Description of the Building (Ins VII)
mostly buried, it was extensively explored by tunnels during the
Bourbon period and more recently the eastern side of the
building was partially excavated, including a small room (e) which had access to the rear of the building. ....The discovery of fragments of a frieze between the two
orders depicting the labours of Hercules places the decorative renovation
in the fourth style.
The bulk of the walls (pictured right) are decorated with red, yellow and black panels, in places
displaying the typical colour change of yellow to red under the intense
heat of the pyroclastic
material.Excavations have also revealed the presence of
an additional entrance (d) on Cardo III. At the current time it is not known if the building was
sub-divided into aisles.At the entrances (a) to the building stood two equestrian statues, one
depicting the town's major benefactor, the afore-mentioned Marcus
Nonius Balbus (pictured below), whilst the other was of his son. Inside the building were further statues of the proconsul and his family.....
|The Basilica Noniana was re-discovered when one of the tunnels being mined randomly by Rocque Joaquín de Alcubierre
broke into the building. An inscription found in the building records
that the building had just been rebuilt following the earthquake of AD62 thanks to the generosity of proconsul Marcus Nonius Balbus,
Herculaneum's principal benefactor.
Facing onto the Decumaus Maximus, the building lies at the corner of Insula VII, directly across Cardo III from the College of the Augustales (pictured below)...
..More exploratory work has since been carried out,
starting in 2003 with the reopening of some of the Bourbon tunnels in
conjunction with conservation work that was required to stabilize the surrounding
What has been revealed is a large rectangular
building approximately 29m by 16.5m with a large apse (c) at its
southern end, confirming earlier plans drawn up by Cochin and Bellicard
in 1754. Around the walls are a double order of half columns, ten on the
long sides and six across. The columns (pictured opposite) are of tufa and brick, covered with fluted stucco. The lower order of columns are capped with Ionic capitals while the upper order have Corinthian capitals.........During stabilization of the earthworks surrounding the
basilica an extremely well preserved marble head was uncovered. The head
(pictured opposite) is remarkable in that its painted pigments have survived. The
head once formed part of the Herculean themed decoration of the basilica
and it is thought the head is possibly that of an Amazonian warrior (in
Hercules' ninth labour, he had to obtain the girdle of Hippolyte, Queen
of the Amazons).
delicacy of the decoration comes as
something of a surprise, for although Roman statues were
often painted, before this discovery only faint traces of pigment had
been found. It had been assumed that classical statues were
quite brightly painted, but in fact, the colouring of the hair and eyes
on this head is composed of soft pastel shades, which, although some
fading may have occurred,
would indicate that classical colouring may have been more subtle than