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House of the Four Styles
house of the Four styles stands on Vicolo delle Ephebo. It was first
excavated in 1937 and again in 1951. The house of the Four styles got
its name from the presence of all four decorative styles, although,
in Pompeii, it was not something exceptional. Houses stood for a
long time and different owners tried to decorate their dwellings in
different ways to the best of their abilities. In view of the fact
that the house of the Four styles has two atriums, it means that there
once were two private houses. Later they were joined together. It is
possible that in the garden there were another two houses that were
The entrance from street (a), which
opens on the east side of Vicolo delle Ephebo, retains its original
decoration. The corridor leads to the impressive atrium (b). The
living room, shown below, is a tetrastil with four Corinthian tufa
columns supporting the roof. The central pool is unusual in that it
stands on a rise (in the photo at the beginning of the article).
In the central atrium of the House of four styles stood the
Lararium, a small cabinet with gifts for the spirits of the house.
Here they could sacrifice animals. Two majororum or portets of
certain people were found in this cabinet. Apparently it was the
image of ancestors who once lived here. The cult of the family and
ancestors was highly revered by the Romans of that time. Emperor
Augustus in every way supported the traditional foundations and
tendencies in the hope of preserving the state as a whole.
Here archaeologists found a bronze cylinder for heating food.
The atrium has rooms on all four sides. To the left of the
corridor is room (c), which is decorated mainly in the first style.
The decoration consists of painted plaster imitating blocks of
polychrome marble. The north side of the room is slightly raised,
with a short wall dividing the north side of the room, on a bed on
one side and a narrow storage area on the other. This apparently was
a maid's room. Room (d) from the northwest corner of the atrium is
decorated in the fourth style with red frame panels on a white
background above the bottom dark red frieze. The decoration in the
Fourth style includes small rectangular scenes. Both the north and
south walls have recesses at their western end. A narrow doorway in
the east wall connects the room with the room (e) in the east.