The Buried City of Pompeii: What It Was Like When Vesuvius Exploded


48 pages
Contains Maps
ISBN 0-590-12377-7
DDC j937.7'.7





Photos by Peter Christopher
Illustrations by Greg Ruhl
Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


On the morning of August 24, A.D. 79, a Roman freedman named Eros had
good reason to be content with life. He had an important and well-paying
job as steward to the richest man in Pompeii. He and his young daughter
shared a spacious apartment in the largest mansion in the city. While
other men around him slaved away at menial jobs or faced horrible deaths
in the nearby gladiators’ arena, Eros passed his time overseeing
renovations on the mansion or spending pleasant afternoons at the baths.

But just after 1 p.m. that same day, Eros’s idyllic life came to an
end. Nearby Mount Etna suddenly exploded and an awesome shower of
volcanic ash began burying the city at the rate of six inches an hour.
Most people ran for their lives but Eros and his daughter, loyal
servants to the end, stayed in the mansion to guard their master’s
house. Eighteen centuries later, their skeletons, as well as millions of
other artifacts of 1st-century Roman civilization, would be found by

The glory and horror that was Pompeii is poignantly captured in this
lovely book. The author combines known fact with probable fiction to
re-create the last days of Eros, one of the disaster’s few victims who
can actually be named thanks to artifacts found near his skeleton.
Striking photographs and gorgeous illustrations allow readers to
completely immerse themselves in the story. Highly recommended.


Tanaka, Shelley., “The Buried City of Pompeii: What It Was Like When Vesuvius Exploded,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 24, 2024,