ANCIENT ROME is set to conquer London nearly 2,000 after the legions first arrived, but this time the Empire comes in peace, with an exhibition at the British Museum full of artefacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum.

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In AD79, just after new governor Agricola arrived on our shores to help end British resistance to Roman rule, Pompeii and Herculaneum were devastated when Mount Vesuvius erupted.

Divine Druidic justice or not, the remains of the two cities have been preserved for eternity by volcanic ash and now many of those remains are to go on display in an exhibition called Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

The exhibition, the first on the topic to come to London for 40 years, concentrates on the home lives of ordinary Roman citizens on the basis, says curator Paul Roberts, that “domestic life is something we all share”.

“We don’t all go to the baths. We don’t all go to the amphitheater, but we all have a home,” said Roberts.

“These are not extraordinary cities. They die in an extraordinary way, but they are ordinary cities in Roman terms. That’s why they are so important, because we can look at them and say we have a pretty good idea what was going on in other Roman cities.”

Among the household goods on show are jewellery, a rocking baby crib, a linen chest and a loaf of bread.

Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum opens on 28 March and runs until 29 September 2013.