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House of the Bronze Bull
House of the Bronze Bull
is located on the north side of Via di Nola just to the west of its
intersection with the Vicolo di Cecilio Giocondo. The large mansion
of the House of the Bronze Bull was named after a small statuette
that stood at the fountain, which poured into a small decorative
pool-impluvium in the atrium, that is a small pool in the living room of the house.
The mansion is also sometimes called the House of L. Pontius Saxesus
because of the seal with his name found near the main entrance. The
house was excavated in 1836 and later forgotten. The lack of a roof
left colorful murals unprotected. As a result, part of the frescoes
of the House of the Bronze Bull were lost.
The chic entrance
to the House of the Bronze Bull was erected from large pieces of
tuff and covered with plaster. The top was crowned with curly
capitols. Today these capitols are stored in the former market
granary at the Forum of Pompeii. On the eastern wall of the entrance
door was supplemented in the later phase of the mansion. This side
door led to a smaller side entrance that could be used before or
after normal reception hours and for less important visitors.
Entrance doorways open into the corridor, which during the
excavations were covered with remains of frescoes of the first
style, but mostly were decorated with frescoes in the third style.
Today, virtually none of these decorations remain. In the rows there
is a lime-cement floor, into which small pieces of lava and
fragments of colored limestone and marble were inserted.
The corridor opens into a rectangular atrium, which has a
surprisingly symmetrical layout. The monumental doorways in the
rooms leaving the atrium were built even where there were no rooms
themselves. The owner apparently wanted to maintain symmetry no
matter what. In the center of the atrium living room is a marble
pool. It is made of large slabs of white marble. Three fountains
supplied water to the pool, which was rare in Pompeii. The fact that
the living rooms were usually the highest rooms in the house,
usually two floors. And a hole was made in the roofs. Through it,
the water fell down and filled the pool. On a pedestal on the
northern edge of the living room, there was a statuette of a bronze
bull as a figure fountain; the second is a fountain that beat a
stream of water in the center of the pool, while the third beat four
small jets. The tap water entering these fountains flowed through
the now lost lead pipe from the back of the house.
The main feature of the peristyle-home garden is the back (north)
wall, consisting of a large nympheum facade (m). This is a kind of
home spring. Here, according to the ideas of the ancients, lived
nymphs who patronized the water. Nymphaea was added when tap water
was introduced into the house at the beginning of the first century
AD. Pipe water was widely used throughout the house with five
separate junction boxes in five different rooms to ensure that water
is distributed and used in a controlled way. The junction box found
in the peristyle is shown above.