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Pompeii: cadavers or casts?

With so much tripe on British television I am always filled with joy when the brilliant historian Mary Beard shows up with one of her inspiring programmes. I don’t know if there is a Mary Beard fan club but if there is please send me the link to join.

Mary Beard is professor of classics at Cambridge University (that’s in England)

Ancient Rome often inspires my writing and, as you know, I lived in Italy for many years. During my stay there I got to know Rome well – better than I know most British cities – and did my tourist guide bit with various visitors from around the world. I did, however, make it to Pompeii only once – a blistering hot September day when  my feet complained and sweat poured from me; I felt as if I had been caught in the eruption. It is a fantastic site and I recommend everyone with even a smidgen of interest in the ancient world to visit. Ruins, cadavers – or are they?

Mary Beard has recently been parting the veil, or sweeping the dust. An article in BBC Magazine carries this byline:

Is Pompeii an ancient or a modern wonder? Its ruins have been rebuilt and the bodies of the volcano’s victims are plaster casts, says classical historian Mary Beard.

You can read it all by clicking this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20407286

Now, Beard has a wicked sense of humour and she’s not afraid to bring piss and shit into her scripts either. She is a wonder of the modern age, a classic-to-be.  I say Up Pompeii, Up Mary Beard!  (yes, a shameless and blatant way to show a clip of the comic genius, Frankie Howerd):

If you haven’t seen Mary’s shows, here’s one of the best:

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8 thoughts on “Pompeii: cadavers or casts?”

  1. I never miss her if I can avoid it. She has such a brilliant way of bringing up the more gruesome aspects of everyday life.

    I haven’t been to either place. 😦 Would love to go.

  2. Ha! What a young Frankie Howerd. It’s fabulous living in another country, but it does mean I miss programmes like Mary Beard (I haven’t even heard of her!). What a lovely woman. she’s brave to ride a bike in Rome. Fascinating woman and programme. Thanks, Steve.

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