Pompeii‎ > ‎Regio IX‎ > ‎Reg IX, Ins 12‎ > ‎

House of the Chaste Lovers

Description of the House (Reg IX, Ins 12, 6, 8)

The House of the Chaste Lovers lies on the north side of the Via dell’Abbondanza and is the subject of ongoing excavation work which began in 1987. The excavation of this building is part of a much larger excavation encompassing much of the southern end of Reg IX, Insula 12 including the adjoining House of the Painters at Work to the north.

The building derives its name from a fresco in the triclinium of a couple at a feast in the act of some rather coy kissing. The property was of mixed use, consisting of a bakery and its attached residential quarters.

..
..
..
The vestibule opens directly onto the bakery (c) to the north. During excavations archaeologists discovered that the bakery oven (e) (pictured below) had previously suffered major damage which had been repaired and plastered over, but that it had then been damaged again prior to the eruption. To the south of the oven is the dough preparation room (c) where mixers and kneaders worked the dough and shaped it into loaves.
..
..

..
..
..
..

..
A shop sign on the right hand side of the facade is a humourous portrayal of Priapus, a minor god of fertility and abundance, making off with the caduceus and winged sandals of Mercury, in essence thieving from the god of thieves (pictured below).
..
..
The entrance opens onto a square vestibule (a) (pictured left) which has a flight of stairs to the upper floor in its north east corner. To the right of the entrance is a small cubiculum (b) (pictured below) which is decorated in the fourth style on a white ground above a lower red and black frieze.
....
..
To the north of the oven are four millstones (visible behind the scaffolding in the picture to the left) which are made from porous lava, a very hard wearing stone that doesn't lose fragments that would spoil the flour produced. The millstones consisted of a catullus rotating on a cone-shaped centre set on a masonry base. Driving the milling process were mules yoked to a beam inserted into a slot in the catullus.

On the north side of the property are two cubicula (f) and (g) ranged round a central room (h). Cubuculum (f) is simply decorated with red and yellow panels above a lower black frieze, while cubiculum (g) (visible in the lower right of the photograph opposite) is decorated in the fourth style on a white ground above a lower red frieze.

A doorway in the north east corner of the bakery opens onto a rectangular open court (j), the north side of which is pictured left. The court had a raised central garden and was at least partially decorated with red panels containing small central scenes (the south west corner is pictured below). On the west wall is a painted lararium coupled with a small altar.
..
..
Overlooking this central court is the house's triclinium (i) (pictured left).
The triclinium, accessed off room (h), is decorated in the third style with red panels containing floating figures framing central black panels featuring scenes from a banquet.

The scene on the north wall is of the 'chaste lovers' (pictured left) after which the property was named, while the adjoining walls contain further banqueting scenes, including that pictured bottom left from the east wall.
..
..
To the east of the triclinium were the stables (k) which had their own access onto the side street running along the east side of the insula. The skeletons of five of the bakery's mules (pictured above) were found here. A second room (l) off the main milling area was also used for stabling at the time of the eruption.

* 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)




Home............<.Previous House in Regio ...............Insula 12...............Next House in Regio.>.,..........Glossary