House of the Faun

House of the Faun Pompeii


Location: Regio VI

Insula 12

Дом Фавна (Помпеи)  Дом Фавна (Помпеи)

House of the Faun (Italian: Casa del Fauno) is the name given to the ruins of one of the ancient houses in Pompeii; a former patrician house located on the archaeological site of the city. It is the remains of a dwelling house on a relatively large plot of land (the current site is called Via della Fortuna), one of the most famous and artistically most valuable buildings of this former ancient city.

The house, which is an example of a classical Roman residential building (domus), owes its name to a small statue of a dancing faun, located in the main atrium in the middle of the former decorative pool - Impluvium.

According to a number of experts, in the case of the House of the Faun, this is one of the most beautiful examples of residential buildings of Roman times and antiquity in general. It is also one of the largest private buildings in Pompeii. Combining almost all the characteristic elements of the Roman houses of the patricians (architectural and artistic), it was one of the most beautiful living quarters of that time.

It was probably built in the first half of the 2nd century BC for a certain Publius Sulla, the nephew of a Roman general. At the end of the 2nd century, it underwent an extensive renovation.


Дом Фавна Помпеи  Дом Фавна Помпеи


The house was excavated in 1831. It got its modern name because of the bronze sculpture of a faun in a dance found here, one of the best preserved from this period. The faun stood in the atrium. Pompeii was founded by the Samnites, who built up this site for the first time. In Roman times, the house was rebuilt, turning it into a palace building with two atriums and two peristyles.

Together with two peristyles, the House of the Faun occupied an area of about three thousand square meters. Instead of limestone of the previous period, volcanic tuff was used for construction, which is easy to work with. The walls of the House of the Faun are decorated with imitation of colored stones and marble. To enhance the reality of the murals, their architectural details were molded (cornices, pilasters). The luxurious decoration of the house was the numerous mosaics on the floors. Among them are ornamental and decorative compositions. The greeting “Have” (hello) was laid out in stones on the threshold. Among the decorative mosaics are a still life with fruits and flowers, Nile landscapes, theatrical masks, a cat, doves on a bowl of water, the Greek god Bacchus riding a panther. 

Дом Фавна Помпеи  Дом Фавна Помпеи


The house can be divided into 5 main parts: Tuscan atrium, peristyle atrium, service rooms, corridors and their respective utility rooms. The house had taberns and a very elaborate floor plan detailing many rooms, like many ancient Roman houses. The owners of the House of the Faun, like the wealthy aristocrats of the Roman Republic, installed their own bath system. The bathroom was in the inner wing, to the right of the entrance. the kitchen was heated by a large stove. The servants' quarters were dark and cramped, with little furniture. The house has beautiful peristyle gardens, the second of which was created for recitation, pantomime. The house had bedrooms, summer and winter dining rooms, a reception room and an office.

The house covered an area of almost three thousand square meters. It contains two atriums; one belonged to the main part of the house and was accessible immediately after crossing the vestibule and a small entrance called fauces. In the atrium, built in the Tuscan style, there was an impluvium, the beauty of which can still be imagined. The bottom was filled with colored marble inlay in the form of regular geometric figures. The second atrium was located to the right of the main entrance. The central part of the atrium was occupied by a tetrastyle with a separate entrance, which probably served to entertain visitors.

Another part of the house, which was a small garden with a peristyle with Ionic columns, was entered through a narrow passage. To the right of the passage, a staircase was built leading to the second floor.

Дом Фавна Помпеи  Дом Фавна Помпеи

Mosaic of Alexander

One of the most historically valuable parts of the house (from the point of view of a modern person) was undoubtedly a room called the exedra. Its value lies not only in the beautiful fresco decoration of the walls, but above all in the famous mosaic, which, while the carpet flooded the floor. Mosaic of Alexander (now in the museum in Naples as a wall mosaic; dimensions 313 x 582 cm), dating from about 100 BC. e., depicts the battle of Alexander the Great against the Persian king. At first glance, one can tell that the mosaic is a work of impeccable craftsmanship (many of the parts that make up the picture are no more than half a square centimeter in size).

The mosaic was damaged during an earthquake and was modeled after an earlier work. The original could have belonged to the work of an Eretrian artist of the 4th century BC. e. Philoxenus, a disciple of Nicomachus of Thebes. He created a mosaic commissioned by Cassander around 300 BC. e., according to Pliny the Younger. According to another version, the mosaic was originally created by Apelles.

Mosaic of Alexander from 1843 is preserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. In Pompeii, since 2005, a copy of the mosaic created by the mosaic school in Ravenna has been exhibited, which accurately reproduces the Pompeian original in material, color, shape and size. The cost of creating a copy was more than 500,000 euros.