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Building of Eumachia

Description of the Building (Reg VII, Ins 9, 1, 67-68)

This large building, situated on the east side of the Forum between the Temple of Vespasian and the Comitium, was built by the priestess Eumachia who dedicated the building and gave it to the city.  The building was built early in the first century AD and appears to emulate the Porticus Livia in Rome in both form and dedicatory inscription. Part of this inscription can be found on the frieze course of the entablature of the forum colonnade which runs in front of the facade of the building (lower right). The full inscription can be seen above the side door (I) in the Via dell'Abbondanza. The inscription reads:
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'Eumachia, daughter of Lucius, a public priestess, in her own name, and in the name of her son, Murcus Numistrius Fronto, made the chalcidicum, the crypta and the porticus with her own money and dedicated the same to Concordia Augusta and to Pietas.'
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facade of the building was fronted by a chalcidicum or porch (A), which joined the building to the forum colonnade. The facade was built of brick, but would have been surfaced with a skin of marble.
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Of this fine facade only the marble cornice of the entrance portal (D), decorated with acanthus leaves and birds (above and right) remains. The symmetrical facade consists of two outer rectangular niches (B) which contained raised platforms perhaps used for the auctioning of goods with two inner semi-circular niches (C) which possibly held statuary. Further smaller niches flanked these curved niches; in one, according to an inscription, was the statue of Romulus, founder of Rome.

Two small rooms flank the entrance (D), in one of which was found a large container for urine utilized in the fullonicas for the degreasing of cloth.

The interior of the building consists of a impressive courtyard (pictured right) surrounded by a two-tiered colonnaded portico.  The portico was framed on three sides by a cryptoporticus (G). There were a series of shuttered windows in the wall separating this passageway from the portico (pictured right) and it may be that these windows acted as shop fronts, using the cryptoporticus behind as a safe area for storing stock.

On the rear wall of the courtyard are three semi-circular apses, the large central apse (F) fronted by what must have been a porch like structure. The apse contains three niches for statuary.
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The statue of Eumachia herself (pictured left) is located in a large, rectangular exedra (H) which opens off the cryptoporticus at the rear of the building. According to the inscription the statue was dedicated to Eumachia by the fullers of the city. What Eumachia's connection to the wool trade was is as yet unknown - some have taken the inscription to indicate that the building was a wool market, but it could just as easily have been used for selling any variety of goods.
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The building has two doors (pictured above) situated in the Via dell'Abbondanza. The right hand door (I) opens onto a stepped ramp which leads up to the cryptoporticus inside the complex and was in all probability the building's goods entrance. The left hand door (J) gives access to the porter's lodge.
This room (pictured left) retains much of its fourth style decoration of red panels above a lower black frieze. It has a side door on its east wall to allow control of access to the ramped entrance and hence the building itself.



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Images ©Jackie and Bob Dunn are reproduced by permission from their website at www.pompeiiinpictures.com
(Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali: Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei)




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