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Casa di Stallius Eros

Form of house

This house is on the north side of the street between Insulae I 6 and I 10. It had an entrance from the street to the ground floor areas and another (I 6,14) to the upper story (Maiuri 1929: Fig. 43). It was a relatively small house for the sample, with a ground floor area of c. 300 m2, belonging to Wallace-Hadrill's Quartile 3 (1994:81). It had a relatively standard front-hall/garden plan with rooms to one side of the front hall only.

Excavation reports

Unpublished: GdSc A,VI,6 (May 1912﹣March 1929):463﹣81 passim.

Published: Maiuri 1929:430﹣36.

Excavation recording

This house was excavated between January and March 1927. The standard of excavation and recording was comparable to House I 6,8-9 and the Casa dei Quadretti Teatrali. Little attention seems to have been paid to the condition of the deposit, but the lack of mention of mixed deposit and the clear stratigraphy in the front hall suggests that the house was relatively undisturbed after the eruption.

Interpretation of whole house

With the exception of room 09, the house has no obvious signs of breaches in the walls or disturbances, but the northwest area is poorly preserved. The remains of decorated cocciopesto pavements and of some of the wall paintings indicate that this house had once been quite lavishly furbished. According to Maiuri (1929:394﹣95, 430), it was a complete ruin, reduced to an accumulation of rubble, before the final eruption. He concluded that the large pile of sand in the rooms around the front hall rendered this house uninhabitable and indicated that it had been adapted as a private storage area for building material. The rubble in the front hall would have rendered the rear of the house inaccessible. The coins found in this material have been used to date the demolition to AD 62 (or AD 63), although it was also noted that some of the Neronian coins could have had a date of AD 65 (Maiuri 1929:436).

While the datable coins found in this rubble offer only a terminus post quem of AD 65 for this damage, they cluster around AD 62 to 65, implying that this collapse occurred after AD 65 but some time before AD 79. The building material found throughout the house suggests that it had already been abandoned or barely inhabited before this material was deposited in the front hall. If, as Maiuri argued, the house had collapsed before the eruption, then it must already have suffered one or more previous disruptions. These would seem to have caused a rustic semicircular hearth to be built in the front hall; the garden to be reduced to a more utilitarian and less formal function after it had been decorated in the Fourth Style; elements of architectural decoration to be stored in room 09; sand to be stored in room 05; and lime to be stored in room 07.

If it could be argued that the coins provided evidence for attributing the collapse in the front hall to damage caused by the AD 62 earthquake, then the house would already have been transformed and have been undergoing an apparent downgrading that perhaps altered the upper-story apartments, before this collapse but after the garden had been decorated in the Fourth Style. This regressive economic, architectural, and decorative state has traditionally been placed in the period AD 62 to 79 (Richardson 1988a:309; Zanker 1995:133﹣40). Perhaps, based on the evidence of an AD 65 coin, the house had collapsed and been abandoned at some interim stage between the earthquake of AD 62 and the eruption of AD 79.*

* Foss's statement (1994:233) that many of the scattered finds were made "in rooms along the street" is inaccurate.