The Great Fire of Rome: Life and Death in the Ancient City

December 2, 2020
The Great Fire of Rome: Life and Death in the Ancient City

Peril was everywhere in ancient Rome, but the Great Fire of 64CE was unlike anything the city had ever experienced. No building,no neighborhood, no person was safe from conflagration. When thefire finally subsided--after burning for nine days straight--vastswaths of Rome were in ruins. The greatest city of the ancientworld had endured its greatest blow.In The Great Fire of Rome, Joseph J. Walsh tells thetrue story of this deadly episode in Rome's history. He explainswhy Rome was such a vulnerable tinderbox, outlines the difficultiesof life in that exciting and dangerous city, and recounts thefire's aftermath and legacy--a legacy that includes thetransformation of much of ancient Rome into a modern city.Situating the fire within the context of other perils thatresidents of Rome faced, including frequent flooding, pollution,crime, and dangerously shoddy construction, he highlights thefirefighting technology of the period and examines the ways inwhich the city's architecture and planning contributed to theseverity of the blaze.Introducing readers to the grim realities of life in thatoverwhelming and overwhelmed city while chronicling its laterglories, The Great Fire of Rome is grounded in the latestscholarship on fire analysis and forensics. Walsh's multifacetedanalysis, balanced insights, and concise, accessible prose makethis book a versatile teaching tool. Readers interested in ancient(and modern) Rome, urban life, and civic disasters, among otherthings, will be fascinated by this book.