Doctor Who

Season 4 Episode 2

The Fires of Pompeii

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Apr 12, 2008 on BBC America
out of 10
User Rating
457 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Location: Pompeii
Date: 23rd/24th August 79AD
Enemies: Pyrovile
The Doctor takes Donna back to Pompeii, on the day of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, and is faced with a great moral dilemma. Should they warn the residents of the impending disaster, or let history take its natural course?moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Headphones

    A fine episode with nothing wrong with it, except that it confirms for me that I can never watch Doctor Who without headphones. Seriously, I miss like a quarter of the dialogue because of their accents.
  • The Fires of Pompeii

    The Fires of Pompeii was a perfect and entertaining episode of Doctor Who. I liked the story lines and it was awesome watching Donna and The Doctor help the people of Pompeii as best they could. The Pyrovile were an intriguing race and It was cool to see them. The special effects were great and the writing was superb. This was a fun adventure and I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Donna and the Doctor grow closer in Pompeii.

    I have to admit--I was worried about Donna as the companion. She annoyed the heck out of me in "Runaway Bride," and I foresaw more of the same in this series. However, I started watching "The Catherine Tate Show" to get used to her anyway. And I have to admit, I've been pleasantly surprised by her performance. Instead of being a wackily irritating guest star, she's actually exploring and building up the character she represents, leading me to start liking Donna Noble. She's determined not to fall in love with The Doctor, for one thing. While this should prove impossible (um, excuse me, it's David Tennant), the lack of sexual tension allows them to grow even closer as friends. Instead of accepting what he says as fact, she takes the initiative and tries to change his mind. Her "just save someone" scene was almost heartbreaking in its sincerity. The Doctor himself (and Tennant) deserves no end of love and praise. Great actor, great character, the most obvious and basic reason for watching this show. Perfect timing in this episode. I love how he's able to say the most ridiculous things with a straight face, as if they're perfectly familiar to him.

    The guest stars in the episode were all pretty good; the special effects, as always, were done well.

    A great, very challenging plot point was when the Doctor realises he caused the volcano to happen. Every time the Doctor has to confront his own morality, convictions and ethics, the episode becomes stronger. Especially this one, considering Donna also betrays her former ideals to help him.

    All in all, a strong, character-building episode.moreless
  • It was ok.

    I liked this episode, and it was definitely better than Partners In Crime, but it wasn't all good.


    The Pyrovile were pretty scary, and liked the theme of Pompeii. Also, when Lucius Pextrus Dextrus foretold the episode Turn Left. ("she is returning" "something on your back")


    The attitude of the son in the family just wasn't realistic. Teenagers in the year 79AD were different to teenagers nowadays.

    When Pextrus had that stone arm that the doctor just pulled off. That was lame.

    How do you make a big complicated alien machine out of marble???

    How did the doctor and donna survive being inside an erupting volcano just because the were in a pod?

  • The Doctor and Donna travel to Pompeii on volcano day, and meet some delightful people who are going to die. And some have eyes on their hands because they're clearly seven and in nursery. And some stuff blows up. And there's a stone gal at one point.moreless

    Well. That's that then.

    Fully expecting an episode on par with last week's cracking opener, I was extremely disappointed this week. Basically, the Doctor arrives in Pompeii with Donna and Donna tries to convince him to help save everyone who is destined to die in the volcano eruption that buried the city. There is also an irritating sub plot with some women who can see the future, and who are infected with a monster made out of stone.

    That's about it. It wasn't very good.

    It had a few good moments, true. Some of Donna's comments to the Doctor were generally amusing. When the Doctor fought a fire monster with a water pistol produced a chuckle. And the insults towards Celts are always cause for hysterics. But that's about it. It's an episode that is only saved by the laughs rather than the action.

    Now, speaking of the action...The Doctor is an ALIEN. Get that into your thick heads writers! He does not cry - he does not show emotion other than anger. He is alien. He does not care about human beings. The Doctor would not go back to rescue someone. The Doctor sat and watched as one of his assistants was obliterated, just because that explosion was the cause of the Big Bang. He does not care. If the Doctor was human, I'd be happy for him to emote. But he isn't!

    Okay, rant over.

    Best bit of the episode was of course when the weirdo predicting villain told Donna "darkness is all I see in your will show you are truly noble before the light returns" and the words to the Doctor "you walk under a false name. Doctor. It is a lie. Like you." and "She is returning to you, Doctor....she is coming!"

    So, basically, I was right. The running theme for this year is (drum roll) ROSE TYLER.

    That bit saved an otherwise crap episode.


Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Interestingly enough the day that the Doctor and Donna arrive in Pompeii, August 23rd, is Vulcanalia the feast day of the god Vulcan, the deity which would give its name to the new word in the Roman lexicon, Volcano.

    • Lucius Petrus Dextrus

      Lucius' full name literally translates from the Latin as Lucius of the Stoned Right Arm.

    • In the Cambridge Latin Course books for GCSE, there is no daughter in the family and only Quintus survives the explosion of Vesuvius

  • QUOTES (32)

    • (The Doctor saves Caecilius and his family from the volcano; they watch the destruction of Pompeii from afar)
      The Doctor: It's never forgotten, Caecilius. Oh, time will pass. Men will move on and stories will fade, but one day Pompeii will be found again in thousands of years and everyone will remember you.
      Donna: What about you, Evelina? Can you see anything?
      Evelina: The visions have gone.
      The Doctor: The explosion was so powerful it cracked open a rift in time. Just for a second. That's what gave you the gift of prophecy. It echoed back into the Pyrovilian alternative. But not any more. You're free.
      Metella: But tell me, who are you, Doctor? With your words and your temple containing such size within?
      The Doctor: Oh, I was never here. Don't tell anyone.
      Caecilius: The great god Vulcan must be enraged. It's so... volcanic. It's like some sort of volcano. All those people...

    • Donna: The Pyrovile are made of rocks. Maybe they can't be blown up.
      The Doctor: Vesuvius explodes with the strength of twenty-four nuclear bombs. Nothing can survive it. Certainly not us.
      Donna: Never mind us.

    • The Doctor: If I might beg the wisdom of the Gods before we perish? Once this new race of creatures is complete, then what?
      Lucius: My masters will follow the example of Rome itself. An almighty empire bestriding the whole of civilization.
      Donna: But if you've crashed, and you've got all this technology, why don't you just go home?
      Lucius: The heaven of Pyrovilia is gone.
      The Doctor: What d'you mean, gone? Where's it gone?
      Lucius: It was taken. Pyrovilia was lost, but there is heat enough in this world for a new species to rise.
      The Doctor: Yeah, I should warn you it's seventy percent water out there.
      Lucius: Water can boil and everything will burn, Doctor!
      The Doctor: Then the whole planet is at stake. Thank you. That's all I needed to know.

    • Caecilius: Sunrise, my love. A new day. Even the longest night must end.
      Quintus: The mountain's worse than ever.
      Metella: We killed a messenger of the Gods in our own house. (to Evelina) Sweetheart, can you see? Tell us what's going to happen.
      Quintus: Just leave her alone.
      Evelina: (closing her eyes) I can see...
      Metella: What is it?
      Evelina: A choice. Someone must make a choice. The most terrible choice.

    • The Doctor: What are the Pyrovile doing here?
      High Priestess: We fell from the heavens, we fell so far and so fast we were rendered into dust.
      The Doctor: Right, creatures of stone shatter on impact. When was that, seventeen years ago?
      High Priestess: We have slept beneath for thousands of years.
      The Doctor: OK, so seventeen years ago woke you up, and now you're using human bodies to reconstitute yourself. But why the psychic powers?
      High Priestess: We opened their minds and found such gifts.

    • The Doctor: The people of Pompeii are turning to stone before the volcano erupts. But why?
      High Priestess: This word. This image in your mind. This... volcano. What is that?
      The Doctor: More to the point, why don't you know about it? Who are you?
      High Priestess: High Priestess of the Sibylline!
      The Doctor: No, no, no. I'm talking to the creature inside you, the thing that's sealing itself into a human body, in the dust in the lungs, taking over the flesh and turning it into... what?
      High Priestess: Your knowledge… is impossible!
      The Doctor: Oh, but you can read my mind. You know it's not. I demand to know who you are!
      High Priestess: (voice changing) We... are... awakening!
      Spurrina: The voice of the Gods!
      Sisterhood: (chanting throughout) Words of wisdom, words of power, words of wisdom, words of power, words of wisdom, words of power…
      The Doctor: Name yourself! Planet of origin. Galactic co-ordinates. Species designation according to the universal ratification of the Shadow Proclamation.
      High Priestess: We... are... rising!
      The Doctor: TELL ME YOUR NAME!
      High Priestess: PYROVILE!

    • The Doctor: (to the Sisterhood) Let me tell you about the Sibyl, the founder of this religion. She would be ashamed of you. All her wisdom and insight turned sour. Is that how you spread the word, eh? On the blade of a knife?
      Spurrina: Yes. A knife that now welcomes you! (raises the knife)
      High Priestess: Show me this man.
      Spurrina: High Priestess, the stranger would defile us!
      High Priestess: Let me see. This one is different. He carries starlight in his wake.
      The Doctor: Oh, very perceptive. But where do these words of wisdom come from?
      High Priestess: The Gods whisper to me.
      The Doctor: They've done much more than that.

    • (The Doctor has entered the temple and stopped Donna from being sacrificed)
      Spurrina: No man is allowed to enter the Temple of Sibyl!
      The Doctor: Well, that's alright. Just us girls. D'you know, I met the Sibyl once. Yeah. Hell of a woman. Blimey, she could dance the tarantella. Nice teeth. Truth be told, I think she had a bit of a thing for me. I said it would never last, she said 'I know'. Well, she would. (to Donna, who is still tied to the altar) You alright there?
      Donna: (sarcastically) Oh, never better.

    • (The Doctor destroys an adult Pyrovile at Caecilius' villa)
      Caecilius: What was it?
      The Doctor: Carapace of stone held together by internal magma. Not too difficult to stop, but I reckon that's just the footsoldier.
      Metella: Doctor, or whatever your name is, you bring bad luck on this house.

    • The Doctor: It must be awful being a prophet, waking up every morning. 'Is it raining?' 'Yes, it is, I said so.' Takes all the fun out of life. But who designed this, Lucius? Hm? Who gave you these instructions?
      Lucius: I think you've babbled enough.
      The Doctor: Lucius, really, tell me. Honestly, I'm on your side. I can help.
      Lucius: You insult the Gods! There can be only one sentence! At arms!

    • Spurrina: The Noble woman, she spoke of a new prophecy. The fall of Pompeii.
      High Priestess: Pompeii will last forever!
      Spurrina: Then what must we do?
      High Priestess: The false prophet must die. Sacrifice her!

    • Donna: What d'you do in old Pompeii then, girls your age? You got mates? D'you go hanging about round the shops? TK Maxximus?
      Evelina: I am promised to the Sisterhood for the rest of my life.
      Donna: Do you get any choice in that?
      Evelina: It's not my decision; the Sisters chose for me. I have the gift of sight.
      Donna: Then... what can you see happening tomorrow?
      Evelina: Is tomorrow special?
      Donna: You tell me. What d'you see?
      Evelina: (after a pause) The sun will rise, the sun will set. Nothing special at all.

    • Caecilius: (about the Soothsayers) It's quite amazing. They can predict crops and rainfall with absolute precision.
      The Doctor: Have they said anything about tomorrow?
      Caecilius: No. Why, should they? Why do you ask?
      The Doctor: (quickly) No, no. No reason. Just asking.

    • Caecilius: (receiving Lucius as a guest) A rare and great honour, sir, for you to come to my house.
      Lucius: The birds are flying north and the wind is in the west.
      Caecilius: Quite, absolutely. (pause) That's good, is it?
      Lucius: Only the grain of wheat knows where it will grow.
      Caecilius: There now, Metella. Have you ever heard such wisdom?
      Metella: Never. It's an honour.
      (Lucius notices the Doctor and Donna)
      Caecilius: Pardon me, sir. I have guests. This is Spartacus and Spartacus.
      Lucius: The name is but a cloud upon a summer wind.
      The Doctor: But the wind is felt most keenly in the dark.
      Lucius: Ah, but what is the dark, other than an omen of the sun?
      The Doctor: I concede that every sun must set...
      Lucius: Hah!
      The Doctor: ...and yet the son of the father must also rise.
      Lucius: Damn. Very clever, sir. Evidently a man of learning.
      The Doctor: Oh yes, but don't mind me.

    • Caecilius: (about the TARDIS) I only bought it today.
      The Doctor: Ah, well. Caveat emptor.
      Caecilius: Oh, you're Celtic. (in a Welsh accent) There's lovely.
      The Doctor: I'm sure it's fine but I might have to take it off your hands for a proper inspection.
      Donna: Although, while we're here, wouldn't you recommend a holiday, Spartacus?
      The Doctor: I don't know what you mean, Spartacus.
      Donna: Well, this lovely family- mother and father and son- don't you think they should get out of town?
      Caecilius: Why should we do that?
      Donna: Well, the volcano for starters.
      Caecilius: What?
      Donna: Volcano.
      Caecilius: What-ano?
      Donna: That great big volcano right on your doorstep?
      The Doctor: Oh, Spartacus, for shame. We haven't even greeted the household gods yet. (He takes Donna to the shrine, away from Caecilius) They don't know what it is. Vesuvius is just a mountain to them. The top hasn't blown off yet. The Romans haven't even got a word for volcano. Not until tomorrow.
      Donna: Great. They can learn a new word. As they die.
      The Doctor: Donna, stop it.
      Donna: Listen, I dunno what sort of kids you've been flying round with in outer space, but you're not telling me to shut up. That boy, how old is he? Sixteen? And tomorrow he burns to death.
      The Doctor: And that's my fault?
      Donna: Right now, yes.

    • Caecilius: Who are you?
      The Doctor: I am... Spartacus.
      Donna: And so am I.
      Caecilius: Mr and Mrs Spartacus.
      The Doctor: Oh, no, no... we're not married.
      Donna: We're not together.
      Caecilius: Oh, brother and sister. Yes, of course. You look very much alike.
      The Doctor, Donna: (together) Really?

    • Thalina: We have found it, Sister Spurrina, in the thirteenth book of the Sibylline Oracles. The blue box. A temple made of wood. And yet the Sibyl foretold that the box would appear at the time of storms and fire and betrayal.
      High Priestess: Sisters...
      Spurrina: Reverend Mother, you should sleep.
      High Priestess: The Sibylline Oracles are wrong.
      Spurrina: But we have venerated her words for generations.
      High Priestess: This is a new age. Heed my words. I predict a future of prosperity and might, an endless empire of Pompeii reaching out from this city to topple Rome itself and encompass the whole wide world. If the disciples of the blue box defy this prophecy, their blood will run across the temple floor.
      (There is a loud rumbling)
      Spurrina: The Gods approve!

    • Donna: I've found this big sort of amphitheatre thing. We can start there; we can gather everyone together. Maybe they've got a big bell or something we can ring. Have they invented bells yet?
      The Doctor: What do you want a bell for?
      Donna: To warn everyone. To start the evacuation. What time does Vesuvius erupt? When's it due?
      The Doctor: It's 79AD, twenty-third of August. Which makes volcano day tomorrow.
      Donna: Plenty of time. We can get everyone out easy.
      The Doctor: Yeah, except we're not going to.
      Donna: But that's what you do. You're the Doctor. You save people.
      The Doctor: Not this time. Pompeii is a fixed point in history. What happens happens. There is no stopping it.
      Donna: Says who?
      The Doctor: Says me.
      Donna: What? And you're in charge?
      The Doctor: TARDIS. Time Lord. Yes.
      Donna: Donna. Human. No. I don't need your permission. I'll tell 'em myself!
      The Doctor: If you stand in the marketplace announcing the end of the world, they'll just think you're a mad old soothsayer. Now come on. TARDIS. We are getting out of here.
      Donna: Well, I might just have something to say about that, spaceman!
      The Doctor: Oh, I bet you will!

    • Evelina: Sometimes in the smoke, I see the most terrible things.
      Metella: Like what?
      Evelina: A face. A face of stone.
      Metella: It'll make sense, one day. Sister Spurrina promised. The veil will be parted and you'll be a seer.

    • Caecilius: (about the TARDIS) What do you think?
      Metella: You call it modern art. I call it a bloomin' great waste of space.

    • Donna: Hold on a minute. That sign over there's in English. Are you having me on? Are we in EPCOT?
      The Doctor: No, no, no. That's the TARDIS translation circuits. Just makes it look like English. Speech as well. You're talking Latin right now.
      Donna: Seriously?
      The Doctor: Hm.
      Donna: I just said 'seriously' in Latin?
      The Doctor: Oh, yeah.
      Donna: What if I said something in actual Latin? Like 'veni, vidi, vici'. My Dad said that when he came back from the football. If I said 'veni vidi vici' to that lot, what would it sound like?
      The Doctor: I'm not sure. You have to think of difficult questions, don't you?
      Donna: I'm gonna try it!
      (Donna walks over to a stallholder)
      Stallholder: Afternoon, sweetheart. What can I get you, my love?
      Donna: Veni, vidi, vici.
      Stallholder: Huh? Sorry? (Speaking very slowly) Me no speak Celtic. No can do, missy.
      Donna: Yeah. (She walks back to the Doctor) What does he mean, 'Celtic'?
      The Doctor: Welsh. You sound Welsh. There we are, learned something.

    • Evelina: Is that your a Doctor?
      The Doctor: I beg your pardon?
      Evilina: Doctor, that's your name.
      The Doctor: How did you know that?
      Evilina: (to Donna) And you, you call yourself a Noble.
      Metella: Now then Evelina, don't be rude...
      The Doctor: No, no, no, no not at all.
      Evelina: You both come from so far away.
      Lucius: The female soothsayer is inclined to all sorts of fake illusions.
      The Doctor: Oh no, not this time Lucius, I reckon you've been out-soothsayed.
      Lucius: Is that so, man from Gallifrey?
      The Doctor: What?
      Lucius: Strangest of images. Your home is lost in fire is it not?
      Donna: Doctor what are they doing?
      Lucius: And you, daughter of... London...
      Donna: How does he know that?
      Lucius: This is the gift of Pompeii. Every single Oracle tells the truth.
      Donna: That's impossible.
      Lucius: Doctor, she is returning.
      The Doctor: Who is? Who's she?
      Lucius: And you, daughter of London, there is something on your back.
      Donna: What's happening?
      Evelina: Even the name Doctor is false, your real name is hidden, it burns in the stars, in the cascade of Medusa herself. You are a Lord sir. A Lord of Time.
      (Evelina faints as Vesuvius stops shaking)

    • Donna: Should I change my clothes?
      The Doctor: Nah, anything goes in Rome. It's like Soho, only bigger.

    • Donna: Don't tell me the TARDIS is gone.
      The Doctor: Okay.
      Donna: Then where is it?
      The Doctor: But you told me not to tell you.
      Donna: Don't get clever in Latin.

    • Donna: (crying and shouting): You can't just leave them.
      The Doctor: Don't you think I've done enough? History's back in place and everyone dies.
      Donna: You've got to go back. Doctor I am telling you, take this thing back. It's not fair.
      The Doctor: No it's not.
      Donna: But your own planet. It burned.
      The Doctor: That's just it. Don't you see Donna? Don't you understand if I could go back and save them I would but I can't. I can never go back, I can't. I just can't, I can't.

    • Donna: How many people died?
      The Doctor: Stop it.
      Donna: Doctor! How many people died?
      The Doctor: Twenty thousand.
      Donna: Is that what you can see, Doctor, all twenty thousand? And you think that's alright, do you?

    • The Doctor: You were right. Sometimes I need someone. Welcome aboard.
      Donna: (solemnly) Yeah.

    • (Donna is tied up to a sacrificial altar and is about to be sacrificed by the sisters).
      Donna: (irritated): You have got to be kidding me!
      Spurrina: The false prophet will surrender both her blood and her breath.
      Donna: I'll surrender you in a minute. Don't you dare.
      Spurrina: You will be silent.
      Donna: (getting angrier): Listen sister, you might have eyes on the back of your hands but you'll have eyes on the back of your head by the time I'm finished with you. Let me go!
      Spurrina: This prattling voice will cease forever.
      (As Spurrina is about to stab Donna, The Doctor enters the room and disturbs them).
      The Doctor: Oh that'll be the day.

    • (Metella is discussing her daughter joining the Sibylline sisterhood due to her remarkable sight).
      Lucius: (unimpressed with this): The prophecies of women are limited and dull. Only the men folk have the capacity for true perception.
      Donna: (sarcastically): I tell you where the wind's blowing right now mate.

    • Doctor: Like the toga by the way.
      Donna: Thanks and the ropes?
      Doctor: Yeah, not so much.

    • The Doctor: Some things are fixed, some things are in flux. Pompeii is fixed.
      Donna: But how do you know which is which?
      The Doctor: Because that is how I see the universe. Every waking second, I can see what is, what was, what could be, what must not. It's the burden of a Time Lord, Donna.

    • Donna: You fought her off with a water pistol?! I bloody love you!

  • NOTES (4)

    • According to director Colin Teague, they only had two days at Cinecitta studios in Rome in which to film their material.

    • This is the first episode of the new series to have location filming with principal actors performed outside of the UK. Roman era street scenes were filmed at the Cinecitta studios on the outskirts of Rome. Location filming was done in New York for Daleks in Manhattan, but only for establishing backgrounds, no principal actors were involved.

    • Overnight UK viewing figures for this episode were 8.1 million, with the final viewing figure at 9.04 million.

    • International Airdates:
      US: May 2, 2008
      Australia: July 13, 2008
      Turkey: February 13, 2011

  • ALLUSIONS (11)

    • Caecilius: Oh Rombus, I'm a little bit peckish. Get me some ants in honey, there's a good man. Ooh, maybe a dormouse!

      This is a nod to the famous 'dormouse test' from Mary Beard, a professor of classics at Cambridge University. The test basically states that the longer you have to wait before this tasty little morsel appears, the more subtle the reconstruction is likely to be.

    • Donna: Are you having me on, are we in EPCOT?

      EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow) devolved into an international and futuristic exposition theme park at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida. It is, according to the promotional material, designed to allow visitors to explore the world in a day and experience the possibilities of the future. There is an Italian pavilion, but that is a reconstruction of Venice, not Pompeii or Rome.

    • The Doctor: Oh, Morituri te salutant.
      Lucius: Celtic prayers won't help you now!

      According to Suetonius in De vita Caesarum, Morituri te salutant is the traditional phrase that gladiators addressed to the Emperor before the beginning of a gladiatorial match. It translates as 'those who are about to die salute you'.

    • Donna: What if I said something in actual Latin? Like 'veni, vidi, vici'.

      'Veni, vidi, vici' is a famous quote attributed to Julius Caesar which translates as 'I came, I saw, I conquered.' In works by both Plutarch and Suetonius, this was Caesar's response to the Roman Senate describing his victory at the Battle of Zela.

    • The man who sells the TARDIS in the market place is based on the character Del Trotter from the British TV comedy series Only Fools & Horses. The term "lovely jubbly" was one of Del's famous catchphrases. This is the second reference to this character, the first being in the 2005 episode Father's Day.

    • Positions!

      The reactions of Caecillius' family to safeguard their belongings when the tremors hit is a reference to the reaction of the Bank's family to the call of 'Posts!' in the classic film Mary Poppins when their neighbour Admiral Boom lets off a cannon every hour on the hour.

    • The Doctor: I had nothing to do with the fire...well not much.

      The Doctor is referring to the great Burning of Rome in 64 AD, supposedly by Nero. In the First Doctor episode (2nd series) The Romans he did not actually cause the fire, he accidentally set fire to Nero's plans for the reconstruction, giving the Emperor the idea to burn the city.

    • Donna: We'd better hurry. Rocky IV's right behind us!

      This is a reference to the Rocky film series.

    • The Doctor: I am Spartacus.
      Donna: And so am I.

      This is a reference to the famous scene in the film Spartacus (1960), where the slaves each proclaim themselves to be Spartacus.

    • Donna: What's that then, like the mayor?
      The Doctor: Oh, heh, you must excuse my friend, she's from... Barcelona...

      This is a reference to the sitcom Fawlty Towers. Hotel owner Basil Fawlty frequently made this excuse to his guests in reference to the behaviour of Manuel, the waiter.

      It could also refer to the regeneration scene in The Parting Of The Ways where the Doctor wants to take Rose to the Planet Barcelona.

    • The characters of Caecilius, Metella & Quintus are based on the real life Pompeian inhabitants Lucius Caecilius Iucundus and his family whose ruined but beautiful villa still stands in Pompeii today. The characters lives were fictionalised in 1970 for the Cambridge Latin Course, the standard for teaching Latin to this day.