The Last Days of Pompeii

by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

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Characters Discussed

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Glaucus (GLOH-kuhs), a Glaucus, handsome and popular Greek. He is saved from death in the arena by the eruption of Vesuvius; he is saved from death after the eruption by the blind flower girl Nydia.


Clodius (KLOH-dee-uhs), a foppish Roman of Pompeii and a friend of Glaucus.


Nydia (NIH-dee-uh), a blind flower girl from Greece who is hopelessly in love with Glaucus. Through her ability to move in the darkness, she is able to guide Glaucus and Ione to safety aboard a small ship. Then she drowns herself.


Burbo (BUR-boh), a wine seller and the owner of Nydia.


Arbaces (AHR-buh-seez), priest of Isis, who prays for the return of Egypt’s power. Meanwhile, he tries to turn his ward Apaecides into a priest and to marry the boy’s sister, Ione. He stabs Apaecides and puts the blame on Glaucus, who is then condemned to the arena.


Apaecides (uh-PEE-sih-deez), the ward of Arbaces, converted to Christianity by an earthquake.


Ione (i-OH-nee), a lovely Neapolitan girl, seen and loved by Glaucus.


Diomed (DI-oh-mehd), a wealthy freedman.


Julia (JEWL-yuh), his daughter, in love with Glaucus.

A priest

A priest, a witness to the innocence of Glaucus but held prisoner by Arbaces.


Sallust (SA-luhst), a friend of Glaucus, but too drunk to answer Nydia’s letter for help. Finally, his appeal to the praetor at the arena causes the crowd to demand that Arbaces be thrown to the lion; before this can take place, however, the fatal earthquake begins.

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