How were the houses in Pompeii? By: Sabina Khan Period 7
How do we know about the houses in Pompeii? The study of Roman houses was helped greatly by a horrible tragedy. In the year 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted and its ashes covered the people of Pompeii and areas like Herculaneum. Area around Vesuvius Mount Vesuvius
How do we know about the houses in Pompeii? (Cont’d) One effect of the Vesuvius eruption was that it preserved all the sites in the condition that they were in at the time of the eruption. Due to the accurate preservation of the area, archeologists and scholars are able to learn a lot about Roman life, Roman houses and Roman cities.
What influenced the layout of Roman houses? Modern scholars believe the most essential influence on Roman residential architecture came from the Etruscans. Etruscan houses were built as a set of rooms around a courtyard. Romans adopted this layout.
What kinds of houses were there in Pompeii? There are many records of the Roman house in Pompeii, • From the modest dwellings to the large and magnificent villas with decorations • From the simple workmen’s houses to the elegant residences of the noble class • From the homes of merchants, which were built around their shops, to those with their own vegetable garden and agricultural plots of land
What was the order of the rooms in a house in Pompeii? • The entrance at street • The vestibulum (entrance hall) • The atrium (formal courtyard) • The alae (wings of atrium) • The cubicula (bedrooms/small rooms) • The tablinum (office/study) • The triclinium (dining room) • The culina (kitchen) • The peristylium (garden)
What was the entrance like? The entrance had a gate, usually open during daylight hours. The entrance was narrow, and the outside of the house was usually let out as shop space (“tabernae”). 2. What was the vestibulum? The vestibulum was the entrance hall area where people were greeted and their overcoats or cloaks were removed.
Roman House Entrance Roman House Vestibulum
3. What was the atrium? The atrium was one of the most important rooms of the house. It was usually the largest room as well. The roof of the atrium had a rectangular hole, which was called the compluvium (“rain hole”). Directly under that was a basin called the impluvium (“where the rain goes”).
4. What were the alae? The back of the atrium opened out into a couple of rooms. Those rooms at the left and right were called the alae (“wings”). These rooms served as reception rooms. 5. What were the cubicula? To the sides of the atrium and in the back part of the house were small rooms or bedrooms called the cubicula. They may have been used for private meetings, libraries, etc. They had wonderfully detailed wall paintings designed to make the room appear more open and spacious. Bedrooms usually had no more than a sleeping couch and a small chest.
6. What was the tablinum? The tablinum was the office/study of the house. Any person passing by the house could see directly through the atrium to the owner’s office/study. This room contained family records and images of family members and/or ancestors. This room’s rear wall opened to the back half of the house.
7. What was the triclinium? The triclinium was the dining room of the Roman house. It was named after the three couches typically found in the dining rooms of upper-class Romans. The lectus, or couch, was usually made of wood with bronze pieces, and had stuffed cushions. Different sizes and shapes of lecti were used for sleeping, conversing, and dining. A chair with a back (cathedra), for example, was considered suitable only for women or old men. Slaves served multi-course meals while the diners reclined. It had beautifully painted walls.
8. What was the culina? The culina or kitchen was usually small, dark, and had little ventilation. It was usually in a corner of the house. Wealthy matronae did not prepare meals; that was the job of their slaves, so it did not matter if the room was hot and smoky. Baking was done in ovens, whose tops were used to keep dishes warm. 9. What was the peristylium? The peristylium was the garden that was ringed by a covered colonnade (walkway). Sometimes the center of it had a fishpond or a swimming pool.
Roman House Culina Roman House Peristylium
Was there any other rooms? All the way in the back, behind the bedrooms and dining rooms, there would be the servants quarters and the bathrooms.
House of Vettii: • One of the most beautiful and interesting houses • Belonged to brothers, Aulus Vettius Restitutus • and Aulus Vettius Conviva • Had “Priapus” at entrance, • a very famous figure in • Pompeian homes, which • symbolized fertility and • warded off evil influences • Atrium decorated with two safes • Paintings adorned mostly all • walls, with mythological scenes • Magnificent peristylium • with vegetation
House of Pansa • One of the biggest houses found in Pompeii • Had many small rooms, because • the owners were land-owners • Had a plot of land behind it • Had a beautiful atrium • Peristylium had a pool • in its center • Had a vegetable garden • Had extra rooms • for service purposes
Works Cited • Gracco, Tiberio. “The Houses of Pompeii”. Pompeionline.net. April 10, 2007. <http://www.pompeionline.net/pompeii/ houses.htm>. • McKay, Alexander G. Houses, Villas, and Palaces in the Roman World. The Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore and London, 1998. • McManus, Barbara F. “Roman House”. The College of New Rochelle. February 2007. April 10, 2007. <http://www.vroma.org/~bmcmanus/house.html>. • “Pompeii, Houses: Lantern Slides of Classical Antiquity”. October 2000. April 10, 2007. <http://www.brynmawe.edu/Admins/ DMVRC/lanterns/pomphouse.html>. • “The House of the Vettii”. April 10, 2007. <http://clagnut.com/sandbox/dynamiclayout/>. • “The Roman House; roman history, roman civilization”. CMS 206/History 206. April 10, 2007. <http://abacus.bates.edu/~ mimber/Rciv/house.htm>. • Wallace-Hadrill, Andrew. Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Princeton University Press: Princeton, New Jersey, 1994.