chapter  39
13 Pages

MINING THE EARLY PUBLISHED SOURCES: Problems and pitfalls

ByAnne Laidlaw

The literature on Pompeii is not only vast, but complicated by the fact that Pompeiiand its sister cities are the earliest continuously excavated Roman sites that exist. Thus, the most important adjunct to any study of Pompeii is access to a good Classical library, and for the eighteenth-and nineteenth-century publications, especially the periodicals and illustrated folios, these are difficult if not impossible to find in the United States.1 In deciphering the early published accounts, a knowledge of the modern social and political history of southern Italy is also necessary, since the vicissitudes of the newly re-established Bourbon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and its familial interrelationships with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with France and England during the Napoleonic Wars, and later, when the Italians were struggling to throw off the Bourbon rule to establish the Kingdom of Italy, often were decisive elements in what was published where, by whom, and with what purpose.2