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House of the Lovers

Description of the House (Reg I, Ins 10, 11)

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The ala (d) in the centre of the southern side of the atrium is decorated in the fourth style (pictured lower right) with white panels on a red ground over a lower black frieze. Each white panel contains a small framed landscape in its centre, but unfortunately these landscapes have deteriorated to such an extent that they are no longer recognisable.
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On either side of the ala are cubicula (c). The cubiculum on the east side (pictured below) is decorated in the fourth style with white panels separated by architectural elements above a lower black frieze. The room to the west side of the ala has plain plaster walls and may have been used as a storeroom.
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In the south west corner of the atrium a flight of stairs leads to the upper floor. Next to these stairs is a service room (e) with roughly plastered walls. Room (f) is the shop (Reg I, Ins 10, 10) which opens onto the Vicolo del Citarista with a direct access to the atrium of the house.

The triclinium (g)  is accessed off the north east corner of the atrium through a narrow doorway. The triclinium, like the atrium, opens onto the peristyle (h) to the east. The room is decorated in the fourth style with alternating panels of yellow and blue framed by architectural motifs over a black decorative frieze. The blue panels contain large mythological scenes; on the south wall (pictured below) is a much faded scene of Ariadne and Dionysus while on the west wall an equally faded picture of Dido Abandoned. The scene on the north wall is too faded to recognise. The vaulted ceiling (pictured opposite) is also decorated in the fourth style on a white ground.
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The oecus (i) in the north east corner of the peristyle has lost much of its plasterwork, but the remaining fragments show that it was decorated in the fourth style with red panels on a black ground over a lower black frieze.
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The rather plain entrance to the house opens off the east side of the Vicolo del Citarista. The house which was excavated between March and May 1933, derives its name from an inscription on one of the panels in the portico which states 'Amantes ut apes vitam mellitam exigunt' - lovers, like bees, make life as sweet as honey.
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The fauces (a) is decorated in the second style with black panels bordered with yellow above a lower mauve frieze (pictured left). Above the black panels is an upper area painted in red with imitation marble columns. The short fauces leads to a rectangular atrium (b) which has a central impluvium.

The atrium has rooms off three sides with the garden area to the east. It is decorated in the fourth style with red panels on a black ground above a lower black decorative frieze (shown below and left). The panels include central medallions of landscapes and still lifes.
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A third cubiculum (c), located on the west side of the atrium immediately to the north of the fauces, is decorated in the fourth style with alternating panels of red and yellow over a lower decorative black frieze (pictured left). The panels contain small pictures of bird life and fruit (pictured below).
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The peristyle (below and lower left) with its central garden extends over two floors with plain columns extending the full height of the building on the north and west sides. The decoration of the peristyle reflects the social arrangements of the house with the walls of the service area (l) - (o) roughly plastered while those in the seignorial area are finely decorated in the fourth style with garlands and vignettes on a white ground.
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Next to this oecus is a cubiculum (j) (pictured left) which is decorated in the fourth style with alternating red and yellow panels framed by architectural themes. The yellow panels contain small landscapes while the red panels images of birds in flight.  The final room on this side (k) is decorated in the fourth style with yellow panels above a red frieze with a white upper zone decorated with garlands. All three rooms bear witness to intruders with breaches in their north and south walls.


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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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