Previous / Next

Casa di Giuseppe II

Form of house

This house had one entrance on the south side of the street between Insulae VIII 2 and VIII 6. It had a ground-floor area of c. 850 m2, thus belonging to Wallace-Hadrill's Quartile 4 (1994:81). The house had a relatively standard front-hall/garden plan but with a terrace rather than a garden and underground rooms below the terrace.

Excavation reports

Unpublished: GdSc A,VI,3 (Jan 1883﹣Oct 1899):A,VI,3:39﹣41.

Published: Mazois 1824-1838 II:73, pl.34; Breton 1855: 336; Fiorelli 1885:535﹣39, 1886:166﹣68; PAH I,1:119, 204﹣11, 223﹣30; PAH I,2:152﹣54; Mau 1887:110﹣37; Carafa and D'Alessio 1995﹣1996.

Excavation recording

This house was first excavated intermittently between April 1767 and July 1769. Excavations were later carried out in October 1885. The earlier excavations here provided more careful documentation of the finds than those of 1826 in the last three houses. The recorders were still not particular about precise provenances, however. Because this was seen as a rich house, the recording seems a little more attentive than that of the other houses in this insula despite the earlier excavation dates. Between 1994 and 1996, excavations of the ground floor of this house below the AD 79 level were carried out by a team from La Sapienza (Rome) directed by Paolo Carafa.

Interpretation of whole house

According to Mau (1887:122), this house originally had five or six spacious cubicula and a triclinium around the front hall. Later, two or three of the cubicula had been converted into storerooms and another into a stairway. Another had a lararium niche. The triclinium had been adapted for domestic use and an upper floor had been constructed. Noack and Lehmann-Hartleben (1936:30) dated these alterations to after the Fourth Style, believing that the living area of the house had been divided into separate apartments. Although they were not able to associate these alterations directly with the AD 62 earthquake, they dated them to c. AD 65 (see Carafa and D'Alessio 1995/1996:140). While post-Fourth Style alterations were observable in the front hall, room c, room d', stairway n, room m, and rooms f' and f", white-plastered storerooms, such as rooms l and k, are frequently found around front halls (for example, the Casa di Julius Polybius, Casa del Fabbro, Casa delle Nozze d'Argento). Their presence is not necessarily a sign of changed living conditions. However, the evidence for disruption in the front hall, for possible downgrading in room c and rooms f' and f", the possibility that the entertainment area had not been functioning, and that the bath complex had gone out of use after it had been decorated in the Fourth Style, all imply a late rearrangement and downgrading of the house. Noack and Leben-Hartleben dated much of the Fourth Style decoration before AD 62, presumably on the premise that alterations to this decoration were necessitated by that earthquake. This dating cannot be verified by the material remains, however. Equally possible is that this house, as is argued for many others in this study, had constantly been altered during the last years.