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House of the Bronze Herma

Description of the House (Ins III, 16)

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North of the exit from the House of the Inn on Cardo IV lies the House of the Bronze Herma. This is a narrow building, and can be regarded as a typical example of a small Samnite house.
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The house is squeezed in between the House of the Brick Altar and the House of the Opus Craticium. Its entrance, on the west side of Cardo IV is in the centre of the photograph opposite.
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In the rear wall of the tablinum is a large, square window which gives light to the room from a small light well (f) which is decorated with garden paintings.
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To the left of the tablinum a passage leads past the light well to a large  triclinium (g) at the rear of the house. The room retains some of its decoration which is in the third style with small scenes, of which a seascape is the most notable.
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(A herma, herm or herme is a sculpture with a head, and perhaps a torso, above a plain, usually squared lower section, on which male genitals may also be carved at the appropriate height. The form originated in Ancient Greece and was later adopted by the Romans).
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The fauces (a) leads to a square atrium (b) with rooms off its east and west sides. The Tuscan style atrium has a central impluvium (the renovated corresponding compluvium is pictured left). The walls of the atrium (pictured below and lower left) are decorated in the third style with large red and black panels framed in light red while the floor is in opus signinum.
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Interestingly, high on the north wall of the atrium are two small windows (pictured below) which give light to the upper floors of the neighbouring property, the House of the Opus Craticium.

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On either side of the fauces is a small cubiculum (c) and (d) while at the west side of the atrium is the tablinum (e) which is paved in opus sectile. The tablinum is decorated in the third style in very much the same manner and colours as the atrium.
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