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House of the First Floor

Description of the House (Reg I, Ins 11, 15, 9)

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Of the rooms ranged round the atrium, the large oecus (c) off the north west corner is the best preserved. The room retains sizeable portions of frescoed plasterwork although much of the detail has been lost (pictured below). The middle zone is rather indistinct, but the lower zone consists of a fairly tall black and red frieze capped with a red dado. High on the east wall is a small rectangular window.
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The oecus (e) is lit by a window in its eastern wall which overlooks the peristyle (f) and garden (g) (pictured above). Beneath the window is a painted lararium
in front of which is a small masonry altar (h) (pictured opposite). In the south east corner of the garden is a large trough, perhaps used as a tank for storing fish.
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Off the south east corner of the peristyle is a plastercast of the posticum (j) complete with locking beam (pictured right). The posticum opens onto the Vicolo della Nave Europa at door No.9. Immediately north of the posticum is a small room containing a flight of stairs (k) to the upper floor.

The surviving part of the first floor is accessed from these stairs and continues along the eastern side of the peristyle (pictured below). The large oecus (l) in the north east corner of the peristyle may have been used for storage. It has a window in its west wall overlooking the garden.
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The second of the rooms on the upper floor is the oecus (n) which opens off the north end of a small balcony. The room, which has a window in its western wall overlooking the peristyle garden, is decorated in the fourth style (pictured opposite and below).
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The decoration consists of black panels framed in red separated by fantastic architecture above a lower red and yellow decorative frieze. The black panels contain fairly large medallions featuring human heads (pictured opposite). Little of the decoration of the upper zone has survived, but it would appear to have contained small landscapes and architectural motifs on a black ground.

The House of the First Floor lies on the east side of an unnamed street to the south of the Via dell' Abbondanza.  The house was initially excavated between 1952 and 1955 and again in 1957. Compared to nearby Herculaneum, there are relatively few houses with surviving first floors: a major group of such houses can be found in Regio I - the cluster includes properties Ins 7,18; Ins 10,1; Ins 10,4 and Ins 10,18.
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The simple entrance (a) leads to a rectangular atrium (b) which is without the usual central impluvium. This part of the property,  which was, perhaps, a hospitium, is in a very poor state of repair as can be seen by the photograph of the atrium opposite.

On the north side of the fauces (a) a small door opens onto a narrow room which has a latrine at its eastern end (pictured below).
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The triclinium (d) opens off the north east corner of the atrium. The room has deteriorated badly and has lost most of its plasterwork. The remaining fragments are in too poor a state to allow any realistic description of the original decoration.

To the south of the triclinium an andron leads to a peristyle which is colonnaded on its southern and eastern sides. Opening off the widened, eastern end of the andron is an oecus (e). The room is decorated in the fourth style with red panels ornamented by decorative borders framing fantastic architectural views above a lower black frieze (pictured left). The bordering red panels incorporate small still lifes. The upper zone consists of bird life and architectural motifs on a white ground.
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Some of the fresco decoration in the oecus is in a perilous state as can be seen in the pictures above and left. The plasterwork is in the process of spalling from its masonry backing, especially on the eastern wall. If this is allowed to continue unchecked large areas of the fresco decoration could be lost.
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Opening off the south side of the peristyle is a cubiculum (i). The cubiculum is decorated in the fourth style with red panels framing central yellow panels above a lower black frieze. The yellow panels each contain a large mythological scene (pictured left, lower left and below).
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The two main rooms on the upper floor both retain large parts of their fresco decoration. The first of these rooms (m) is decorated with yellow panels framed in red above a lower black decorative frieze (pictured below).

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The panels contain small rectangular pictures mainly depicting scenes from the hunt. The room has no windows, the only light coming from the open west wall.
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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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