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Herculaneum‎ > ‎Insula VI‎ > ‎

College of the Augustales

Description of the College of the Augustales (Ins VI, 21-24)

The College of the Augustales lies at the corner of Cardo III where it intersects with Herculaneum's main street, the Decumanus Maximus. It is thought that the building was a centre of the cult of the Emperor Augustus and the headquarters of the Collegium Augustalium (or possibly even the local curia).

The rectangular building has two entrances: the main entrance (a) on the Decumanus Maximus which gives access to the building by way of a long corridor, and the side entrance (b) on Cardo III which opens directly onto the main hall.
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On the back wall of the sacellum is a plinth on which a sculpture, or more likely a bust, might have been placed. A wreath plant, painted above the decoration, suggests a tribute to the Emperor, Augustus. 

The side walls of the sacellum are painted with doors either side of a central porch which opens onto architectural elements on a white ground. Above the doors and porch are further windows containing bronze chariots driven by winged victories, placed on pedestals. The central fresco on the left wall is of Hercules standing next to Juno and Minerva
(pictured above).

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The interior is composed of one large room (c) divided into three naves by four Tuscan columns which support the roof, with light entering via a skylight. The capitals of the columns are decorated with polychrome stucco. The perimeter walls are articulated by pilasters that frame blind arches while the floor is in opus spicatum

At some stage a room was made on the back wall by constructing two walls connecting the back wall to the two rear pillars. The room (d), which served as a sacellum, was raised above the rest of the hall and was completely decorated in the fourth style
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The fresco in the middle of the right wall (pictured left) shows Hercules fighting Achelous who kidnapped Deianira, the daughter of Althaea and King Oeneus and sister of Meleager. Despite assuming many forms, including that of a bull, Achelous was eventually beaten. In the struggle Hercules broke off one the monster's horns which nymphs fashioned into the Cornucopia, the horn of plenty.
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The floor of the sacellum was paved in opus sectilea geometric pattern of motifs in polychrome marble of which a few remnants remain (pictured above).

A room (e) was also created at the bottom of the right aisle by means of a partition wall in opus craticiumThe room (pictured opposite) was reserved for the porter, whose remains were found on the bed.
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As to the decoration of the outside of the building, a few remaining plaster remnants suggest that it was totally covered in plaster and painted white.



General View of the Interior





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