A nice piece by Richard Cavendish on Alaric’s assault on Rome, from History Today (2010) – highlighting Prof. Peter Heather’s point that this attack ‘one of the most civilised sacks of any city ever witnessed’.
A new piece has been added to the section on ancient Athens, which considers the famous Long Walls as a enduring symbol of the city’s resolve and resilience.
This summer’s historical disaster movie of choice, Pompeii – enjoy it!
At the very least, it should be a great discussion starter: Pompeii, ‘a place of corruption, a place of temptation?’ ‘No warning? No escape?’ Hmmm… The quick thoughts of the indefatigable Prof. Mary Beard are well worth a read: ‘10 things you need to know about Pompeii‘ (better still, buy the award-wnning book).
Even though the final destruction of the city was extensive, the history of Pompeii provides much of interest to this project. The resilient Pompeians rebuilt their city after it was extensively damaged by an earthquake in AD 63, and battled through a series of preliminary seismic eruptions in the build up to the great cataclysm in AD 79.
A wealth of information can be found on Blogging Pompeii, and Virginia Campbell’s Pompeian Connections. Finally, a nice piece on the BBC website (from 2011), ‘Pompeii: Portents of Disaster‘, by Prof. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill.
2013’s wonderful Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition at the British Museum, detailing the ordinary lives of those in Herculaneum and Pompei, both destroyed in AD 79.
Life goes on… A nice piece on ancient cities that still endure – in particular, the examples of Tyre, Sidon, and Argos give us much to think about. While there, check out UNESCO’s page on the city of Tyre.
The Phoenix Project aims to consider examples of regeneration and restoration from ancient history, it will reflect on how civilisations and cultures emerge from conflict and/or crisis and attempt to establish imaginative links between past and present insights. The fundamental premise for this project is that ancient efforts to establish order out of disorder offer parallels still useful to any contemporary society in, or emerging from, serious crisis.
Throughout history, great powers are toppled, civilisations fall… but rarely was their destruction absolute, nor was defeat total. What happened after the calamity?