Pompeii‎ > ‎Public Buildings‎ > ‎

Gladiators' Barracks

Description of the Barracks (Reg VIII, Ins 7, 16)

A large four sided colonnade stands behind the stage of the Large Theatre (pictured left) and is connected to it according to the format laid down by Vitruvius to provide a porticoed area in which the audience could walk and converse during the intervals between performances.  This example is one of the oldest known in Italy and dates from the 1st century BC. 
The quadriporticus, composed of 74 Doric columns, can be reached from an entrance set near the north corner. After the earthquake of AD62 the complex lost its original function and was turned into barracks for gladiators.

In this phase a series of rooms on two floors was formed. The northeast side housed the mess with a spacious exedra. The apartment of the lanista or instructor was on the top floor while the gladiators were lodged in the cells arranged along the sides of the quadriporticus.  In some of them helmets and richly decorated parade armour was found as well as 18 bodies and the skeleton of an infant in a basket. An exedra at the centre of the southwest side has fourth style frescoes depicting Mars and Venus. Also on this side of the complex is a room which served as a prison.  A staircase in the northwest corner (pictured left) led to the Triangular Forum.

Home.................<.Previous Buildin..................Public Buildings....,.,,........Next Building.>......,,,.........Glossary