Pompeii

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Pompeii (/pɒmˈpeɪ(i)/, Latin: [pɔmˈpei̯iː]) was an ancient city located in what is now the comune of Pompei near Naples in the Campania region of Italy. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area was buried under 4 to 6 meters (13 to 20 feet) of volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE.

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Overview

Largely preserved under the ash, the excavated city offered a unique snapshot of Roman life, frozen at the moment it was buried, and an extraordinarily detailed insight into the everyday life of its inhabitants, although much of the evidence was lost in the early excavations.

City's Urban Architecture

circa 500 BCE - 79 CE

Religious and Cultic Buildings
The ancient Roman city of Pompeii had a number of religious and cultic buildings and temples. Throughout human history, a consistent pattern emerges wherein religious practices, including those in Pompeii, exhibit a blend of both public and private devotion alongside elements of superstition. These practices often involve intricate symbolism, sometimes reaching absurd levels, with the purpose of warding off misfortune or the evil eye. The ancient cults practiced by local inhabitants, originally tied to nature and fertility rituals, eventually transitioned to the veneration of Hercules, Bacchus, and Venus, who became the favored deities of Pompeii. In the context of Pompeii, Venus held a significant role as the creator of the universe, responsible for the dispensation of life and death. Referred to as the Venus of Pompeii (Venus Pompeiana), she also embodied the concepts of mother nature (Venus Physica) and the goddess of fertility and abundance.

Residential Buildings

circa 50 BCE

House of Venus in the Shell
I.3.3
The house was built in the 1st century BCE and underwent a number of significant changes in its internal layout. Just like in the House of the Vettii, the tablinum is sacrificed for the garden with peristylium which becomes the focal point of the house around which there are various frescoed rooms, including the enormous oecus second bigger after the House of Menander. The back wall of the peristylium is decorated with a great and spectacular fresco of Venus, which gives the house its name. On the lower part, a luxurious garden is depicted over a barrier with exotic plants and animals.

circa 50 BCE

House of Umbricius Scaurus
VII.16.15
The house of Umbricius Scaurus, situated near Porta Marina, consisted of an upper level with three atria; several cubicula and a fishpond and a lower level with cubicula, storerooms and a private bath. This building has been positively identified as belonging to Umbricius Scaurus due to the large floor mosaic bearing titulus pictus on each corner, depicting urcei (urns) of liquamen and garum inscribed with his name. Elsewhere in the house, urcei with labels boasting of the quality his produce were uncovered. The villa, with its harbour views, colonnaded garden and private bath, has been described as "luxurious".

circa 50 BCE

House of the Citharist
I.4.5
The house of the Citharist reached the current dimensions in the 1st century BCE and its name derives from the discovery of a bronze statue of Apollo playing the lyre. He was a member of the powerful Popidii family, as suggested by the graffiti and electoral inscriptions in the house.

The house, one of the largest in the city covering an area of 2700 square meters, takes up almost an entire block and reached such dimensions thanks to the progressive incorporation of various properties. This complex construction led to the development of an irregular plan, with two atriums and three peristylia, which form the most rich and lavish dwelling. The central peristylium has a swimming pool around which there were bronze sculptures of a wild boar attacked by two dogs, a lion, a deer and a snake all with fountain jets that created spectacular water features, according to the popular models in the richer Vesuvian villas.

circa 50 BCE

House of the Wounded Bear
VII.2.45
The house of the Wounded Bear (Casa dell' Orso Ferito), which dates back to the middle of the first century CE, owes its name to the beautiful mosaic with a wounded bear placed at the entrance, which is flanked by the inscription of welcome "HAVE" with which the owner welcomed his guests. The house offers some of the finest examples of painting from the mid-1st century CE, as seen in the triclinium with the little squares depicting Danae with the little Perseus and the myth of Narcissus. At the bottom of the small courtyard, in the middle of a large fresco depicting a garden with a wild boar and a wolf on the sides of a tree, there is a colorful mosaic fountain showing Venus lying inside a shell and below Neptune , the god of the sea, in the middle of a seabed full of fishes of all kinds.

circa 150 BCE

House of the Faun
VI.12.2
The House of the Faun (Casa del Fauno), built during the 2nd century BCE, was one of the largest and most impressive private residences in Pompeii, and housed many great pieces of art. It is one of the most luxurious aristocratic houses from the Roman republic, and reflects this period better than most archaeological evidence found even in Rome itself. The House of the Faun was named for the bronze statue of the dancing faun located, originally, on the lip of the impluvium, a basin for catching rainwater; it has been moved to the centre of the impluvium.

circa 150 BCE

House of the Vettii
The House of the Vettii (Casa dei Vettii) is a domus located in Pompeii. The house is named for its owners, two successful freedmen: Aulus Vettius Conviva, an Augustalis, and Aulus Vettius Restitutus. The house is one of the largest domus in Pompeii, spanning the entire southern section of block 15. The plan is fashioned in a typical Roman domus with the exception of a tablinum, which is not included. There are twelve mythological scenes across four cubiculum and one triclinium.

circa 150 BCE

House of the Silver Wedding
The house (Casa delle Nozze d’Argento) was excavated in 1893 CE and was named after the silver wedding anniversary of Umberto and Margherita of Savoy which took place in that year. Built sometime around 300 BCE and renovated in the early 1st century CE, it was the domus of a wealthy resident. Its architecture is classical and it bears fine decoration such as the atrium which has four tall Corinthian columns supporting the roof, and an elegantly ornamented exedra.

circa 150 BCE

House of the Sailor
The house, whose layout dates back to the 2nd century BCE, required a great construction commitment since the significant difference in height between the various areas throughout had to be compensated for by constructing vaulted semi-hypogean rooms used as a warehouse. The presence of a vast commercial and productive area within an elegant townhouse is an exception in Pompeii. The main rooms of the house open on to an impressive atrium, which was redecorated at the end of the 1st century BCE with several interesting black and white mosaics. A small thermal complex was also added at the time. The house, unearthed since 1871, owes its name to the mosaic with six prows of ships within arsenals at the entrance, an allusion to the peaceful haven offered to its occupants and perhaps even to the amateur activity of the owner.

circa 150 BCE

House of Centenary
The House of the Centenary (Casa del Centenario, also known as the House of the Centenarian) was the house of a wealthy resident of Pompeii. The house was discovered in 1879, and was given its modern name to mark the 18th centenary of the disaster. Built in the mid-2nd century BCE, it is among the largest houses in the city, with private baths, a nymphaeum, a fish pond (piscina), and two atria. The Centenary underwent a remodeling around 15 CE, at which time the bath complex and swimming pool were added. In the last years before the eruption, several rooms had been extensively redecorated with a number of paintings.

circa 150 BCE

House of Julius Polybius
The house dates to the 2nd century BCE, and features a façade painted in the First Style, with high doors decorated with denticulated frames. In line with one of these, a false door was painted to the left of the tablinum, where several amphorae and heaps of lime were found - all evidence of the work which was in progress at the time of the eruption. It was an ostentatious domus, with a layout which was unusual compared to the other houses of Pompeii.

circa 150 BCE

House of M. Pupius
The House of M. Pupius (also known as the "House of Apollo" Casa di Apollo or the "House of the Dancers" Casa delle Danzatrici). In the atrium, opposite the entrance corridor instead of the usual tablinum, was a corridor leading to the peristyle area. The tablinum was on its left. The aedicula lararium in the south wall of pseudo-peristyle once held a beautiful bronze statue of Apollo, now displayed at the Naples Archaeological Museum (Inv no: 5613). W. Gell (1819 CE) in his works calls it the "House of the Surgical Instruments" (Casa degli Strumenti Chirurgici).

circa 150 BCE

House of Herenuleius Communis
Also known as the House of Apollo, it lies on Via di Mercurio. The house derives its name from the frescoes of the myth of Apollo found in a cubiculum (inspect) at the rear of the garden. The house was perhaps owned by M. Herenulli Communis, whose name was found on a ring uncovered in 1830 CE. The current layout dates back to the last period of life of the city, when the dwelling took up the area closest to the walls for the large garden to be set on two levels. This is without doubt the most important part of the house: a summer triclinium overlooks the lower garden adorned with a spectacular marble fountain with a ladder for a small waterfall.

circa 150 BCE

House of Julia Felix
The House of Julia Felix, also referred to as the praedia (Latin for an estate, or land) of Julia Felix, is a large Roman property on the Via dell'Abbondanza. It was originally the residence of Julia Felix, who converted portions of it to apartments available for rent and other parts for public use after the major earthquake in 62 CE, a precursor to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE that destroyed Pompeii.

circa 150 BCE

House of Marco Lucrezio Frontone
Built during the Roman times, it is one of the most refined houses in Pompeii. The house of Marco Lucretius Frontone was built in the (probably mid) 2nd century BCE, but it was during the Augustan period, between the end of the 1st century BCE and the beginning of the 1st century, that it was enlarged and decorated. It was probably inhabited by one of the most powerful families of Pompeii, belonging to Marco Lucretius Frontone, according to some a relative of Tito Lucretius Caro. The house was damaged in the 62 CE earthquake, in particular the garden area, so much so that an almost total restoration had to be carried out and the works were not yet finished when the Vesuvius erupted again in 79 CE.

circa 150 BCE

House of the Orchard
The House of the Orchard (Casa del Frutteto), also known as the House of the Garden, stands on the south side of the Via dell'Abbondanza and is known by some other names as well, including House Euplia and House of the Flower Cubicles. Although the house has its own small garden, the name of this mansion comes from the beautiful frescoes, depicting the garden on the walls of a cubicle-bedroom. The House of the Orchard, follows the standard Roman floor-plan, where the guest garden or atrium is an integral part of the house.

circa 150 BCE

House of Menander
The House of Menander (Casa del Menandro) is one of the richest and most magnificent houses in ancient Pompeii in terms of architecture. The estate is referred to as “The House of Menander” because there is a well-preserved fresco of the ancient Greek Dramatist Menander in a small room off the peristyle. Some speculate the painting is not actually of Menander but rather of the owner of the house or another person reading works by Menander. The house included other frescoes, including one depicting the death of Laocoön.

circa 150 BCE

House of the Surgeon
The House of the surgeon (Casa del Chirurgo) is the oldest and one of the most famous houses in Pompeii, which is located in the Italian region of Campania. It is named after ancient surgical instruments that were found there. It was uncovered in 1770 CE by Frances La Vega, (Spain). The house today still stands partially.

circa 150 BCE

House of Sallust
The House of Sallust (Casa di Sallustio), also known in earlier excavation reports as the House of Actaeon, is a domus or elite residence in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. The oldest parts of the house have been dated to the 4th century BCE, but the main expansions were built in the 2nd century BCE during the Roman period. The long history of this structure provides important evidence about the development of elite residences in Pompeii. Though originally a pre-Roman era house, it was later converted in to in to an cook-shop or inn (inspect), known as a taberna.

circa 150 BCE

House of Siricus
The big house (Domus Vedi Sirici) is the result of two houses being merged in the 1st century BCE, one with its entrance on via Stabiana and the other from the Lupanare alley. The decorations of the entire property were being radically renovated at the time of the eruption, according to the principles of the time. The exedra was one of the parts already completed, where the guests feasted on couches around a fine floor made of marble slabs and surrounded by beautiful frescoes with mythological subjects inspired by the Trojan War, one of which is exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. The last owner of the house, Publius Vedius Siricus, was identified thanks to the discovery of a bronze seal bearing his name. Sirico belonged to the political and trade class of Pompeii and met with his supporters on a daily basis in his home, welcoming them with the auspicious inscription SALVE LUCRU, Welcome, money! that could be read on the floor of the entrance.

circa 150 BCE

House of Adonis Wounded
In its original layout that dates back to the mid-second century BCE, the house (Casa di Adoni) was joined to the adjacent dwelling, forming one large property. In the last phase of life in Pompeii, the house was restored and most of the walls were repainted. Among the frescoes of this era there is the large painting with Adonis dying and Aphrodite painted in the garden, which named the house.

In Greek mythology, Adonis, a nice-looking young man, loved by Aphrodite, died because Mars (or Apollo, according to some), driven by jealousy, made a wild boar attack him during a chase in the woods. Anemones grew from the blood of Adonis. In the large opening on to the garden there is another painting based on love and desire: on the east wall, to the left, one can see the remains of a fresco showing the "Toilet of Hermaphrodite". The unfulfilled and unfulfillable love that we find in these paintings, was a recurring theme in ancient literature and art.

circa 150 BCE

House of the Cornelii
The House of Cornelius Rufus, also known as the Domus Cornelia, is situated on the Via dell'Abbondanza across from the Stabian Baths. The house was first excavated in 1855 CE and again in 1861 and 1893. The property belonged to the gens Cornelia dating back to the time of Sulla. The Cornelii house is a typical villa rustica where Cornelius, Aurelia, Marcus, Cornelia, and Sextus live, along with Davus and all of the unruly slaves. The marble portrait bust of the owner Caius Cornelius Rufus, now at the Antiquarium of Pompeii, was originally placed at the doors of the atrium.

circa 150 BCE

House of the Oven
Also known as the House of the Baker (Casa del Forno), the current layout of the house dates back to the 2nd century BCE, however, following the earthquake, it was transformed into a bakery during the renovations carried out in 62 CE, by adapting the rooms on the ground floor to production rooms, while the owners probably lived on the upper floor. The baking business was very profitable, as evidenced by over 30 bakeries known so far in Pompeii. Besides the set up of a large oven for baking bread at the back of the house, the renovation of the building transformed the peristylium into a paved room intended to house four huge lava millstones to grind grain and water basins to wash it. The milling machines were operated by slaves or donkeys, who pushed the wooden beams inserted sideways into the upper piece. An entire skeleton of a donkey was found in the stable, next to the peristylium.

circa 150 BCE

House of Loreius Tiburtinus (Octavius Quartio)
The House of Loreius Tiburtinus (more correctly the House of Octavius Quartius after its true owner) is renowned for its meticulous and well-preserved artwork as well as its large gardens. The name of this house was wrongly derived from electoral advertisements of sorts etched in the outer façade, some saying "Vote for Loreius" and others "Vote for Tiburtinus." In fact, the last known owner of the house was a man named Octavius Quartio, whose bronze seal was found inside the house during excavations between the years 1916 and 1921.

circa 150 BCE

House of the Tragic Poet
The House of the Tragic Poet (also called The Homeric House or The Iliadic House) is a Roman house in Pompeii, Italy dating to the 2nd century BCE. The house is famous for its elaborate mosaic floors and frescoes depicting scenes from Greek mythology. Although the size of the house itself is in no way remarkable, its interior decorations are not only numerous but of the highest quality among other frescoes and mosaics from ancient Pompeii.

circa 150 BCE

House of Pansa
The house, which takes up the entire block, is a typical example of a Roman aristocratic home where the rooms are symmetrically and inter-axially located around the atrium and the peristylium. At the centre of the severe façade made of tuff opens the monumental entrance framed with capitals typical of the mid-second century BCE, the time when the house was constructed. It is remarkable to note an inscription painted in red and now protected with glass, one of seven in the Oscan language found in the city, which provided precise instructions to the troops, directing them towards certain places of defense if the enemy were to attack.

circa 150 BCE

House of the Gilded Cupids
The house, one of the most elegant of the Imperial era, is set around the spectacular peristylium with a rare rhodium type of garden, with higher columns on one side surmounted by a fronton, which conveyed a sacred aura to the overlooking rooms. Among these, particular attention should be given to the large hall, characterised by high quality mythological paintings and having a mosaic floor with a central rosette according to the fashion of the Augustan era. The religiousness of the peristylium is also emphasised by the presence of two places of worship: the aedicula of the lararium for traditional domestic worship and a particular chapel, dedicated to the worship of Egyptian gods.

circa 150 BCE

House of Cryptoporticus
The House of Cryptoporticus features a large underground passageway (cryptoporticus) and a small bath complex, both of which are rare features in Pompeian houses. They are decorated with recently restored exquisite Second Style Roman wall paintings that have distinctive designs. The construction of the house, with its elegant wall decoration, was part of a complicated series of events, often separated or joined with the adjacent House of the Lararium of Achilles for more than three centuries following the alternation of the owners, by doors and passages being closed.

circa 150 BCE

House of Championnet
The House of Championnet is one of the most sumptuous homes of Pompeii, which covers at least four levels sloping scenically towards the sea. The house consists of a rich atrium with four columns and with multi-coloured mosaic floors and geometric decorations. A thermal system was installed in the rooms situated on the lower floors, already active in the late republican era (2nd-1st century BCE). The rich wall decorations were reproduced in many designs from the late 18th century and the early 19th century.

circa 150 BCE

House of the Geometric Mosaics
It is one of the largest houses in the entire city with over 60 rooms occupying an area of 3000 square metres. It scenically extends on two levels with a series of terraces, exploiting the natural slope of the land, offering guests who entered the panorama of the valley of the Sarno. It is richly decorated with black and white floor mosaics in labyrinth and checkerboard patterns. The house derives from the union of two pre-existing atrium houses and shows the typical layout of a Roman house: a large atrium followed by the tablinum, which provided access to the portico and the large peristylium. The construction of the peristylium led to further expansion of the dimensions of the house, which reached the Forum area. The structure that can be seen today derives from the restoration works after the earthquake in 62 CE, when the façade was rebuilt.

circa 150 BCE

House of the Lovers
It is considered one of the jewels of Pompeii due to its unique second floor and well-preserved decorations, including what Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA) describes as frescoes and mosaics of “mollusks and fish in idyllic landscapes.” First unearthed in 1933, the building derives its name from an inscription found near an image of a duck. Written in Latin, it reads, “Like bees, lovers lead a life as sweet as honey.”

circa 150 BCE

House of the Europa Ship
The modern name of the house derives from the presence of graffiti etched on the north wall of the peristylium, of a large cargo ship called "Europa" flanked by smaller vessels. Besides the imitation masonry in coloured stucco, the semi-columns at the top of the walls are remarkable, a type of decoration derived directly from Greek models of the third and second centuries BCE, very rare in Pompeii.

circa 150 BCE

House of Romulus and Remus
The House or the Domus of Romulus and Remus was erected in the second century BCE, in the same period when a unique sort of sidewalk, decorated with a pebbles mosaic, was realized in front of the house. Located in a prestigious district of the city, in proximity of a city gate and the main public buildings, the house has a traditional plan: the entrance leads to the atrium with impluvium, surrounded by private rooms.

circa 175 BCE

House of Epidius Rufus
This large house, built in the Samnite period in the second half of the 2nd century BCE, may have belonged to either Marcus Epidius Rufus or Marcus Epidius Sabinus, to judge from the number of times these two names appear in the election propaganda on the façade and on the walls of the neighbouring buildings.

Outside, a two-step podium runs along the façade, an unusual architectural feature. Beyond the entrance vestibule is an atrium of Corinthian type of an imposing size, with sixteen columns with Doric capitals set around the impluvium basin in the centre. This is the most striking of the rare Corinthian atrium in Pompeii (in other words with a row of columns set along the side of the impluvium). All around were various rooms, but unlike the canonical scheme, here the "alae" were at the centre of the side walls instead of at the back. They were preceded by a pair of Ionic columns and the corners piers had capitals with the heads of maenads or divinities. In the "ala" of the northwest side there is a shrine which the dedicatory inscription on the podium tells us was erected by two freedman named Diadumeni in honour of the Lares and the Genius of their master Marcus, certainly one of the two public personages cited above.

circa 175 BCE

House of the Labyrinth
The House of the Labyrinth lies at the rear of the House of the Faun on the Vico del Mercurio. The house, first excavated in 1834 CE, dates from the Samnite period and features two atria, each with their own separate entrance off the north side of the Vicolo del Mercurio as shown on the plan opposite. Constructed in the late 2nd century BCE, this dwelling with a double atrium and peristyle was seriously damaged during Sulla's siege of 89 BCE. It subsequently became property of the powerful Sextilii family, and the domus underwent major renovation, which was later followed by further modifications and extensions that saw the addition of a small bathing area and a bakery to the original nucleus of the structure.

circa 180 BCE

House of Triptolemus
Since the second century BCE the house (Casa di Trittolemo) was a lavish domus provided with two atriums and two peristyles, which had both a board andprivate areas. The house is inserted in a block which was occupied since the third century BCE, and after 80 BCE changed into a single property by attaching the nearby house of Romulus and Remus. The structural modifications and the renovation of the decorative furnishings document the wealth and importance of its owner’s role, who was probably one of the notables of the Sullan colony.

circa 180 BCE

House of the Wild Boar
This house (Casa del Cinghiale), which opens on Via dell'Abbondanza, is named after a refined mosaic that decorates the entrance and represents a wild boar attacked by dogs. This theme, also common in other Pompeian houses, had the function of removing evil spirits from the house. The large atrium is decorated with a carpet of imperial age mosaics surrounded by a motif that depicts the city walls with its doors and towers. On the bottom there is a large garden where an exedra has been created that reproduces on a smaller scale that of Alessandro in the Casa del Fauno (House of the Faun).

circa 180 BCE

House of Vesbinus
Also known as the "House of the Boar" (Casa del Cinghiale), it opens up on the Queen's Street (Vicolo della Regina). According to Della Corte, a mutilated electoral recommendation written on the façade between the two entrances, on the left of the doorway, the house belonged to someone naed Vesbinus.

circa

House of Marcus Fabius Rufus
The grand complex of houses of Marcus Fabius Rufus also known as the "House of the Golden Bracelet" covers at least four levels of living space with panoramic terraces that slope scenically towards the sea. The terraces are built on top of the walls of the city but in pre-Roman times the houses were situated on the sides of one of the city gates, Porta Occidentalis, which was the intersection of via di Nola and via delle Terme. The buildings have a luxurious decoration on the floor with coloured marble mosaics (opus sectile), as well as mythological frescoes on the wall, views of gardens and reproductions of original Greek works of the 4th century. The houses were still inhabited at the time of the eruption as evidenced by the numerous victims found, of whom casts were made. The House of the Golden Bracelet owes its name to a large gold bracelet worn by one of the victims.

circa

House of the Dioscuri
The house, one of the most sumptuous and vast of the last period of Pompeii, is characterized by a complex architecture of the spaces and a particular richness of the paintings. The house has two halls, connected by an elegant rhodium peristyle, that is, with the northern arm scenographically higher than the others, from which there is a deep pool used for water games and overlooked by an elegant environment of living room whose walls were originally covered with marble, a fact not common in Pompeii. The main atrium has 12 columns in tufo on it open up sumptuous rooms, used for the reception and convivium closed on the ground a small garden; the secondary atrium is almost entirely occupied by service areas and those dedicated to rest. The wall decoration is the work of the same workshop that worked in the nearby Casa dei Vettii, the most significant paintings are visible at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, including squares at the entrance with the Dioscuri Castore and Polluce, who gave the house its name and whose copies have been recently relocated in situ.

circa

House of Meleager
The House of Meleager, situated on the Via di Mercurio, was first excavated in 1829, then again in 1836 and 1966. Behind its simple facade this Samnite house hides an interior richly decorated in a mixture of first, third and fourth styles. The house of Meleagro is named after one of its frescoes, depicting Meleagro and Atlanta.

circa

House of Orion Mosaic
Facing onto the Vicolo dei Balconi, the external façade and the entrance are embellished by First Style decoration, partially displayed in the Antiquarium, in the form of a stucco imitation of a wall with rows of square stone blocks. The House takes its name from the elegant floor mosaic (emblemata) discovered in its left wing, with a rare depiction of the catasterism of the mythical hero Orion, that is the transformation of the hunter into one of the most fascinating celestial constellations, by will of Zeus. The scene is connected, by virtue of a similar composition, to a second incomplete mosaic present in the diurnal cubiculum, which also depicts Orion as the hunter of a monster and beasts, aided by a butterfly. Both works highlight the high cultural level of the owners.

The dwelling, previously discovered during the excavations of the 19th century, possesses a spacious central atrium, surrounded by rooms decorated in the First Style with detailed floor mosaics. Precisely because of these decorative associations, the house reveals a rather retro style for its era, with stucco frames and panels of the most ancient Pompeian style in place of more modern pictorial cycles of the Fourth Style.

circa

House of the Prince of Naples
Located in Regio VI, Insula XV, the House of the Prince of Naples ( Casa del Principe di Napoli) is a Roman domus (townhouse) located in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii near Naples, Italy. The structure is so named because the Prince and Princess of Naples attended a ceremonial excavation of selected rooms there in 1898. The house is painted throughout in the Pompeian Fourth Style and is valued because its decoration is all of a single style and single period, unlike many others that are often a mix of styles from different periods.

The house was formed from two earlier houses being joined together. The house had two floors but the upper one almost completely collapsed following the eruption. The atrium was of Tuscan order, with a central impluvium: it was probably restored shortly before the earthquake of 62 which caused damage to the structure. The atrium area preserves the frescoes from the last phase of decoration.

The rear part of the domus consists of richly decorated rooms around the portico and the central garden. The house fronted the Viccola dei Vetti and the spaces on either sides of the main entrances appear to have been shops. The holes on the outside of the north facade indicate the fixings for a canopy. The house was inhabited at the time of the eruption as demonstrated by the discovery of a skeleton, remains of food and domestic possessions in most rooms.

circa

House of Leda and the Swan Fresco
The Domus of Leda and the swan was found along Via del Vesuvio, during interventions to make the excavation fronts safe and reprofile. The house takes its name from the refined fresco found in a cubicle (bedroom). The scene full of sensuality represents the junction between Jupiter, turned into a swan, and Leda, wife of Tindar king of Sparta. From the double embrace, first with Jupiter and then with Tindarus, the twins Castor and Pollux (the Dioscuri), Elena - future wife of Menelaus king of Sparta and cause of the Trojan war - and Clitennestra, and then wife of Agamemnon, king of Argos and brother of Menelaus.

The entire room is characterized by refined IV style decorations, with delicate floral ornaments, interspersed with griffins with cornucopias, flying cupids, still lives and scenes of animal fights. Even on the ceiling, ruinously collapsed under the weight of lapilli, extended the harmony of these precious drawings, whose fragments were recovered by the restorers to reconstruct the plot. On one of the walls of the atrium, placed in front of the entrance of the house, a great figure of Hermes (Mercury) with bright colors has also recently emerged.

circa

House of the Ara Maxima
The House of the Ara Maxima (Casa dell’Ara Massima), literally meaning the House of the Great Altar, also known as the House of Narcissus (Casa di Narcisso), or the House of Pinarius is a small but elegantly decorated house situated on the Via del Vesuvio. It was originally excavated between 1903 and 1904 CE. The house has an irregular layout consisting of a series of rooms arranged round a central atrium. A two storey house, sections of the upper floor also still survive. The main panel on one of the room-walls contains a mythological scene of Narcissus. On each of the white panels on the side walls is a small picture of a fantastic creature.

circa

House of the Scene of Ancient Hunt
The house (Casa della Caccia Antica), dating back to the 2nd century BCE, fully represents the typical layout of a Roman house with an entrance, atrium and tablinum all on a single axis. Because of the limited space, the peristylium at the back is highly irregular. It has only two columns instead of four, which mostly form an acute angle. Among the frescoes, made some years before the eruption as part of the restoration works, two mythological paintings stand out, belonging to the decoration of the central area, overlooking the garden. One can see the god Apollo and a Nymph, as well as Diana and Actaeon, a hunter who was turned into a stag by the goddess because he had seen her naked while she was bathing. The hunting scene that gave its name to the house, found in the peristylium, has become discoloured because of meteorological phenomena.

circa

House of Cecilio Giocondo
The rigorous portal made of tuff and the construction technique of the internal walls indicate that the house was originally built in the 2nd century BCE but underwent major restructuring and fine redecoration of all sections in the last period of life of the city, when the Caecilii family became the new owners. The bronze portrait found in front of the tablinum, currently exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, is dedicated to the founder and owner of the house in 79 CE, Lucius Caecilius Iucundus.

Cecilio Giocondo was a banker, as evidenced by the exceptional discovery in the house of his archive of 154 waxed boards which recorded the amounts paid between 52 and 62 CE to persons on whose behalf he had sold goods (especially slaves) or received rents, while retaining commission at 1-4%. Two marble reliefs were discovered in the house, which adorned the home chapel (lararium) of the atrium and represented the effects that the earthquake of 62 CE had on some public buildings in Pompeii.

circa

House of Obelius Firmus
One of the largest and most complex dwellings at Pompeii which, with its façade, occupies almost the entire short side of the block. The house is laid out across two atria and a peristyle. The first atrium, with tuff columns, was monumental and grandiose, and embellished with an elegant marble decor which emphasised the wealth of the owner. Located along the back edge of the impluvium, in such a way that they were visible from outside the house,were a cartibulum, or ornamental table, with lion’s feet supports, a grooved base which supported a marble statue of a satyr, and a marble table whose supports are still visible today. On the right-hand side of the atrium we have a wooden strongbox covered in iron sheet, which was discovered during the excavations. The second atrium with Doric columns was surrounded by residential and service rooms. The house was built during the Samnite period, for an upper class local family. In all likelihood this was the house of Marcus Obellius Firmus, who played a prominent role in the political life of the city, and whose tomb was found in the nearby Necropolis of Porta Nola.

circa

House of Ceii
The severe façade of the House of Ceii, featuring panels of white stucco and cubic capitals placed above the door jambs, allows us to appreciate one of the rare examples of ancient dwellings in the late-Samnite period (2nd century BCE). Upon entering the house one notices the impluvium bath which is made of fragments of amphorae set on edge, a common technique used in Greece and attested in Pompeii also in the "House of the Ancient Hunt". The back wall in the small garden is decorated with wild animals, a highly successful theme in the decoration of open areas. The side walls depict Egyptian style landscapes with animals of the Nile Delta, which probably indicated a link between the owner of the house and the cult of Isis, widespread in Pompeii in the last years of life of the city. Based on an electoral inscription (inspect) painted on the façade, the house probably belonged to the magistrate Lucius Ceius Secundus.

circa

House of Paquius Proculus
The first layout of the house of Paquius Proculus (visible from the outside only) dates back to the Samnite period (2nd century BCE) as indicated by the cubic capitals at the entrance, where the floor holds a mosaic depicting a chained dog crouched in front of an open door. This subject is found in Pompeii in the decorations of the Imperial period as a symbol of the custody of the dwelling. The atrium is entirely covered with fine panelled mosaic with multi-coloured animals alluding to prosperity, and two portraits, one male and one female.

The decorations of the residential areas open to the peristylium are also of high quality: floors inlaid with precious marble and refined figurative mosaics, made with tiny multi-coloured tiles on supports and placed at the centre of mosaic floors. That of the triclinium depicts the comic scene of six pygmies fishing, created by a famous studio active in the city. Another picture that was detached and preserved at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples is the scene of a donkey collapsing under the weight of a drunken Silenus. The house is attributed to Publius Paquius Proculus or, according to others, to Caius Cuspius Pansa, both mentioned in the several electoral posters painted on the façade.

circa

Domus of M. Caesi Blandi
Also called the House of Mars and Venus, it was excavated in 1848 and 1862. The atrium has a tuff impluvium and almost all the mosaic flooring , which near the entrance takes on the design of dolphins, then follows the tablinum and the peristyle, with the colonnade almost completely intact; in three rooms there are both remains of paintings and a mosaic floor.

circa

House of Ephebus
The House of Ephebe (Casa dell'Efebo), typical dwelling of middle class merchants, enriched at the end of the first century CE thanks to commercial trade, composed by the aggregation of several houses. The most lavish area of the house is located around the garden and a large triclinium overlooks its porch with a centre box of the floor decorated with inlaid marble, opus sectile, with rose and lotus flowers, unique in the Pompeii landscape. There is a small chapel in the garden dedicated to worship, decorated by a large painting of Mars and Venus. A number of statues, originally in the garden, were moved to other rooms of the house at the time of the eruption to avoid being damaged by the restorations in progress. Among these is a remarkable bronze statue of Ephebe, reworking of Greek themes of the 5th century BCE, which is now found at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, adapted for use as a lamp bearer, which gave the name to the house. The house probably belonged to Publius Cornelius Tages, a wine merchant whose name appears in the electoral inscriptions read near and on amphorae found inside the dwelling.

circa

House of Vetutius Placidus
I.8.9
The House of Vetutius Placidus is among the best examples for the joint use of a structure as a private and commercial establishment. The private part was characterised by the triclinium, the room where Pompeians used to eat lying down or reclining on the beds, according to the Greek custom and by an evocative viridarium-triclinium, a garden with the summer triclinium.

circa

House of the Small Fountain
The layout of the house (Casa della Fontana Piccola), situated in an important position along via di Mercurio, is set in such a way that the beautiful fountain that decorates the garden at the back can be seen immediately from the entrance and depicts the high social status of the owner. The precious fountain, recently restored, is covered with colourful mosaics and shells and is adorned by a small bronze statue of a fisherman and a cherub (the copy is exhibited). All around, the side walls of the peristylium are frescoed with great landscape views painted only a few years before the eruption, including a remarkable seaside town, a very popular theme at the time and particularly suitable for decorating gardens. The cement roofs of the two atriums, repositioned to the original height, date back to restoration carried out in 1971 and allow the old volume of the house to be perceived once again.

circa

House of the Large Fountain
The austere façade in tufa block, which faces onto Via di Mercurio, survives from the original layout of the house (Casa della Fontana Grande) which dates to the beginning of the 2nd century BCE. The internal space, however, underwent various alterations: the two atria - the smaller of which is marked by six Doric columns - were originally joined but later separated, and a portico supported by brick columns was built behind the tablinum. During the final years of the city, the large fountain which gave the house its name was erected against the back wall of the small garden. The fountain took the shape of a niche surmounted by a pediment, and on the inside it was coated with polychrome glass mosaics. Water gushed out from a dolphin shaped bronze jet, and flowed down a small flight of steps into the collecting basin below; tragic marble masks decorate the sides of the niche.

circa

House of the Anchor Mosaic
The house (Casa dell’ Ancora), which opens on via di Mercurio, is named after the mosaic of a black anchor depicted at the entrance, which represents a symbol of peace and safety that the home offered to its inhabitants; it has an original layout compared to traditional layouts in Pompeii. The back is in fact set on two levels, at different heights: the upper level is centred around a large terrace which had three large overlooking reception rooms and the lower level is taken up by a garden, which is much lower, around which there is a covered portico with pillars. There is a large aedicula at the centre of one of the wings of the portico, depicting two rudders and an altar that form a chapel intended for the worship of Venus.

circa

Domus of Vesonio Primo

circa

House of the Red Walls
The original layout of the building (Casa delle Pareti Rosse) dates back to the Republican age and has changed significantly after the earthquake of 62 CE. Renovation works were still in progress at the time of the eruption in 79 CE as evidenced by the presence of unpainted plaster on the walls of various rooms. In two of them the wall decoration was already completed with its characteristic red colour that named the house. The lararium, which is a small aedicula, is found in the atrium, intended for domestic worship, where six bronze statues of protective deities of the house were found.

circa

House of the Botanical Garden
This large house (Casa dell'Orto Botanico) was re-opened to the public in 2016, after the significant stabilisation works carried out in Regio VIII. The residential part occupies the northeastern area of the structure, while the southern area is taken up by a large garden which today houses the Botanical Garden, and which gives the house its name. The Botanical Garden, which is tended to by the Superintendency of Pompeii’s Laboratory of Applied Research, covers an area of over 800 square meters, where all species which were cultivated in the ancient city are featured today, including: fruit trees and sacred, medicinal and textile plants, as well as vegetables. The Garden also features varied routes divided by theme.

circa

House of Queen Carolina
This house (Casa della Regina Carolina) was opened for the first time to the public in 2016, after the impressive work of securing the Regio VIII. The house was largely explored during the French era (1798-1815 CE), and owes its name to Queen Carolina Murat; the name was later changed to the "House of Adonis", at the resumption of the excavations by the Bourbons. Preserves traces of the rooms on the upper floor and a large garden, at the bottom of which a small temple-shaped structure with refined frescoes housed a statue of Diana while a marble base supported a portrait.

circa

House of Popidius Celsinus
The House of Popidius Celsinus (Casa della Podidius Celsinus), also called the House of Lime (Casa del Calcare) for the discovery of some remains of a lime mixture on the floor of its room. When the Vesuvius erupted, the dwelling was still under construction.

circa

House of Fabius Amandius
The residential building (Casa di Fabio Amandio), which has a narrow and elongated shape, is a typical example of a small house for the middle class and dates back to the Samnite period. Compared to the larger ones, this is a miniature two-storey house. On the top floor there is long balcony overlooking Via dell’Abbondanza (literally meaning the 'path of abundance'). Due to the limited interior space, the staircases were multi-functional leading to a room facing the road where the discovery of about ten reeds has led to the hypothesis that the space served as textile workshop.

The atrium, created by the amalgamation of three rooms, which originally belonged to the adjacent House of Paquius Proculus, has a floor covered with mosaics and walls painted in the Fourth style, with large decorations on a red background and panels with pastoral and sacred landscapes. The viridarium, which filled the entire dwelling with air and light, still has its walls decorated with plant motifs to visually enlarge the space. The jamb of the triclinium is decorated by the representation of a pretty marble fountain where birds come to drink.

circa

House of the Floral Lararium
The layout of this vast dwelling today is the result of the merging of two independent units, characterised by the same planimetric outline, which saw the actual residential sector located to the west, on Via di Nocera, and a large open garden space to the east. In all likelihood, the complex which was born as a result of this incorporation must have had a commercial function, or otherwise have been open to the public, as the presence of electoral inscriptions in one of the internal rooms would suggest. The large dwelling preserves many of its original wall paintings, one of which is the Pompeian Fourth Style decoration of the large hall (oecus) facing onto the garden, with small mythological paintings located at the centre of the yellow ochre panels. The elegant lararium (a small shrine like structure for domestic worship) which gives the domus its name, is also noteworthy; located inside a small cubiculum, it is decorated with winged cupids and scattered flowers. Meanwhile the garden (hortus) area contains a large masonry triclinium erected over a cocciopesto floor, containing marble inserts.

circa

House of the Moralist
The current layout of the house (Casa del Moralista) derives from two different homes being merged. Almost one third is taken up by a large garden that houses a triclinium for banquets that took place during the summer months, and the walls of which are frescoed with images of birds pecking fruits and berries. The walls also bear painted inscriptions that gave the house its name and that list a number of precepts on the expected behaviour during festive occasions, like how to avoid disputes, how to ward off the looks of other men's wives and how to wash one's feet.

A small place of worship located in the garden and dedicated to Diana, as evidenced by a marble statuette found here, could also be admired from the triclinium. The house probably belonged to wine merchants: Marcus Epidius Hymenaeus, Caius Arrius Crescens and Titus Arrius Polites, whose names appear on five electoral posters on the façade of the house.

circa

House of Trebio Valente
The house belonged to the Trebii family, one of the most powerful in the city before the Roman conquest and again in the foreground in recent years prior to the eruption. The house, with its lobby in the atrium and peristylium, is considered a typical house from the era of the Roman Republic. Its façade, destroyed by the Anglo-American bombings in 1943, showed the most impressive example of mural advertising in the ancient world, covered with black painted inscriptions, a small part of which, on the eastern side, are preserved. The inscriptions have provided a vivid picture of everyday life in the city with countless electoral programs and advertisements of games that would have been held in the amphitheatre. The garden that opens up at the back of the house hosts a summer triclinium with lively wall decorations in coloured boxes covered by a pergola that is supported by four columns.

circa

House of the Long Helmet or the Theatrical Murals
The residential complex (Casa di Casca Longus o dei Quadretti Teatrali) consists of two adjacent houses, which have origins dating back to the 2nd century BC and are presently utilized as a main and secondary atrium. The primary atrium is adorned with exceptionally well-executed paintings that replaced previous decorations and theatrical scenes. These paintings, inspired by the tragedies of Menander, showcase remarkable artistic quality and were created during the Augustan era.

The overall ambiance exudes elegance, with the impluvium bath featuring a covering of colorful marble. The compluvium, responsible for draining rainwater, has been completely reconstructed and embellished with pictorial terracotta water spouts. Adjacent to the impluvium, there is a distinctive table supported by three marble pillars shaped like lion paws. Engraved on the table is the name of the original owner, Publius Servilius Casca Longus, who was one of the conspirators involved in the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. This exceptional piece is part of the confiscated belongings linked to the assassin of Julius Caesar. It stems from the possessions of the affluent owner of the house, who was an avid collector of valuable items. This is further evident through the discovery of a silver plate and a bronze statue found in the cabinets within the atrium.

circa

House of the Lararium of Achilles
The residential structure exhibits a lavish and sophisticated pictorial ornamentation imbued with erudite literary allusions. The designation of the house derives from the stucco embellishment discovered in a room adjacent to the atrium, which likely served as a small domestic chapel. The stucco decoration portrays scenes from the Trojan War. The selection of this thematic motif, coupled with the presence of similar frescoes in the House of the Cryptoporticus, suggests that the house owner intended to underscore the ancestral heritage of their family and establish a connection with the illustrious history of Rome.

Notably, one of the rooms facing the garden showcases a sizable fresco portraying two immense elephants led by cupids who wield myrtle branches as reins, symbolizing the sacred plant associated with Venus. The composition likely represents a commemoration of the goddess's divine authority and influence, serving as an ode to her power.

Public Buildings

circa 10 CE

Large Palaestra
The "Large Palaestra" consists of a large open air square, approximately 140 x 140 m, surrounded by porticoes and enclosed by a high wall with battlements in which there are 10 doors. All that is left of the centuries-old plane trees that were on the three sides of the great courtyard at the time of the eruption are moulds of the roots and there lies a 23 x 35 m pool at the centre. It was built in the Augustan period, at the beginning of the 1st century CE, and was intended for the physical and intellectual training of young citizens. Many erotic or poetic graffiti have been left by visitors on the walls and columns. Numerous victims were found during the excavation who had looked for a refuge or a way to escape through the building in vain.

circa 550 BCE

Doric Temple
The Doric Temple, also known as the Sanctuary of Athena and Hercules, stood on the spur that dominated the bay in which the harbour is located, built entirely of limestone (6th century BCE), with a multi-coloured terracotta roof, continually updated over the years, as evidenced by the architectural terracotta now exposed at the Antiquarium. The layout of the temple and the shape of the columns recall the Greek Doric style with adaptations and concessions to the local tradition in the Campania region.

circa 150 BCE

Triangular Forum
The Triangular Forum, which takes its name from its unique shape, stands on a ridge of lava rock that overlooked the valley and the mouth of the river Sarno, and preserves one of the oldest sacred areas in the city dating back to the 6th century BCE. It was accessed from via dei Teatri, through a hallway with six columns that formed the monumental façade, preceded by a public fountain. The inner portico was built in the 2nd century BCE and surrounds the area of the Doric Temple with tuff columns.

circa 70 BCE

Amphitheatre
The Amphitheatre of Pompeii is the oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre. Built around 70 BCE, the current amphitheatre is the earliest Roman amphitheatre known to have been built of stone; previously, they had been built out of wood. The Amphitheater measures 135 meters long and 104 meters wide. The arena (pit) is measured to be 6 meters below ground level. The only internal feature of the Amphitheater at Pompeii was a standard corridor that cut into the base of cavea. This corridor ran the circumference of the amphitheater and is what's used to access the arena.

circa 150 BCE

Theatre
The Large Theatre at Pompeii was built into a natural hill in the second century BCE. This theatre sat roughly 4,000 spectators, and is one of the original permanent stone theatres to stand in Rome. In the Greek style, the tiered seating extends from the orchestra carved out of the hillside. The Roman influence is seen above this gallery where four tiers rested upon an arched corridor. The cavae, audience seating area, was divided into three sections. The lower most section, the ima, was reserved for senators, magistrates, and other noble people.

circa 80 BCE

Small Theatre (Odeon)
The Odeon or theatrum tectum as it was called by the Romans, was built during the early years of the colony (circa 79 BCE), as evidenced by an inscription, as requested by two local magistrates, Marcus Porcius and Caius Quinctius Valgus who also requested the construction of the amphitheatre. This building was dedicated to the representation of the most popular theatrical genre at the time, miming, and could also be used for musical and singing performances. It was richly decorated with multi- coloured marbles whereas large male tuff figures (telamones) supported the steps. The structure was completely covered by a functional roof to improve the acoustics. The plaster of the external masonry retains many graffiti of the spectators of the shows that were held here, sometimes even from very distant regions.

circa 150 BCE

Gladiator Barracks
The building of Gladiator Barracks (Quadriportico dei Teatri) constituted the headquarters of the corporation of gladiators and was used for their training, as indicated by the 120 gladiatorial theme inscriptions found inside the building. After the earthquake of 62 AD the structure changed its function and became a private home, probably based on the decision taken by the Senate of Rome to dissolve gladiators’ associations after a violent riot broke out between the people from Pompeii and those from Nocera.

circa 80 BCE

Forum Baths
The Forum Baths are located behind the Templ of Jupiter and date back to the years immediately after the founding of the colony of veterans by General Silla (80 BCE). Women's and men's quarters had separate entrances. The men's section presents an apodyterium (dressing room), used also as a tepidarium (for medium temperature baths), frigidarium (for cold baths) and calidarium (for hot baths). Like many buildings in Pompeii, the baths were heavily damaged during the earthquake of 62 CE. The current state mainly derives from the results of the subsequent restoration works.

circa 150 BCE

Stabian Baths
The Stabian baths, which date back to the 2nd century BCE, are among the oldest in the ancient Roman world. The main entrance on via dell'Abbondanza leads to a large courtyard. The pool is found to the left, whereas a colonnade is found to the right, which leads to the men's quarters, which are split into the apodyterium (dressing room), with the frigidarium (for cold baths), which leads to the tepidarium (for medium temperature baths) and then to the calidarium (for hot baths).

circa 150 BCE

Macellum
The Macellum of Pompeii was located on the Forum and as the provision market (or macellum) of Pompeii was one of the focal points of the ancient city. The building was constructed in several phases. When the earthquake of 62 CE destroyed large parts of Pompeii, the Macellum was also damaged, and had not been fully repaired until the 79 CE eruption. The Macellum of Pompeii is located outside the northeast corner of the forum.

circa 130 BCE

Basilica
The Basilica, with its extension of 1,500 square metres, was the most sumptuous building of the Forum, and its space was used to carry out business and for the administration of justice. It is accessed from the Forum through five entrances separated by tuff pillars; inside it is divided into three naves with two rows of brick columns with Ionic capitals. A richly decorated suggestum, where judges sat while judicial affairs were managed, is located at the centre of the short western side. The space was enhanced with an equestrian statue, whereas the walls are richly decorated with stucco like large blocks of marble. The Basilica is dated back to 130-120 BCE and is one of the oldest examples of this type of building in the entire Roman world. It was excavated since the 19th century, when investigations in the Forum square area began.

circa 150 BCE

Forum
The square of the Roman Forum originally looked like a simple open area with an overall regular shape, made of clay and its western side opened on to the Sanctuary of Apollo, whereas the eastern side had a row of shops. The Forum was significantly modified between the 3rd and 2nd century BCE when the shape of the square was regularised, surrounded by porticoes and the bottom paved with slabs of tuff. The axis of the square became the façade of the Temple of Jupiter, aligned with Mount Vesuvius.

circa 65 CE

Forum Granary
Stretching along the western side of the Forum with eight openings separated by brick pillars these were used as storage areas for the fruit and vegetable market (Forum Holitorium). Today they form the greatest archaeological inventory of the city and have more than 9000 artefacts from the excavations in Pompeii and its territory since the end of the 19th century. They preserve the terracotta crockery that was used in the last decades of life of the city for every day activities, such as pots and pans for cooking, jugs and bottles, and amphorae, large containers used to transport oil, wine and fish sauce throughout the Mediterranean. The exhibited items also include marble tables and baths for fountains that adorned the entrances of houses and some casts of victims of the eruption as well as that of a dog and a tree. The building was built after the earthquake of 62 CE and it might have not been completed at the time of the eruption.

circa 65 CE

Mensa Ponderaria
In a niche in the western perimeter wall of the Sanctuary of Apollo there is a copy of the Mensa Ponderaria, the original of which is kept at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. It is a counter used to check the capacity measures used for goods in trade. Both liquid and solid food, such as cereals, could be measured. These were placed in the appropriate containers and sealed with caps and then emptied after verification. This counter was already present in pre-Roman times, as indicated by three inscriptions in the Oscan language then deleted when colony was founded (80 BCE), and upgraded to the system of Roman weights and measures, as evidenced by the inscription that is still visible.

circa 65 CE

Municipality Halls
Three almost identical buildings situated on the southern side of the Forum were the seat of the town’s municipal offices. The most important of these were the office of the Duumviri, the highest authority in the town, the office of the Aediles, who were responsible for public work and maintenance of town building, the Council of Decurions, who acted as town councillors, and the municipal archives. While archaeologists are certain of the general function of the complex, opinion is divided on the actual use of the individual building. The first on the right, in the corner where the Basilica stands, was probably the Curia, seat of the Ordo Decurionum or town council. This building still preserves its marble floor and has an apse on the far wall, while the side walls have three rectangular niches where honorary statues of emperors or eminent citizens of Pompeii once stood. The central building was probably the office of the Duumviri, although some scholars think they may have been the seat of the Council of Decurions. An unusual feature can be seen in the small columns marking out the presence of a podium on which stood wooden cabinets housing administrative files and archives. Finally, the third building has been attributed as the Office of Aediles.

circa 65 CE

Forum Lavatory
Located in the north-west corner of the forum, this is one of the many public lavatories in Pompeii. The protruding stonework which can be seen around the edges of the latrine would have had the seats on them. Under the seats there was a flow of water taking away the waste and the drain can be seen at the back of the picture. Roman public toilets were communal and were not divided into cubicles as our toilets are today, only the wealthy had private toilets. The offset entrance allowed privacy for passers by.

circa 150 BCE

Eumachia
The building of Eumachia, the largest building near the forum of Pompeii, is commonly broken down into three parts, the chalcidicum, the porticus and the crypta. The chalcidicum encompasses the front of the building and is an important part of the continuous portico running along the east of the forum. The porticus is a four sided colonnade surrounding a large court yard. Finally the crypta is a large corridor (inspect) behind the porticus on the north east and south sides, separated from the porticus by a single wall.

circa

Central Baths
The largest of the city’s bath complexes, taking up an entire block of Regio IX, the Central Baths (Terme Centrali) were under construction at the time of the eruption, and incorporated innovations which had been introduced to the architecture of bath complexes in Rome, such as the Baths of Nero. The eruption ensured that the site remained in an unfinished state, but the ambitious plan can be identified just from the façade, which overlooks the courtyard. The Baths were located at the crossroads between Via di Nola and Via Stabiana, but the main entrance opened onto Via di Nola at number 18, whereby one directly accessed the palaestra (gym). The bathing rooms are arranged in sequence, with the apodyterium, frigidarium, tepidarium and then thelaconicum -a dome-vaulted room with four apses, where one would be exposed to hot and dry air. Following the laconicumwe have the calidarium, whose walls are defined by a series of rectangular and semi-circular niches which must have housed stuccoes and marble statues. One can certainly see evidence of incompleteness everywhere. The basins lack marble coverings, and there are numerous architectural elements, such as capitals and columns, which lie scattered in various rooms and which artisans were still working on in situ at the time of the eruption. They were likely intended to be used in the portico of the palaestra. What is striking is the presence of several windows, which would have provided ample light and plentiful ventilation of the rooms. Unlike in other bath complexes present in the city, there was no division between female and male areas, and thus it is assumed that men and women were permitted to enter at different times.

circa

Samnite Palestra
It's called "Samnite" palestra (Palestra Sannitica) because the construction, as evidenced by an dedicated inscription, dates back to pre-Roman times, when Pompeii was inhabited by people belonging to the Samnite people (2nd century BCE). The original colonnade of tuff columns, turned around the central courtyard but during the renovation works of the nearby temple of Isis, the east side was demolished. There is the pedestal at the centre of a short side where they carried out the award-ceremonies and events. According to the Greek model, the palaestra was used for men and boys to train; not by chance, a door connects the courtyard of the palaestra to the Triangular Forum, where a track was found for racing. To emphasise the athletic-military aspect of the building, the people of Pompeii placed a marble statue in the courtyard, now at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, a faithful copy of a very famous work of art, Doryphoros ("spearbearer"), made by one of the most famous Greek sculptors in the 5th century BCE, Polykleitos.

circa

Juvenes Gymnasium
The entrance of the Gymnasium is located in Vicolo della Regina, in an area that had been long closed to the public before being reopened in 2016, following the completion of major safety works. From the outside of the building, one can see a marvellous floor mosaic in the entrance hallway, which depicts a fighting scene with two bare-handed athletes facing each other. On the walls, the frescos portray athletes, wrestlers, a jumper with dumbbells, and the competition judge, known as the Ludi Magister, carrying a sash for the winner. This huge space was part of a thermal bath for men that dates back to the 1st century CE and was located in a scenic area of the town with wonderful sea view. In the area around the furnace that warmed the baths a lot of silver objects weighing a total of 3kg were found as well as two wax tablets wrapped in cloth. These items tell us about the trading of two slaves.

Infrastructure

circa

Water Tank
The water tank (Castellum Aquae) or the water distributor is placed at the highest point of Pompeii (42 meters) and, through its connection with the Augustan aqueduct of Serino, near Avellino, the water supply was guaranteed to the entire city. The structure allows you to appreciate the high level of development achieved by hydraulic engineering at the time: the castellum had a large circular basin within, served by a pipeline found on the north side, and fitted with a gate system and breakwaters, which adjusted the water distribution accordingly. The water used the drop pressure to be conveyed from here towards three pipes at different heights. If necessary, these could be closed with wooden wedges. The structure was damaged by the earthquake in 62 CE and does not seem to have been in use at the time of the eruption in 79 CE, unlike the 40 fountains distributed around the city.

circa

Honorary Arch of Tiberius or Germanicus
This honorary arch is located at the North east corner entrance to the Forum, north of the Arch of Nero and south of the Arch of Caligula. This has also been referred [See notes] to as Arco di Nerone [Garucci], Arch of Nero Caesar (son of Germanicus) [Mommsen], Arco di Tiberio [Mau], Arco di Germanico e dei suo figli Druso e Nerone [Spano and Sogliano]. This arch was possibly surmounted by an equestrian statue of the Emperor Tiberius, with niches for statues of Drusus and Nero, and fountains on the other side.

circa

Arch of Augustus
The Arch of Augustus (Arco di Augusto) is located in the north west corner of the Forum at the south west corner of the Temple of Jupiter. Also referred to as Arco di Druso, figlio di Tiberio [Spano and Sogliano]. It was one of four monuments for the imperial family, probably the pedestal for a colossal statue of Augustus.

circa

Public Water Fountains
The key elements in the water supply for the inhabitants of Pompeii were the 40 street fountains; almost all were equipped with a spout (plus a small sculpture) and a square or rectangular basin. Its overflow water went into the drain (where present). Some (nearly all) of the fountains were equipped with a hole just above the bottom, to be used during cleaning actions. Also there were no bigger fountains nor nymphea in Pompeii. The arch in the north-east corner of the forum may have been equipped with a reservoir feeding the fountain at the north side of the arch, but this container was situated too high to be fed with aqueduct water.

circa

Arch of Caligula
This arch is set astride Via di Mercurio, of which it marks the beginning, in front of the forum baths and the Temple of Fortuna Augusta, near the intersection where Via delle Terme, Via della Fortuna, Via del Foro and Via di Mercurio intersect. This is an honorary arch in brick with a single passage-way and its attribution to Caligula is based on an equestrian statue in bronze, found in fragments, which must have originally been set on the attic and which has been identified as Caligula. The arch was built on the same axis as the arch attributed to Tiberius or Germanicus, which constitutes a monumental entrance to the Civil Forum, and which was also topped by an equestrian statue.

Commercial Establishments

circa

Bakery of Popidius Priscus
The Bakery (pistrinum) of Popidius Priscus (Panificio di Popido Prisco) contains four large millstones made from porous lava, traces of a stable, four storage rooms and a large oven which was used for baking the bread. This bakery had no adjoining shop, so the bread was probably sold on to other shops or to street vendors, called libani. The bakery adjoins the house of Popidius Priscus, a member of one of the most important families in Pompeii. The main entrance to the bakery was on Vicolo Storto, but the bakery did not have a sales counter suggesting deliveries were made to trade customers in the neighbourhood.

circa

Fullonica of Stephanus
The Fullery of Stephanus (Fullonica Stephani) was created by the refurbishment of a preexisting house, the first floor was used as a work area, while the upper floor housed living quarters and a drying area. Although it is unclear if the name (Stephanus) called out in the election slogans on the façade belongs to the owner or to the manager. The entrance is wide, to permit easy access to customers dropping off their clothes. Such users had to pass by the ironing press room at the left of the entrance. A staircase leads to the terrace above the atrium, which is the only example of an atrium with an intact roof level in the whole Pompeii.

circa

Taberna of Phoebus
The taberna of Phoebus was a thermopolium situated nearby to Fabbrica del sapone, and close to House of Sallust. Various electoral recommendations were found near to this taberna. Fiorelli wrote that one of them must surely be the name of the person who perhaps sold hot drinks and food here. In this bar, there is a cistern which was supplied by an internal pipe from the roof.

circa 150 BCE

Lupanar
The Lupanar of Pompeii is the ruins of a brothel in the Ancient Roman city of Pompeii. It is of particular interest for the erotic paintings on its walls. Term Lupanar is Latin for "brothel". The Pompeii lupanar is also known as Lupanare Grande or the "Purpose-Built Brothel". The Lupanar was the largest of the brothels found in Pompeii with 10 rooms. Like other brothels, rooms in the Lupanar were plainly furnished.

circa

Thermopolium of Vetutius Placidus
I.8.8
The thermopolium (visible from outside) (Latin word formed from Greek words) of Vetutius Placidus opens on via dell’Abbondanza and represents social mobility in Pompeii in Roman times, where merchants and craftsmen also held a high social status, reserved only to landowners in older times. Drinks and hot food were served in this place, as the name indicates, stored in large jars placed in the richly decorated masonry counter of the tavern.

The news stand on the back wall is of great interest; extremely well-maintained, it consists of a lararium dedicated to the protectors of the household (Lari), the Genius protector of the owner, as well as the god of trade (Mercury) and the god of wine (Dionysus). The house is at the rear, interconnected with the shop, decorated with precious frescoes and a triclinium for outdoor dining. A hoard of nearly 3 kg (6.6 lb) of coins was found in one of the large clay jars placed in the counter, probably the last collections of the host, thereby attesting the profitable activity of the tavern.

circa

Taberna of Sextus Amarantus
I.9.11-12
The Domus Amaranti would be mainly occupied by an establishment concentrating on to the sale of wine in bulk and/or wholesale, using mainly Eastern wines. Sextus Pompeius Amarantus would be its administrator and/or owner sometime between 62 and 79 CE. The house (Domus) is characterized by the poverty of building materials and decoration, with evidence of unfinished construction-repair and marginality or abandonment. The lack of tableware also contradicts the idea of a residential use of this structure.

City Gates

circa 150 BCE

Nola Gate
Nola Gate is called such because it led to the road towards the old centre of Nola. An inscription in the Oscan language on the façade of the gate, which is now in the British Museum, attributes the construction to the highest official in charge, Vibius Popidius, in the Samnite era (3rd century BCE). The Gate has hangings in regularly overlapped tuff blocks and a barrel vault made of concerete, that is a mixture of mortar and stones.

circa 150 BCE

Herculaneum Gate
The gate, built after the city was conquered by the Roman general Sulla in 89 BCE, has no defensive structures because it was built at a time when the walls lost their function. It has three fornix, of which those at the sides are smaller and the central vault has partially collapsed. It owes its name to the fact that the road which connected Pompeii with Herculaneum emerged from here. In the inside the adjacent walls belong to an earlier time than the Samnite era (2nd century BCE), the great staircase with steps made of tuff had to provide easy access to the walkway. A section of the walls can be seen outside the door, on the left, built with large blocks of tuff and arranged in a regular layout with a height of 7 meters.

circa 150 BCE

Nocera Gate
The original layout of this gate, which provided access from the road that led to Nocera to the south-eastern area of the city, dates back to the Samnite era (4th century BCE) although the currently visible appearance is the result of various subsequent restorations. The gate has architectural similarities with Nola Gate and Stabia Gate: there is a room with a barrel vault where the actual gate was located and an aisle thereafter with two bastions at the ends to protect the entrance.

circa 150 BCE

Marina Gate
This gate provides access to the west of the city and it is the most impressive among the seven gates of Pompeii. The name derives from the fact that the exit road led to the sea. The layout with a barrel vault made of concrete, that is a mixture of mortar and stones, dates back to the Silla colony (80 BCE). The gate has two fornix, the main one being higher, intended for the passage of horses and pack animals; the smaller one, intended for pedestrian passage. The city wall that can be seen today, already in place in the 6th century BCE, is over 3200 m long: it consists of a double wall with a walkway, protected inside by an embankment.

circa 150 BCE

Stabian Gate
The Stabian Gate (Porta Stabiana) lies at the southern end of the Via Stabiana where it meets the southern flank of the city wall. The gate was discovered in 1851. In its original form it consisted of a single barrel-vaulted space containing a double doored gate, followed by a passage with bastions at either end to protect the entrance. The very last building before the gate was the workshop of Umbricius Scaurus, where his famous fish sauce was made. Outside the Stabia Gate, in common with almost all of the other gates of the city, there is a cemetery. In 1843 excavations revealed a rectangular funerary monument inscribed to the duovir N. Clovatius with a marble relief of gladiatorial combat.

Necropoles

circa 150 BCE

Necropolis of Nocera Gate
The necropolis is set on the sides of a road that runs parallel with the city walls. There are several burial monuments that exemplify the most popular models at the beginning of the 1st century BCE, the period when the necropolis began to be visited, and 79 CE. These include the tomb of Eumachia, the priestess who financed the construction of a large building in the Forum dedicated to Augustan Concord and Piety. Here, inside an enclosure, there is the high basis over which a semi-circular (exedra) opens up, inside of which the burial chamber is found.

circa 150 BCE

Necropolis of the Vesuvius Gate
The necropolis of the Vesuvius Gate is located in the north, along the road leading to Mount Vesuvius. In the early 20th century, the excavations brought to light some monumental tombs of famous aristocratic citizens, including that of Vestorius Priscus, adorned with an exceptional series of paintings.

circa 150 BCE

Necropolis of the Herculaneum Gate
The necropolis of the Herculaneum Gate, which stretches along the road that led to Naples, was already used during the first centuries of life in Pompeii, although the funeral buildings visible today date back to the 1st century BCE and thereon. The monumental tombs illustrate the most common types of funeral at that time. One can see two tombs upon leaving the Herculaneum Gate, on the left, which consist of a semi-circular seat in tuff, called schola (from the Greek word schole, which is the root word for 'school'), typical of Pompeii and dedicated by the city assembly to distinguished and deserving citizens. One of them preserves the inscription of the owner of the tomb in large letters, the public priestess Mamia, who died around 29 CE and who had had the Temple of the Genius of Augustus in the Forum built. Other tombs are built on a high basis in the shape of an altar, such as that of Naevoleia Tyche and Munatius Faustus with the depiction of the double seat, a symbol of the honour granted to sit in the front row at the theatre and of a ship that enters the port. Later, the suburban of the city begins among the tombs, populated by several villas.

Others

circa 150 BCE

Garden of the Fugitives
This area, once hosting homes, had been transformed in a vineyard in the years preceding the eruption, with a triclinium for outdoor banquets covered by a pergola.13 victims, adults and children, were found at various points inside the enclosure, seized by death while trying to find a way out of Nocera Gate, running above the layer of pumice stones that had already reached a height of 3.5 meters. The casts of the 13 victims can now be seen near the back wall of the garden, inside a glass case.

Suburban Villas

circa 60/70 BCE

Villa of the Mysteries
The Villa of the Mysteries (Villa dei Misteri) is named after the hall of mysteries located in the residential part of the building, which faces the sea. A large continuous fresco that covers three walls, one of the most preserved ancient paintings, depicts a mysterious rite, that is reserved for the devotees of the cult. The scene is linked with Dionysus, who appears on the central wall with his wife, Ariadne. The house preserves wonderful examples of second style wall decoration, that is with depictions of architecture. Egyptian inspired miniature paintings are seen in the tablinum.

circa

Villa of the Mosaic Columns
The Villa of the Mosaic Columns (Villa delle Colonne a Mosaico) is one of the biggest and most important residents of Pompeii on the main road to the city of Herculaneum. is located just outside the city walls, if you exit via Ercolano Gates. It was named so after the original columns, carrying mosaic decorations, now kept in the Naples Archaeological Museum. There is a beautiful mosaic fountain in the inside garden. Down the street, near the villa, you can see a necropolis with several tombs.

circa

Villa of Cicero
The Villa of Cicero (Villa di Cicerone) stands on the Herculaneum road outside Pompeii at the Herculaneum Gate of the city. The mosaics from this villa are today kept in Naples, and they undoubtedly represent an example of the excellent craftsmanship of the ancient architects of Pompeii. Villa itself was covered with earth as early as 1763. Today, only a few stones protrude from under the ground. Almost the entire building remains underground.

circa

Villa of Diomedes
The Villa of Diomedes (Villa di Diomede) was one of the first buildings to be excavated in Pompeii and was a key destination for all travellers in the 19th century, as evidenced by the numerous graffiti that bear the names of famous travellers, such as the Count of Cavour. It develops scenically on three levels, opening with gardens and pools towards the ancient coastline. It is one of the largest buildings of the entire city with an area of 3500 square metres. Upon entering, one accesses the peristylium directly, around which there are the most important rooms of the house, such as the triclinium.

circa

Domus of Volusii Fausti
I.2.10
The house (domus) was named after an inscription found on a bronze seal found in the archaeological remains. The entrance to the house is located on the Via Stabiana. The House of Volusii Fausti had a thermopolium to the left and a small shop to the right of the entrance.

Regiones (Regions or Areas)

circa

The archaeological regions of Pompeii are the nine areas, which help identify and located a particular structures. These areas, called Regiones in Italian are further subdivided in to Insulae. It's important to note that the designations for houses and streets in present-day Pompeii, including the regions and insulae, are contemporary interpretations. Although the names of houses often relate to discovered objects within them, the street names appear to be entirely imaginative. Despite their fanciful nature, these names are officially used and displayed on town sign-posts, making it impractical to disregard them. It's worth mentioning that the Romans themselves did not use terms like the House of the Menander or the Via dell’Abondanza.

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Notes

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References

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