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House of M. Lucretius Fronto

Description of the House (Reg V, Ins 4, a, 11)

The House of M. Lucretius Fronto lies on the east side of the Vicolo di Lucrezio Frontone, an alleyway (pictured below) off the north side of the Via di Nola. The house lies close to the limits of the excavated area.

The house is one of the most interesting and refined examples of the small domus from the imperial age, with spectacular paintings in the late third and fourth style. Much of the house remains in a good state of preservation.
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In place of a mythological scene, the east wall of the cubiculum has a large window (pictured above) overlooking the garden area. The upper zone of the decoration consists of hanging garlands and fruit.

A second cubiculum (e) opens off the south side of the atrium. The fourth style decoration in this room (pictured below) consists of alternating black and yellow panels above a lower dark red frieze.
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In the centre of the east wall of the atrium is the tablinum (c) (pictured above). The two side walls of the tablinum are richly decorated in the late third style. The decoration consists of black and red panels separated by columns with fantastic architecture above a lower decorative black frieze. The central red panel on both walls contains a mythological scene - the south wall (pictured opposite) displays the scene of the Marriage of Mars and Venus (pictured below).
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The scene on the north wall of the tablinum shows the Triumph of Bacchus (pictured opposite).
The flanking black panels on both walls contain architectural landscapes set on decorative stands (pictured below).
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On the east side of the tablinum a wide doorway opens onto the garden area (g) at the rear of the house. The garden (pictured below) is colonnaded on the south side only, the columns consisting of stuccoed brickwork.
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The green panels contain small mythological frescoes including scenes of Bacchus and Silenus and Pyramus and Thisbe.
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Immediately north of the summer triclinium is an exedra (i). This large room was entered through a wide opening which constituted most of the north wall. The room, which is in a poor state of repair, is decorated in the fourth style, in a similar manner to the winter triclinium (f), with alternating bands of yellow and red separated by architectural motifs.
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The north and east walls of the garden area are decorated in the fourth style, with African landscapes featuring wildlife in panels framed in red above a lower black frieze (shown right and below). Above the scenic views is an upper zone consisting of a red and white chequer pattern.
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The fauces (a) is decorated in the late third style with a dark red central zone divided into panels above a lower black frieze. The fauces opens onto a square atrium (b) (pictured below) which has a central impluvium with a fine mosaic surround.
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The atrium, which has rooms off all but its north side, is decorated in the fourth style with black panels separated by yellow decorative bands above a lower dark red frieze (pictured upper left). The panels contain small hunting scenes (pictured left). The upper zone consists of geometric and architectural motifs on a black ground. On the east side of the impluvium is a delicate marble table.

Cubiculum (d) opens off the south east corner of the atrium. The room, which has a vaulted ceiling, is decorated in the fourth style with orange/yellow panels bordered in red above a lower decorative red frieze. The side panels on each wall contain floating figures and two small medallions featuring portraits of a boy and girl. The central panels on the north and south walls contain a mythological scene; one is of Narcissus at the Spring (pictured below) while the other is of Pero and Micon.

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The central black panel on both the east and west walls is framed in red and contains a mythological scene. The two scenes are those of Theseus and Ariadne and the Toilet of Venus. The decoration of the upper zone continues the main theme of the central zone with some additional architectural features.

The triclinium (f) is located at the front of the house, in the southwest corner of the atrium, between cubiculum (e) and a small storage area. The walls are decorated in the fourth style, with alternating yellow and red panels above a lower black frieze (pictured left). On the east wall the red side panels contain floating figures while the central yellow panel displays the mythological scene depicting Orestes Slaying Neoptolemus (pictured below).
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The separating columns are decorated with ropes of fruit and flowers (pictured below). The upper zone in red, yellow and black features fantastic architecture accompanied by decorative panels.
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In the south west corner of the colonnade is the summer triclinium (h). The room is decorated in the fourth style with alternating green and red panels separated by architectural motifs above a lower black frieze (pictured below and lower left).
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In the north west corner of the garden is the kitchen (j) while there is a secondary entrance or posticum (k) at the eastern limit of the colonnade.


* 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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