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House of the Faun
Location: Regio VI
House of the Faun (Italian: Casa del Fauno) is
a large residence in Pompeii that was constructed on a site of
an older dwelling that dated back to the 3rd century BC. The House of
the Faun is named after a small bronze statue of a faun, which
stands in the center of a small pool in the center of the house.
Fauns are spirits of a wild forest, which the literate and
Hellenized Romans often associated with Pan and Greek satyrs.
Sometimes they were identified with the wild followers of the Greek
god of wine and agriculture of Dionysus. This is a purely decorative
sculpture of high order, the pose is easy and elegant with the
general sense of movement.
In the House of Faun is famous for its mosaic depicting the
battle of Issus in 333 BC between the Macedonian forces of Alexander
the Great and the Persian army under the command of Darius III of
Persia. This mosaic could have been inspired or copied from a Greek
painting made at the end of the fourth century BC, probably by the
artist Philoxenes of Eretria. Unlike most of the Pompeian mosaic of
the end of the second and first centuries, the mosaic in the House
of Faun is made of tessera, and not the more common opus of signum
or other types of stone chips broken in a mortar.
House of the Faun is one of the most luxurious aristocratic houses
from the Roman Republic and reflects this period better than most
archaeological evidence found even in Rome itself. The house itself,
as it is easy to understand, was built from the connection of two
houses. Many details of the architecture are duplicated here as they
used to belong to two different houses, built apparently in the
second century BC. The new owner only broke the walls, creating a
single mansion. Presumably, the house of Faun was built for Publius
Sulla, the nephew of the conqueror of the city, put at the head of
Immediately at the entrance you can see the Latin
inscription "Have" or Ave, that is, hello. From here you can get to
the Etruscan (Tuscan) atrium with central impluvium, a shallow pool
for collecting rainwater. The small decorative pool is decorated
with rich geometric inlay of multicolored marble and a bronze
statuette of the dancing Faun. This statue became the reason for the
name of this house. The fauns are the spirits of the untamed forest,
which the literate and Hellenized Romans often identified with the
Greek god Pan and the Greek satyrs.
House of the Faun is
undoubtedly one of the most luxurious houses of its time and perhaps
the most beautiful in the whole city of Pompeii. Apparently the
earthquake that accompanied the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius
severely damaged the building and many walls collapsed.
Nevertheless, the lower levels retained beautiful frescoes and
mosaics on the floor of the house. Of course, the mosaic that
archaeologists found in the triclinium, that is, the office of the
owner of the house, deserves special attention.
mosaic is complemented by other mosaics on the floor with nilotic
scenes and theatrical masks. Other famous works of art from the
House of Faun include the erotic figure of Satire, Nymph and fish
and more. The original of this mosaic is today kept in the National
Archaeological Museum in Naples.
Archaeological excavations were carried out in the House of Faun in
1830 by the German Institute, although they ended only in the 20th
century with a series of archaeological expeditions from all over
the world. Archaeologists have discovered an inscription bearing the
symbol of the Saturnin family. Also found here is a ring with the
symbol of the Cassia family. Apparently someone from the Cassia
family was married to a man from the Saturnin family and lived in
this luxurious house during the eruption.