Ermak Travel Guide

 

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House of the Cryptoporticus

House of the Cryptoporticus

 

 

 

 

 

 

House of the CryptoporticusHouse of the Cryptoporticus lies on the south side of Via delle Abbondanza at the junction with Vicolo di Pacius Proculus. The house was excavated in 1911-29. In antiquity, House Lararium and the House of Cryptoporticus were part of a single mansion that belonged to the family of Valery Ruth. However, after an earthquake of 62 years, the owner’s affairs went into decline, and he sold his house to two owners, who divided the house.

The house of Cryptoporticus got its name from the architectural term Cryptoporticus, that is, a covered passage or corridor. The cryptoporticus in this house, with its luxurious baths, was turned into a warehouse after 62 years. The entrance to the house opens onto a long corridor that has lost most of its plaster, and the remaining plaster has faded too much to describe its decoration. The loggia houses stored casts of people who once lived here. It is not known whether these people were masters or servants of the house. Most likely it was one family who lived here. It is doubtful that the servants could stay in the city while their masters tried to escape.

 

 

 

 

House of the Cryptoporticus  House of the Cryptoporticus

House of the Cryptoporticus  House of the Cryptoporticus

The peristyle was surrounded on both sides by columns of brick pillars, covered with plaster, supporting the inner edges of the roof. The gaps between the columns were filled with a fence about 0.75 m high. In the center of the peristyle there was a small inner garden. On the eastern side of the peristyle there was a series of rooms. This part of the house is in very poor condition, severely affected by Allied bombings in September 1943.

One piece of decoration that has been preserved is the painted lararium in the western part of the northern portico. Lararium is a family altar dedicated to the spirits of the house and its ancestors. The decoration of the Lararium depicts a large snake, lifting its head to the bust of Mercury, installed in the arched niche above the projecting ledge. Under the niche is the second serpent, coiled around a small altar. In the background are various plants and birds, including a rather magnificent peacock. Lararium is framed by a red frame and is located above the bottom black frieze.

 

House of the Cryptoporticus