Herculaneum, a small Roman town on the Bay of Naples, was destroyed in AD 79 by the same catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius that buried Pompeii. Sealed deep under a layer of hardened volcanic sludge the town is still only partially excavated. Yet it is one of the most evocative of Roman sites. Each year thousands of visitors walk the silent streets of the town and explore the reconstructed houses, shops, and public buildings of this open-air museum of Roman life.
In the written sources translated in this book the people of Herculaneum come to life once more. We encounter them through the inscriptions and painted notices that they read, the legal and financial documents that they scratched on their waxed tablets and the erotic graffiti that they scribbled on their walls. The documents collected here illustrate Herculaneum's early history and its destruction, politics, and commerce, religion and leisure as well as the rediscovery and excavation of the town.
Accompanied by introductory material, notes, plans, and photographs, these translated sources will be of interest to those who plan to visit the town itself or who simply enjoy Roman social history. The documents have also been selected and arranged to cater for the needs of school and university students.