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House of M. Obellius Firmus

Description of the House (Reg IX, Ins 14, 2, 4, a, b)

The house, which lies on the southern side of the Via di Nola, is also known as the House of the Count of Turin. The house, first excavated in 1910, derives its name from election inscriptions found on the walls of neighbouring buildings and inside the house itself. (The tomb of the owner can be found just outside the Nola Gate). The house has two main entrances, (a) and (f) on the accompanying plan. Two additional entrances opened onto the as yet to be excavated side street to the west.
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The area of the atrium sustained considerable damage, but two of the cubicula on the east side retain some of their third style decoration. Both cubicula are decoration in a very similar manner, but the central cubiculum (c) is the better preserved (pictured below). The decoration consists of white panels framed in red on a white ground above a  lower red frieze. The plainness of the decoration is broken up by hanging garlands and a small medallion in the central panel of the east wall.

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The grander of the entrances (a) opens onto a tetrastyle atrium (b) (lower left) with a central impluvium. This large atrium has cubicula on its east and west sides. The atrium contained a marble table, a strong box, a fountain with a satyr and, in its north west corner, a temple style lararium (d) (pictured below).
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The largely undecorated tablinum (e), which faces the entrance, opens onto a peristyled garden (k) at the rear.

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The secondary entrance (f) opens onto a Tuscan style atrium (g) which also follows the canonic plan as much as the restricted space allows. The tablinum (h) off this atrium, pictured below left, retains much of its second style decoration.
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At the rear of the house is an irregular three sided portico (pictured below) with a large garden beyond. A range of rooms run along the west side of the portico including the kitchen area in the north west corner. The decoration in room (i) is perhaps the best preserved, consisting of a series of black panels above a red frieze. A large oecus (j), (pictured bottom left, also retains much of its original decoration of red panels framed in green over a lower black frieze.
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Three stairways, one off each atrium and one in the peristyle, led to the upper floor. This floor covered almost the entire ground floor area and had a row of windows facing onto the garden.


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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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