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House I.12.11,10

Description of the Property (Reg I, Ins 12, 11, 10)

This unnamed house lies on the Via di Castricio at its junction with the Vicolo della Nave Europa. The house, excavated in 1961, is generally ignored by tourists and scholars alike, reflecting the extraordinary neglect of excavations in this insula. The house, although fairly small, has some elegantly decorated rooms and certainly merits greater attention.
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The fauces (a) (pictured opposite), which opens off the north side of the Via di Castricio, has lost most of its plasterwork, the remaining plaster being too weathered to allow a realistic description of its original decoration. The fauces opens onto a rectangular atrium (b) (pictured below) which is without a central impluvium.
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Opening off the west side of the atrium is a reasonably sized triclinium (d). The triclinium is decorated in the fourth style with black central panels on a yellow ground framed by red side panels with internal decorative borders (pictured opposite and below). The fourth style decoration has been applied over earlier second style frescoes (visible in the picture below).
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The large red side panels contain two tone vignettes of both imaginary and wild animals including griffins, dogs and stags (pictured right). The triclinium was lit by a small rectangular window high on its west wall and by a larger window on its north wall which it shared with the oecus (j).
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The anteroom has a doorway in its north wall which gives access to the peristyle and a second doorway on its east wall which opens onto the cubiculum (f) to the east (shown below). The walls of the cubiculum still retain large areas of plaster but much of it is rather faded. The decoration was in the fourth style and consisted of alternating blue and red panels.
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A doorway in the south wall of the room opened onto the shop (h) at No.10 (pictured right). In the south east corner of the shop are the remains of a flight of stairs to the upper floor.
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The walls of the colonnade are decorated in red and white. The lower zone, consisting of dark red panels with internal decorative borders framed in orange/brown, supports an upper white zone with geometric shapes interspersed with garlands, griffins and candelabra (pictured below). 
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The atrium retains some large areas of plasterwork, especially on its west wall. From the faded remnants it would appear that the decoration
, at least on the lower portion of the walls, consisted of large white panels framed by narrow red borders. The northern end of the atrium probably served as the tablinum with a large window overlooking the peristyle to the north. On the west side of the atrium, above a block off doorway that once opened onto the adjoining shop at No.12, are two small arched niches (pictured opposite).

To the west of the fauces is the entrance to a small cubiculum (c). The room retains some plaster remnants but not enough to allow a description of the decoration. The room was lit by a small window on its south wall.
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The central black panel on each of the three walls contained a mythological scene, the only remaining recognisable scene (from the south wall) being of Hero and Leander, a detail from which is pictured below.
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Opening off the north east corner of the atrium is a small anteroom (e) (pictured opposite). The west wall of the room (pictured below) retains much of its original plasterwork which is decorated with large black panels framed with a red border.
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In the middle of the east side of the atrium is a large portal which gives access to room (g) (pictured lower left). The room has lost most of its fresco detail but appears to have been decorated in much the same fashion as the atrium with large white panels framed with narrow red borders.
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A narrow doorway in the north west corner of the atrium opens onto the peristyle (i) which is porticoed on its south and west sides with columns of stuccoed brickwork supporting the inner margins of the roof (left and below).
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On the rear wall of the peristyle is a large hunt scene which unfortunately has lost much of its decorative detail. In the middle of the peristyle is a small garden area planted with hedging.

In the centre of the west side of the peristyle is a large oecus (j). The oecus is decorated in the fourth style with large yellow panels with internal decorative borders separated by broad vertical bands of red above a lower frieze of faux marble with diamond insets (pictured left).
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The yellow panels are enlivened with small scenes and studies of bird life (pictured above). The upper zone consists of geometric shapes in red and green with garlands and griffins on a white ground. In the centre of the south wall (pictured left) is a large window which gives light to the adjoining room (d).

Opening off the north west corner of the peristyle is the kitchen (k) (pictured left). On the south wall of the kitchen is a masonry hearth. Over the hearth are the remains of a painted lararium; large areas of plaster have flaked off over time resulting in the loss of much of the decorative detail. The kitchen was lit by light from the adjacent latrine (l) (in the centre of the photograph left) which was separated from the kitchen by a partition wall that stopped short of the communal ceiling.

From the south east corner of the peristyle a short passage leads to the room (m) (pictured below and left). The room is decorated in the fourth style with large red panels framed by blue side panels, all enlivened with internal decorative borders.
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Each of the red panels contains a fairly large central medallion, but unfortunately these are too faded to interpret. In the centre of the blue panels are studies of bird life.

The upper zone consists of geometric forms painted on a white ground. The room is lit by a window in its west wall. On the south side of the room a doorway gives access to a small room (n) with two niches on its southern wall.



* 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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