Herculaneum‎ > ‎Insula II‎ > ‎

House of Argus

Description of the House (Ins II, 2)

..
The entrance to the house on the west side of  Cardo III (pictured opposite) was originally a minor gateway (posticum), as the principal entrance, yet to be excavated, opened onto the unexplored Cardo II to the west. The Bourbons demolished a section of the party wall (e) between the House of Aristides and the House of Argus, so it is now also possible to enter the building through the north wall of the atrium of the House of Aristides.
....
.
In contrast, the north side of the peristyle contains several larger rooms including a large triclinium (c). On the east side of this room is an exedra (d) (pictured right) with an upper storey still extant. The discovery of the house in the late 1820s was notable because it was the first time a second floor had been unearthed in such detail.

The upper floor, lost in the main after the open-air digs were abandoned in 1875, had a balcony overlooking Cardo III as well as a series of small rooms used for storage.
(The excavation of the upper floor also revealed a pantry with flour and newly prepared loaves, ready for baking, found along with jars containing olives, almonds and fruit).
..
..
..
A doorway (f) (pictured below) on the west side of the peristyle leads through to a second, partially excavated, peristyle (g). Excavation here is very limited with only a couple of rooms cleared (pictured right).
..
..
Of particular interest in this area, however, is an example of the Bourbon tunnels which criss-cross the insula. The tunnel (pictured right) continues the line of the second peristyle westwards, exposing as it goes a second column on the southern side of the peristyle.



Next to the House of Artistides is the House of Argus which derives its name from a fresco representing the myth of Argus and Io found in a reception room that opened onto the large peristyle (b). (According to mythology, Argus, Hera's servant, was charged with guarding the white heifer Io from Zeus, keeping her chained to the sacred olive tree at the Argive Heraion). The fresco is now sadly lost.
..
....
..
The entrance opens onto the north east corner of a square hall (a) (pictured left). The hall has a few plaster remnants but no surviving decoration. On the south side of the hall a doorway leads to a large peristyle (b) which is colonnaded on three sides. Along the east side of the peristyle (pictured above) are a series of small rooms.
..
..
..

The exedra is decorated in the fourth style. The decoration consists of red panels on a red ground (pictured above and left) and incorporates geometric and architectural themes. The central panel on each of the walls contains a mythological scene set in an architectural frame. The scene from the north wall is pictured lower left.
..
..
..


Home....................<.Previous House .......................Insula II........................Next House.>..................Glossary