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House of the Genius (Casa del Genio) (Herculaneum)

House of the Genius (Casa del Genio) (Herculaneum)












Description of House of the Genius

House of the Genius (Casa del Genio) (Herculaneum)The house of the Genius was named after a statuette of Cupid or Genius, that is, the patron of the family or family name of the house. The house was excavated in 1828-1850, but only partially since the modern buildings of the city of Ercolano do not allow further excavations. The name comes from a fresco depicting a certain God and possibly a genius spirit.
As a note, it is probably important to add something about Roman theology and beliefs. The ancient Romans believed in numerous gods and were therefore polytheists or pagans. In addition to the official Pantheon, each family had its own genius, a personal God - domovenka, who took care of the house and family. Guests coming to the house had to bring a small gift to appease the genius of the family, otherwise this lack of respect would infuriate the little spirit. Roman society, generally speaking, openly tolerated all religions as long as people respected and revered the Roman gods of various levels. If they didn't make sacrifices it could mean problems for the residents of that particular house or the Empire as a whole. Needless to say, this became a serious problem for Christians who did not want to participate in idolatry. Their refusal to offer gifts or sacrifices to the gods and spirits made them easy targets for official authorities.
The house of Genius was excavated in 1828-1850, but was not completed, as part of the ruins are located under the modern city of Ercolano. Since those early excavations, little has been done to expand our knowledge of this house or of the quarter at all. Although it was only partially excavated, the house of Genius seems to have been a spacious building. The main entrance to the house was from Cardo II street, so today we see the back of the peristyle (courtyard with garden) and rooms (C) along the back wall. The entrance with Cardo III is actually the back entrance (posticum). Entrance (a) opens to the back of the peristyle. In the center of the peristyle are the remains of a pool with apses on both sides. The rooms in the Eastern part of the peristyle are in very poor condition and have not retained any of their original decorations. The remainder of the plaster remains in the South-Eastern corner of the peristyle, but everything else that was found in early excavations is now lost.









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