Edifice of Eumachia

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The building or edifice of Eumachia (Edificio di Eumachia) is a majestic and elegant Roman building sitated on eastern side of the Roman Forum of Pompeii. It is located north of the Via dell Abbondanza and south of the Temple of Genius Augusti. The precise dating of the building falls within the somewhat uncertain range of 9 BCE to 22 CE.

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Overview

Eumachia (first century CE) was a Roman business entrepreneur and priestess. She served as the public priestess of Venus Pompeiana in Pompeii as well as the matron of the Fullers guild. She is known primarily from inscriptions on a large public building which she financed and dedicated to Pietas and Concordia Augusta.

The grand edifice known as the Eumachia Building, situated near the forum of Pompeii, can be divided into three distinct sections: the chalcidicum, the porticus, and the crypta. The chalcidicum, located at the front of the building, forms an integral part of the continuous portico that stretches along the eastern side of the forum. The porticus comprises a quadrangular colonnade surrounding a sizable courtyard. Lastly, the crypta is a spacious corridor positioned behind the porticus on the northeast and south sides. It is separated from the porticus by a single wall, featuring windows that were likely once equipped with shutters.

Early descriptions also mention the presence of cisterns, vats, basins, and stone tables within the courtyard. In the center of the courtyard, which was reportedly paved with stone slabs, a stone block with an iron ring can be found, covering an underground cistern.

Architecture

circa 25 BCE

Edifice
A posthumous inscription dedicated to Marcus Numistrius Fronto, who served as a duumvir in 3 CE, was found on the building. Based on this evidence, it is believed that Fronto was more likely to have been Eumachia's husband rather than her son. Additionally, toward the rear of the building, a niche holds an idealized statue of Eumachia (inspect), depicted wearing a tunic, stola, and cloak.

Thorough archaeological analysis of the entrance reveals that the building was unlikely to have functioned as an operational marketplace. In the event that the Eumachia Building served as a cloth vendor or market, the entrances would have been wider and centrally positioned along their respective walls. The entrances at Eumachia, however, facilitated careful monitoring of individuals entering from the north and main entrances through porter's lodges—a feature uncommon in markets like Macellum and the Basilica.

The entire structure is dedicated to Augustan Concord and Piety, believed to be depicted in the likeness of Livia, one of the early women in Pompeii to have been honored with her own statues. In close proximity to the building, there are pedestals that once supported statues of Romulus and Aeneas. Paintings depicting the street of Abundance, where the building stands, portray Aeneas leading his family from Troy and Romulus proudly displaying a Spolia opima. These artworks provide further context to the statues of Romulus and Aeneas that were once located in front of the building.

circa 25 CE

Statue of Eumachia
Eumachia is depicted wearing a palla, draped over a tunic and stola, in a Hellenistic fashion. Her portrayal exhibits an idealized image. The choice of clothing, including the palla, delicate feminine poses, and refined materials, aligns with Rome's social control strategy, reminiscent of Livia, whose statues popularized the depiction of the stola.

See Also

References

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