Cover image for The Great Fire of Rome : life and death in the ancient city
The Great Fire of Rome : life and death in the ancient city
Walsh, Joseph J., 1953- author.

Physical Description:
174 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
Witness to ancient history
Prologue -- Perils of life in Rome -- Inferno -- The day after -- Neropolis -- Legacy -- Appendix A. Sources -- Appendix B. Proposed timeline of the Great Fire.
"The author tells the story of the greatest natural disaster in Roman history: a fire that engulfed the city for two straight weeks in AD 64. He highlights firefighting technology of the period and examines how the city's architecture and planning contributed to the blaze. The book addresses the aftermath of the fire and includes an account of Emperor Nero's rebuilding efforts."--Provided by publisher.


Material Type
Item Barcode
Call Number
Shelf Location
Item Holds
Book 0357139 DG285.3 .W35 2019 Central Campus Library

On Order



Peril was everywhere in ancient Rome, but the Great Fire of 64 CE was unlike anything the city had ever experienced. No building, no neighborhood, no person was safe from conflagration. When the fire finally subsided--after burning for nine days straight--vast swaths of Rome were in ruins. The greatest city of the ancient world had endured its greatest blow.

In The Great Fire of Rome , Joseph J. Walsh tells the true story of this deadly episode in Rome's history. He explains why Rome was such a vulnerable tinderbox, outlines the difficulties of life in that exciting and dangerous city, and recounts the fire's aftermath and legacy--a legacy that includes the transformation of much of ancient Rome into a modern city. Situating the fire within the context of other perils that residents of Rome faced, including frequent flooding, pollution, crime, and dangerously shoddy construction, he highlights the firefighting technology of the period and examines the ways in which the city's architecture and planning contributed to the severity of the blaze.

Introducing readers to the grim realities of life in that overwhelming and overwhelmed city while chronicling its later glories, The Great Fire of Rome is grounded in the latest scholarship on fire analysis and forensics. Walsh's multifaceted analysis, balanced insights, and concise, accessible prose make this book a versatile teaching tool. Readers interested in ancient (and modern) Rome, urban life, and civic disasters, among other things, will be fascinated by this book.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prologuep. 1
I Perils of Life in Romep. 8
II Infernop. 42
III The Day Afterp. 73
IV Neropolisp. 96
V Legacyp. 112
Appendix A Sourcesp. 129
Appendix B Proposed Timeline of the Great Firep. 134
Notesp. 137
Suggested Further Readingp. 161
Indexp. 169