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House of Octavius Quartio

Description of the House (Reg II, Ins 2, 2)

The house of Octavius Quartio, also known as the House of Loreius Tiburtinus, is situated on the south side of the Via dell'Abbondanza. It was first excavated in 1916 with subsequent excavations during the period 1933-35 and in 1971. The property is an impressive building with substantial decorative remains and an extensive garden to the rear.
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The walls of the fauces (a) retain some frescoed plasterwork, but it is in very poor condition making it difficult to decipher. The fauces leads to a large, rectangular atrium (b) with a central impluvium surrounded by a border for plants (pictured below).

Like the fauces, the atrium has suffered extensive damage, not least from its exposure to the elements after its initial excavation in 1916 and the occasional bomb dropped during WW II.
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Off the north west corner of the peristyle is a small cubiculum (g) (pictured below). The decoration, which is in the fourth style, consists of white panels on a white ground separated by fantastic architecture above a lower black decorated frieze (pictured right). The panels contain small medallions featuring human heads.
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The central panel of the west wall contained a large mythological scene (now gone). The side panels contain medallions featuring human heads; a sample medallion from the east wall is pictured opposite. The upper zone features human figures set in fantastic architecture on a white ground.
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Opening off the east side of the peristyle is the triclinium (j) (pictured above). The triclinium is richly decorated with scenes from the Illiad (pictured right) above a lower multi-coloured frieze of faux marble. The upper zone contains scenes from the myth of Hercules.
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At the eastern end of the canal is a biclinium (m) for outdoor dining. The biclinium (pictured below) consists of a couch either side of a central fountain flowing from a temple style structure supported by two Corinthian columns.
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On the rear wall of the biclinium are two frescoes, one either side of the fountain. The subjects of both frescoes - Narcissus at the Spring (pictured right) and Pyramus committing Suicide (lower right) - share a common theme: death brought on by passion. The artist who painted the pictures was a Roman, who signed 'Lucius pinxit', 'Lucius painted this'. His signature, sadly, is no longer visible.
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In the centre of the upper pergola is a small tetrastyle temple (n) (pictured above) built over a nymphaeum dedicated to Diana and Actaeon. The nymphaeum (pictured right) fed a long canal running through the middle of the large garden, which was on a lower level than the house itself. The canal was embellished with fountains, statues and bas-reliefs.
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The entrance
, with its stone seating for the patron's clients, is flanked by two shops (originally two rooms of the property). In the doorway are casts of the doors (pictured below and left).
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Many of the rooms off the atrium are also in a rather poor state of repair and likewise have lost most of their decoration.  Two rooms, however, have survived with a reasonable amount of decoration still intact.

The first of these rooms is the ala (c) which
is decorated in the
fourth style with red panels on a dark blue ground above a lower red frieze (pictured left and below). The panels feature small cameos of soldiers in different stances.
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The second room to retain some fresco decoration is the oecus (d) on the east side of the atrium (pictured opposite). The fourth style decoration consists of yellow panels framed in red, separated by architectural motifs all above a lower black decorated frieze. The main side panels contain small scenes bordered in red (now badly faded).

Off the south east corner of the atrium are two interconnected rooms (e); possibly the service area and latrine.

The south side of the atrium opens onto a small peristyle (f) which is colonnaded on three sides (pictured opposite). The columns of the colonnade are stuccoed and painted red below and white above. A low wall separates the colonnade from the small central garden. The walls of the peristyle are decorated in the fourth style with black panels separated by architectural motifs above a lower red frieze.
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Immediately south of this room is a second cubiculum (h). The decoration of this room is also in the fourth style and consists of yellow panels separated by architectural themes above a lower yellow frieze. The central panel on the west wall contains a hunt scene framed by garlands.

Off the south west corner of the peristyle is an oecus (i) which also has a wide doorway (pictured left) onto the large garden to the south. The pictures either side of this doorway show Actaeon discovering Diana Bathing (left) and Actaeon being Attacked by Dogs (right).

The oecus is decorated in the fourth style (pictured below and lower left) with large white panels framed in red, separated by architectural themes on a blue ground, all above a lower decorated black frieze.
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The south side of the small peristyle opens onto a pergola overlooking the large garden (k) to the south. This upper pergola (l) was lined with statues and through its middle ran a canal (euripus) stocked with fish (pictured opposite, looking east).
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Midway along the canal is a monumental fountain (o) (pictured left) followed by a small temple, a pond and finally the exit from the garden with a small prothyron. Traces of roots found in the soil indicate that the whole garden had regular rows of trees and plants.




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