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House of Sulpicius Rufus

Description of the House (Reg IX, Ins 9, c)

The House of Sulpicius Rufus lies on an unnamed street that leads off the south side of the Via di Nola. The house was first excavated in 1880 and again in 1887. The house is named after a seal found in the house bearing the name C. Sulpicius Rufus. The house is also sometimes referred to as the House of the Piglet (Porcellino) after the painting of a pig's head found on the north wall of the kitchen.
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The scene in the centre of the east wall (pictured above) depicts Nike beside a victory monument. On the west wall the scene shows a youth with a pack of hunting dogs (pictured right). The side panels contain fan shaped insets featuring animals on a black ground.
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In the centre of the west side of the peristyle is the triclinium (f) (pictured right and below). The triclinium, which is open to the peristyle over most of its width, is decorated in the third style in the form of a loggia with a surrounding low ballustrade. Above the ballustrade in the centre of each wall are large architectural scenes set against a plain red ground.

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Next to the lararium, above the end of the hearth, is an unusual representation of food ready to be cooked including hanging sausages, a pig's head, an eel and portions of meat on a spit (pictured opposite). The kitchen is additionally lit by a small square window high up on its west wall.



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The fauces (a) opens off the east side of the unnamed street (pictured left). The fauces (pictured below) has lost most of its original plasterwork and what remains is too faded to allow a realistic description.
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A small latrine (b) and two cubicula (c and d) open off the north side of the fauces (access to cubiculum (c) is currently blocked). These rooms have remnants of original plasterwork, but again it is not possible to provide a description of the decoration.

The fauces opens directly onto a small peristyle with a central garden surrounded by a low wall (pictured left). The columns and supports of the colonnade are of stuccoed brickwork.

Cubiculum (e) opens off the north west corner of the peristyle. The cubiculum is decorated in the fourth style with red panels above a lower black frieze. The plasterwork has been lost from the north wall, but the central panels on the east and west walls each contain a large mythological scene.
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The upper zone consists of stylised plants set amongst fantastic architecture on a white ground (pictured opposite). In the centre of the south wall is a rectangular window which overlooks the peristyle and garden.

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A reconstruction of the fresco on the south wall is pictured opposite while the existing north wall is shown lower left. The decorative theme of the room is continued into the upper zone where further architectural views are displayed together with stylised plants and decorative plaques (a reproduction of one of the scenes is pictured below).
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Opening off the south side of the peristyle are two rooms (g and h). Room (g), a cubiculum, is decorated with alternating red and white panels above a lower black frieze. The upper zone consists of geometric shapes and blocks of colour (pictured left). The adjoining exedra (h) has lost most of its plasterwork, the remaining fragments having blocks of red and white decoration, but too little to allow proper description.
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In the centre of the east side of the peristyle is the kitchen (i) (pictured left and below). Against the back wall of the kitchen is a masonry hearth.
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Covering most of the north wall is a painted lararium (pictured above and opposite). The picture shows two lares on either side of an altar which has a serpent wound round it.
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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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