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Casa dei Quadretti Teatrali

Form of house

This house lies on the south side of the Via dell'Abbondanza and had only one entrance from the street, although a narrow doorway led from the garden area to House I 6,8-9. It is a medium-sized house for this sample, with a ground-floor area of c. 575 m2, belonging to Wallace-Hadrill's Quartile 4 (1994:81). It has a regular front-hall/garden plan. Because this house has its own access to the Via dell'Abbondanza and because it is architecturally independent from House I 6,8-9, it is treated separately here. Their apparent amalgamation will be dealt with in the section on House I 6,8-9.

Excavation reports

Unpublished: GdSc A,VI,6 (May 1912﹣March 1929):25﹣31; 478﹣522 passim.

Published: Della Corte 1912:246; Maiuri 1929:404﹣27.

Excavation recording

The street front of this house was excavated in June 1912, but the excavations of the whole house were not completed until 1927. The recording methods are comparable to those of the houses in the Insula del Menandro.

Interpretation of whole house

This house was named the Casa di P. Casca Longus from the inscription on marble table legs found in garden i of House I 6, 8-9 (see PPM I:369). Excavators assumed that this was a cartibulum and therefore stood at the end of the impluvium in the atrium (see Allison 1999b:61﹣62). They concluded that the table was too grand for House I 6, 8-9 and must therefore have been from this house. Thus, associations of this house with a P. Casca Longus are unsubstantiated (see Allison 1992b:52).

De Vos suggested (PPM I:361﹣62) that because of the quantities of bronze objects in the front hall and the finds in shops I 6,10 and I 6,12 (Maiuri 1929:400﹣4, 427﹣30), this house had been involved in some type of metallurgy business like the latter shops. However, the amount of finds in the front hall seems usual (see the Casa della Venere in Bikini and Casa del Fabbro), and the shops had been deliberately separated from the house before the final eruption.

The lack of skeletal remains suggests that, even if this house had been inhabited up until the time of the eruption, the occupants had managed to escape from the house before the city was completely devastated. The complete absence of material in the kitchen and apparent lack of activity in the rear of the house imply that this house was at most only partially functional at the time of the eruption. Perhaps some disruption other than the final eruption caused reduced living conditions or even abandonment. Most of the finds were from the entranceway, front hall, room 06, and room 10. The first two areas appear to have finished decoration, that in the front hall having been restored. Room 06 was unplastered, and the walls of room 10 were reported as unadorned. Placing furniture in these rooms with unplastered walls (in room 06 at least) implies that any attempt to redecorate them had been abandoned.

Maiuri seems to have been slightly confused about the dating of the decoration. He originally stated that the house was being decorated in the Fourth Style when disaster hit. He found the decoration in the entranceway, the front hall, rooms 01 to 05, and in ambulatory 13 contemporary. He later argued (1942:146) that the house had just been decorated in the Third Style when the AD 62 earthquake had damaged the structure and decoration. This might account for the repair on the west wall and the ruinous state of the garden area. It also means that the access to shop m' had been closed before the earthquake but that shop m was still accessible from the house. Access to shop m from the front hall had been cut off, but the doorway through room 01 was still open. Hence, the decision to block off the second doorway and the shop must have been at a later stage. It would also mean that the furniture had been replaced after the completed repair of the decoration in the front hall. Furniture placed against undecorated walls in room 06 indicates that any intention to redecorate this space had been abandoned. This change of plan is inconsistent with that of the painted repair in the front hall. Perhaps another disruption following that which initiated the repair and redecoration caused this redecoration to be modified or abandoned.