The Town of Hercules: A Buried Treasure-Trove by Joseph Jay Deiss.
DESCRIPTION: Hardcover with Dust Jacket: 183 pages. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin; (1974). It was a sunny, cloudless August morning and the people of Herculaneum were going about their usual round of activities. In various parts of the town workmen plied their trades. Cabinet makers hammered and sawed, bakers baked their loaves of bread, cloth-makers dyed and pressed their cloth. The streets were filled with people, and shopkeepers hawked their wares: snacks both hot and cold, glassware, vegetables, pots and jewelry. Inside most of the houses lunch was being prepared. Suddenly a violent, cracking sound filled the air. From a mountaintop a vast mushroom cloud billowed into the sky. Within a short time the city of Herculaneum would be lost to history for almost two thousand years.
Like its sister city Pompeii on the Bay of Naples, Herculaneum was buried by the great eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Unlike Pompeii, smothered in hot ashes, Herculaneum was smothered under a river of hot mud. The mud slowly cooled and hardened. Herculaneum, buried at depths ranging from sixty-five and ninety-five feet, was preserved as if in plastic - a treasure-trove for rediscovery many centuries later. In this story, Author Joseph Deiss tells of that rediscovery, the years of painstaking archaeological work that went into digging out this fascinating city. From its well-preserved remains it is possible to virtually reconstruct the life that went on there. And Mr. Deiss has done so admirably with words and over ninety photographs, many of which have never before been published.
CONDITION: NEW. New hardcover w/dustjacket. Houghton-Mifflin (1974) 183 pages. Inside the pages are pristine; clean, crisp, unmarked, unmutilated, tightly bound, and "unread", though I would hasten to add that of course it is likely that the book has been flipped through a once or twice while in the bookstore. From the outside the book is is clean and without blemish, evidencing only very mild edge and corner shelfwear to the dustjacket and covers, but of course no tears or chips (missing pieces), basically just minor rubbing to the extremities, the dustjacket spine head and heel and the open dustjacket corners ("tips"). Notwithstanding the likelihood that the book may have been flipped through once or twice by bookstore "lookie loo's", the condition of the book is entirely consistent with a new book from an open-shelf bookstore environment such as Barnes & Noble or B. Dalton, wherein patrons are permitted to browse open stock. Satisfaction unconditionally guaranteed. In stock, ready to ship. No disappointments, no excuses. PROMPT SHIPPING! HEAVILY PADDED, DAMAGE-FREE PACKAGING! #1461b..
PLEASE SEE IMAGES BELOW FOR JACKET DESCRIPTION(S) AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK.
PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW.
REVIEW: In A.D. 79, Herculaneum, a small resort town on Italy's western coast, was buried, along with its larger neighbor Pompeii, under an avalanche of lava and ash by Mount Vesuvius. So deep were the towns buried that over the centuries even the memory of them faded. It was not until early in the eighteenth century that evidence of the towns was accidentally discovered. For the next fifty years, haphazard excavations and looting began to hint at the extent of what still lay buried. Only in the middle of the nineteenth century were systematic excavations begun, revealing the astonishing remains of the two Roman towns. "The Town of Hercules tells the tragic story of the eruption of Vesuvius and explains, through the example of the town itself, how life was lived in the Roman Empire during the first century A.D."
Joseph Jay Deiss first became interested in archaeology when he was a boy in Texas, hunting for arrowheads and Indian remains in the hills neat the Canadian River. As he grew older, the discovery that many words in the English language come from Latin led to his curiosity in the ancient Romans. A trip to Italy provided the chance to study Roman ruins and history more closely, and he was struck by the many similarities between ancient and modern times. For four of the twelve years he spent in Italy, the author lived in Herculaneum. He got to know the streets, the houses, and the faces and histories of the people who had lived there. Mr. Deiss also served as Vide-Director of the American Academy in Rome, an important center for archaeological and classical studies, and was decorated a cavaliere by the government for his many books on Italian subjects.
REVIEW: This book begins with present-day Ercolano, at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, and then proceeds to take the reader swiftly back in time: two thousand years, in fact, to the ancient town of Herculaneum. In AD 79, on "the ninth day before the calends of September," life in that Roman town came to an abrupt, terrifying end. Author Joseph Deiss reveals the story of the fatal eruption of Vesuvius from many different perspectives: from the letters of Pliny the Younger, from the studies of volcanologists, and from the amazing array of evidence uncovered by successive generations of archeologists. We learn what the houses looked like in ancient Herculaneum, what people wore, what they ate, their art, the theater, the basilica, the Forum, the baths. We learn what may be conjectured about the religious practices of the times. A particularly compelling chapter is titled "The Dead Tell Their Stories." Finally, the Getty Museum's full-scale adaptation of the Villa of the Papyri is described. Photographs, diagrams and maps illustrate this fascinating work. A beautiful book, informative and elegantly put together.
REVIEW: Pompeii receives all the popular attention as a buried city after a volcano's eruption, but Herculaneum, a small Italian resort town, was also consumed by lava. Numerous photos of the towns' restored villas and interiors are included in Deiss' recreation of daily life in the town. College-level students of archaeology, architecture and history will relish this account.
REVIEW: Offering a portrait of life in the Roman Empire during the first century A.D., the author recounts the burial of Herculaneum and Pompeii beneath the eruption debris of Mount Vesuvius, and the sporadic efforts to excavate their remains. Exceptionally well illustrated accompanying a fascinating history of the city.
REVIEW: Reconstructs the day in 79 AD when the town of Herculaneum was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and discusses the archaeological excavations of that town made in recent centuries. The discoveries of ancient Italy found in excavations of a town buried under a river of hot mud from Mt. Vesuvius at the same time as Pompeii. Lavishly illustrated with what must be hundreds of pictures and illustrations showing the art, architecture, and artifacts of daily life. Compelling and fascinating history, simply stunning photography.
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