Pompeii, A Different Perspective: via dell’Abbondanza – a long road, well travelled
Jennifer F Stephens and Arthur E Stephens
Lockwood Press, £40
Review by: Lucia Marchini
The ruins of Pompeii are among the most familiar sights of the ancient world, and the longest street in the Roman city – via dell’Abbondanza, which runs from the forum to the Sarno gate – is one that most modern visitors will have strolled along. The views in this book, then, are likely to be familiar to some, but the approach is new. Jennifer and Arthur Stephens have carefully composed photomosaics (built from a large number of photographs of the same subject) of the facades on the street to present a continuous journey along its north and then south sides.
Alleys running off to the side, shops, inns, brothels, workshops, apartments, elite homes, and bath complexes are all given the same photographic treatment, and labelled with simple details. The result is an enjoyable foray into the diversity of buildings and lives lived along one road. It is easy to lose yourself in the clear images, but, importantly, they provide an accurate visual record of this street, which was not only damaged by bombing in the Second World War but, even since the compilation of the photomosaics, has seen the Schola Armatorum building collapse during heavy rains and be restored.