Information concerning the rooms in House I 7,19

Jump to:
Entranceway u
Front hall p
Room a
Room t
Room s
Room r
Room q
Room b
Room c
Corridor o
Room d
Room m
Room m'
Area n
Ambulatory g
Garden h
Room e
Room f
Room k
Room i
Upper Levels

Entranceway u in House I 7,19

Description of room:

This narrow entranceway led from the street to front hall p to the east. The walls were decorated with a high black socle with compartments and a white upper frieze. The pavement was cocciopesto with scattered fragments of white marble (Maiuri 1929:357)

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Numerous iron fittings presumably from the door were found near the south wall. Five skeletons, some seated or crouching, were found on top of the layer of lapilli but below the level of the pavement of the upper floor. They must have climbed to this level before being killed by the next phase of the eruption, which brought the ash layer (GdSc A,VI,6:388﹣91; Pompeii photo archive negative C/1461). They had six finger rings, some gold and silver, a gold chain, eight bronze coins, and a silver cup (Maiuri 1929: Fig. 10).

Interpretations of room:

These skeletons were probably those of fugitives from the final eruption, but it is not possible to determine whether they had originated from this house, the street, or the garden of the Casa di Paquius Proculus. Their situation is reminiscent both of an equine skeleton in entranceway 03 of the Casa di Julius Polybius, which seems to have previously been on the street, and the skeletons in the Casa del Sacerdos Amandus, who, it was argued, had been the occupants of that house.


Front hall p in House I 7,19

Description of room:

The front hall (figure D. 121) was the focus of the western section of the house. It was entered from the west through entranceway u and led via corridor o in the southeast corner to the eastern section. Rooms a and t opened off its west side; rooms s, r, and q off the north side; and rooms b and c off the east side. The wall decoration was possibly in the Fourth Style and consisted of a black socle zone with garlands and yellow panels and a red central zone on the south and west walls and on the north end of the east wall. The south end of the east wall had a pink socle with white plaster above. The pavement was cocciopesto with scattered slabs of colored marble.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This front hall had a small central water-catchment pool (impluvium) furbished in marble, and a stairway led from the west side north of entranceway u. A small fluted marble column and a bronze lock were found in the impluvium.

Interpretations of room:

The remains on the jambs to room c indicate that the wall decoration might have been contemporary with that in the latter room. Maiuri noted (1929:356) that the roof of this area was being repaired and that the marble base of the impluvium had been freshly worked (1929:357). The broken column in the fountain might have once supported a basin or fountain that could have been removed either during the repair or by post-eruption intruders. Lacking the usual fittings as found in other front halls, this front hall would indeed seem to have been undergoing restoration prior to the eruption.


Room a in House I 7,19

Description of room:

Room a, a small room in the southwest corner of front hall p was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the north end of the east wall. The walls were decorated in the Fourth Style (Maiuri 1929:358), consisting of a black geometric socle zone and a white central zone of panels with blue borders and with candelabra and architectonic landscapes. The south wall also had a white lunette. The pavement was cocciopesto decorated with rows of white tesserae in the form of a carpet that divided the room into two areas.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

An imprint of a bed was found in ash along the south wall, its head to the west end (GdSc A,VI,6:467), suggesting lack of disturbance.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The bed had a bone-decorated head and two iron and wooden feet on the north side, but tufa blocks supported the back of the bed. Two guardispigoli were found near the bed head and may have been part of its fittings. A skeleton, possibly male, carrying at least four coins and possibly an amphora, was found in the southeast corner. Two silver casseruole, a silver bangle, and a small glass bottle were found near the head of the bed. The latter collection appears to have been of luxury items, possibly jewelry, and for toilet activities.

Interpretations of room:

The decoration in this room was in the Fourth Style, according to Maiuri (1929:358; see also GdSc A,VI,6:424), but in Claudian-Neronian Third Style before the earthquake of AD 62, according to Ehrhardt (1987:111﹣12). Evidently, it had been reoccupied after that decorative phase and no doubt used for sleeping. The bed seems remarkably elaborate for such a room, although notably lacking proper legs along one side. This indicates either that it had been salvaged from a grander location or that it was normal for beds to have only two presentable legs (for example, room UU in the Casa di Julius Polybius and room 43 in the Casa del Menandro).


Room t in House I 7,19

Description of room:

This relatively spacious room in the northwest corner of front hall p was accessible from it through a narrow doorway in the south end of the east wall. The decoration consisted of a black socle zone and white central zone with a yellow vertical band between red bands. On the north wall and at the north end of the west wall, the socle was overplastered with coarse pink plaster. There is no record or evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The fixtures in this room consisted of two built-in cupboards along the south wall under the stairway from the front hall. No loose finds were reported from here.

Interpretations of room:

The decoration of this room is comparable with that in rooms a, b, and c and might have been contemporary. Maiuri implied (1929:358) that the stairway had been installed after the AD 62 earthquake. He noted that this room was rather limited and humble and suggested (1929:359) that the occupants had forgotten about the cupboards under the stairs to deposit their possessions. This implies that even if this room were at least partially refurbished with coarse plaster, it had not been reoccupied.


Room s in House I 7,19

Description of room:

This small narrow room in the northwest corner of front hall p was accessible from the latter through a narrow doorway in the south wall. The walls were covered with coarse plaster (Maiuri 1929:359). There is no record or evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

According to Maiuri (1929:359), this was a storeroom. The complete dearth of remains suggests that it had not been in use as such at the time of the eruption.


Room r in House I 7,19

Description of room:

Room r was a shallow room at the center of the north side of front hall p and with the south side almost fully open onto the front hall. The walls had fine white plaster, probably unpainted. There is no record or visible evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

An imprint in the volcanic deposit indicates that a wooden bed had stood against the north wall and had been decorated with bone ornament (Maiuri 1929:359). The only other find from this room was a skeleton, reportedly of a boy, which appears to have fallen from the upper floor (see under Upper Levels). The north wall behind the bed had two beam holes 1 m above ground.

Interpretations of room:

According to Maiuri (1929:359), this was an exedra that was closed with doors and used as a bedroom in the last phases of Pompeii. A decorated bed in an undecorated room implies that the bedroom had been makeshift and possibly used while repairs were going on.


Room q in House I 7,19

Description of room:

This small narrow room, like room s, was in the northeast corner of front hall p and accessible from it through the open south side. The walls were covered with coarse plaster (Maiuri 1929:359). There is no record or evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

An imprint in the ash showed that the two doors of this room were partially open at the time of the eruption (GdSc A,VI,6:416).*

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A male skeleton was found 0.4 m above the floor of this room and appears to have fallen head first, probably from the upper floor. His head was in lapilli, and the rest of his body was in an ash strata (GdSc A,VI,6:416).

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri thought (1929:359) that this room may originally have served as a storeroom for room b. An earlier doorway in the northeast corner was blocked before the extant decoration in room b.

* These doors no longer exist.


Room b in House I 7,19

Description of room:

Room b, one of the largest rooms in this house, was in the northeast corner of front hall p and accessible from it through a narrow doorway in the south end of the west wall. The wall decoration consisted of a black socle zone with plants, a central zone of alternating red and yellow fields with central panels of architectural landscapes, and a white upper zone with architectural elements on a red background. The pavement was cocciopesto with rows of white tesserae, as room a.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

A large breach extended from the top of the east wall.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The only find reported from this room was an orderly pile of terra-cotta tiles.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri (1929:356) called this room a "grande sala tricliniare." He thought that the tiles found here had been destined to cover the impluvium in the front hall. According to Ehrhardt (1987:111﹣14), the wall decoration was in the Third Style. That on the north wall has been much destroyed, but the central panel seems to have been preserved. Maiuri believed (1929:360) that this wall had been badly damaged and almost completely destroyed in the earthquake of AD 62. The presence of building or renovation material in this room indicates that it had not been in use in a formal capacity at the time of the eruption.


Room c in House I 7,19

Description of room:

This room was in the center of the east side of front hall p. It was fully open onto the latter on its west side, and the east wall has a window overlooking courtyard n. The walls were decorated in the Third Style (GdSc A,VI,6:425; Maiuri 1929:362), consisting of a black socle with violet quadrants and garlands; a central zone with central aedicula and central panel (Hylas and the nymphs on the south wall and Aphrodite and Ares on the north wall) and yellow side fields with vignettes and ornamental borders; and a red upper zone with architectural elements and candelabra. The pavement was again in cocciopesto decorated with rows of white tesserae.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

A bronze lantern was found 1.3 m above the floor between a layer of very compact ash and one of lapilli (GdSc A,VI,6:387).

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

With the bronze lantern was found a ceramic lamp. A bronze lock plate was also found in this room.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri referred to this room as a tablinum (1929:362). The socle zone and predella of the wall decoration seem to have been a later addition to an earlier painting, the predella on the south wall possibly never completed. According to Maiuri (1929:375), the bronze lantern was hanging from the ceiling at the moment of the eruption. This does not, however, explain the presence of a ceramic lamp in the same location unless it was contained within the lantern. Alternatively, they might either have fallen from the upper floor or have been carried here by fugitives or post-eruption intruders.


Corridor o in House I 7,19

Description of room:

This relatively long corridor led from the southeast corner of front hall p to the northwest corner of ambulatory g and the eastern section of the house. Rooms d and m and a stairway to the upper story opened off the north side. The walls were furbished with fine plaster and possibly a black socle zone. The pavement was of lime mortar.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A stairway between rooms d and m led to the north. The only recorded find from this corridor was a bronze lock element, possibly from one of the adjacent doors.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Room d in House I 7,19

Description of room:

This room was in the southeast corner of front hall p and was entered from corridor o through a narrow doorway in the west end of the south wall. The wall decoration was in the Third Style, consisting of a black socle; a central zone of blue, black, and red fields with central panels (Helen and Paris on the north wall); and a white upper zone with green candelabra. The pavement was possibly lime mortar.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Two short recesses opposite each other in the north and south walls made the east wall long enough for a bed. The loose finds consisted of a coin and an amphora fragment, but whether they belonged in this room or to the floor above is unclear.

Interpretations of room:

Nothing in this room suggests it was occupied at the time of the eruption, despite the fact that it has some of the best-preserved decoration in the house. Although rooms of this type often contained little (for example, rooms 06 and 07 in the Casa del Menandro; rooms 02, 03, 09, and 12 in the Casa dell'Efebo; and rooms 01, 02, and 04 in the Casa dei Quadretti Teatrali), the discovery of beds in rooms a and r but not here implies that this room had not been used as a bedroom, at least at the time of the eruption. According to Ehrhardt (1987:57), the wall decoration is stylistically earlier than that in rooms a, b, and c.


Room m in House I 7,19

Description of room:

Room m was on the north side of corridor o and was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the center of the south wall. The walls were furbished with cocciopesto (GdSc A,VI,6:428), and the pavement was of coarse cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The plastered decoration under the stairway along the west side of this room shows that there may have been a cupboard here, accessible from within this room. In the northeast corner, a basin is fixed onto a base (figure D. 122). The only reported find was a small bronze coin.

Interpretations of room:

This seems to have been a service area to room m', but there is no evidence to indicate that it had been in use at the time of the eruption.


Room m' in House I 7,19

Description of room:

This room to the east of room m was entered from it through a narrow doorway situated towards the center of the west wall (see figure D.122). The walls were covered with a coarse pink plaster similar to that in room m, and the pavement was probably also coarse cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

There is a breach in the east wall of this room, near the northeast corner.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Most of this room was taken up with a masonry bench along the north, east, and south walls. Four truncated amphorae were stacked against the south wall.

Interpretations of room:

The bench presumably indicates that this room had been a kitchen (GdSc A,VI,6:429). The truncated amphorae could have served the same function as those found in room n of the Casa del Sacello Iliaco, which according to Della Corte, had been adapted as ovens. Even if they had been used as such, the evidence is insufficient to indicate that this area had still been a functioning kitchen at the time of the eruption. Maiuri thought (1929:367) that the truncated amphorae might have been used for carrying lime for repair work and were therefore related to the restoration witnessed in a number of parts of the house. The comparative concentration of utilitarian vessels in room i suggests that this latter room had been a temporary kitchen during the renovations and possibly until the time of the eruption.


Area n in House I 7,19

Description of room:

This open area, to the east of room c and to the north of room m, was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the east end of the south wall. The wall decoration consisted of garden paintings with a statue of Venus above a yellow latticed socle zone with a black background. The pavement and part of the wall were in cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The fixtures of this courtyard included downpipes in the southeast corner and lead pipes at the center of the east and west walls. No loose finds were recorded.

Interpretations of room:

The lead pipe in the east wall corresponds to what seems to be the representation of a fountain in the center of the decoration. The cocciopesto pavement and part of the wall were presumably for waterproofing. According to the i degli Scavi (A,VI,6:425), this courtyard was used to take water to the fountain in the impluvium in the front hall. The painted wall decoration was stylistically similar to that in garden h.


Ambulatory g in House I 7,19

Description of room:

This ambulatory ran along the north and east sides of garden h. Room e opened off its north side, and rooms f, k, and i opened off its east side. A doorway to garden 23 of the Casa dell'Efebo was in the north wall. The wall decoration consisted of a high red socle with white plaster above. The columns were painted red with white above. The pavement was of lavapesta with chips of limestone and, in the north ambulatory, scattered pieces of white marble.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

Much of the roof that covered the two ambulatories was found in situ (Maiuri 1929:367﹣8).

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This ambulatory had two stairways, a wooden one in the northeast corner, leading to the garden of the Casa dell'Efebo, and a masonry one in the southwest corner of the east branch. Beside the wooden stairway were two niches, one above the other (figure D.123). They appear to have served as cupboards, the upper one containing a small wooden casket that in turn held two statuettes (Maiuri 1929: Fig. 9) and what was possibly a statuette base. A third niche at the west end of the north ambulatory was painted (figure D.124). A stairway in the southwest corner of the east ambulatory led to the upper floor. Door fittings, including a guardispigolo, were found in the entranceway to the Casa dell'Efebo. It is difficult to ascertain whether a marble herm and an iron hook found in the lapilli originated from this area or the garden of the Casa dell'Efebo above and to the north.

Interpretations of room:

The niches in the northeast corner and their contents seem normal furnishings for a functioning garden area (see Dwyer 1982:118). Thus, apart possibly from room a, only this part of this house provides any evidence of apparently habitual occupancy.


Garden h in House I 7,19

Description of room:

Garden h (figure D.125) was in the southwest area of the eastern section of the house and was bordered on the north and east sides by ambulatory g. The south wall was decorated with a large garden painting behind a lattice fence with statues, marble basins, and chalices on pedestals. The upper zone depicted an animal hunt.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The only finds from the garden area consisted of a large dolium, which reportedly collected water (Maiuri 1929:Fig. 8), and six amphorae, four of which were truncated and filled with lime.

Interpretations of room:

According to Schefold (1957a:36), the garden painting was in early Third Style, but Michel (1980:395) dated it to the second half of the first century AD. Ehrhardt (1987) did not mention it, presumably because he took it to be in the Fourth Style. The latticework has the same dimensions as that in courtyard n, conceivably indicating that they belonged to the same decorative phase. The presence of the dolium and tap bringing water from the tub in the garden of the Casa dell'Efebo implies that this garden was functioning normally or that a provisional water supply was needed here, possibly for building activity. The amphorae seem to have been stored here (see gardens of the Casa del Fabbro, House I 10,8, Casa del Sacerdos Amandus, and Casa dell'Efebo). It is by no means certain that the lime with which such amphorae were often filled had been intended for building activities. It could have served some horticultural purpose. The location of these amphorae against the garden painting on the south wall, however, appears to have been provisional and was conceivably associated with the building activities identifed in other parts of the house. Thus, this assemblage suggests building activity in a garden area with lararium statuary in situ. This is conceivably evidence of occupation during disrupted and uncertain conditions (see the garden of House VI 15,5).


Room e in House I 7,19

Description of room:

This room was on the north side of ambulatory g and was fully open onto the latter along its south side. The east and west walls were decorated in the Third Style (GdSc A,VI,6:441; Maiuri 1929:371), consisting of a black geometric socle zone; a central zone with a white middle field with central aedicula and central panels (Heracles and Nessos on the east wall) and red side fields with a black frieze; and a white upper zone with aediculae and floral candelabra. The north wall had not been plastered, and the plaster on the east and west walls did not reach the north wall. The pavement was of limestone chips and mortar.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

Corresponding breaches in the east and west walls at approximately 1 m above the floor could indicate intruders. There is also a large breach in the north wall. The second breach in southern end of the east wall could not have penetrated the wall, as it is below ground level in the garden of the Casa dell'Efebo on the other side. This implies that this breach at least had not been made by fugitives or by inhabitants, who would have been familiar with the layout of the house, returning to collect their valuables.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Against the north wall were found remains identified as a chest (GdSc A,VI,6:439; Maiuri 1929:376). With them were found a set of iron scales, a hatchet, and a hoe. Other fittings near the east and west walls might belong to the same chest or further furniture. Three ceramic vessels and one decorated stone receptacle (Maiuri 1929:Fig. 11) were also recorded from this room. Piles of building and refurbishing material were recorded near the west wall and in the northeast corner.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri referred to this room as an exedra (1929:370), and Foss suggested that it had probably been a dining room (1994:275). The Third-Style decoration on the east and west walls is stylistically contemporary with that in rooms d and f (Ehrhardt 1987:57﹣8). The north wall appears to have been rebuilt, and thus its decoration, probably this Third-Style decoration had been cleared away, but the wall had not been plastered. On the other side of this wall, the south wall of garden 23 of the Casa dell'Efebo had been decorated with a hunt scene after this repair. Maiuri concluded (1929:371) that the north wall was being completely restored at the time of eruption. This presence of building material might confirm this, but the discovery of the furniture remains, principally against the north wall, and other domestic material, seemingly not of the type or quality to have been placed here for protection during the final eruption, suggests that any repair work ceased some time prior to the eruption and that this room had been used for storage (see room c in the Casa del Sacello Iliaco).


Room f in House I 7,19

Description of room:

This was a narrow room in the northeast corner of ambulatory g and was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway at the south end of the west wall. The west wall also had a window overlooking the garden area. The wall decoration was in the Third Style and was divided into sections such that the west section consisted of a central zone with an arched aedicula on a blue ground and black side fields and a black upper zone, and the east section consisted of a central zone with a black middle field and red side fields and a white upper zone with architectural elements. The pavement was cocciopesto decorated with rows of white tesserae.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The north wall has a short recess in the northeast corner, making the total length of the east wall 2.32 m. No loose finds were recorded here.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri referred to this room as a cubiculum (1929:372). According to Ehrhardt (1987:57﹣8), its Third-Style decoration was stylistically earlier than that of rooms a, b, and c and contemporary with that of rooms d and e. The recess suggests that it had once been used for sleeping, but there is no evidence that this had been its function at the time of the eruption. The lack of finds implies instead that it was not being used.


Room k in House I 7,19

Description of room:

This room, in the center of the east side of ambulatory g, was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the south end of the west wall. The walls were decorated with black background and green bands, but this decoration was probably in a bad state of preservation at the time of the eruption. There is no record or evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The only find from this room was a heap of refurbishing material on the floor. No other finds were recorded.

Interpretations of room:

This room was reported to have been in a state of complete rearrangement at the time of the eruption (Maiuri 1929:373; GdSc A,VI,6:441). The finds suggest that its restoration had been abandoned because of either the final eruption or some earlier change of plan.


Room i in House I 7,19

Description of room:

This room in the southeast corner of the house was entered from the south end of ambulatory g beside the stairway and through a narrow doorway in the west end of the north wall. The walls and ceiling appear to have been unfurbished. There is no record or evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This area possibly had a latrine in the southwest corner behind a transverse wall. In the southeast corner were found five large ceramic vessels, at least four of which were open vessels, possibly for washing, cooking, or preparing food; they were unlikely to have been for storage. Against the west transverse wall were two truncated amphorae filled with lime.

Interpretations of room:

According to Maiuri (1929:373), this room was a type of crypt and had once had access to the street. It was considered to have been in the course of restoration (GdSc A,VI,6:445). While the lime in the amphorae could have been used for redecoration, the other vessels were more probably for domestic use. It is therefore conceivable that any restoration activity in this room had been abandoned prior to the eruption, and that the room subsequently performed a utilitarian domestic function.


Upper Levels in House I 7,19

Description of room:

Stairways off the west side of front hall p, leading north from corridor o and at the south end of ambulatory g, indicate that upper-story rooms had been accessible from this house.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Furniture or door fittings and a loom weight, recorded from above the southern part of the garden of the Casa dell'Efebo, were possibly from rooms above room e or above rooms f and k. Other finds were probably from above rooms on the north and east sides of front hall p. They included two skeletons. One was reported to have been that of a young boy who had been carrying a wooden box and a wicker basket (Maiuri 1929:Fig. 2). One bronze coin was found in the lapilli above the front hall, and another in room n.

Interpretations of room:

Very little from the upper levels of this house suggests it had been occupied prior to the eruption. The skeletons might indicate that the house was occupied, but as the boy seems to have been carrying his possessions or provisions, they had probably been refugees sheltering or trying to escape through the upper floor when they were killed. Maiuri suggested (1929:359﹣60) that the boy was perhaps the son of a servant from the Casa di Paquius Proculus