeii is the little temple of the Egyptian goddess Isis, once tended by its white-clad, shaven-headed priests. The latest estimate reckons that there were about 200 cafes and bars in the town altogether – about one for every 60 residents.

Mary Beard (classicist) - Wikipedia

Still, it made for a gripping film, claustrophobic and bloody and threatening and, importantly for TV, they didn't take all night over it. In archaeological terms, this is gold," he told her, with a leap of the imagination worthy of the record books.In 2011 she took part in a television series, Jamie's Dream School on Channel 4, in which she taught classics to teenagers with no experience of academic success. Painted slogans indicate where support lay, for example “The bakers are supporting Caius Julius Polybius”. There followed, according to Beard, “a torrent of aggressive insults, on everything from my historical competence and elitist ivory tower viewpoint to my age, shape and gender [batty old broad, obese, etc etc].

BBC One - Pompeii: New Secrets Revealed with Mary Beard

I can also recommend Paul Zanker’s Pompeii: Public and Private Life (Harvard UP, 1998) for the development of the town and its architecture, and Alison E Cooley and MGL Cooley, Pompeii: A Sourcebook (Routledge, 2004).will be invested as Honorary Doctor of Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) for her important academic and professional merits.

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