Description of the House (Reg I, Ins 6, 4)
House of the Lararium, situated on the Via dell'Abbondanza, is also known as the House of the Lararium of
Achilles as well as the House of the Ilion Sanctuary.
The house was first excavated between 1912 and 1913 and derives its
name from a small room in the south west corner of the atrium referred
to as the 'Lararium'.
atrium appears to have been decorated very simply, with a white middle
zone above a high red frieze. Parts of this decoration had been covered
at some time by a layer of coarse gray plaster. The atrium had a number
of cupboards ranged round the walls in the remains of which were found glass and ceramic
flasks, cups and bowls.
Cubiculum (d) off the north west corner
of the atrium is decorated in the fourth style with the exception of its
east wall which is simply coated with a layer of coarse plaster. The
decoration on the remaining three walls consists of yellow panels with
decorative borders above a lower undecorated frieze. The upper zone
consists of garlands and swans on a white ground.
In the north east corner of the atrium
is a flight of stairs (e) which led to the upper floor. Next to these
stairs is a large triclinium (f). The room (pictured right and lower
right) is decorated in the fourth style with red panels separated by
architecture motifs on a white ground all above a lower undecorated
large red panels contain a selection of still lifes and bird life
including the bird with fruit pictured above. The decoration of the
upper zone consists of architectural elements and small panels against a
middle panel on the south wall had been prepared for a central fresco,
but the space remains blank, the painting never having been carried out.
The decoration of upper zone (pictured opposite) consists of
figures, goats and peacocks set amongst architectural elements on a
white ground. Along the east wall of the cubiculum was the remains of a
wooden panelled bed.
In the centre of the east wall of the atrium
is an oecus (h). The room is decorated in the fourth style with red
panels separated by fantastic architecture on a white ground all above a
lower black decorated frieze (pictured right). The panels contain small
The upper zone consists of figures and
garlands set amongst architectural elements set on a white ground. The
paved floor consists of a black and white mosaic with a border of black
and white bands and a carpet pattern of rectangular pieces of coloured
Room (i) in the south east corner of the atrium is only
partially decorated in the fourth style with an upper zone consisting of
architectural elements and garlands on a white ground. The lower parts
of the walls are coated with a layer of coarse plaster.
centre of the south side of the atrium is the tablinum (j) pictured
opposite. The tablinum is fully open on its north side, with a large
window on in the south wall overlooking the small court and garden. The
room was undecorated, the walls simply being coated with a layer of
coarse plaster. In the remains of a cupboard in the south west corner of
the room were found several small glass vessels and some items of
The condition of the south wall and related building
work indicate that the room once belonged to the House of the
Cryptoporticus at a time when it had been decorated in the second style.
mosaic floor consists of geometric patterns in black on a white ground
(pictured opposite). At the south end this gives way to a plain white
The area (q) off the south west corner of the courtyard
appears to have been used as a workshop. Building materials including a
large quantity of gypsum were found as well as an oven for its
The house has a relatively standard layout, with the main axis of the house running through the fauces, the atrium, the tablinum and through to the garden at the rear. Together with the House of the Cryptoporticus it was once part of a much larger property which was subdivided, probably after the earthquake of 62AD.
The fauces (a), which opens off the south side of the Via dell'Abbondanza
(pictured left) has lost virtually all of its original decoration. At
one time there was a stuccoed cornice at the height of the architrave. The fauces leads directly to a rectangular atrium (b), which has a central impluvium and puteal..
The 'Lararium' referred to earlier is the small room (c) to the right of the tablinum (pictured above, below and lower left). The room was actually a small space in the south west corner of the atrium consisting mostly of a vaulted recess. The vault and upper parts of the wall are stuccoed and painted in the fourth style
with scenes from the Iliad showing figures, in relief, painted on a
blue background, enacting the final episodes of the Trojan war.
south of the stairs is a cubiculum (g). The room (pictured above) is
decorated in the fourth style with yellow panels with ornamental borders
above a lower decorated red frieze. In the side panels are standing
figures such as the one pictured opposite from the north end of the west
corridor on the east side of the tablinum leads to the courtyard (k)
which consists of an ambulatory on either side of a small central
garden. In the north west corner of the courtyard is a flight of stairs (l) to
the upper floor. In the courtyard were found piles of building material
along the east wall (pictured left) as well as under the stairs.
the north east corner of the courtyard is the service area (m)
consisting of the kitchen and latrine. Next to this is a room (n) which
has lost all trace of any decoration it may have had.
room (p) opens off the south east corner of the courtyard. The walls of
the room are simply dressed with a layer of coarse plaster. A narrow
doorway on the east side of this room opens onto a large exedra, known
as the 'Room of the Elephants'. The room has a fine mosaic floor and its walls
are decorated in the second style.
The painting on the east wall (pictured left and below) depicts two
life-sized elephants ridden
by cupids, against an architectural background. The decoration on the
north and west walls depicted seated figures also against an
architectural background. The south wall was covered with a layer of
|Images ©Jackie and Bob Dunn are reproduced by permission from their website at
(Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali:
Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di
Napoli e Pompei)