House of the Black Hall (Casa del Salone Nero)
house with the black hall was named after one of the rooms whose
wall walls are covered with black frescoes. The House of the Black
Hall is one of the most luxurious mansions of Herculaneum. It is
located at the junction of Cardo IV Streets with Decumanus Street.
The house has a large entrance, which still retains carbonated
remains of jambs and crossbars.
Also pay attention to the ancient Roman
advertisement of the nearest store on the right wall of the
The entrance hall (a), in which several traces
of the frescoes of the second style are preserved, goes into a
rectangular atrium (b). In the center of the atrium there is a
marble swimming pool, implyuv and a track fountain for drinking
water on a corrugated shaft made of a single piece of white
limestone. The walls of the atrium, built in the Opertum opus, are
devoid of any decoration. Opus incertum consisted in the fact that
the stones were mixed with cement and thus formed powerful walls.
Only a few faded gypsum plots survived to this day. On the west side
of the atrium are two rooms and a kitchen (J), while on the east
side there is a third room and ala. At the back of the atrium is a
large Tablinum (c) - the owner’s office with measurements of 7.7
meters by 5.1 meters.
The atrium and the rooms
surrounding it, as well as the rest of the rooms on the east side of
the mansion, are in very poor condition. Of all the rooms, the round
atrium and tablinum are best preserved. The Tablinum walls are built
in the architectural style of the Opertum Opertum with a frame made
of square blocks of tuff. The decoration of the fourth style
frescoes consists of a black background with central panels
depicting the temples. The upper zone consists of geometric motifs
of violet color on a white background.
The tablinum opens
directly into the square peristyle (d) in the south. On the upper
room of the second floor, overlooking the peristyle, twenty wax
tablets were found bearing the name of L. Venidius Ennychus. A
number of texts were also found regarding his right to a public
office. Most likely he was the owner of the whole house as the
Romans usually placed their own apartments on the second floor.
The peristyle was surrounded by a colonnade on all four sides.
It housed a small central garden. The columns and pillars that
supported the inner edges of the peristyle roof are covered with
stucco plastered on marble masonry. The two remaining rooms that
open to the south side of the peristyle are decorated in the fourth
style. Both rooms have vaulted ceilings. The decoration of the rooms
(e) consists of white panels with blue and red frames on a white
background above the lower black border (in the picture below and
left). The upper zone contains architectural and geometric motifs in
red and black on a white background. The rooms have a white mosaic
floor with a simple double frame in black.
The adjoining room (e) (pictured below), is
decorated with white panels, framed in red, shares architectural
motifs above the lower red border. There is no separate upper zone
since it can simply be regarded as a continuation of the main
decorative theme. The room also has a white mosaic floor with a
simple double border in black. On the south side of the room, a door
leads down to a small open area (g) that contains the Lararium
Temple. Lararium lost its original design with stucco and paints.
On the western side of the peristyle is a large
"black hall" (h), after which the whole house was named. The murals
were painted in the fourth style and consists of black central
panels framed by columns. The room has a vaulted ceiling decorated
with geometric patterns on a black background.
Opening at the Northwest corner of the peristyle
is a cubicle (i), which is preceded by a small vestibule. The
artistic style of the walls is repeated by the decoration of the
neighboring "black hall". The room is decorated in the fourth style
with red panels above the lower black border. The ceiling retains
some of its decoration in the fourth style.