Information concerning the rooms in Casa del Principe di Napoli

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Entranceway b
Front hall d
Room a
Room c
Room e
Room f
Room g
Room h
Ambulatory l
Garden n
Room i
Stairway p
Room k
Room m
Room o
Upper Levels

Entranceway b in Casa del Principe di Napoli

Description of room:

This was the main entranceway leading from the street to the east of this insula to front hall d. The walls were decorated in the Fourth Style (Strocka 1984a:36, Fig. 55), consisting of a black socle zone, a central zone of black fields separated by candelabra, and a white upper zone with imitation ashlar blocks delineated in gray and white. The pavement was in gray cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The entranceway walls had three breaches, all towards the east end: one in the north wall and two in the south wall.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

Strocka noted (1984a:36) that the decoration of the entranceway was similar to that in the front hall.


Front hall d in Casa del Principe di Napoli

Description of room:

Front hall d (figure D.172) was entered from entranceway b from the east and provided access to the garden area to the south. Rooms a and c opened off its east side and rooms e and g off its west side. The walls were decorated in a simple Fourth Style, consisting of a black socle zone, a red central zone, and a white upper zone imitating ashlar blocks delineated in gray and white (Strocka 1984a: Figs. 62﹣63, 65﹣66). The north wall above the stairway in the northeast corner was furbished with pink plaster. The pavement was in cocciopesto decorated with rows of white tesserae.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The central water-catchment pool (impluvium) was furbished in marble (Strocka 1984a:Fig. 61), and a marble table stood to the west of it. In the southwest corner were found two small ceramic vases, the base of a terra sigillata vase, one amphora, and two glass storage flasks. Other unlocated finds included nine inscribed amphorae, a ceramic bowl, two bronze basins, two bronze buckets, a bronze forma di pasticceria, a bronze casseruola, ten glass storage flasks of varying sizes, a lead vase, a small cylindrical bronze container, a bronze buckle, and a small lead weight with an iron handle. A wooden stairway led from the northeast corner of the front hall along the north wall of room a.

Interpretations of room:

Mau noted (1898:34) that there was no puteal over the cistern mouth. The finds from the front hall suggested to Strocka (1984a:46) that it was not representative of this room type. Although such a high proportion of amphorae and glass storage flasks is uncommon, the types of finds recorded here were in fact found in a number of other front halls in this study. Perhaps more bulk storage had been carried out in this front hall than in others. Such storage may have been the result of changed circumstances or symptomatic of a smaller house with less storage space. Strocka observed (1984a:46) that the marble table had been crudely repaired and attributed this to the straitened circumstances of the owner after the AD 62 earthquake.


Room a in Casa del Principe di Napoli

Description of room:

Room a was in the northeast corner of the front hall and was entered from it through a narrow doorway at the south end of the west wall (Strocka 1984a:Fig. 58). The walls were furbished with coarse gray plaster (Strocka 1984a:21). The pavement was of lime mortar.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

This room had a breach at the east end of the north wall and one towards the east end of the south wall.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A wooden stairway led from the front hall along the north wall. Loose finds included a ceramic jug, vase, and small plate; two glass storage flasks; a bronze lamp-stand and part of another lamp-stand; a lead weight, probably for a loom; a ceramic lamp; and five bronze coins (Strocka 1984a:21).

Interpretations of room:

Strocka suggested (1984a:46) that this had been a room for a slave who served as an ostiarius and that a mezzanine floor might have provided space for more slaves. Whether or not this room had been inhabited by slaves, the finds-especially glass containers-suggest that this room had been used for storage, possibly of consumables.


Room c in Casa del Principe di Napoli

Description of room:

This room in the southeast corner of the front hall was entered from it through a narrow doorway at the north end of the west wall. The south wall was coarsely plastered. The socle and central zones of the other walls were decorated in the Fourth Style, consisting of a black speckled socle zone and a white central zone with vignettes of swans and goats. The upper zone had denticulated cornices and unpainted white plaster (Strocka 1984a: Figs. 52﹣54, 56﹣57). The pavement was cocciopesto ornamented with scattered white marble tesserae.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

This room also had two breaches in the north wall and one in the south, all towards the east end. The dispersal of the bones of a skeleton found here (GdSc A,VI,3:210) suggests that it had been disturbed some time after its volcanic burial and subsequent decay.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

At the east end of the north wall is a recess (figure D.173). The loose finds included a bronze instrument, reportedly surgical; a bronze herm; a small bronze bell with an iron hammer; two cylindrical bone pieces; a bone spindle; two pyramidal lead weights, probably from a loom; and a skeleton.

Interpretations of room:

This room was identified as a cubiculum by Mau (1898:33), who noted that the coarse plaster on the south wall was later than the Fourth-Style decoration on the other walls. For this reason and because of stylistic similarities with room f, Strocka (1984a:36) dated the decoration prior to AD 62 (see also Archer 1990:104). The presence of a bed recess indicated to Strocka (1984a:46) that this had been a bedroom. He suggested that it was probably for a family member. He also commented that the few finds were not characteristic. In general, they are similar to those found in room a, but a bronze herm and a bronze bell seem improbable finds for a bedroom. This assemblage does not appear to have been of the type that would have been moved to safety during the eruption. It is conceivable they had been salvaged pieces, possibly stored here during other disrupted circumstances (see room D in the Casa degli Amorini Dorati) after the Fourth-Style decoration had been coarsely repaired.


Room e in Casa del Principe di Napoli

Description of room:

This room in the southwest corner of the front hall was open onto it for its entire east side. The walls were decorated in the Fourth Style, consisting of a black socle zone with birds and plants; a central zone with white fields with ornamental borders, small panels, and vignettes and separated by architecture; and a white lunette with sea creatures (Strocka 1984a: Figs. 75﹣83). The pavement was in cocciopesto with fragments of travertine and lava.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The finds in this room included a large iron brazier, a bronze cooking pot, two bronze jugs, and a bronze ring, reportedly a finger ring.

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:34), this had been a small dining room. Strocka (1984a:22) identified it as a tablinum because it was fully open to the front hall. The few finds suggest that it had been used for cooking. So far in this study, such braziers have generally been found in garden areas, frequently in close proximity to dining areas.


Room f in Casa del Principe di Napoli

Description of room:

This room on the west side of room e was entered from it through a narrow doorway in the south end of the east wall. It had a large window in the south wall overlooking garden n. The walls were decorated in the Fourth Style similar to that in room e, with a black socle zone with plants, a white central zone with ornamental borders and vignettes of animals and birds, a white lunette with birds, and a white ceiling decoration with panels and decorative motifs (Strocka 1984a:Figs. 88﹣89, 133). The pavement was cocciopesto as in room e.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

This room had a breach towards the north end of the west wall.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

Because of the vaulted and painted ceiling, Mau (1898:34) identified this room as a small bedroom. Strocka concluded (1984a:46) that it had been the bedroom of the owner of the house. This is no indication that it had been in use at the time of the eruption.The lack of finds here contrasts strongly with room c, which was also identified as a bedroom.


Room g in Casa del Principe di Napoli

Description of room:

This room in the northwest corner of front hall d was entered from it through a narrow doorway in the center of the east wall. The south wall was coarsely plastered but on the north wall, above the hearth, red unpainted plaster had been used for repair work, in a rectangular section around the niche (Strocka 1984a:21). The pavement was of beaten earth.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Against the north wall of this room to the west end was a masonry bench (figure D.174). Above it was a semicircular niche. In the northeast corner was a latrine to which was connected a terra-cotta downpipe from the floor above. A wooden stairway led from the southeast corner along the south wall. Loose finds included four small glass bottles; a glass cup; two ceramic vases; an amphora; a bronze instrument, reportedly surgical; a bronze lock; a bronze ring handle; and bronze lock plate.

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:34), this had been the kitchen. The finds seem rather uncharacteristic for a functioning kitchen. They are reminiscent of many upper-floor assemblages (see the Casa del Fabbro, Casa del Sacello Iliaco). If they had fallen from the upper floor, then no actual finds belonging to the kitchen proper were recorded.


Room h in Casa del Principe di Napoli

Description of room:

This room in the northwest corner of the house was entered from room g through a doorway in the center of the east wall. Strocka (1984a:22) recorded only the remains of coarse plaster on the walls of this room. The pavement was of beaten earth.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

This room has a breach at the south end of the west wall.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The finds from this room included a bronze boss and a bronze hook; two bronze basins, one elliptical; two bronze casseruole; a bronze handled vase; three ceramic jugs; an amphora; a ceramic vase; a ceramic basin containing a fatty substance; two small ceramic plates, one terra sigillata; a small glass bottle; an iron axe; a ceramic lamp; a shell; chicken and sheep bones; and a bronze coin.

Interpretations of room:

Strocka (1984a:22) identified this room as a pantry. The finds seem to have been suitable for use in the kitchen area (see room N in the Casa della Ara Massima). The presence of animal bones suggests that food had been stored in this room and that the house had been occupied at the time of the eruption.


Ambulatory l in Casa del Principe di Napoli

Description of room:

Ambulatory l (figure D. 175) had a colonnade on the west side and ran along the east side of garden n. It was entered from front hall d through a narrow doorway at the west end of the north wall. Rooms i and k opened off the east side and rooms m and o off the south side. The walls were decorated in the Fourth Style, consisting of a black socle zone with a simple geometric design, a central zone of white fields with ornamental borders and small panels of birds and separated by yellow candelabra, and an upper zone with ornamental bands and garlands (Strocka 1984a: Figs. 91, 95). The pavement was in coarse cocciopesto with chips of limestone.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

At the north end of this ambulatory were found an amphora; a bronze bucket; a bronze padella; two bronze handles from a cooking pot; and a marble pestle and mortar. Another bronze padella and a small bronze lid were found at the south end.

Interpretations of room:

The finds in this area seem rather utilitarian domestic, suggesting that this area was used for domestic storage (see the garden areas in the Casa del Menandro, Casa del Fabbro, Casa degli Amanti, and Casa di Julius Polybius).


Garden n in Casa del Principe di Napoli

Description of room:

Garden n (figure D.176) was in the southwest area of the house and could be entered from ambulatory l through the north end of the colonnade. The walls were furbished with fine pink plaster (Strocka 1984a:31).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Against the west wall of the garden was a large painted lararium aedicula (Strocka 1984a:31, Fig. 156).* In the northeast corner a terra-cotta puteal stood over the cistern mouth (Strocka 1984a:31, Fig. 127). On the south side were found a bronze patera and a bronze vase. Fragments of a marble table with feline legs (Sogliano 1897: Figs. 130﹣31) and an inscribed amphora were also found in this garden.

Interpretations of room:

Strocka concluded (1984a:46) that this garden was probably not heavily planted. With the exception of the two bronze vessels, the finds seem typical of garden areas.

*The polished stone that sits in this aedicula today is not mentioned in the reports.


Room i in Casa del Principe di Napoli

Description of room:

Room i was on the east side of ambulatory l at the north end. It was entered from the latter through a wide doorway in the center of the west wall. The walls were all furbished in coarse plaster with a high socle in fine pink plaster on the south and east walls (Strocka 1984a:25, Figs. 98﹣101). The pavement was gray mortar.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Fifty-four pyramidal lead weights reportedly from a loom were found under the stairway in the northwest corner of this room (figure D.177).

Interpretations of room:

This room was separated from room p by a thin timber-framed wall. Strocka suggested (1984a:46) that the latter had been a workshop and that the street entrance had been walled up in the last phase. A comparable number of lead weights was found in House I 10,8, and lead and ceramic weights in House VI 16,26, a number that, in each case, might be required for one to two looms. A loom had probably been stored away in a cupboard under the stairs leading from room p; on the other hand, it could have been used in this position, or loom weights alone stored here. However, this cupboard, which was c. 1.7 m in length, does not seem big enough for a warp-weighted loom (see Wild 1970:61). It is conceivable that the weights had been replacements or stored here for recycling.


Stairway p in Casa del Principe di Napoli

Description of room:

This small area was in the northeast corner of room i and provided access from the street to the upper story of this house but was only flimsily partitioned from room i. The walls were furbished with coarse plaster (Strocka 1984a:25).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This area was taken up with a stairway.

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:36), the stairway led directly from the street to rooms above rooms i, k, l, and m. No loose finds were reported here.


Room k in Casa del Principe di Napoli

Description of room:

Room k in the southeast corner of the house was the largest closed room in the house. It was entered from ambulatory l through a relatively wide doorway towards the north end of the west wall. The west, north, and east walls and part of the south wall were decorated in the Fourth Style, consisting of a dark red socle zone with ornamental bands, garlands, and plants; a central zone of white fields with ornamental borders, central panels (Perseus and Andromeda, Adonis and Aphrodite) and floating cupids, separated by yellow candelabra; and a white upper zone with ornamental bands, twisted candelabra, garlands, and animals (Strocka 1984a: Figs. 103﹣5, 142, 144﹣45). The rest of the south wall had coarse gray plaster (Strocka 1984a:Fig. 102; figure D.178). The pavement was of cocciopesto with an emblema of opus sectile in rectangles, squares, and triangles of colored marble 1.3 m from the west wall, 1.5 m from the north wall, 1.4 m from the east wall, and 1.45 m from the south wall (Strocka 1984a:Fig. 155).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

From this room were recorded a two-handled bronze basin decorated with silver, a bronze fruttiera, three bronze vases with handles, a bronze shell-shaped forma di pasticceria, two bronze lamps, bronze chains for suspending these lamps or as part of chest fittings, six ring handles, one bronze spindle, and a lead weight.

Interpretations of room:

Mau (1898:36) identified this room as a dining room. He concluded (1898:37) that the south wall had undoubtedly been damaged by the AD 62 earthquake and later furbished with rough plaster (see also Strocka 1984a:35﹣36; Archer 1990:104). It is uncertain whether the vessels found in this room related to dining. They consist predominantly of basins and jugs as well as a forma di pasticceria, as in room EE in the Casa di Julius Polybius. Strocka (1984a:46) suggested that the fittings were from couches or other furniture but the ring handles must have been from a chest or a cupboard. If the chains were not from the lamps, then they were also possibly chest fittings, as those found in the front hall of the Casa dei Ceii. Thus, this room had no evidence of beds or couches. The storage of chests in such a room is reminiscent of room 11 in the Casa del Menandro, room e in House I 7,19, and room 12 in the Casa di M. Lucretius Fronto.


Room m in Casa del Principe di Napoli

Description of room:

This small room at the south end of ambulatory l was fully open onto the latter along its north side. The walls were decorated in the Fourth Style, consisting of a dark red socle zone with ornamental bands and garlands and a white central zone with large central figures (Venus and Bacchus) flanked by architecture (Strocka 1984a: Figs. 106﹣8, 118﹣19, 158). The pavement was the same coarse cocciopesto as ambulatory l.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This small room contained: a small bronze bottle, an elliptical forma di pasticceria, a small glass amphora, two fluted ceramic jars, and ceramic beaker, two bone probes, and two bone spindles.

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:36), this had been a summer cubiculum. Strocka (1984a:47) referred to it as an exedra and noted that it had space for a single bed. The finds might allude to toilet activities and possibly needlework. These would not seem commensurate with a room appended to room k for resting after dining but might indicate a type of boudoir similar to room 11 in the Casa dell'Efebo.


Room o in Casa del Principe di Napoli

Description of room:

This was a very small space to the south of ambulatory l between rooms k and m. The walls had a simple Fourth-Style decoration, consisting of a black socle zone and a white central zone with twisted yellow candelabra and ornamental bands between red lines. The pavement was coarse cocciopesto as in ambulatory l and room m.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

This wall decoration is similar to and no doubt contemporary with that of ambulatory l. Strocka (1984a:46) identified this room as a storage area closed off with a curtain. The lack of finds here but their abundance in the surrounding rooms does not indicate its use as such during the final occupancy.


Upper Levels in Casa del Principe di Napoli

Description of room:

The stairways from the northeast corner of the front hall and from area p indicate that this house probably had an upper story.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

In the upper levels of the volcanic deposit at the north end of the house were found an amphora and part of a lance. In the upper levels to the south of the house the following finds were reported: a small bronze hinge; five small glass bottles; a bronze instrument, reportedly surgical; and a bronze amulet with the figure of Fortuna. From the volcanic deposit were recorded two bronze casseruola, the base of a terra sigillata cup, reportedly bronze blinkers, a bronze mirror and the handle of another, a bronze inkpot, and a ceramic lamp. Six coins lacking precise provenances were probably from this house.

Interpretations of room:

Mau noted (1898:33) that there was a mezzanine above room a, and then an upper floor consisting of rooms above the entranceway and rooms a and c, to which the stairway in the front hall led. He also reported (1898:34, 36) rooms above e and f, and others above rooms i, k, l, and m. He observed that those above rooms i and k made up a small two-roomed flat, presumably with a separate entrance from area p. In total, few finds were recorded from the upper levels of the volcanic deposit. They were mostly small personal items and as such were typical of finds from the upper levels of other houses.