Pompeii: Its Life and Art

By August Mau; Francis W. Kelsey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXIX
THE HOUSE OF EPIDIUS RUFUS

THE house of Epidius Rufus, built, like those previously described, in the pre-Roman time, presents a pleasing example of a Corinthian atrium. In one respect it resembles the oldest Pompeian houses, such as that of the Surgeon; in the place of the peristyle is a garden extending back from a colonnade at the rear of the tablinum. In a period when large peristyles were the fashion, a Pompeian of wealth and taste, whose building lot was ample enough to admit of an extension of his house toward the rear, contented himself with a single group of rooms arranged about one central apartment.

The arrangement of rooms is seen at a glance (Fig. 149). The vestibule, like that of the principal entrance in the house of the Faun, had a triple door at the end toward the street (shown in Fig. 150), which was no doubt left open in the daytime. Entering, one would pass into the fauces ordinarily through the small door at the right (p. 248), the large double doors between the vestibule and the fauces only being opened for the reception of clients or on special occasions.

The front of each ala (7, 13) is adorned with two Ionic columns. At the corners of the entrances are pilasters, the Corinthian capitals of which have a striking ornament, a female head, moulded in stucco, looking out from the midst of the acanthus leaves. The eyes and hair are painted, and in one instance the features of a bacchante can be recognized.

In the right ala is an elaborate house shrine, built like a temple with a façade supported by columns, raised on a podium five feet high (Fig. 151). On the front of the podium is a dedicatory inscription to the Genius of the master (p. 270).

The tablinum originally opened on the atrium in its full width, the entrance being set off by pilasters at the corners. It was

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