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Pompeii‎ > ‎Regio I‎ > ‎Reg I, Ins 6‎ > ‎

House of the Lararium

Description of the House (Reg I, Ins 6, 4)

The 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'.
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The 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 frieze.
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The 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 white background.
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The 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 floating figures.

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 marbles.

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.

In the 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 jewellery.
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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.

The 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 mosaic.

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 preparation.
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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.
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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.
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Immediately 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 wall.
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A 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.

Off 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.

A small 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 coarse plaster.
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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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