Information concerning the rooms in Casa del Menandro

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Entranceway a
Front hall b
Room 01
Room 02
Room 03
Room 04
Room 05
Room 06
Room 07
Room 08
Corridor 09
Room 10
Garden c
Room 11
Room 12
Room 13
Room 14
Room 15
Corridor 16
Room 17
Room 18
Room 19
Room 21
Room 22
Room 23
Room 24
Room 25
Room 46
Room 47
Room 48
Room 49
Rooms 46 to 49
Corridor 53
Corridor 51
Room 52
Room 54
Garden 50
Room A
Room B
Room C
Room D
Corridor L
Room 20
Room 20b
Room 20a
Courtyard 34
Room 29
Room 31
Room 32
Room 33
Room 35
Room 36
Room 37
Room 38
Room 39
Area 40
Entranceway I 10,16
Hall 41
Room 42
Room 43
Courtyard 44
Room 45
Upper Levels

Entranceway a in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This entranceway was in the northernmost part of the house and led from the south side of the street between Insulae I 10 and I 6 into the front hall. The walls were painted in the Fourth Style, consisting of a black socle zone with plants, a black central zone with animals, and a white upper zone with ornamental borders (Ling 1997:265). The pavement was in lavapesta.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

To either side of this entranceway were fixed masonry seats (figure D.23). No other finds were recorded from this entranceway.

Interpretations of room:

Some scholars (for example, Leach 1993:23) assumed that seats such as those outside this entranceway were intended for waiting clients.


Front hall b in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

The front hall (figure D.24) was entered from the north and led to garden c to the south. Rooms 01 and 02 opened off its north side; rooms 05, 06, and 07 off its west side; rooms 03 and 04 off its east side; and room 08 and corridor 09 off its south side. The walls were decorated in the Fourth Style, consisting of a black socle zone with vegetal motifs, medallions and ornamental bands; a central zone with red fields surrounded by yellow and with ornamental borders, small central panels and medallions; and an upper zone with Nilotic and marine landscapes. The pavement was in lavapesta (Ling 1997:265).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The only possible and currently visible sign of intrusion is a small breach towards the south end of the east wall, but this seems too small to have been made by looters.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The front hall had a central water-catchment pool (impluvium) possibly furbished in marble (Ling 1997: Pl. 22).* In the northwest corner was an aedicula painted in the Fourth Style with imitation marble (Maiuri 1933: Figs. 8, 15; Ling 1997: Pl. 24) (figure D.25). The excavators reconstructed a wooden lattice in its upper section with a plaster cast. At least 102 bronze bosses decorated this latticed part. Most of the movable finds in this courtyard were from the south side. These consisted of a small ceramic amphora, two ceramic lamps, bronze and iron fittings for either doors or furniture, and bone fragments, probably from a piece of furniture. In the southwest corner a large bronze basin (figure D.26) and a bronze patera were found.

*The extant marble revetment has been restored after excavation (see Pompeii photo archive negative C/1897).

Interpretations of room:

According to Maiuri (1933:36), the aedicula in the northwest corner was constructed after the last decoration of the front hall. He noted, however, that this decoration was of fresh and well-preserved Fourth Style executed after the last transformation of the house (Maiuri 1933:28; see also Ling 1997).* The lararium in room 25, although also decorated in Fourth-Style imitation marble, is stylistically very different from this one. This could be the result of either function or chronology.

Contrary to the traditional expectation (for example, Dwyer 1982:114, 127), no statuettes of Lares or other divinities were found in the aedicula (Maiuri 1933:34). Maiuri concluded therefore that these must have been made of wood. If so, then the excavators, who made a cast of the wooden lattice, would presumably have also observed these seemingly more precious statuettes inside the aedicula. In House I 7,19, as in room 25 of this house, the excavators made casts of such sculptures. Any statuettes from this lararium had probably been removed before or during the eruption.

In general, the quantity of movable finds in this front hall appears minimal (compare those in front hall 02 in the Casa della Venere in Bikini). Maiuri commented (1933:428﹣29) that a bronze labrum was found in the southwest corner without any sign of the necessary podium in the house (Pompeii photo archive negatives A/2145 and C/2147). The lack of a support for the labrum suggests that, if the basin was intended to stand on a base in this front hall, then either the base was never installed or the basin was in position only at some earlier period.† Such a base must have been removed and the basin placed in this corner prior to the eruption. If a basin were habitually part of the furnishings of a fully functioning front hall, then the furnishings of this front hall had been rearranged prior to the eruption.

Maiuri also commented on the lack of a traditional cartibulum, which was reputed to have stood near the impluvium in the atrium (Daremberg and Saglio I:929; Mau 1899:248﹣49; compare Allison 1999b:61﹣62). Lack of a cartibulum (if indeed it were necessary) and of statuettes in the aedicula add weight to the view that the front hall was not furbished as expected. Thus, the distribution of contents suggests that this front hall was not operating as intended prior to the eruption. If Maiuri is correct about the relationship of the aedicula to the decoration, there would have been two phases of activity after it was decorated in the Fourth Style: the erection of the aedicula and presumably its use; then the removal of the statuettes. In any event, the distribution of the finds indicates that activity went on here after the decoration was complete but that this front hall had not been functioning as a traditional atrium.

*Ward-Perkins and Claridge (1980: No. 88) argued that the decoration was in the early Fourth Style, dating to before AD 62.

†The base depicted in PPM II:242, Fig. 2 is modern.


Room 01 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This small narrow room was to the northeast of front hall b. A narrow doorway in the front hall's south wall led into it. The walls were furbished in white plaster with a pink socle (Ling 1997:266). The pavement was white lime mortar. Beam holes in the north and south walls, approximately 2.3 m above the floor, might have been for a mezzanine.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

There is a possible breach in the east wall of this room that is visible only from room 03.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The finds from this room has no specific provenances. They included a broken bronze pot (casseruola), an iron lock (that might have fallen from the upper floor because it was discovered at an earlier excavation stage than the other pieces), an iron key, a bone needle, bone dice, a large bone pin, a boar's tooth, two ceramic lamps, glass beads and counters, two bronze rods, and a bronze handle.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri (1933:36) referred to this room as a cella ostiaria (see also Ling 1997:138), presumably because of its location and unpainted walls, although Ling also suggested (1997:265) that it might have been a cubiculum. The finds, however, do not provide any precise evidence of such functions. They are all quite small, delicate, and primarily concerned with lighting, leisure, or possibly cloth working. They suggest instead that, prior to the eruption, this room was used as a storage area for materials, some probably associated with women's activities.


Room 02 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This small room in the northwest corner of front hall b was entered through a narrow doorway in the south wall. The walls were coarsely plastered, and the pavement was in lavapesta (Ling 1997:266).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This room had a stairway along the east, north, and west walls under which was a series of niches (Mauiri 1933:Fig. 16; Ling 1997: Pl. 25) (figure D.27). Remains of three locks and up to sixteen ceramic dishes were found under this stairway. The dishes were probably inside one of these niches (figure D.28). Evidence of burning on some of them (D.29) suggests that they were used for heating or cooking.

Interpretations of room:

Ling (1997:135) thought that this room was a cubiculum that later became a passageway to the upper floor and contained shrines (1997:136). It is difficult to ascertain whether plates were stored in this cupboard habitually and is for how long. If this was their usual storage area, then they were may have rahter been used for serving and heating food, than for oven or hearth cooking,* because they are a long way from any identifiable cooking area. They were unlikely to have been used in the fornello of room 03 because of the cooking methods for which these vessels were best suited (see Cubberly et al. 1988:98﹣102). It is conceivably that these dishes held offerings in what Maiuri identified as shrines but the lock remains suggests that they were more likely to have been stored here.

*See similar dishes on a kitchen hearth in the Casa dei Cervi, Herculaneum (Maiuri 1958:311, Fig. 244).


Room 03 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This was a long narrow room in the northeast corner of front hall b. It was entered from that hall through a narrow door in the south end of its west wall or another in the west end of the south wall. The walls were decorated in early Fourth Style (Ling 1995:201) consisting of a black socle zone, a central zone of black fields with ornamental borders separated by red ornamental bands, and a black upper zone with pavilions and decorative elements (Ling 1997:266). The pavement was of mortar with black and white tesserae and chips of colored stones (Ling 1997:266).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

There is a large breach at floor level at the north end of the east wall of this room. The north end of the west wall might contain a breach.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The only definite evidence of activity on the pavement was a masonry structure against the south wall (figure D.30), with obsidian inside and beside it and small bronze and iron lock fragments. The loose finds (four bronze studs, glass and ceramic vessels, a faience melon bead, a ceramic lamp, and a bronze ring) could possibly have fallen from the upper floor. The discovery of a single necklace bead here and one in the next door room hints that this material either fell across the wall from the upper floor or was carried through by post-eruption intruders.

Interpretations of room:

The description (GdSc A,VI,6:562) of the bronze and iron lock pieces as small suggests that they were from a container to which the bronze studs and possibly a bronze ring might also have belonged. Perhaps the vessels, lamp, and bead were also from this container. The reason for the presence of obsidian is unclear. Renfrew et al. commented (1965:225) on its value to the Greeks as a semi-precious stone suitable for mirrors and exotic ornaments, but the Romans also might have used it for making mosaic pavements

Maiuri (1933:38) referred to the masonry structure as a rustic fornello of the type used to heat baths. He thought it was probably utilized in restoration work and that the room had been transformed into a workshop. This interpretation is not backed up by the other finds in the room. Although reddening of the inside walls of the masonry structure and traces of black suggest that it had been used for heating, plastering of the outside face, at least on the east side, implies this was not its originally intended function. No traces of burning are visible on the base today. If it were used for heating or cooking, then it must have been for only a short time.

Ling has argued that the north wall of this room was repaired and the interior of the wall replastered and crudely redecorated as emergency repair to earthquake damage dated to AD 62 (Ling 1995:201). He also posited that the socle zones of the east and west wall were painted plain black at the same time. An attempt to repair the painted decoration and the installation of the masonry structure against the original paintings on the south wall were probably not contemporary. Ling presumably believed that this house had little need for a decorator's workshop during the final phase, as he suggested that the majority of the decoration in the house belonged to the period before AD 62 (1983a:51). If this structure were indeed a fornello, then either the room was used as a workshop for another activity or the fornello was a relic from the earlier repair or alteration period, perhaps when the north wall was blocked. It is not currently possible to ascertain the absolute date of such alterations.

Following the parallel indicated by Maiuri, the fornello might have been installed as a rather makeshift heating system and have had no relation to repair work. Whether or not the structure was for heating, its rustic character suggests an alteration and probably deterioration in the use of this room after it had been decorated in an early Fourth Style and probably even after the north wall had been repaired and cursorily painted (for a comparable installation that appears to downgrade the room, see the rustic structure in room M in the Casa di Julius Polybius, (figure D.4, figure D.5)).


Room 04 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This room was to the east of the front hall and was completely open on its west side. The walls were painted in Fourth Style, consisting of a black socle zone with ornamental bands and vegetal motifs and a central zone with red fields and white architectural openings. Floating figures occupied the fields, and mythological panels of the Trojan war were set in the architectural openings. The upper zone was white with fantastic architecture. The pavement was cocciopesto with polychrome limestone fragments.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The breach in the south wall towards the east end seems too small to have been used either by intruders or as an escape route.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

One iron hinge and a bronze coin were found here.

Interpretations of room:

The finds give little indication of this room's occupancy and function. According to Ling (1997:49, 266), it was an ala or an exedra.


Room 05 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This was a small room entered from front hall b through a narrow doorway in its east wall. The walls were covered with plain white plaster (Ling 1997:267), and the pavement was a lime mortar.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

Much of the north wall of this room consists of modern restoration.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

There is evidence that shelves lined the north and south walls. Fittings found here suggest that there may have been two pieces of furniture or containers in this room, one small and light with bronze lamina and chain, the other larger, to accommodate bronze studs. The other finds consisted of small ceramic and glass vessels, a black stone, reportedly for polishing marble, a bronze coin, and possible another ceramic vase and ceramic lid.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri concluded (1933:52) that this small room must have been a storeroom (see also Ling 1997:267). The extant finds seem to validate this and indicate that it was fairly utilitarian storage. The polishing stone might have been used for scrubbing pavements or in building activity.


Room 06 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This was a small room entered from the west side of front hall b through a narrow doorway in its east wall. The walls were furbished in coarse white plaster with a pink socle, and the pavement was of lavapesta (Ling 1997:267).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

There is a breach in the west end of the north wall.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This room had a rectangular recess in the west end of the south wall, but no loose finds were recorded.

Interpretations of room:

The recess has been used to identify this room as a bedroom (GdSc A,VI,6:570). Maiuri (1933:52) called it a modest cubiculum for the ostarius, the "modesty" exhibited in the decoration (see also Ling 1997:138). However, there is no indication that this room was in use at the time of the eruption.


Room 07 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This was a relatively small room on the west side of front hall b entered through a narrow doorway in the north end of its east wall. The walls were painted in Fourth Style, consisting of a black socle zone with compartments, a white central zone divided into fields by bands of geometric motifs and decorated with garlands and flat architectonic elements, and a white upper zone. The pavement was lavapesta (Ling 1997:267).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No breaches are identifiable in this room, but the walls include much modern restoration, and a much of the plaster in the northwest corner is destroyed.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri (1933:53) identified this room as a cubiculum (see also Ling 1997:138), of probably greater distinction than room 06 because no recess was noted in the walls. While such an argument cannot be verified, the painted decoration does allude to a more formal function. Again, however, there is no evidence of activity here at the time of the eruption.


Room 08 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This room was to the south of front hall b. It was open across its width on the north side to front hall b and to the south to garden c. The wall decoration was in the Fourth Style, consisting of a black socle zone with ornamental bands, plants, and medallions and a central zone with yellow fields against red borders and separated by white architectural openings. The yellow fields were decorated with ornamental borders, and the panels (one of Europa and the bull) were set against the architectural openings. The upper zone was predominantly white. The pavement was of a white mortar with limestone chips (Ling 1997:268).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The breach in the east wall of this room leads into corridor 9.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

At least two of the three bronze hinges and a bronze ring handle found here might have been part of the closing system for this room or for cupboard 10. Other finds included the remains of two bronze and silver decorated couches (Maiuri 1933:423, Figs. 159-160) near the west wall, two loom weights, a marble herm, and a bracket from the impluvium in front hall b (figure D.31).

Interpretations of room:

Ling has assumed (1997:49﹣51, 268) that this room was a tablinum. The combination of a couch, a herm, loom weights, and an impluvium bracket suggest rather mixed activities. The herm could have been brought here during the eruption for safekeeping, but the impluvium bracket is a curious find. Unless it is the result of post-eruption disturbance, its presence suggests that the marble revetment of the impluvium had been dismantled or was being repaired prior to the eruption, indicating that this part of the house had been in at least partial disarray at the time of the eruption. This would mean altered conditions after this room and the front hall had been decorated.


Corridor 09 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This corridor was in the southeast corner of front hall b and leads from the latter to garden c. The walls had Fourth-Style painting, consisting of a black socle zone with yellow candelabra, ornamental borders, and vignettes of birds and griffins. The upper zone was white with flat architectural motifs. The pavement was lavapesta (Ling 1997:268).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

There is a breach in the west wall corresponding to that in room 08.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Only one ring handle, possibly from a wooden container and perhaps from the upper floor, was reported from this corridor.

Interpretations of room:

According to Ling (1997:50), this was an andron. Such a handle is an unlikely find for a corridor, but finds were also recorded in corridor R in the Casa di Julius Polybius.


Room 10 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This was a small, narrow space in the southwest corner of front hall b with a narrow entranceway to the latter and a large "window" in the east wall that opened onto room 08. The walls were furbished with white plaster and the pavement. The pavement was white mortar with limestone chips (Ling 1997:269).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The west wall of this space has a smallish breach high up towards the southern end, which suggests that at least the upper levels of the volcanic deposit had been disturbed. Most of the finds are recorded below 0.3 m. As they were largely unbroken, it is conceivable that the lower part of this area, below the sill or the "window" in the east wall (height: 0.3 m), had not been disturbed.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The door fittings listed from this space include the remains of at least three bronze locks, four iron handles, and other bronze and iron remains including hinges and nails. Remains of one bronze vase and two loom weights were also found here.

Interpretations of room:

In the Giornali degli Scavi (A VI 6:569) this space is referred to as a large cupboard (see also Ling 1997:26). The finds suggest that it was closed off from room 08 by doors in the "window" in the east wall. The presence of ceramic weights with the furniture fittings in this area suggests domestic storage here.


Garden c in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

Garden c (figure D.32) was the main colonnaded garden area of the house. It was entered from the north either through room 08 or through corridor 09. Further corridors led off it: corridor 53 on the west side, corridor 16 on the east side, and corridor L in the southeast corner. Rooms 11, 12, and 13 opened off its north side; rooms 14, 15, 18 and 19 off its east side; rooms 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25 off the south side; and room 46 of the bath suite off the south end of the west wall. The walls of the ambulatories were painted in the Fourth Style, consisting a black socle with plants, a central zone with red fields, divided by candelabra and each surrounded by ornamental borders with a bird at the center, and a white upper zone. The parapet was also painted in the Fourth Style with a black background and panels of animals and birds. The upper fluted shafts were white, and the lower shafts of the columns were black on the garden side, corresponding to the parapet, and alternating red and yellow on the ambulatory side. The pavement was white mortar with limestone chips (Ling 1997:270).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

There are no direct signs that this colonnaded garden had been disturbed after the eruption. Where volcanic material is mentioned (for example, GdSc A,VI,6:579 and A,VI,7:64), it is referred to as either "materiale eruttivo" or lapilli, with no suggestion that the area was disturbed.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Towards the northern end of the west ambulatory were found a marble and bronze table (in two pieces in separate locations and hence presumably broken prior to the eruption; Maiuri 1933:Fig. 162) and a small wooden chest or box (Maiuri 1933:Fig. 181). The latter contained nine flasks and jars of differing shapes and sizes, all with square bodies and packed in an orderly fashion. With the exception of what appear to be marine snail shells, possibly intrusive, no traces of any substances inside the jars or of lids were recorded. Four ring handles, two bronze lock bolts and other lock fittings, five small bronze strap hinges, and fourteen small bone hinges found in this ambulatory indicate that at least one other cupboard or chest also stood here at the time of the eruption. A further five large strap hinges seem to be architectural door fittings. A bronze animal foot, reportedly from a sediolino, had no associated finds in the vicinity and may have been an isolated fitting. It was no doubt from the same form of furnishing, conceivably even from the same piece, as that found in room 43. A number of marble slabs, two with remains of painted inscriptions, were also found in this ambulatory (figure D.33). An attempt was made to scrawl out one of the inscriptions, which implies that these might have been salvaged (see GdSc A,VI,7:66).

A terra-cotta puteal stands over the cistern head to the west end of the parapet wall of the north ambulatory (Maiuri 1933:Fig. 35). A statue of Apollo (Maiuri 1933:407﹣19, Figs. 153﹣58) (figure D.34), a bronze brazier containing an abundance of ash (Maiuri 1933:Fig. 164), a large iron knife, and a bronze bucket were also found in the north ambulatory. The statue was against the parapet wall. Near the southwest jamb of room 08 were pieces of lock plates from four different locks, probably furniture fittings. In the vicinity were also a bronze bangle, a bronze buckle, two bronze guardispigoli, a marble slab and two bronze coins. The fittings found in the east ambulatory (one iron lock, other bronze and iron lock fragments, a bronze drop handle, and five strap hinges) are probably fittings for the doorways on this side, particularly those of room 18. In the south ambulatory were found a bronze guardispigolo like those in the north ambulatory, a bone hinge, and an iron lock, either from one of the doorways or furniture here. A ceramic lamp, a ceramic bowl, a bronze circlet, fragments of an iron chain, six coins, and four iron keys were found in the southeast corner near the entrance to corridor L, and possibly associated with the skeletons in corridor L.

The central open garden area contained a pool with a fountain. To the north of this traces of wooden planks were reported and identified as part of a wooden triclinium (GdSc A,VI,7:103; Maiuri 1933:84 and Fig. 34; Soprano 1950:307). In the volcanic deposit were found further fittings, including a bronze boss and a strap hinge, as well as a number of ceramic vessels, a hand-mill, and tw bronze coins. Other unprovenanced finds consisted two lock fragments, one amphora, a lump of lead, a number of iron fittings and a bronze coin.

Interpretations of room:

Subsequent to damage to the decoration for this area evidenced by corresponding wall-painting fragments found in room C (see below), the west ambulatory of this garden appears to have been used, or to have continued to be used, for the storage of domestic material, some of which was probably damaged (the marble table and cloven foot), and also possibly of construction material (for example, the marble slabs). Domestic storage was likewise identified in the ambulatories of garden CC in the Casa di Julius Polybius, but the storage here does not seem commensurate with the belief that the bath suite in the southern end of this courtyard was actually undergoing repair at the time of the eruption (Maiuri 1933:121﹣24; Ling 1983a:53, 1997:61). It is argued below that repairs to the bath suite might have already ceased before this event. Furniture for storage and other domestic material had most probably not been moved to this area during the final eruption. Its presence here might therefore support this argument and indicate that the area was reoccupied after those repairs had been abandoned.

According to Maiuri (1933:407﹣8), the placement of the statuette of Apollo (Ward-Perkins and Claridge 1980: No. 83), on the pavement of the north ambulatory, but lacking its base, must have been provisional. He compared this with a statue of Livia in the Villa dei Misteri and the ephebe in the Casa dell'Efebo. It is difficult to understand why this statuette would be left in a fairly exposed position while compluvium tiles and a sundial were stored in the underground area (see below) if they all relate to the same storage phase, especially as the sundial and this statuette are likely to have belonged in a garden context. If this statuette was indeed taken from the Temple of Apollo by the dedicator, as suggested by Maiuri, why is it lacking its base and why is it not stored away with the other valuables? Perhaps the placement of this statuette in this ambulatory did not occur at the same time as the storage of the treasure in room B. Instead, the occupants of this house might have acquired it late in the life of the city. This raises the possibility that the residents of the main part of the house at the time of the eruption might not have been those in charge of its repair and decoration. If they were indeed responsible for removing statuary that is presumed to have been public (see the Casa della Venere in Bikini), then they are unlikely to have been trustworthy servants caring for the house while the owner was away (see Maiuri 1933:248).

The presence of a brazier in the garden area is reminiscent of the garden of the Casa di Julius Polybius and might indicate that cooking was carried out in such areas (Salza Prina Ricotti, 1978﹣80:239﹣41). The assemblage outside room 08 presents a curious collection either of lost objects or of valuables gathered together and subsequently dropped, perhaps during the final eruption.

In summary, while cooking and domestic storage might have been habitual activities in a colonnaded garden area, the location of the statuette of Apollo, the marble slabs, and apparently broken furniture suggest upset of such activities. This disruption would postdate the Fourth-Style decoration of this area and the abandonment of the repair to the bath suite, which both Maiuri and Ling believed was in progress at the time of the eruption.


Room 11 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This room was in the northwest corner of garden c and opened onto the latter for most of its south wall. The walls were painted in a transitional Third-Fourth Style (Ling 1995:205), consisting of a black socle zone with geometric compartments and garlands, a green central zone with small panels of Dionysiac scenes and divided by dark red bands with cupids and garlands, and a green upper zone with architectural elements. The pavement was an overall mosaic of squares made from white tesserae and delineated by black tesserae. Approximately 1.8 m from the north and south walls and approximately 1.3 m from the east and west walls was a colored emblema (0.41 m x 0.41 m) depicting a Nilotic scene surrounded by a guilloche pattern (Maiuri 1933: Fig. 21, Pl. VII).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

There is a breach in the east wall approximately 2 m above the floor and so probably not related to disturbance of finds on the floor level of this room.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

With the exception of four glass storage bottles in a wooden box (Maiuri 1933: Fig. 182), the recorded finds appear to have been fittings from structural fixtures.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri called this room an oecus (1933:57). According to Ling (1997:136), it was a triclinium. The presence of a box of storage vessels comparable to the furnishings of the west ambulatory of garden c suggests that this room was used for storage prior to the eruption. It is difficult to establish whether this storage related to emergency activity during the final eruption or to earlier activity. As in the garden, hoarding such vessels during the eruption seems unusual, although perhaps they contained provisions that were in the process of being moved. If they had been in this room for some time prior to the final eruption, then the room's formal use, reportedly as a dining room, might have been abandoned prior to the eruption. However, a storage container of domestic apparatus, seemingly inappropriate to dining, was also found in room 10 of the Casa della Venere in Bikini.


Room 12 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This was a long narrow room in the northeast corner of garden c. It was open for most of its south side onto garden c and also had a narrow doorway at the south end of the west wall leading to corridor 09. The walls were decorated in the Fourth Style (Ling 1983a:52), consisting of a black socle zone and a central zone with red and black fields divided by black bands with twisted yellow candelabra. The fields had ornamental borders and central vignettes of animals. The upper zone was predominantly black. The pavement was white mortar with limestone chips (Ling 1997:269).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The small breach in the north wall seems too small to have been used as a passage to room 04.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Only one ceramic cup was reported from this room.

Interpretations of room:

According to Ling, this was a dining room (Ling 1997:137, 269). No conclusions can be drawn from the find of one isolated cup but this room seemed undisturbed after the eruption, and traces of furnishings were reported from all other areas of the garden area. It might have been empty at the time of the eruption.


Room 13 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This was a small open space in the northeast corner of the garden area. Its walls had patches of painted plaster, and the pavement was of white mortar with limestone chips (Ling 1997:271).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The finds from this room included a gargoyle waterspout in the shape of a fish head, reportedly from the compluvium in front hall b, and iron fittings, reportedly from a chest.

Interpretations of room:

Ling has referred to this space as an exedra (1997:271). The presence of a piece from the compluvium here, like the impluvium bracket in room 08, suggests building activity, possibly dismantling before repair. The overall disbursement of such repair material hints at further dislocation after the initiation of a repair program (see room B below).


Room 14 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This was a small closed room entered from the east ambulatory of garden c through a narrow doorway in its west wall. The walls were furbished in fine white plaster with a few red lines indicating compartments in the socle zone. The pavement was white mortar with a grid pattern of black tesserae (Ling 1997:271).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

There are at least four breaches in the walls of this room: two in the north wall, one in the east wall, and one in the south wall to room 15.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Maiuri recorded a number of amphorae in one corner, but according to the Giornali degli Scavi these were probably found in room 20.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri (1933:160) identified this small undecorated room as an apotheca or cella penaria for serving the nearby triclinium.*

*Maiuri (1933:160, 476) seems to have confused rooms 14 and 15.


Room 15 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This room was open for much of its west side onto the east ambulatory of garden c. It also had a small doorway in the west end of the south wall that led to corridor 16. The walls were decorated in the Fourth Style, consisting of a black socle zone with ornamental bands, garlands and plants, a red central zone with ornamental borders, a winged central aedicula, central panels and floating figures in the side fields and a red upper zone with ornamental bands and motifs. The pavement consisted of rhomboids of slate with borders in white tesserae forming an overall lattice pattern. The whole pavement had a border of black tesserae.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The single breach at the west end of the north wall of this room went through to room 14.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The finds from this room included legs from at least two pieces of furniture, possibly stools or chairs. A number of door fittings were also found and pieces that were probably from storage furniture.

Interpretations of room:

According to Ling (1983a:52), the wall decoration is in the early Fourth Style dating from before AD 62 that had sustained earthquake damage and was subsequently carefully repaired (Ling 1995:203). Ling argued that this damage is datable to the earthquake in AD 62. The presence of what could have been remains of stools or chairs in a room identified by Maiuri (1933:160) as an antechamber to a dining room or a "procoeton del cubicolo" might be appropriate. A cupboard was perhaps less usual. Ling referred to this room variously as an oecus (1997:271) or a triclinium hibernum (1997:136). The room must have been in use after the Fourth-Style decoration was repaired but seemingly not for any particularly specialized purpose.


Corridor 16 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This was a long narrow corridor leading from the east ambulatory of garden c to rooms 15, 17, and 18. The walls were decorated in the Fourth Style, consisting of a red socle zone with plants and ornamental bands, a yellow central zone with fields with ornamental borders depicting marine motifs and divided by central candelabra, and a white upper zone with candelabra, garlands, and ornamental motifs. The pavement was cocciopesto (Ling 1997:272).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

This corridor has a breach in the west end of the south wall.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The majority of recorded finds here were door fittings, including perhaps one L-shaped guardispigolo discovered in the vicinity of the doorways. The exceptions are a bronze ring handle, an amphora handle, and a fibula. Further finds recorded from this area included lock fittings and a hinge, some of which were found in the entranceway and were probably structural fittings. Also among these finds were two U-shaped guardispigoli.

Interpretations of room:

The finds are insufficient to comment on the state of occupancy, especially as this corridor was evidently disturbed.


Room 17 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This room was entered from the east end of corridor 16 through a narrow entranceway in the south end of its west wall. Its walls were painted in the Fourth Style, consisting of a black socle zone with compartments, a central zone of alternating black and yellow fields with ornamental borders and vignettes of swans, griffins, and deer, and a black upper zone (figure D.35). The pavement was white mortar with limestone chips (Ling 1997:272).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The breach in the east wall is too small for a human to pass through and might indicate an unsuccessful attempt to break through this wall. Those who made the breach conceivably changed their minds about the advantages of passing from this room into area 40. There was also a breach in the south wall of this room.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A bronze boss, ring, and rod, catalogued together ,might have been part of the same object, possibly a box or chest.

Interpretations of room:

According to Maiuri (1933:164), this room was a cubiculum that Ling suggested (1997:138) was a good candidate for a bedroom. The finds are inconclusive for any discussion on the function of this room. The breach in the east wall might have been made by fugitives in AD 79 who discovered that area 40 (an open yard) was full of lapilli and so decided to find another escape route. There is less reason for post-eruption intruders to leave such a breach incomplete.


Room 18 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This was the largest room in the house. It was fully open on its west side to the eastern ambulatory of garden c. It was also entered from corridor 16 through a narrow doorway in the west end of the north wall. The walls were decorated in the Fourth Style, consisting of a black socle with compartments, garlands, and ornamental bands, and a central zone of alternating red and yellow fields with ornamental bands, vignettes of marine motifs, and floating figures separated by architectural elements against a black background. There does not appear to have been an upper zone. The pavement was cocciopesto (Ling 1997:272).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The walls in this room are generally too poorly preserved to see clear evidence of post-eruption disturbance, but reports of mixed volcanic deposit and finds (GdSc A,VI,7:98, 103) and possible breaches in the north and south walls provide evidence that this room might have been considerably disturbed after the eruption.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The majority of the finds belong to the closing system at the western entrance. The combination of reinforcement bands and no less than eleven hinges suggests that it consisted of a number of folding doors. The other finds from this room indicate that it contained furniture, most probably couches decorated with bone and at least one bronze and marble table. A bronze jar that had been used for heating or cooking was also found here.

Interpretations of room:

This room was identified by Maiuri as a triclinium (1933:168) and by Ling (1997:59, 137, 272) as an oecus or triclinium, meaning a dining room, reception room, or banqueting hall. The fittings imply that at least remains of furniture suitable for a dining room had been in this room at the time of the eruption. The disturbed state of the volcanic debris might explain why no further evidence of dining (of which the bronze jar could have been the sole remainder) was found.

The Fourth-Style ceiling decoration from this room, which Ling viewed (1995:205) as typologically later than that in room 11, had obviously already been damaged at some point before AD 79 and the remains used as fill under the bath complex (Maiuri 1933:227﹣28 n. 20). Ling argued that repair work had commenced on the ceiling decoration but had not been completed. This suggests that either: the inhabitants replaced the furniture and continued to dine here in a partially repaired room (see also room EE in the Casa di Julius Polybius); they had abandoned the room, repair, furniture, and all; or this furniture, which had probably been associated with the usual function of the room, was stored here during repair. It is noteworthy that no finds related to this repair were reported, suggesting that any repair had been abandoned at some time prior to the eruption.


Room 19 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This relatively large room (figure D.36) in the southeast corner of the garden was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the north end of the west wall, or from room 18 through another narrow doorway in the west end of the north wall. The walls were painted in the Fourth Style consisting of a red socle zone with garlands, plants and ornamental bands, a yellow central zone with ornamental borders, fantastic architectural elements and central panels and a yellow upper zone with fantastic architecture. The pavement was cocciopesto (Ling 1997:273).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

There are two breaches at different levels in the south wall of this room and one in the west wall (figure D.37).

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Three skeletons with a pick, a hoe, and six glass beads, wrapped in a cloth, were found here at pavement level. Although there were insufficient beads to make a necklace, the precise provenance suggests that they had not been disturbed. Either they formed a small bangle or part of a necklace, or the third individual was carrying them as precious items. No other finds were reported from this room.

Interpretations of room:

Ling referred to this room as possibly either an oecus or a cubiculum (1997:273). Maiuri identified two of the skeletons found here as adults and the third as a young girl. Because the adults had no jewelry he suggested that they were not the rich proprietor's family but a group of fugitive servants. The pavement level could only have been disturbed after the eruption if the three skeletons were some of the intruders, because they were not themselves disturbed. One breach to the west end of the south wall does not penetrate the wall, and further skeletons were found on the other side of the breach in the west wall, which had been cut from inside this room. This implies that these were fugitives who had cut the breaches in an effort to escape the lapilli, which had built up in the garden area and blocked that doorway. Lazer's identification of juveniles in the group might preclude them from being post-eruption intruders.*

During the final eruption it would have been difficult to pass along corridor L from the eastern part of the house, reportedly the service area (Maiuri 1933:186), to take refuge in the garden area. Hence, it is conceivable that these people were occupants of the main part of the house during the eruption. Similar tools have frequently been found in unexpected parts of houses (see also room 13 in the Casa dell'Efebo; room 01 in the Casa del Fabbro).

*Lazer (Ling 1997:342) examined the skeletal remains now stored in room 19 (Maiuri 1933: Fig. 5; Ling 1997: Fig. 23), which are most probably those originally found in this room and in corridor L. She observed that the adult skeletons included three males and one female and that the group included at least three individuals under the age of five.


Room 21 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

Room 21 was a relatively small room in the southeast corner of the garden (figure D.38). It was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the north wall. The walls were furbished with white plaster. The pavement was mosaic, consisting of white tesserae and an emblema (approximately 0.60 m from the north and west walls, 1.85 m from the east wall, and 2.45 m from the south wall) depicting a satyr and a maenad and is surrounded with a guilloche, meander, and triangle patterns (Maiuri 1933: Fig. 42; Ling 1997:274). This seems to have been repaired along the south wall and in the southeast corner.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

This room has breaches at pavement level in the north end of the east wall and slightly above, at the west end of the south wall. The former might well have been the continued passage of those who also made the breach in the west wall of room 19.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This room had been fitted with two shelves on each of the west, south, and east walls. Judging from the size of the holes for the brackets, these shelves were for light storage (Ling 1997: Fig. 52A). The finds consisted of three ceramic lamps and part of a bronze lamp-stand, small glass vessels, a bronze pan, two ceramic lids, three bronze ritieni ad occhio, a lead weight, possibly melted glass, and unidentified blue organic powder. The ritieni ad occhio are possibly part of a locking device, indicating the presence of a box or chest. The find spots (with the possible exception of that of the lead weight) suggest that the material had been placed on the shelves. The exact nature of the blue organic powder is unknown, but it was conceivably mineral (for example, paint pigment or the remains of silver).

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri (1933:84﹣89) identified this room as a double-alcove cubiculum, later converted into a library (see also Strocka 1981:300), arguing that despite the undecorated walls and shelving, the scarcity of objects did not justify calling it a storeroom. The finds do not, however, support Maiuri's and Strocka's identification of the room as a private library, at least not during its final use (see also Ling 1997:61, 137, 274). Many apparent storerooms in Pompeian houses have fewer contents than this one (for example, room ST, the Casa del Sacello Iliaco; room g', the Casa del Sacerdos Amandus; room 18, the Casa dell'Efebo; rooms p and q, House I 7,19). This room was probably either a storeroom or used for some activity involving heating liquids, possibly in small quantities.*

*The beds depicted in PPM II 362, Fig.196 were not found in this room.


Room 22 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This was a small, curved, open space at the south end of the garden. It was painted in the Fourth Style, consisting of a landscape with Diana and Actaeon. The pavement was white mortar with a pattern in black tesserae (Ling 1997:274).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

This room has one large breach at floor level slightly to the west of the center, which could indicate extensive disturbance.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

If the abrasions on the wall painting (1.7 m above the pavement in room 24) indicate the height reached by the lapilli before ash was blown in from the garden and compacted against the walls, then six lamps, a ceramic lid, and a small ceramic plate found 0.2 m above the pavement are unlikely to have fallen from the upper floor. They were either disturbed after the eruption or placed on something that has disintegrated, perhaps a wooden table or chest.

Interpretations of room:

Ling referred to this space as an exedra (1997:274). Such spaces presumably offered a cool place in the garden. Why so many lamps and two ceramic vessels should have been placed in this small area is unclear. This was most probably not their usual storage place (see front hall b, the Casa dei Ceii; rooms 13 and 14, the Casa dell'Efebo). They might represent the same type of storage found in the rest of the garden.


Room 23 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This was a small rectangular open space on the south side of the garden area. The walls were decorated in the Fourth Style on a yellow ground, with each wall depicting a seated poet, holding an open book, and groups of masks (Maiuri 1933:106). The figure on the east side has been identified as the poet Menander on the basis of the poetry in the book. The pavement was white mortar with a meander border and decorated with black tesserae in a rhomboid lattice pattern (Ling 1997:274).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A heap of lime was found here.

Interpretations of room:

Ling (1997:274) also called this space an exedra. The presence of what was probably building material here implies that the normal use of this decorated area had been altered after its Fourth-Style decoration and prior to the eruption, probably for repair to be carried out in the garden area.


Room 24 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This was a small, curved, open space at the south end of the garden. The walls were painted in the Fourth Style with a so-called sacred landscape depicting Venus and a cupid in a small temple. The ceiling was stuccoed in the Second Style with birds and voluted acanthus leaves. The pavement was white mortar decorated with black tesserae in a pattern of crosses with a border of squares set in further crosses (Ling 1997:275).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

An iron brazier was found here.

Interpretations of room:

Ling likewise (1997:61, 275) called this room an exedra. A brazier in this space echoes the discoveries of those in the gardens here and in the Casa di Julius Polybius. It either indicates cooking in this area or is related to repair work in this part of the garden. If cooking had occurred here, then repair work was most probably not going on at the same time, unless the living conditions were straitened. Thus, either the repair work or the cooking must have ceased some time prior to the eruption.


Room 25 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

Room 25 was a small, open, rectangular space in the southwest corner of the garden area (figure D.39). The wall decoration consisted of a Fourth-Style socle zone with compartments and ornamental bands and a Second-Style central zone with large realistic columns entwined with ivy and separating panels of garden vistas with birds and trees. The ceiling was painted in the Fourth Style on a red background and has globes, candelabra, and pergolae with animals. The pavement was cocciopesto decorated with black tesserae in a lattice pattern of hexagons containing a star and bordered with a pattern of triangles.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

In a niche in the west wall, cavities resulting from the disintegration of organic matter were found in the ash layer. That casts could be made for these cavities indicates that this area was relatively undisturbed (Maiuri 1933: Figs 48,49).

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A wide bench along the west wall of this area was crudely painted in imitation marble. Behind this a semicircular niche had been cut into the wall (Maiuri 1933: Fig. 48, Pl. XI) (figure D.40). Inside the latter were the cavities of a wooden statuette, two wooden busts, and two wooden heads (Maiuri 1933: Fig. 49).

Interpretations of room:

Ling (1997:61, 275) also called this room an exedra. Maiuri (1933:96﹣106) identified the bench as an altar for domestic cults. It had been built after the Second-Style decoration on the wall behind (Maiuri 1933:45). Maiuri commented that the rusticity of this altar is in contrast to the expected wealth of an apparently cultured (judging by the painting in room 23) proprietor of such a house and its buried silver. The construction and the furnishings of this altar suggest a downgrading of the garden area, seemingly not a temporary state of affairs during ongoing repairs but evidence that the actual occupancy of the house had been downgraded.


Room 46 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This relatively large square room (figure D.41) on the west side of the garden area was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the south end of the east wall. It also had an entrance on the west side to room 49. Ling argued (1997:62) that it had not originally given access to room 47. It had a central impluvium at one time surrounded by eight columns. The walls and ceiling were decorated in Second Style (Ling 1983a:45), consisting of caryatids against orthostats and a frieze including panels of grotesque figures, reportedly caricatures of Olympian gods (Maiuri 1933:127). The main pavement, as in the base of the impluvium, consisted of a mosaic in black tesserae decorated with small white tesserae and large pieces of polychrome marble (Maiuri 1933: Fig. 57). Around the border of the impluvium were white panels decorated with floral motifs and sea serpents.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

There is extensive modern repair to the walls of this area, which makes the identification of disturbance difficult.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This room had a central water-catchment pool (impluvium).

Interpretations of room:

According to Maiuri (1933:122, 125) and Ling (1997:61, 275), this was once an atriolum. Maiuri observed (1933:124) that the south and west walls were deliberately removed prior to the eruption and that the eight columns from the impluvium had been used to build a ramp in corridor L. No building materials (not generally of interest to post-eruption disturbers) were found in this area, which suggests that repair work was not going on at the time of the AD 79 eruption.


Room 47 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This had once been a small narrow room to the south of room 46 but accessible from the area in front of room 49 through an entranceway in the west wall (see Ling 1997: Fig. 2B). It led to room 48 through a doorway in the east end of the south wall. At the time of the eruption no wall stood between this room and room 46. The remaining walls had Second-Style decoration (Ling 1983a:45), consisting of a socle zone of fantastic animals holding up the upper decoration which depicted centaurs and boxers. The pavement was a mosaic of white marble with a black border and at the center an ornamental design in tiny polychrome tesserae surrounded by a meander pattern in black tesserae (Maiuri 1933:139).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The only recorded finds from here were iron nails from the roof.

Interpretations of room:

This room was referred to as an apodyterium (Maiuri 1933:123) and tepidarium (Maiuri 1933:121; Ling 1997:61,276). Maiuri observed (1933:140) that the color of the wall paintings had greatly deteriorated at the time of excavation. The removal of the north wall indicates that at the time of the eruption it was not being used as originally intended.


Room 48 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This was a small, narrow room entered from room 47 through a narrow doorway in the east end of the north wall. The north, east, and south walls were decorated in the Fourth Style, consisting of a green ground with figures of athletes and cupids (Ling 1995:206). The west side of this room was an apse with Second-Style decoration, consisting of panels of aquatic landscapes in the lower part with two friezes of female figures above (figure D.42). The lower frieze had standing female figures in panels between winged grotesque female figures. The upper frieze had panels depicting women bathing. The pavement was made of black, white, and polychrome marble tesserae and had a white background. In the entranceway this pavement was decorated with four large strigils, with a black male figure carrying two vessels above. In the main room it had a central polychrome vegetal motif surrounded by marine motifs and human figures, with guilloche and meander pattern borders (Maiuri 1933: Figs. 69,70).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

Other than a small patched breach in the west wall, this room is fairly complete. This implies that any looting would have been only of small, easily moved items.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

There is a rectangular recess along the north wall, reportedly for taking a bath (Maiuri 1933:143), but no bath was reported here (figure D.43).

Interpretations of room:

According to Maiuri (1933:123) and Ling (1997:61, 276) this was a caldarium, the remains of which show that it was in working order at the time of the eruption. Maiuri believed (1933:124) that its restoration with Fourth-Style decoration was a consequence of damage sustained from the AD 62 earthquake, but the lack of a bath suggests that it could not have been operative at the time of the eruption.


Room 49 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This space was to the west of room 46. It was probably a circular structure accessible from room 46, but it was not preserved above ground level. It was once furbished with coarse pink and white plaster. The pavement had a cylindrical hole lined with red painted plaster (Ling 1997:277).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Six truncated amphorae filled with lime and cocciopesto were found in this area.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri believed this space to have been a solarium (Maiuri 1933:122﹣3), while Ling argued (1997:61 n. 46) that it was a laconicum. However, this space appears to have been partly destroyed and presumably out of action at the time of the eruption. Whether the eruption caused the cessation of any repairs that might have commenced in this area, as the amphorae imply, is not clear.


Rooms 46 to 49 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

As above.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

As above.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

As above.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri argued (1933:121﹣24) that rooms 46 to 49 had probably been damaged by an earthquake in AD 63 [sic] and were undergoing repair at the time of the eruption, room 48 having been largely redecorated. Ling observed (1983a:53; 1995:206) that the south and west walls of room 49 had collapsed, that the wall between room 46 and 47 had been removed, and that the Second-Style paintings of room 46 and 47 were in the process of being removed. Thus he followed Maiuri's argument that this area was being restored as a functioning bath suite(1997:61﹣64).

Prior to the eruption, however, walls had been built in the underground area between rooms B and C and to the west of rooms C and D (Maiuri 1933:218 Fig. 99, 219). This rendered rooms C and D inaccessible, and these rooms had been filled with rubble, including fragments from this and other parts of the house, some reportedly from the Fourth-Style decoration of room 48 (Maiuri 1933:227﹣28 n. 20).* This blocking must have created a storage area (rooms A to B) and prevented access to the praefurnium to heat the bath suite (Maiuri 1933:218 Fig. 99). It must also have occurred after the Fourth-Style decoration, including that of room 48, was damaged.

Maiuri and Ling proposed (Maiuri 1933:219; Ling 1983a:53; Ling 1983b:51﹣53) that a new praefurnium had been built behind the apse of room 48 to the west of room D, the old praefurnium, although it was not actually ever used. There is no evidence, however, that a bath-heating system was installed in this location (see Ling 1995:206, Pl. 31).† The concept of a replacement oven seems to have been Maiuri's invention to explain how the bath suite could have continued to be used after the domed oven in room D had been blocked off.

More probably, during the restoration program of the bath suite the plan had changed, possibly as the result of further disruption, which caused the owners to discontinue this repair, to fill the area with rubble, perhaps for stability but blocking off the praefurnium and creating the storage area (rooms A and B). This interruption of repair and more makeshift alterations carried out to make the area beneath safe for the deposit of valuables, as in room B, must have occurred after the redecoration of room 48. From this one must argue either that the Fourth Style decoration in room 48 was pre-AD 62 or that further disruptions to the occupancy of this house occurred after the AD 62 earthquake. It would therefore appear that the use of this area as a bath suite had been abandoned after it had been decorated in the Fourth Style but before AD 79.††

*Ling seemed of the opinion (1983b:51; 1995:206) that only a wall to the west of rooms C and D had been built and only the space between it and rooms D and C had been filled with demolition debris. His section drawing (1983b: Fig. 3) ignored the north wall to room C. This does not concur with Maiuri's plan or the recording of finds in the debris of rooms C and D.

† Together with Roger Ling and Steven Hijmans, I have examined the structure to the west of room D, presumed by Maiuri to have been a replacement oven, and find no reason for such an identification beyond Maiuri needing a second oven to fit his chronology.

††Ling (1997:91) has accepted this alternative chronology.


Corridor 53 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

The south branch of this corridor led off the west side of garden c and turned north to form the west branch.* This corridor provided access to garden 50, corridor 51, and room 54. The walls of the south branch were decorated with a high socle of signinum with coarse plaster above, and the pavement was of mortar (Ling 1997:277). The walls of the west branch were furbished with coarse plaster, but no pavement was evident (Ling 1997:278).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

Maiuri (1933:213) attributed the paucity of finds in this western area of the house to previous excavations of the street that involved the reinforcement of the west wall of this house to contain the volcanic deposit.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

There is a niche in the east wall of the west branch of this corridor. A bronze coin was found on the pavement in the south branch.

Interpretations of room:

According to Maiuri (1933:214), the wall decoration here was of a type found in service areas.

*This corridor was numbered 53 by Mauiri (1933), but these branches are labelled, respectively, M and M2 by Ling (1997).


Corridor 51 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

Corridor 51 led west from the south end of the west branch of corridor 53 to provide access to room 52.* The walls were furbished with signinum (Ling 1997:277).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

As mentioned above, this area of the house was probably subjected to previous excavations.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

There was a latrine in the northwest corner of this corridor, near which were found a ceramic vase and two marble fragments. The latter might have been part of the latrine seat.

Interpretations of room:

This corridor obviously included both an access route and a latrine at one stage. The state of the remains in this area prohibits any conclusions about the relationships of these activities at the time of the eruption.

*This corridor and latrine were both numbered 51 by Mauiri (1933), but Ling (1997) has labelled the corridor M1 and the latrine 26.


Room 52 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This room was entered through a narrow doorway from the northwest area of corridor 51.* No wall coverings were evident, but the pavement was cocciopesto (Ling 1997:278).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

Here the excavators noted disturbed soil to a depth of approximately 3 m below the modern surface and numerous breaches in the walls on this side of the house.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This room had a hearth along the north and east walls (Ling 1997: Pls. 39,40) and a sink in the southwest corner (Ling 1997: Pl. 41) presumably connected to the same drain as the latrine in corridor 51. Above the hearth on the north wall was a recess, and the west wall had a lararium painting. The lack of movable items beyond some ceramic fragments might be due to the observed disturbances.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri noted (1933:213) that the hearth and sink indicate that this was a kitchen (see also Ling 1997:92﹣94, 278). He further observed (1933:214) that traces of ash and carbon on top of the hearth indicated that it was functioning at the moment of the eruption, but the presence of ash alone would not indicate how long prior to the eruption the hearth was last used, only that it was probably not reused for some other purpose or cleaned up after its final use.

*This room was numbered 52 by Mauiri (1933), but Ling (1997) has numbered it 27.


Room 54 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This room was entered through a narrow doorway in the west side of the west branch of corridor 53.* The walls had once been furbished with painted plaster, and the pavement was of cocciopesto (Ling 1997:279).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

This room probably experienced disturbance similar to that of other rooms in this area.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Near the north jamb of the entrance was a fornello of similar form to that in room 03. The loose finds were from the east side of the room, possibly because the west side was disturbed. They were a mixture of objects associated with lighting (two ceramic lamps) and weaving (two ceramic weights) as well as an iron axe head, a small glass bottle, and a large pile of organic material that stretched from the northeast corner to the fornello.

Interpretations of room:

The pile of carbonized organic material has not been identified. As it was found beside the fornello it was likely to have been related to it, possibly wood or fuel ready for use (GdSc A,VI,7:193). Maiuri recorded (1933:215) that the internal walls of the fornello were covered with soot, suggesting either cooking or heating had been carried out in this room. However, none of the finds seem associated with this activity. They are associated with various household activities, indicate that either the room had a number of uses or that it was in a state of disorder at the time of the eruption. Ling proposed (1997:93, 278) that it had been a workroom or storeroom.

*This room was numbered 54 by Mauiri (1933), but Ling (1997) has numbered it 28.


Garden 50 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This open area to the south of corridor 51 was entered from the junction of the two branches of corridor 53.* No wall decoration or pavement was found here (Ling 1997:279).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

As mentioned above, the western side of this area was probably disturbed, although Maiuri also noted (1933:216) a large mass of lapilli and ash with regular stratigraphy in this garden.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The fixtures included a masonry stairway in the northeast corner, which provided access to corridor 53, and the remains of two cocciopesto tubs built into the south wall. Another flight of three masonry steps was found in the southeast corner of this garden area (Ling 1997: Pl. 31).

Interpretations of room:

According to Maiuri (1933:213), this western area was gravely damaged in the eruption, so it was impossible to ascertain whether another entrance on this side of the house had existed. He noted (1933:216) evidence of cultivation in the form of circular areas at more or less equal intervals with holes left by the roots of plants (see also Jashemski 1993:47). Maiuri concluded that this area had been a hortulus to provide vegetables for the kitchen and the table (see also Ling 1997:93).

*This garden was numbered 50 by Mauiri (1933), but divided into two separate areas, R and S, by Ling (1997).


Room A in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

Room A was a small squarish room in the northeast corner of garden 50, underneath room 49 (figure D.44). It was entered from garden 50 through a narrow entrance in the south wall. A breach in its east wall led to room B. The recess was plastered. The pavement was of rammed earth with rushes (Ling 1997:95, 280).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

There is no evident post-eruption disturbance in this room.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

There is a recess in the west end of the south wall, near which was found an iron brazier, an elliptical bronze tub (figure D.45), and the plate and calyx of a lamp-stand (Maiuri 1933: Fig. 165), the rest of which was found in the southwest corner of room B. Inside the brazier were a bronze casseruola, a bronze jug, and a ceramic lamp, and underneath was a bronze lamp. The casseruola and jug might have been associated with hand-washing (see Nuber 1972:118, 122﹣25). The lamp-stand must have been broken before its storage here. Other finds included an iron door lock in the entrance. Maiuri reported (1933:219) that a number of ronche were found in this room, but these are not recorded in the Giornali degli Scavi or inventories.

Interpretations of room:

Ling believed (1997:95) that there had been a bed in this room, possibly for slaves. The discovery of most of these finds in or near the recess hint at the latter's use as a utility recess. These finds seem to be related to washing, possibly with the heating of water, and to lighting. As such they might represent the furnishings of the bath suite above. If so, they may have been stored here before the restoration of the bath suite, but the placement of bronze vessels in a brazier suggests makeshift and possibly emergency storage.* The ronche have been identified as weeding hooks (Jashemski 1993:47).

*Since this research was carried out Salvatore Nappo re-excavated this underground area and showed that Maiuri did not excavate to the floor level. This work has not been published.


Room B in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This room was underneath room 46 and entered from room A through a breach in the west wall. It might once have had two entranceways in the south wall to room C (Ling 1983b: Fig. 2; see Maiuri 1933: Fig. 99), but these were probably blocked at the time of the eruption. There was no evidence of wall coverings, and the pavement was of rammed earth (Ling 1997:280).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The discovery of a large silver treasure in this room is evidence that it was not disturbed after the eruption.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Furniture fittings found near the south wall of this room consisted of at least six bronze and iron lock plates of different types and sizes (for example, Maiuri 1933:488) (figure D.46) and five other locking devices and bolts; four bronze ring handles; some fifteen bronze and iron bosses and studs of at least five different types; pieces of bronze and iron lamina; some eighty fragments of bone ornament; and wooden fragments, including two plastered tondi, one with a handle and disk (figure D.47) and the other reportedly decorated (see plastered chest found on east side of front hall b in the Casa del Sacello Iliaco). Many of the fittings can be divided into five groups, suggesting that this area held five chests or containers, but as we have no conception of the form of these containers and the excavators believed only one chest was here (GdSc A,VI,7:72﹣79), the fittings might all have come from the same container. This implies that it was fairly elaborate, possibly with various compartments (see cupboards against west wall in front hall b of the Casa dei Quadretti Teatrali and in the Casa del Sacello di Legno at Herculaneum: Maiuri 1958:254). The two wooden tondi and the curved wooden pieces conceivably made up a cylindrical barrel that was covered with plaster and decorated (see also room A' in the Casa di Julius Polybius). The diameter of the barrel was presumably 0.18 m; so, it was not a particularly large container. The smallness and lightness of the handle on one tondo also points to a fairly lightweight barrel. As this barrel would have had a handle at one end and was decorated at the other end, it must have lain on its side.

Bronze vessels from the south wall included four jugs (Maiuri 1933:Figs 171﹣72), two amphorae, and one silvered plate ( figure D.48). The glass vessels included at least one flask (Maiuri 1933: Fig. 183) and a bowl. With the exception of the plate and the bowl, the vessels appear to be for pouring or storing liquids. Only one jug and one amphora were substantially decorated. Numerous ceramic vessels were also recorded, and other finds included bronze suspension chains; rings; a button-and-loop fastener; and a possible mirror. In the southwest corner were one bronze patera (containing a bronze furniture handle), one bronze fruttiera (Maiuri 1933: Fig. 178), one small bronze amphora, a bronze oinochoe, two small glass jars, three glass unguentaria, a ceramic lamp, and fragments of a bronze lamp-stand belonging with those found in room A (Maiuri 1933: Fig. 165).

The chest against the north wall (Maiuri 1933:247) contained a a bone-decorated casket with gold jewelry (Maiuri 1933: Fig. 151, Pl. LXV) and gold and silver coins in the upper levels, and, in the lower levels, at least 112 pieces of silver, including a group of silver vessels arranged in series and wrapped in heavy cloth (Maiuri 1933:246, 249, Figs. 101﹣50, Pls. XVI﹣LXIV; Borriello et al. 1986:206﹣9, Nos 1﹣27), silver utensils, two silver mirrors and the remains of a portable silvered table. Three of the coins date from AD 78 to 79 (Maiuri 1933:403). Maiuri demonstrated (1933:249﹣51) that the silver vessels could be divided into two distinct groups: drinking vessels and pouring vessels. The first group is in a series of pairs. Included in the second group are four oval vessels, so-called forma di pasticceria, made of silver (Maiuri 1933:253, Fig. 146, Nos 106﹣9). These vessels are similar in shape to a bronze vessel from room 38. Silver vessels of this shape would most likely not have been used in cooking or preparing food but more probably for tableware or toiletry.

A tufa sundial and fragments of terra-cotta tiles were found on the platform along the north wall (figure D.49). Three new tiles, reportedly for the compluvium in front hall b, were found in the northwest corner, and three bronze vessels (a fruttiera, a jar, and a mortar) were nearby.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri argued (1933:248) that because the house was under repair and because of the hot summer, the proprietor had probably transferred to another suburban villa, leaving this house in the custody of a procurator and loyal families. The most precious furnishings could not have been left in servants' quarters and so were deposited here. Consequently, he believed that this deposit was not made during the city's last moments. He noted (Maiuri 1933:379) that the hoard of coins found here was quite small compared with one from Boscoreale which had about a thousand pieces in an uninterrupted series from Augustus to Domitian. He thus concluded that it probably was the reserve gold and silver the proprietor put away for safekeeping at the moment of the eruption before the flight to the beach (see also Ling 1997:95). The skeleton in room 43 carried a comparable, if not larger, fortune.

As already mentioned, the south wall of room B made rooms A and B a separate storage area and prohibited access to rooms C and D, which had been filled with debris. The simple breach entrance from room A (Maiuri 1933:218, Fig. 99) suggests that these were also once separate areas and that this alteration was made rapidly and probably under straitened conditions. The building of walls to create storage areas (see above rooms 46-49) suggests that the storage of treasure here was not a result of the final eruption but some earlier disruption, presumably after the redecorating of room 48 had been abandoned. Depositing valuables beneath the very area that was under repair would be unwise. The presence of coins dated AD 78 to 79 indicates that this deposit was completed very late in the life of the city. The key found in the chest might support the argument that it had not been stored here while the owner moved elsewhere but for safety while the owners were still in residence. As noted above, most of the treasure was deposited in an orderly fashion. This suggests that it was largely a single-phase deposit, possibly unrelated directly to either the earthquake of AD 62 or the eruption of AD 79. Conversely, if it can be argued that the jewelry and coins were deposited separately, this would only add further evidence that the lives of the occupants were constantly disrupted.

The presence of a sundial and compluvium tiles also supports the argument for ongoing disruption. The sundial appears to have been removed, perhaps from garden c, and stored here for protection. Ling argued (1983a:52) that the garden area was decorated before AD 62, in which case the sundial would probably have been put back in the garden prior to the eruption. Presumably it was placed here after the south wall of this room was built and thus after the damage to room 18. Redecoration anywhere else would probably not mean moving the sundial. Neither is it likely to have been moved here during the throes of the eruption. It seems more probable that, after the construction of the south wall but prior to the final eruption, some disruption and subsequent salvaging caused the removal of the sundial. The storage of compluvium tiles likewise points to some repair work halted by yet another disruption. This calls to mind the discoveries of an impluvium bracket in room 08 and the gargoyle in room 13.


Room C in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This room was to the south of room B underneath rooms 46 and 47. It might once have been accessible from room B, but this access seems to have been blocked at the time of the eruption (Ling 1997:95). A small, low entranceway in the east end of the south wall provided access to room D. The walls were furbished with plain plaster, and the pavement was of rammed earth (Ling 1997:280).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

At the time of excavation, this area was filled with debris, including fragments of the Fourth-Style decoration from room 18, the ambulatories of garden c, and the ceiling of room 18 (Maiuri 1933:227﹣28 n. 20).

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The fixtures in this room included a latrine in the northwest corner, ostensibly outside this room; a quarter-circular masonry platform in the southwest corner, conceivably a hearth (see front hall b of House I 6,13); and two bases towards the east side, reportedly to support a wooden plank (Maiuri 1933:220; figure D.50). Two bronze coins, one Neronian (c 65 AD) and the other unrecognizable, were found in the volcanic deposit.

Interpretations of room:

The fixtures indicate that this area might once have served as a kitchen. The Neronian coins and the discovery of Fourth-Style fragments in the fill indicates that this room had been abandoned quite late in the city's life. As mentioned above, it must have been after the bath complex had been at least partly decorated in the Fourth Style and had gone out of use, suggesting a change of plan or disruption presumably resulting in downgraded living conditions later than the phase of Fourth Style decoration. This is consistent with a breach in the wall, which was an entranceway to room B.


Room D in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This room was underneath room 48 and was entered from the north through a low, narrow doorway from room C. The walls had plain plaster, and the pavement was of rammed earth (Ling 1997:281).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

Like room C, it had been filled with debris prior to the eruption.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A large domed oven, reportedly to heat room 48, occupies almost the entire room. Fragments of inscribed pottery, a slab of inscribed marble, bronze lamina, two ceramic lamps, a bone disk, and two bronze coins were found in the fill of demolition material.

Interpretations of room:

The debris and the building of the north and west walls of room C must have completely sealed off this room (see Ling 1997:95). As mentioned above, the abandonment of the oven meant that the partially restored bath complex could not be used and indicates a further disruption to the occupation of the house after room 48 was decorated in the Fourth Style. Hence, this room and its bath-heating oven were not functioning during the final phase of occupation of the house, and the finds in the fill must be rubbish from an earlier phase.


Corridor L in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This corridor led from the southeast corner of garden c with a short west branch that led to a south branch*. The latter runs eastward to an east branch, in turn running north towards hall 41. The south branch provided access to courtyard 34 and rooms 20 and 20b. The east branch provided access to rooms 35 to 40. The walls of the west branch were furbished with coarse plaster (the present pavement appears to be a modern reconstruction [Ling 1997:274]). In the south branch the walls were furbished with coarse plaster (Ling 1997:309), and the pavement consisted of a ramp formed from building debris. In the east branch the walls were furbished with coarse plaster, and the pavement was possibly of mortar (Ling 1997:314).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

Skeletons discovered in this corridor appear to have been those of people who probably suffocated during the final eruption. They were found in a high bank of undisturbed lapilli and ash, so they were probably victims rather than post-eruption intruders (GdSc A,VI,7:104; Maiuri 1933:12). There is no recorded disturbance to the stratigraphy caused by a breach in the east wall of the west branch leading from room 19 (figure D.51). The breach in the north wall of the south branch is at a much higher level, over 2 m above the pavement. The material on ground level was, therefore, most likely not disturbed after the eruption.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This corridor had a wooden stairway in the southwest corner of the south branch under which was a trapdoor leading to a cisternola. Finds from the cisternola consisted of complete and fragmentary ceramic vessels, both coarse and fine wares, fragmentary glass vessels, two ceramic lamps, four bronze rings, a bronze coin, and other fragments of bronze nails and tubes. Fragments of terra sigillata were predominantly from plates and bowls. One of the vessels contained vegetal matter. Ten skeletons, mostly adults, were also discovered in this southwest corner 2.5 m above the pavement. These were presumably killed while climbing the stairway. With them were found four rings, of which at least three are finger-rings; a bronze lantern (Maiuri 1933: Fig. 6); fragments of bronze, possibly from another lantern; some twenty bronze coins, six of which were wrapped in cloth; and at least one silver coin.

In the southeast corner of the south branch was another wooden stairway (Pompeii photo archive negative C/1905). Building material, including amphora necks and tile fragments, were found in the southeast corner, and remains of columns, apparently from room 46, were found along the south branch. On the pavement of the east branch were found two bronze strap hinges, an inscribed ceramic jug, the remains of two amphorae, a ceramic cup and the remains of a glass tankard. A marble mortar and two other amphorae were also reportedly from here.

Interpretations of room:

According to Ling (1997:108, 114, 313) the east branch of this corridor led to "staff quarters". The presence of complete ceramic vessels in the cisternola, one still with contents, implies that this material had not been dumped. However, it is not possible to determine whether it was deposited here during the last phase of occupancy or at an earlier stage.

The ten skeletons found here were probably those of fugitives who were carrying very little with them and were trying to escape from this corridor by way of a wooden staircase in this corner. They could have entered this corridor through the breach in the west wall of room 19. If so, they might have been part of the same party as that of the skeletons in room 19, who still had tools. A pick and a hoe are not the most suitable tools for an organized looting party trying to break through masonry walls, but they might have been the only implements available to desperate people trying to get out. Maiuri argued (1933:14) that the lack of objects and few savings of these people identified them as a family of servants who had lived in the rustic area of the house. This is not the same reasoning he used when he identified the skeleton with a large coin hoard in room 43 as a trusted servant (1933:16). This group might have been passing from rooms off the main garden area into the corridor leading to the eastern area of the house in order to make their escape. Even if they had not come through the breach in room 19, the fact that they chose to ascend these stairs suggests that they came from the garden area. If they had come from the eastern part of the house, one might expect them to have climbed the stairs in the southeast corner of this corridor.

The stairway in the southeast corner is thought to have been constructed in the last phase to lead to rooms above the eastern area, resulting in the blocking of the door to courtyard 34 (Maiuri 1933:191; Ling 1983a:53; 1997:132). Ling argued for this dating presumably because he saw the foot of the stairway as having been braced with fragments of columns taken from room 46. It would therefore postdate the damage there, which is presumed to have resulted from the earthquake of AD 62. The pile of amphora necks and tiles found in this corner would then belong to a subsequent occupancy. Maiuri argued (1933:190) that in the last phase a ramp had been formed in the south branch, thrown down in a disorderly fashion, and including the column remains from room 46. It is conceivable that the corridor was blocked prior to the eruption. Three inscribed amphorae were reported from here (GdSc A,VI,7:109). More may have been found but not reported because they were not inscribed. One might not expect amphorae to be kept in such a narrow corridor if it were still functioning as a thoroughfare, although similar finds occurred in corridor R in the Casa di Julius Polybius. The presence of building material in the southeast corner and the dumping of column shafts in the south branch suggest that the eastern part of the house could have been inaccessible from the garden prior to the eruption. If this is the case, then the people found here belonged to the main part of the house and could even have been its principal occupants.

* This corridor labeled L by Maiuri (1933) is labeled P, P1, and P2 by Ling (1997). The database retains Maiuri's label. The location field indicates which part of this corridor is being referred to, that is, west branch, south branch and east branch (Ling's P1, P, and P2, respectively).


Room 20 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This was a small room entered from the north side of the south branch of corridor L through a narrow doorway in the west end of the south wall. The walls were furbished with a smooth white plaster, and the pavement was cocciopesto (Ling 1997:309).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This room had a fornello in the southeast corner similar to those in rooms 03 and 54. The room's other contents consisted of the remains of a number of amphorae.

Interpretations of room:

The amphorae suggest that this room was being used for storage. From the inscriptions on the amphorae Maiuri concluded (1933:476) that they were originally used for wine but later, reportedly after the earthquake of AD 62, they were filled with Alexandrian vinegar. As for room 03, it is difficult to ascertain the precise function of the fornello or whether indeed all such structures always had the same function. It could have been used for domestic or industrial heating or for cooking, as that in room 54. Ling identified this room as a service room, possibly a kitchen (1997:309) and noted that its wall furbishing seemed incomplete (1997:114).


Room 20b in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This small area was at the corner of the south and east branches of corridor L and could have been entered either from the north side of the south branch or from the west side of the east branch. The walls were roughly rendered and the pavement was of mortar (Ling 1997:310).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported, except possibly two amphorae (see room 20).

Interpretations of room:

It formed an anteroom to room 20a. Ling argued (1997:114) that it was divided from the latter late in the history of the insula.


Room 20a in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This small room was entered from room 20b through a narrow doorway in the east end of the south wall. It had a high window in the east wall overlooking the east branch of corridor L. The walls were roughly rendered, and the pavement was of mortar, similar to that in room 20b (Ling 1997:310).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

Ling suggests that it was a storeroom (1997:309).


Courtyard 34 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

Courtyard 34 (figure D.52) was a large, relatively open area in the southeast corner of the house. It was entered from the south branch of corridor L through a narrow doorway in the north wall. It had three windows in the north wall such that it could be overlooked from corridor L, which was at a higher level. Another, wider, doorway at the south end of the east wall gave access to the street along the south side of this insula. This courtyard consisted of two ambulatories (A along the west side and B along the north side) and an open southeast area. The walls appear to have been unplastered, and the pavement was probably mainly of earth (Ling 1997:108, 312﹣13).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The north wall of this courtyard had two breaches, one through the blocked doorway to corridor L and one near the northeast corner to room 35.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This courtyard had one quarter-circle signinum basin in the northwest corner of the ambulatories (Ling 1997: Pl. 55) and another basin with a cistern in the northwest corner of the open area (Ling 1997: Pl. 66). The remains of ceramic vessels were found in the first trough and the skeleton of a dog was found above it (Maiuri 1933:Fig. 91).

The remains of a wagon or cart were found in the northeast corner of this room (Maiuri 1933: Fig. 89). They consisted of impressions of two wooden wheels, a wooden frame, and numerous bronze and iron fittings. Other fittings on the ground in front of this vehicle appear to belong to a harness. The attachments and harness pieces included numerous rings and studs, six bronze bells, a bronze hook, two bronze terminals with a ring in the shape of a finger, and bronze pendants (Maiuri 1933:Fig. 179) and ornaments.

Prominent among the numerous ceramic vessels found in this courtyard were amphorae. Forty-three were stacked over and beside a fornello in the southeast corner (Ling 1997: Pl. 60) and reached the east wall (Maiuri 1933:195) (figure D.32). This fornello is similar to those in rooms 03, 21, and 54 and had traces of black from burning. Other finds in this courtyard included a hand mill, some bronze coins, a bronze ring handl, and an iron handle.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri (1933:191) interpreted this area as a stableyard for animals of burden and draught animals (see also Ling 1997:108, 139), but curiously, although the cart and harness were still in place, no skeletons of such animals were found here. A number of possibilities might explain this: the animals were working in the fields (see Maiuri 1933:193﹣94); the animals had escaped; the fugitives rode them out because they had little time to make a more organized escape; this particular cart was left behind because it was broken; or no horses were kept in these stables at the time of the eruption (see also Ling 1997:139). The closed door and the pile of amphorae, which must surely have hindered any passage through it, suggest that some time had elapsed since the fornello in the southeast corner was used (see Ling 1997:114) or draught animals passed through this entrance.

Maiuri (1933:15) described the skeleton as that of a guard dog. The dog might indicate signs of life in this courtyard area immediately prior to the eruption, but it could have come from elsewhere. It seems improbable that it would have been tied up on top of a drinking trough, although it could have been tied up in the vicinity. It is equally possible, especially if no animals were here to be guarded, that it had fled into this corner from another part of the house during the eruption.

While this area might have once been used for livestock, the amphorae stacked in the southeast corner and the fornello suggest that at least at one time its function had been somewhat altered prior to the eruption or that it had been serving a number of commercial and industrial functions. Without knowing what the amphorae contained* or what a fornello was used for, the precise nature of such functions is unclear.

Maiuri suggested (1933:197﹣98) that the construction of the courtyard belonged to the last remodeling of the house after the AD 62 earthquake because the walls are all in opus incertum but the pilasters are in tufa and brick and not organically connected to preexisting walls. If this is indeed so, then its use seems to have been altered again, although not necessarily dramatically.

*According to Ward-Perkins and Claridge, they were all "empties" (1980: No. 88).


Room 29 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This was a large oblong space to the west of ambulatory A of courtyard 34, entered from the ambulatory through a narrow entranceway in the center of the east wall. The walls were once plastered, and the pavement appears to have been of rammed earth (Ling 1997:310).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This room had a wooden staircase in the southwest corner and a masonry platform, identified as a manger, along the west wall (figure D.54). The only loose find reported from here was a ceramic amphora found along the west wall, near the platform.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri (1933:197) identified cylindrical holes in the platform and in the west wall as having been used for tying animals to this platform or manger. He felt the space was sufficient for four animals and that the proximity of a trough in the northwest corner of courtyard 34 supported the identification of this area as a stable (see also Ling 1997:108, 139, 310). The discovery of a wagon or cart in courtyard 34 supports Maiuri's identifation (1933:194, Fig. 89), although no evidence shows it was functioning at the time of the eruption.


Room 31 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This relatively small, squarish room was entered from the south end of ambulatory A of courtyard 34 through a narrow doorway in the east end of the north wall. The walls had been plastered (Ling 1997:311), and the pavement was of earth.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The west wall of this room has a breach at the north end.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Along the south wall of this room was what appears to be part of a bench with possibly a latrine to the south end (Ling 1997: Pl. 58). Fragments of pottery were found here.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri argued (1933:198) that the bench or mezzanine had been demolished during the final occupation of the house, that of Quintus Poppaeus (see room 43), but that the latrine might have been used by the servants who worked in the stable. Ling also noted (1997:132) that this room had been reorganized during the last building phase. The discovery of some domestic material, presumably unrelated to a latrine, suggests that it had been used after any adaptation.


Room 32 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This relatively small, squarish room in the southwest corner of the open area of courtyard 34 was entered through a narrow entranceway in the west end of the north wall. The walls had been coarsely furbished, and the pavement was of mortar (Ling 1997:312).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A heap of lime was found in one of the corners of this room (Maiuri 1933:199).

Interpretations of room:

Ling suggested that this might have been a storeroom (Ling 1997:108, 311) and that the walls were being refurbished at time of eruption (Ling 1983a:52).


Room 33 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This small squarish room was entered from the open area of courtyard 34 through a narrow entrance in the east end of the north wall. The walls were plastered and the pavement was of mortar (Ling 1997:312).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri believed (1933:199) that the coarse decoration was unfinished. Ling again argued (1997:139) that this room had been wiating to be replastered at the time of the eruption and suggested that it was a storeroom (1997:108, 311). One can really only argue that the refurbishing of rooms 32 and 33 had been interrupted and abandoned at some time before the burial of the city.


Room 35 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This relatively small room to the east of the junction of the two branches of corridor L had a narrow entranceway in the south end of the west wall. The walls were furbished with coarse plaster and pink socle, and the pavement was of cocciopesto (Ling 1997:314).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The north wall of this room had two breaches at different levels, and the south wall had another.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The south wall had traces of nail holes, possibly for shelving. The imprint of a wooden casket was recorded 1 m above the pavement in the entranceway to this room. This container conceivably fell from the upper floor. While the excavators noted the precise dimensions of the imprint, though, they did not observe that it belonged to an upper story. The heaviness and crudeness of what were apparently the casket fittings suggest it was not a very elegant container, but the pieces inside appear to be of luxury quality (figure D.55). These included a small bronze steelyard; a bronze statuette of Harpocrates; the base of another similarly sized statuette; a bronze disk; a semilunate bronze ornament; two bronze pendants, one with traces of silver; and an elaborate glazed ceramic lamp.

Finds from the northeast corner included ceramic, bronze, and glass storage and serving vessels (large and small), iron knives, two ceramic lamps, two lead weights, and the remains of an iron lock. None of these could be considered other than utilitarian and seem to present a mixture of domestic activities.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri (1933:200) identified rooms 35 to 38 as storerooms. Ling also suggested (1997:114, 314) that they might have been storerooms or staff bedrooms. The coarsely plastered walls of this room, traces of nails suggesting shelving, sockets 1.8 m above the floor in the east and south walls, a window 2.2 m above the floor in the center of the east wall, and the finds all indicate that it could have been used for storage prior to the eruption. The combination of a utilitarian domestic assemblage in the northeast corner and a more luxurious collection in a rather crude container near the entrance indicates diverse storage for a room next to the stableyard. The luxury items in the seemingly rough casket could have been a collection hurriedly assembled during the eruption. Alternatively, the assemblage might have been a compilation of earlier deposits, but one might expect a less domestic and more agricultural/industrial assemblage in a storeroom next to a stableyard.


Room 36 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This room was similar to room 35. It was directly to the north of the latter and entered from the east branch of corridor L through a narrow doorway in the north end of the west wall. The walls of this room were coarsely plastered. Evidence of any pavement is no longer discernible.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

Two breaches in the south wall and two in the north provide some evidence of the passage of intruders or fugitives at two different levels along this side of the house. These breaches might explain the lack of finds here (Maiuri 1933:200).

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The only finds in this room consisted of a bronze needle, a small glass flask, and two furniture legs found in the base of an amphora. The location of the first two a few centimeters above the floor could indicate that they were on shelves or were disturbed.

Interpretations of room:

With its small dimensions, small and high windows, and coarse plaster, this is one of the rooms interpreted by Maiuri. If this is correct, then these objects were probably stored here. The paucity of remains prohibits any assessment of whether such relatively fine material was usually stored here. The placement of the furniture legs in the base of an amphora, however, suggests that they had not been attached to furniture at the time of the eruption and, therefore, that they were salvaged fittings, and either awaiting repair or being hoarded. Ling suggested (1997:114, 314) that this was a storeroom or a cubiculum.


Room 37 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This room, again similar to rooms 35 and 36, was on the east side of the east branch of corridor L and entered through a narrow doorway in the north end of the west wall. The walls of this room were coarsely plastered, and the pavement was of cocciopesto (Ling 1997:314).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The breaches in the south wall of this room corresponded to those found in room 36.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The east and north walls each had two sockets (diameter: 0.2 m) 1.4 m above the floor, conceivably for a shelf. No exact provenance within the room is provided for a clay lamp, two bronze rings, a bronze buckle, fragments of two mirrors, five coins, a bone spoon, and a bone handle. As these pieces were all found on the same day (figure D.56), they could have been together and associated with the other material (a cooking pot, tripod, amphora, another lamp, and worked marble fragments) found near the northeast corner, 1.5 m above the floor. If the items in the former group were indeed found together, then they could have been personal attire and toiletries, possibly women's.

Interpretations of room:

Ling suggested (1997:114, 314) that this room was a storeroom or a cubiculum with a similar room above. Because these rooms have been identified as storerooms, with shelving, it is not necessary to assume that the objects found 1.5 m above the floor fell from upstairs. They could conceivably have been placed on such shelves. The association of a tripod with a cooking pot suggests either that cooking had been carried out in this area or that these pieces had been stored here. Neither room 37 nor the room above, however, seem candidates for cooking spaces unless the house had been split up into separate dwellings. The alternative is that they were stored here, which might have been necessary if cooking were being carried out in this part of the house. However, it seems improbable that cooking vessels would have been stored away during a volcanic eruption, or while in daily use. Hence, the storage must have been before the final disaster, implying partial abandonment of the house at an earlier stage.

Pieces of worked marble, a base, and part of a circular table, might have been salvaged either to be restored, to be used in building repair, or for commercial purposes. But the other finer pieces suggest that this room had not been cleared out for the purposes of storing building material. Hence, the storage seems haphazard or piecemeal and not necessarily attibutable to a single event.


Room 38 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This room was of the same type as the others along the east side of the east branch of corridor L and was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the north end of the west wall. It also had a doorway in its east wall onto the street. The walls were plastered, and the pavement was of cocciopesto (Ling:1997:315).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The trail of breaches found in rooms 35 to 37 did not continue into this room.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Two holes in the east wall were similar to those in room 37; the three possible holes in the north wall were seemingly for a mezzanine. The assemblage found 1.6 m above the floor might have been on this mezzanine. The finds consisted of a bronze basin and forma di pasticceria; a ceramic amphora and probably a small jug; and a bronze lock plate and small pommel, both conceivably furniture fittings. The vessels are like those believed used for water or washing and for wine storage. Based on its dimensions, one ceramic vase was probably a small liquid container.

Interpretations of room:

Ling again suggested (1997:114, 314) that this room was a storeroom or cubiculum. The most likely activities in which a basin, a forma di pasticceria, a ceramic vase, and an amphora would have been used together is washing or bathing. If such a function can be ascribed to these vessels, then the implications are that they were either stored together in room 38 or employed in the upper room.


Room 39 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This room was at the north end of the east branch of corridor L. It was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the west end of the south wall and led to area 40 to the south. The walls were furbished with smooth plaster with coarse plaster above, and the pavement appears to have been earth (Ling 1997:315).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The north wall of this room was apparently demolished after the eruption but before excavation (Ling 1997:114).

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This room had a latrine that was reportedly already out of use prior to the eruption (GdSc A,VI,7:181);

Interpretations of room:

Ling concluded (1997:114) that this had been a latrine, on the basis of its size, position, and a relieving arch in the east wall.


Area 40 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This area lay to the north of room 39 and gave access to hall 41 through a narrow doorway in the west end of the north wall. This area once had painted decoration on the walls that had been covered with white plaster. The pavement might have been of mortar (Ling 1997:315).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The lack of apparent disturbance in hall 41 (see below) and the seemingly incomplete breach through the east wall of room 17 suggest that this area might also have been undisturbed before excavation.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A masonry block stood in front of a ledge along this room's west wall. The loose finds were all from near the north entrance and included tools, four small vessels (Maiuri 1933:Fig. 183), one large bucket, apparently used for heating, a lamp-stand (Maiuri 1993:Fig. 165), and a coin.

Interpretations of room:

According to Ling (1997:132), this area had once been a shop but the doorway to the street had been blocked during the last building phase of this house. If the bucket had been used for heating, such an activity was probably not carried out here under normal circumstances. Its coarse repair contrasts markedly with the finer quality of the other vessels and of the bronze lamp-stand, which must have originated from a more formal area of the house. These were probably not left in a doorway while restoration was underway in the house but temporarily deposited there, perhaps during the final eruption.


Entranceway I 10,16 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:


Hall 41 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This covered hall (figure D.57) was reached through entranceway I 10,16 in the center of the east wall. It could also have been entered from room 40 to the south and had another narrow doorway in the center of the west wall leading to courtyard 44. In addition it provided access to room 42 in the northeast corner and to room 43 in the southeast corner. The walls were furbished with white plaster, and the pavement was lavapesta (Ling 1997:318).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The perfect state of preservation of a glass cup from a chest near the southwest corner suggests that this group of finds lay undisturbed from the eruption until the excavations of the 1930s. In general the room appears undisturbed.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The fixtures in this hall included a central water-catchment pool (impluvium) furbished in cocciopesto and colored stones (Ling 1997:319) and a low platform against the west wall to the north of the doorway to courtyard 44, above which was a semicircular niche. A bed decorated with bone pieces was found in the southwest corner. Beside it against the west wall were a chest and a marble table on which were three bronze vessels (two jugs and a casseruola) and a strigil (figure D.58). The chest seems to have held some sixteen vessels including: three unguentaria; three larger glass vessels (Maiuri 1933:Fig. 183); a fine ware cup; a bronze ladle; and six other ceramic vessels (three jars, two jugs, and a bowl; figure D.59). This seemingly diverse domestic assemblage included large and small storage containers, drinking vessels, and pouring vessels. The other finds from this location included a bone handle, reportedly from a knife, a bone boss, an iron hoe and two marble bases.

In the entranceway to courtyard 44 were a bronze cooking pot, two jugs, a smoke-blackened ceramic pot, and three ceramic lids. In the niche in the west wall were three ceramic lamps and a ceramic lid; an iron grid was attached to the wall nearby. Included in an assemblage against the west wall and 1.5 m above the floor were three casseruole, three shells (figure D.60), a ceramic jug, and two strigils, one iron and one bronze. There was probably no upper story in this area between the hall and the courtyard. Thus, these might have been on a shelf along the west wall, similar to that reportedly along the north wall (Maiuri 1933:207). In the same area were found a number of iron hoes, another iron digging tool, and possibly a large knife blade (Maiuri 1933: Figs 184﹣85). Maiuri (1933:212) is probably justified in his identification of these as agricultural implements.

In the north area, presumably from a collapsed shelf, were a marble arm and another piece of a small marble pilaster, two wooden bands (Maiuri 1933:Fig. 179; figure D.61), eighteen glass melon beads, an iron hoe, a heap of straw (Maiuri 1933:207, Fig. 96), and a stone hand mill-that is, a mixture of agricultural material, marble pieces, jewelry, and a crushing implement. Also in this area were found four bronze buckles (Maiuri 1933:Fig. 179) and ten bronze rings, bronze nails, and a bronze lamp, which were possibly on the same shelf (figure D.62). A group of finds from the southeast corner included a cooking vessel; two ceramic jugs; thee eating vessels; a small glass bowl; twenty-seven glass beads; a hand mill; and a tripod (figure D.63). Unprovenanced finds included two more shells, a small bone container, a bronze jug, a bronze ladle, a bronze bucket and three bronze rings.

Interpretations of room:

According to Ling (1997:117, 318), this was an atrium. He argued (1983a:53; 1997:131﹣32) that this area, House 16, was incorporated into the Casa del Menandro complex after AD 50. To Maiuri (1933:201), the apparent disorder here demonstrated that this part of the rustic quarter had not yet been "systematized". Maiuri (1933:199; 201﹣2; 461) interpreted the mixed nature of the material remains to indicate that the procurator, who he presumed lived in this section, had a double function as the superintendent of a city house and as the administrator of an agricultural homestead. The decoration of the bed in the southwest corner suggests that it might not have originally been intended as the bed of a servant or slave. Likewise, the marble table might have originally been intended for a more formal part of this or even another house. There is no obvious association between the contents of the chest against the west wall. That this chest and its contents were not referred to by Maiuri (1933:206﹣7) suggests that he might not have been able to include them in his interpretations of the functioning and occupancy of this area. The presence of luxury furniture in this utilitarian context suggests downgrading, perhaps the salvaging and reuse of castoffs. The finds to the right of the entranceway to courtyard 44 imply cooking had been carried out in or near this area. The iron gird found attached to the wall might also allude to cooking in this area, but there is no indication in the Giornali degli Scavi that the tripod was actually found on the platform, as illustrated by Maiuri (1933:205, Fig. 94). This platform was referred to in the Giornali degli Scavi as an altar with a plastered and painted border, not as a hearth, as Maiuri or Salza Prina Ricotti assumed (1978/80:244, Fig. 7, which shows the plastering clearly). A combination of cooking activities and these other furnishings implies that this was a multifunctional area.

The placement of three lamps inside the niche on the west wall could have been as much for lighting as for ritual purposes (compare Ling 1997:117). This house contained no evidence of the statue to which the arm from the northwest corner belonged. As this room was undisturbed, the statue probably lacked an arm at the time of the eruption. The arm was found with part of a small marble pilaster. Therefore, the restoration of these pieces was probably not planned; rather, they were probably salvaged for the sake of the marble (see also room H in the Casa di Julius Polybius). In the northeast corner, bronze rings were found with buckles and identified as belonging to horse harness. Their association with a bronze lamp and glass beads suggests that both the rings and the buckles had a more luxurious and domestic function, conceivably to do with dress. Their presence on a shelf with straw and a hoe implies rather arbitrary storage. The finds from 1.5 m above the pavement along the west wall also form an incongruous group.

The cooking vessel in the southeast corner had evidence of use but not necessarily in this location. Whether or not it was associated with the group near the doorway to courtyard 44, it was probably not in situ for immediate use and therefore could have been discarded or hoarded. The inclusion of glass beads in this assemblage might indicate haphazard hoarding. This group could be associated with the similarly mixed collection from the entranceway to room 40.

If this area was incorporated into the Casa del Menandro complex after AD 50 and if the intention was to systematize it with the rest of the complex, the shelves were unlikely to have been put up in this front hall for the storage of such diverse material, including agricultural and industrial material, when sleeping and cooking were also going on there. Such mixed activity suggests that this part might have had a separate occupancy from the rest of the house. People who had moved out of another damaged section into a rustic storage area and occupied it in a seemingly makeshift manner could have put this material here. This might indicate a change of plan from any function intended by the incorporation of this area into the larger house. There is no justification for dating these changing conditions to AD 62.


Room 42 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This small room in the northeast corner of hall 41 was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the south end of the west wall. The walls were furbished with painted plaster, but the pavement is no longer identifiable (Ling 1997:320).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

This room has a breach in the north wall.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The only loose finds were three ceramic vessels: two amphorae and one jug.*

*Maiuri (1933:206) provenanced the lararium painting in room 45 to this room.

Interpretations of room:

This room i referred to as a bottega (GdSc A,VI,7:190). According to Maiuri (1933:206), it was a repositorium or apotheca. He noted (1933:208) that it had the aspect of a shop (see also Ling 1997:139), but the absence of amphorae and a bench suggest that this was not its function at the time of the eruption. He suggested that an official of the constabulary or the administration occupied it in order to watch over this rich house. If the artifacts recorded here are anything to go by, it was not being used for anything at the moment of the eruption.


Room 43 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This small room (figure D.64) in the southeast corner of hall 41 was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the center of the west wall. The walls were painted with a Fourth-Style decoration of simple linear and geometric shapes and cursorily painted vignettes of cupids and landscapes on white ground. The pavement was of cocciopesto (Ling 1997:319).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The walls of this room have no visible breaches, presumably because they have been repaired in modern times. However, as in hall 41, the state of the finds, especially the discovery of a hoard of coins, suggests that this room was undisturbed after the eruption (see Maiuri 1933:16).

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The imprint of a bed was discovered along the south wall (GdSc A,VI,7:188). It had three red-painted sides, two against the south and west walls and the third 0.80 m from the east wall. The position of the feet indicated that the bed was 2 m long and 1.1 m wide. Two rear feet were of iron decorated with bone. The lack of the two forefeet suggests that they were of wood. Five strips of iron constituted the remains of the supports for the bed. Maiuri (1933:210) described the bed as having been nailed to the ground, but this is not the impression given by the Giornali degli Scavi. Two skeletons were found in this room. One, identified as male, was foudn across the bed in a diagonal position (GdSc A,VI,7:188). It lay on its right side, the lower body contracted and the head to the southeast. This skeleton had been carrying a leather purse containing a silver bracelet, some smaller silver rings, a silver spoon, and over ninety silver and two gold coins. The other skeleton, reportedly younger, lay in a heap in the southeast corner between the foot of the bed and the wall (GdSc A,VI,7:188). According to Maiuri (1933:16), this was a young girl. Near this second skeleton were found a bronze ring, an elaborately decorated bronze bucket (Maiuri 1933: Figs 166﹣69) and three bronze jugs (Maiuri 1933:Figs 175﹣77), vessels which seem to have been either for water carrying for washing or tableware.

The remains of a chest were identified towards the northeast corner of the room (GdSc A,VI,7:190). In the same area were found four strips of marble, a ceramic lamp, a ceramic abbeveratoio, two paterae (Maiuri 1933: Figs 173﹣74), two strainers, an elliptical bronze fruttiera (Maiuri 1933:Fig. 178), a bronze basin (Maiuri 1933:Fig. 170), a bronze furniture foot, seven large bronze bosses, two bronze lock plates, a set of scales, and twelve bronze coins.* There is no direct evidence that these objects were from the chest. Some of the fittings might have belonged to the chest, but heavy bosses probably would not have formed part of the same object as lock plates of quite fine lamina. The bronze foot and both of the lock plates could not have belonged to one chest 0.6 m in length.† It is equally unlikely that six quite sizable bronze vessels would have been stored in the chest. The vessels appear to be mainly related to washing or serving food. The pieces of marble might have been intended for building work, possibly for making a pavement.

Maiuri (1933:212) combined the finds in hall 41 with what was found in the center of this room and called it the largest collection of agricultural implements in the buried city. The tools reported here included of three iron picks, six axes (figure D.65), one pair of iron shears, seven knives, and two chisels (Maiuri 1933: Figs. 185﹣86). Maiuri (1933:465) called one of the knives a "grande coltellaccio da carpenteria". Matthäus (1984:134, Fig. 43.1, 135) described this implement as a chisel for woodworking. The majority of these tools appear to be concerned with woodworking, specifically, carpentry. The exceptions are the picks, which have been described as the mason's tools, and a pair of shears. Thus these tools do not support Jashemski's conclusion that these were the agricultural tools of laborers who lodged in this part of the house and went out by the day to work "in the owner's fields that were outside the city wall" (1993:48﹣49). A bronze basin, two locks, one bronze coin, and seven more knives, reportedly for pruning, were found a few centimeters above the pavement. No more precise location is given, but Maiuri argued (1933:210, 212), on the basis of nails and pieces of wood also found in the center of the room, that these and the above-mentioned implements had been suspended on one of the walls, possibly the north.

On the threshold were a lamp-stand (Maiuri 1933:Fig. 165), a bronze seal with inscriptions "Q. POPPAEI" and "EROTIS" (Maiuri 1933:20), an iron key, and a silver ring. Other finds included a iron knife and "gubbia", a bronze lamp and two bronze coins found 1 m above the floor, and a bronze spoon, a bronze fitting, and a lead ring.

* In the Giornali degli Scavi, these scales were referred as a stadera.

† On the basis of the provenance of this foot, Maiuri (1933:210) concluded that a sediolum or seggiolino was in this room, but only one foot was recorded in the Giornali degli Scavi (A,VI,7:188﹣90) and the inventory.

Interpretations of room:

Ward-Perkins and Claridge (1980: No. 88) identified this room as a living room while Ling (1997:117, 319) said it was a cubiculum. Maiuri argued that the furnishings and disposition of this room correspond to a "cella ostaria" or "cubiculum dell'atriensis"(1933:208), the simple wall decoration being on white ground of a type found in small rooms in the final period of the town's life (see also Allison 1992a:242). On the other hand, Maiuri suggested (1933:210) that the combination of the bed, the furnishings, and the decoration indicated a certain "nobility" of the occupant, perhaps a favored freedman (Ling 1997:138), but curiously only the two rear feet of this "noble" bed were decorated. Either the bed was missing its original forefeet and therefore broken or it was not in its intended location. In either case, any "nobility" might not be directly attributable to the occupant. However, the bed in room UU in the Casa di Julius Polybius also had only two decorated legs. The nailing of an elegant bed to the floor, as suggested by Maiuri, is odd and seems more provisional than "noble".

Maiuri noted (1933:210) that the iron implements were suspended from nails and wooden pegs in the wall without regard for the decoration. He compared this to circumstances in one of the rooms off the garden area in the Villa dei Misteri. If the decoration had been defaced in this way, this room must have undergone a phase of occupancy that postdated its final decoration, which Maiuri dated to the final phase of the city.

The skeleton on the bed had more coins than have been found in most other coin hoards in Pompeii and more than those in the rest of this house together. Maiuri (1933:212) thought this reflected his economic situation, which he argued was quite different from that of the skeletons found in corridor L. Is it likely that one servant would have personal wealth in currency so astronomically greater than that of the other ten servants, who between them only carried about twenty coins, most of which were bronze?

The vessels found at the foot of the bed do not seem to have been in situ for habitual use. They are reminiscent of the collection in room EE of the Casa di Julius Polybius. The vessels in the northeast corner, which might have fallen from shelving (Maiuri 1933:210), seem similar and might be from the same assemblage. The presence and quantity of quite fine, often large pieces in a presumed "servant's bedroom" suggest makeshift storage.* A total of four lock plates were found in this room, and only one chest was identified. Only one bronze foot from a folding stool was found, of which an exact parallel was reported from garden c. In a room whose distribution of finds indicates no post-eruption dislocation, this foot cannot have been part of a complete folding stool at the time of the eruption. Conceivably these fittings had been salvaged independently. Finding so many axes for heavy woodwork in a single room or even a single house is curious. One might expect them to be in a service context rather than a decorated room, in which case they seem to have been hoarded. This suggests that one of the occupants of this room had been a carpenter or woodcutter with the tools of their trade.

Jashemski (1993:48﹣49) suggested that the large number of agricultural tools found in this room and hall 41 indicate that laborers lodged in this area and had gone out during the day to the owner's field outside the city wall. Not all the tools are agricultural, however. Rather, the combinations of valuable vessels and workers' implements suggests that either Maiuri's procurator or these laborers had salvaged and were hoarding this material or that the rightful owner of furnishings had had to retreat to very humble dwellings. The evidence that these tools were suspended from nails in the wall implies that this hoarding had not been restricted to events during the final eruption. The lack of regard for decoration, which the placement of nails in the wall would have entailed, implies that the occupants had not been responsible for the decoration of this room. Therefore, the decoration must have been associated with the penultimate phase of occupation of this room, at the latest. This is, therefore, an example of a room with a change of occupancy after its Fourth-Style decoration.

* Maiuri (1933:211, Fig. 98) included an extra bronze cooking pot here, but this was probably one from hall 41.


Courtyard 44 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This open courtyard (figure D.66), possibly covered along the east side (Ling 1997:319), was to the west of hall 41 and was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the south end of its east wall. Room 45 opened off the northeast corner. The walls were plastered, and the pavement at the eastern end was of cocciopesto (Ling 1997:319).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The south wall has no breaches corresponding to those in the north wall of room 14. This implies that the wall had not been penetrated. Lack of breaches and undisturbed conditions in adjacent areas suggest that this courtyard also had not been undisturbed.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A bronze bucket and part of a hand mill were found near the entrance to hall 41 and perhaps belonged with other vessels found near this doorway. Piles of building material were found in the northeast corner with a terra-cotta puteal over a cistern head and a number of amphorae (Maiuri 1933:Fig. 95; figure D.66). Other vases and further building material was found in the northwest and southwest corners of this courtyard. According to Maiuri (1933:201), the amphorae were full of "polvere di signino" for making plaster. Another amphorae found on the north side of this courtyard, 1.5 m above the pavement, was filled with burnt grain and might have fallen from upper rooms in House I 10,18.

Interpretations of room:

According to Maiuri, the piles of construction material in the corners and the provisionally installed latrine in room 45 clearly demonstrated that this part of the rustic quarter did not have "la sua definitiva sistemazion" (1933:201).* To him (1933:199﹣201) it was clearly part of an older habitation joined to this house in the last phase (see also Ling 1983a:53; 1997:131). But as has already been noted, a phase of activity occurred after the annexation of this area. From the obvious signs of building work or of storage of building materials in this courtyard it seems unlikely that the proprietor of such a large house would not have chosen this part of the house as safe storage for precious bronze vessels, especially when agricultural/industrial material was stored here as well. The building material does not necessarily indicate ongoing repair work abandoned during the eruption (Maiuri 1933:204) but could be the result of previously abandoned work and downgraded living conditions.

*Liberal translation: "its final form."


Room 45 in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

This relatively small L-shaped room was entered from courtyard 44 through a narrow doorway in the east end of the north wall, or through another at the west end. The walls were furbished with coarse white plaster. The pavement in the east area was of mortar while the northern section does not appear to have had any (Ling 1997:320).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

There is no evident disturbance to this room.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The western half of the room was taken up by a masonry platform. The west wall had a lararium painting, and the east corner of the south wall had a niche. Loose finds included three ceramic vases, a weight, a marble puteal, and a mortar.

Interpretations of room:

According to Maiuri (1933:204), the west end of this area was a small den with a rustic latrine, probably formerly a storeroom, but Ling identified the platform as a hearth destroyed prior to the eruption (Ling 1997:118, 320). The coarse plaster and furnishings are those of a service room, possibly a kitchen (see room 09 in the Casa della Venere in Bikini). The exception is a marble puteal. While this could have been stored here during repair, it would not seem to have been from the immediate vicinity.

According to Maiuri (1933:204), this room, like others in this part of the house, had been in a state of disorder and abandonment, explicable only if repair work were in progress at the time of the eruption. In combination with rooms 40, 41, and 43, the assemblages do not in fact give a picture of abandonment of this area. Rather, they reveal seemingly disrupted activity, possibly after the cessation of incomplete repair work. The discovery of cooking material in the vicinity but not in this room also suggests altered, possibly downgraded living conditions but not that it had been vacated for restoration work. The multiple activities in this part of the house suggest that immediately prior to the eruption it had been occupied separately from the rest of this large house.


Upper Levels in Casa del Menandro

Description of room:

Stairways in room 02 and corridor L indicate that this house had an upper story, probably in these areas. Remains of upper rooms above rooms 19 and 20 are still visible, and Ling identified further upper rooms above room 29, courtyard 34, and rooms 35 to 38 (1997:316﹣17).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The size of this house and the large number of breaches in the walls of the lower rooms mean that the volcanic deposit in the upper strata was most probably disturbed.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Many of the finds reported as being from the upper strata were probably moved around b post-eruption intruders. Most notable of these are a sundial (Gibbs 1976:145, No. 10289) found near the surface above the southeastern area of the house; pieces of luxury furniture, mostly beds, chairs, and stools, in this southeast and garden area; a marble statuette (possibly male) found to the east of entranceway a; and a group of bronze fittings, reportedly from horse harness, found on the south side of garden c. Other finds, probably from rooms in the upper story, included a small ceramic weight and an amphora from above room 29 and a glass cup from above room 36. The three skeletons found above courtyard 34, and wearing gold jewelry, could have been part of the same group found in corridor L.

Interpretations of room:

The location of the stairways leading from corridors within the house implies that any upper-story rooms were part of or associated with the occupancy of the ground level. The finds from the upper levels are not diagnostic