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Resource Materials
Pompeii & Herculaneum: Rediscovering Roman Art & Culture

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Many of these books are available at local bookstores including Books Inc and Keplers, or at your local library.

Short List of Recommended Resources

Compiled by Chuck Sieloff

Are you wanting to learn more about Pompeii and Herculaneum, but don't have a lot of time to spare? Here are some suggestions in a wide variety of formats and styles that might help.

Pompeii: The Day a City Died by Robert Etienne (1992, 215pp) is part of the excellent Discoveries series. It is compact, clearly written, beautifully illustrated, and includes a selection of ancient and modern documents about the topic.

The dramatic nature of the destruction and rediscovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum has inspired many attempts to dramatize and visually recreate the events. Among the better examples are Secrets of the Dead: Herculaneum Uncovered (DVD, 2007, 60 min., available on Netflix), which focuses on the lesser known, but better preserved, town near Pompeii, and Pompeii: Back from the Dead (Discovery Channel, DVD, 2011, 43 min., available on Netflix), which covers some of the most recent archaeological research.

David Macaulay's Roman City (DVD, 1994, 60 min., available on Netflix) uses the remains of Pompeii and Herculaneum to illustrate how the Roman “culture of city builders” used techniques for urban planning and infrastructure engineering that were unsurpassed for 1500 years. Fans of historical fiction will enjoy Robert Harris' Pompeii: A Novel (2005, 304pp, also available in Kindle and audio formats), which recreates the atmosphere leading up to the famous eruption.

Suggested Reading and Resources

Beard, Mary. The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost & Found. (2010).

Berry, J. Ed. Unpeeling Pompeii. (Electa, 1998).

Bulwer Lytton, Edward. The Last Days of Pompeii. (1834).

Nappo, SC. Pompeii: Guide to the Lost City. (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998).

The Pompeii Forum Project  (Photographs and a street tour of Pompeii can be found under “Notes for Teachers and Students”)

Peña, Theodore. Roman Pottery in the Archaeological Record. (2007).

Pieraccini, Lisa. Around the Hearth: Caeretan Cylinder-Stamped Braziers. (2003).

Photographs of Pompeii.

Pompeii Food and Drink.

Viewing Pompeii. Visual Resources for The Pompeii Forum Project. Prepared by the Digital Media Lab, University of Virginia.

Wallace-Hadrill, A. Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum (Princeton University Press, 1994).

Recommendations below are from the NGA Workshop Site for Students and Teachers


Joanne Berry, The Complete Pompeii (2007). The title says it all: information about all aspects of the town, its people, and history. Copiously illustrated.

James M. Deem, Bodies from the Ash (2005). Learn more about what happened in Pompeii and Herculaneum by "reading" the bodies. More interesting—and less creepy—than it sounds! Written for young audiences but with wide appeal.

Joseph Jay Deiss, The Town of Hercules: A Buried Treasure Trove (1995). Why should Pompeii get all the attention? Because of the circumstance of its burial, Herculaneum preserves wood, papyrus, and other materials not found in its more famous neighbor. Written for young people, but useful for all audiences.

Robert Harris, Pompeii: A Novel (2003). Historical fiction set in the days before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. An engineer in the city water works investigates mysterious natural phenomena and man-made corruption.

Web Sites

The Web site of the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei features virtual tours, a feature for kids, news, and a lot more. Includes Pompeii and other sites. English and Italian.

Access to two classic works on Roman life and history, a detailed genealogy of the gods, and more.

The Internet Ancient History Sourcebook — a trove of texts (in English and Latin), images, and links to a wide range of topics.

See what Vesuvius and other volcanoes worldwide have been up to from the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program.

Learn more about Roman art from the Web sites of museums with outstanding ancient collections, including the British Museum, the Louvre, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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