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House of Gavius Rufus

Description of the House (Reg VII, Ins 2, 16)

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Opening off the north east corner of the peristyle is a large oecus (h). The oecus (pictured below) is better preserved than the atrium and the remaining plasterwork allows a basic description of the decoration which consisted of alternating red and yellow panels on a white ground above a lower black frieze. The room has a secondary doorway in its south west corner connecting it to the south end of the atrium.
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Of the rooms on the east side of the peristyle, oecus (i) is the best preserved. The room is
decorated in the second style in an illusionary style incorporating painted columns on a low wall set against a dark red ground (pictured opposite). There are remnants of a decorative floor with a geometric pattern picked out in white marble chips.

Off the south east corner of the peristyle is the service area including the kitchen (j). The nearby area (k) appears to have been unroofed with evidence of garden paintings on the walls.

In the centre of the south side of the peristyle is a large exedra (l) (pictured below). The exedra is decorated in the third style with red and yellow panels together with architectural views above a lower black frieze. In the centre of each wall is a large mythological scene.

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The scene on the west wall is of the Wedding of Pirithous and Hippodamia (pictured right). (During the wedding the centaurs attempted to abduct Hippodamia). The exedra had a fine black and white mosaic floor in a geometric pattern framed with a black border. The mosaic floor has been removed but is currently on display on trestles in the exedra (lower right).

There are no rooms of the west side of the peristyle. However, there is a painted lararium (m) set in a niche (pictured below). The lower part of the decoration of the lararium consists of bands of red, green and yellow. The rest of the decoration has badly faded but was set against a white ground. The lararium was originally enclosed by two wooden doors. On the ground in front of the lararium were found a small collection of bronze statuettes including those of Apollo, Minerva and Fortuna.
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The House of Gavius Rufus lies on the Vicolo dei Panettiere, a narrow street which joins the Vicolo Storto with the Via Stabiana. The house was excavated in 1867 and derives its name from two inscriptions found on either side of the entrance (pictured left). The facade retains remnants of red plasterwork.
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The fauces (a), which opens off the south side of the
Vicolo dei Panettiere, has lost most of its decoration, the remaining remnants being too weathered to allow a realistic description. On the east side of the fauces a narrow door gives access to the porters room (b) and beyond it, the stables (c).

The fauces opens onto a fairly small atrium (d) (pictured opposite) which has a marble lined impluvium at its centre. Like the fauces, the atrium has lost most of its plasterwork leaving only a few faded remnants.

With the exception of a small cubiculum (e) off the north west corner of the atrium, all other rooms in the house open off the peristyle (pictured below) which is reached by way of a wide doorway on the south side of the atrium.
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Along the east side of the peristyle is a range of rooms increasing in size from north to south. In the main these rooms are in a poor condition, being semi-ruinous with little in the way of remaining decoration.
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The scene on the south wall is of the Contest between Venus and Herperus with Apollo sitting in judgement (pictured above). On the east wall the scene depicts Theseus being honoured by the Athenians after defeating the Minotaur (pictured opposite).
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A large triclinium (n) opens off the north west corner of the peristyle. The triclinium (pictured left) is decorated in the third style with dark red panels with delicate borders on a white ground above a lower black frieze. The upper zone is much faded but appears to contain a colourful frieze (pictured above).


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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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