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The Natural History of Pompeii Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0521800549 ISBN-10: 0521800544 Edition: 1St Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1St Edition edition (September 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521800544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521800549
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 9.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,340,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Some chapters of this book will be useful primarily for reference; others of a more discursive nature invite reading, while some, by virtue of their methodological or cultural perspectives, serve both ends. ...the volume belongs in the library of every school where the story of Pompeii and its people has enlivened Latin classes, and should attract readers in public libraries as well." New England Classical Journal

"The editors should be complimented on their selection of reputed chapter authors from various scientific fields. This book instills a half a century's research on Pompeii. It is well-written and beautifully produced on glossy paper that renders excellent reproductions of wall-paintings sculptures, and illustrations....This book will always be a centerpiece for lively conversation." Plant Science Bulletin

"This is an impressive work that will be of interest to a variety of audiences." Sida

"In virtually all ways, this volume is a great success. It is well worth its rather hefty price tag, both in terms of the value of the actual production of the text and as a resource on ancient Pompeii. Indeed, it is certainly essential for any university library as well as for anyone with an interest in applications of science to antiquity. It will also no doubt appeal to scholars particularly itnerested in Pompeii or volcanology and the specific bibliographies provided at the end of each chapter will assist specialists in many fields." - Tana J. Allen, Memorial University

"This volume is a very successful example of a competent, all-inclusive approach to the study of natural phenomena in Pompeii and vicinity." - Elke and Hans Joachim Bohr, Wiesbaden, Classical World

Book Description

Following the prototype established by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, Jashemski and the volume's contributors reconstruct the environment of Pompeii, Herculaneum and the surrounding Campanian countryside, based on the evidence preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. The volume brings together the work of geologists, soil specialists, paleobotanists, botanists, paleontologists, biologists, chemists, dendrochronologists, ichthyologists, zoologists, ornithologists, mamologists, herpetologists, entymologists, and archaeologists, affording a thorough picture of the landscape, flora, and fauna of the ancient sites.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on June 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Partly art history, partly botany and zoology, and partly forensics, THE NATURAL HISTORY OF POMPEII is a beautiful comprehensive work including the writings of archeologists and others who have examined the ruins at Pompeii and Herculaneum with the goal of establishing the nature of daily life as lived by the inhabitants of the two doomed settlements. This collection of scholarly papers was assembled into a fine book edited by W.F. Jashemski and Frederick Meyer. Jashemski is Professor Emeritus of Ancient History at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she pioneered the field of ancient Roman garden archeology, and a former senior fellow at Dumbarton Oaks in DC which houses a wonderful collection of Pre-Columbian Art as well as stunningly landscaped grounds. Dr. Meyer is the former Supervisory Botanist in charge of the Herbarium at the National Arboretum also in Washington DC.

Selected chapters from the book cover a description of the site before the eruption in A.D. 79 based on the archeological, literary and Epigraphical Evidence. We know some of what we know about the fateful day owing to correspondence between Tacitus and Pliny the Younger, whose uncle Pliny the Elder perished in the catastrophe. Other chapters cover the flora and fauna of the area (both Pompeii and Herculaneum were affected). Archeologists have determined the identity of extensive numbers of plants (including trees, vines, edible foodstuffs and culinary and medicinal herbs), mammals, amphibians and reptiles, birds (grey parrots and love birds were kept as pets).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a masterwork by Dr. Wilhelmina Feemster Jashemski and Frederick G. Meyer that looks at the Roman cities destroyed by Vesuvius in 79 AD from the perspective of the Bay of Naples area's natural environment of the time. The many color plates in this large work also portray the artwork that was preserved in hundreds of houses and public buildings in Pompeii and Herculaneum. But the real focus of the book is the landscape, gardens, and fauna that existed in the Roman period. Millions of natural, as well as man-made, objects were preserved in the molten ash that fell on those towns and the authors have provided hundreds of illustrations of these items which add up to a comprehensive look at Pompeii's everyday surroundings--street, garden and rural hinterland. It's an amazing work the will be of interest to anyone who is a student of Roman history, architecture, botany or horticulture.

Dr. Jashemski is a professor emeritus of the University of Maryland which is currently involved in the excavation of the last town major town still completely covered by Vesuvian ash--Stabiiae. The potential to find some spectacular artworks on that site is considerable as it was the most upscale neighborhood on the Bay of Naples in that period.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Definitive and scholarly report on the flora and fauna of the Campaigna region in Italy by the leading authority on ancient Roman gardens in the fertile region of Italy.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Robyn VEAL on June 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Jashemski has worked for many years in Pompeii's gardens - and produced many publications. This volume not only brings together a summary of all of her work, it is complemented by robust ancilliary studies from experts in paleosols, pollen and fauna. Beautiful pictures, well-referenced - an academic book that also is of interest to other readers. THE must have of all Pompeii publications in recent times.
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