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Pompeii‎ > ‎Regio III‎ > ‎Reg III, Ins 4‎ > ‎

House of the Moralist

Description of the House (Reg III, Ins 4, 2-3)

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The main entrance (b) (pictured right) on the north side of the Via dell'Abbondanza opens onto a passageway (c) with a bench on its west side (pictured lower left). This entrance was a new entry to the combined properties; the entrance to the smaller of the two houses (a) was still in use while the entrance to the larger had been blocked off on the formation of the enlarged property.

The entrance passageway was plainly decorated with a lower zone of red beneath a white upper zone. The passageway leads to room (d) which is in a ruinous condition and has lost all of its decoration. To the east of this room is the kitchen and latrine (g) as well as a several cubicula and rooms that appear to have been given over to storage.

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To the east of the atrium is a small central courtyard (h) (pictured opposite) which is porticoed on two sides. The columns of the portico are of brickwork. Little of the fresco decoration of the courtyard has survived, and there is insufficient evidence from the plaster remnants to say positively what that decoration was.

On the east side of the courtyard a doorway gives access to passageway (c) and hence to the eastern part of the property while on the north side is an oecus (i) which retains much of its original decoration.

The oecus (pictured right) is decorated in the third style with black panels separated by columns and garlands on a black ground all above a lower black frieze. The panels contain floating figures (pictured below) and small circular scenes.
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At the rear of the atrium is a small garden area (k) (pictured below) overlooked by a triclinium (l). The triclinium (pictured right) is decorated in the third style with black panels on a red ground above a lower red frieze. The upper zone consists of simple geometric motifs on a black ground.
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On the western side of the atrium is an oecus (m), pictured opposite. The room is decorated in the third style with a black lower frieze below a fairly plain central area on a yellow ground. Immediately to the south of the oecus is a flight of stairs which led to the upper floor.

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The House of the Moralist, which is also known as the House of M. Epidius Hymenaeus, lies on the Via dell'Abbondanza and consists of two connecting properties belonging to two related wine-merchants, T. Arrius Polites and the afore-mentioned M. Epidius Hymenaeus.
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To the north, room (d) gives access to a formal triclinium (e) and the garden area beyond. The triclinium (pictured below and left) is decorated in the third style with alternating panels of red and black with vignettes separated by columns and garlands (pictured left). In the centre is a marble topped table.
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Standing out on the black panels were the three rules of etiquette from which the house derived its name. Unfortunately the rear wall of the triclinium was damaged by bombing during World War II and one of the sayings was lost; one of the remaining rules is still just visible in the photograph opposite. Written in white lettering, the rules of etiquette required by the owners of the house may be summarised as follows:
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....* keep your feet clean and don't dirty the linen 

....* have respect for other men's wives

....* don't argue or you can go home
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In the middle of the garden area (f) a marble statue of Isis was found which can now be seen in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples (pictured left).

Of the two connecting houses, the property at No.2 was the smaller. In this part of the house the ceilings and wall decorations have been partially reconstructed. The fauces (a) opened onto the atrium (j) (pictured below) which is without an impluvium.
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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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