House of Siricus or the House of Vedius Siricus and Vedius Nummianus
lies on the Vicolo dei Lupanare, a narrow winding street which
joins the Via degli Augustali with the Via dell'Abbondanza. The house was initially excavated in
the mid 1850s and again in 1862 and 1872. The house is a double atrium house composed of two linked properties with separate entrances at door No. 47 on the Vicolo dei Lupanare and door No. 25 on the Via Stabiana. The house derives its name from inscriptions containing the name Siricus found next to these two main entrances.
opens onto a square atrium
(c) which has a central impluvium
is lined with fine white marble and is ornamented by two marble tables and a plinth which once supported a small statue come fountain.
right of the impluvium
is a puteal
of Tiburtine stone.
Opposite the entrance, is the tablinum (d) (pictured lower right). The tablinum,
which is open to the atrium over its full width, was undecorated, and
seems to have been used for business purposes.
The bones of a dog and many other objects were found in this room, among
bronze seal with the letters SIRICI in relief, and a large gold ring
set with a cornelian engraved with a man's
off the north east corner of the atrium is the triclinium (e) which
overlooks the garden to the east. The triclinium is decorated in the
fourth style with black panels separated by red and yellow zones, with
candelabra and architectural
members mixed with birds, dolphins, Tritons and masks and in the middle
of each panel is a bacchante. In the centre of each
wall is a small mythological scene.
the centre of the north side of the atrium
is a large exedra
is decorated with orange panels with broad dark red frames flanking
central panels containing large mythological scenes (pictured below).
Separating the central panels from the orange side panels are scenes of
fantastic architecture set on a white ground. The scene on the west
side of the exedra
presiding over the
building of Troy (pictured right). Neptune
, armed with his trident, is
seated while Apollo
, crowned with
laurel, is standing, and leans with his right arm on a lyre.
The scene on the north wall (pictured right) depicts a drunken Hercules, crowned with ivy, lying on the
ground at the foot of a cypress tree. He is clothed in a sandy, a
short transparent tunic, and has on his feet sandals, one of
which he has kicked off. He supports himself on his left arm, while
the right is raised in drunken ecstasy.
On the east wall is a picture of Vulcan presenting the
arms of Achilles to Thetis. The celebrated shield is supported by
Vulcan on the anvil, and displayed to Thetis, who is seated, whilst a
winged female figure standing at her side points out to her with a rod
the marvels of its workmanship.
The upper zone, a detail from which is pictured opposite, displays
a perspective view showing a large portal on either side of a central
alcove containing a statue set on a pedestal. The intervening spaces are
festooned with ribbons and hanging garlands.
On the left of the fauces is an open room with two doors, one
opening on a wooden staircase leading to an upper floor, the other onto cubiculum (g)
which is decorated in the fourth style with alternating red and yellow panels on a white ground. The panels contain the symbols of the principal deities; the eagle
and globe of Jupiter, the peacock of Juno, the lance, helmet, and shield of
Minerva, the panther of Bacchus, a Sphinx, having near it the mystical
chest and sistrum of Isis and lastly
the caduceus of Mercury. There are also two
small landscapes. The room is lit by a window high on the west
This second part of the property
was at first
considered as a separate house and has been called the
House of the Russian Princes from some excavations carried out in 1851
in the presence of the sons of the Emperor of Russia. The non- standard features
observable in this part are that the atrium
(m) and peristyle
(n) are broader
than they are deep, and are not separated by a tablinum
other rooms, but simply by a wall.
the centre of the atrium,
entered by way of fauces (l) (pictured right), is a marble lined
impluvium (pictured below). On the west side of the impluvium is a
square pillar, veneered with marble, from which a fountain sprayed water
into a square basin that was supported
by a base of white marble.
description of the decoration of those rooms of the house where no
photographic material is available is based on the early book Pompeii: Its History, Buildings And Antiquities by Thomas H. Dyer published in 1875.
The fauces (a), which
opens off the east side of the Vicolo dei Lupanare, has lost most of its decoration, the remaining plaster
being too weathered to allow a realistic description. The fauces has a dark gray pavement set with rows of small pieces of
white marble. Next to the threshold to the atrium are inset the words SALVE LUCRUM, hail profit (pictured left).
On the south side
of the fauces a narrow doorway
opens onto a an oecus
(b) which is decorated in the fourth style
white central zone divided into individual panels by red lines and
candelabra. In the middle of each panel are vignettes of griffins and
swans set amongst fantastic architecture. The room is lit by a window
high in its west wall.
first of these,
which has been removed and is now in the National Archeological Museum
in Naples, shows Aeneas in the company of Mnestheus, Achates, and young
Ascanius being attended by the
surgeon, lapis. Aeneas
supports himself with a lance in his right hand and leans with the
other on the shoulder of his son
while lapis, kneeling on one leg, is intent on
extracting the barb of an arrow with his forceps.
The remaining two pictures are both badly damaged and the subject matter unclear. One of the scenes may be of Turnus, Lavinia, and Amata while the other shows Hermaphrodite surrounded by six nymphs.
the exedra and the triclinium is a passageway which leads to a small
bakery (h) (pictured left) complete with oven. Next to the oven were
found fragments of a millstone and catallus. A narrow corridor on the
west side of the bakery leads to a secondary entrance (i) on the Vicolo dei Lupanare at door No. 46.
the atrium an andron to the north of the tablinum
leads to the peristyle and garden (j) which is porticoed on two sides.
Three steps (k) on the north side of the peristyle (in the extreme right
of the picture opposite) connect this
part of the
house with the other portion which has its entrance on the Via
Next to the impluvium was a marble table supported on two
legs which were sculpted with the images of a chimaera and a griffin. On the table
was found a little bronze group composed of Hercules armed with his club, and a young
Phrygian kneeling before him.
On the west
side of the atrium a wide doorway opened onto the peristyle (n). The
peristyle is about fourteen metres broad by eleven metres deep (pictured
left in an old sketch). The inner margins of the portico were sustained by
ten fluted columns while the walls of the portico were painted with
alternating red and yellow panels. The panels were ornamented with
figures of Latona, Diana and maenads. The rooms off the west side of the
peristyle were a triclinium (o), an oecus (p) with two pillars richly
ornamented with scrolls and foliage and, in the south west corner, a
Four skeletons were found in
the house five metres above the original
ground level. Four metres lower was a fifth skeleton. It appears likely
that these persons perished while searching for valuables after the