Restored houses of Pompeii glimpse into the cultural scope of the ancient Roman city

restored-houses-pompeii-ancient-roman-cityDomus of Marcus Lucretius Fronto. Credit: Riccardo Siano

Pompeii and historical restoration go hand in hand, with a spurt of recent efforts that have painstakingly refurbished many sections of the ancient Roman city. And now in December just before the holiday season, experts (as a part of the 105-million-euro Great Pompeii Project funded by the European Commission) have been able to restore a few residential units (domus) that have preserved a parcel of poignant human history.


One of these praiseworthy feats entails the newly restored house of Obelius Firmus. Still comprising a giant coffer in bronze and iron marked by lapilli (red-hot volcanic stones), the house was used by its inhabitants (possibly local aristocrats) as the last refuge from the calamitous eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Unfortunately, while the safe in the entry-hall can still be admired from the street, the domus also contained the remains of these five residents who sought protection from the catastrophe.

Another restored ambit entails the home of Marcus Lucretius Fronto (pictured in the featured image), which had the remains of five adults and three children. But beyond heartrending discoveries, this opulent domus is also remarkable for its preserved collection of fascinating frescoes. As the ANSA article makes it clear –

The house has stunning frescoes, including a wall painted black and with little pictures portraying seaside villas, cupids, scenes of Bacchus and Ariadne, Venus and Mars, Narcissus, and Pero breast-feeding her elderly father Cimon to save his life, with a couplet that recites: “Sad modesty mixed with pity”.


Additionally the owners probably bedecked their children’s room with portraits of the kids beside the door (check the video above). Their own private bedroom is in turn complemented by the famous scene of Ariadne giving Theseus her thread (which allowed Theseus to successfully enter the labyrinth to kill Minotaur), while the accompanying garden walls (known as exedra) showcase hunting scenes with “lions, panthers, bears, bulls, oxen and horses.” The dining hall also boasts a magnificent painting depicting the demise of Neoptolemus at the hands of Orestes.

The third renovated structure entails a relatively small lupanar (brothel) with its fair share of erotic frescoes and high-walled windows for ancient privacy. This is accompanied by restoration of a floor of a nearby house that was possibly already abandoned during Pompeii earthquake of 62 AD. In this year, archaeologists had also refurbished a bakery (pistrinum) that was later transformed into an ancient Roman equivalent of laundry establishment (fullonica).


And lastly, in case you are interested in ‘experiencing’ the scope of destruction fueled by Vesuvius, you can take a gander at the astounding animation below that was created for an exhibition named aptly as the ‘ A Day in Pompeii’. The 3D renderings made by Zero One Animation present an accurate ambit of the impending disaster that took place in 79 AD, and its baleful effects in the span of 48-hours surrounding the eruption of Mount Vesuvius –

Source/Image Credits: ANSA

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