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A Handbook for Travellers in Southern Italy and Sicily ...: South Italy online

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Temple of Fortime.

House of the Tragic Poet.

Forum Baths.

House of Pansa.

House of Sallust.

House of the Surgeon.

Gate of Herculaneum.

Street of the Tombs.

House of Diomede.

View from the City Walls.

This circuit comprises every build-
ing of importance, and is as much as a
traveller can do in a long day. The
order here indicated follows the route
taken by the guides.

The Porta Marina, or Sea Gate, is a
long vaulted passage 26 ft. high, 19 ft.
broad, and 120 ft. long. On its left-
hand side is an elevated pathway,
reached by steps, for foot passengers.
About midway on the rt. is the

* Museum, containing doors, car-
riage-wheels, vases, statuettes, skulls,
casts of dead bodies (p. 121), foimd in
the ruins, carbonised loaves and other
articles of food, and some tablets inlaid
with rare and beautiful marbles.

At the S.W. comer of the Forum is

* Temple of Apollo ( Venus), th^ most
magnificent of all the Pompeian tem-

fles, occupying an area of 150 ft. by 75.
t is surrounded by a portico, 12 ft.
wide, and consisting of 48 irregular
columns, originally Doric, but con-
verted into Corinthian by means of

Digitized by V^OOQIC

B(mte 5. — Description of (he Buins.


stucco. The Temple itself stands upon
an elevated basement, ascended by 14
steps, in front of which is a large altar
covered with slabs of black lava, on
which the ashes of victims were dis-
covered. On its sides are inscriptions
recording its erection. The cella is
very small, and contains nothing but
the pedestal for a statue, and the stone
cone or ifufxiKhsy characteristic of the
worship of Apollo ; its pavement is in
lozenges of black and white marble.
In front of this pavement is a strip of
marble upon which are the remains of
an Oscan inscription, proving clearly
that the temple was dedicated to Apollo.
In the open area were found the marble
statues of Venus and the Hermaphro-
dite, of the Faun, with the heads of
Venus and the Diana in bronze, now in
the Museum, and a mosaic border of
great beauty.
Opposite is the

*Basiliea, 220 ft. by 80. It is
approached from the Forum by a
vestibule, whence a flight of steps
leads into the interior by five en-
trances. The central area was open, and
was surrounded by a gallerjr supported
by a range of 28 fluted Ionic columns
of large size, built of brick, covered
with stucco, and forming a colon-
nade along the sides of the build-
ing. At the end of the building,
elevated on a basement and decorated
with six columns, is the Tribunal for
the Praetors or Judges, with a vault
beneath, which is supposed to have
been a dungeon for criminals. The
remains of pedestals are also traceable.
When discovered, the whole edifice bore
marks of having been rifled, probably
not for the purposes of plunder, but
for the recoverv of tiie public records
it contained, fioth the inner and the
outer walls present numerous inscrip-
tions, now mostly effiuied, some in red
paint, and some merely scratched with
a sharp point These were very useful
in determining the purpose to which
the building was applied.

The * Fomm, the most spacious and
imposing spot in Pompeii, is surrounded
by Done columns of greyish-white

[8. Itdly.2

limestone, 12 ft. high and 2} ft. in
diameter. Above this colonnade there
appears, from the traces of stairs, to
have been a terrace. On the E. side
are the remains of an older arcade
and portico of fluted Doric columns
in volcanic tufa, which had been
damaged by the earthquake and was
in progress of being rebuilt The
entire area was paveid with slabs of
limestone. In front of the columns,
as well as of the portico on the S.
and W. sides, are pedestals for statues,
some of which, from their size, miist
have been equestrian. A few of the
pedestals still bear the names of dis-
tinguished inhabitants, among which
are those of Pansa, Scaurus, Sallust,
Gellianus, and Rufus. Several streets
opened into the Forum, but in the
latertime wheel traffic was excluded and
the entrances blocked up. Fontana's
aqueduct passes diagonaUy under the
pavement, cutting through the sub-
structions of the Temple of Apollo. It
is evident that the Forum was under-
going restoration at the time of the de-
struction of the city in a.d. 79, since a
number of unfinished capitals, portions
of the entablature, and large blocks of
unworked marble were found close by.
At the S. end of the Forum are the

Tribimali {CurisB), three haUs of
nearly equal size, in excellent brick-
work, the central one having a square
recess and the remains of a raised
basement at the end, while those
at the sides have apsides or circular
recesses. The central hall, from the nu-
merous coins found in it, is supposed
to have been the JEtxtrium or Publico
Treasury; the others were probably thfe
Curim or Courts for the meetings of
the Municipal Magistrates.

At the S.E. an^e of the Forum is a
larse square building called, on Uie
authority of a very imcertain inscrip-
tion, the School of Vema,

On the N. side of the Forum is the

* Temple of Jupiter, an imposing
building on an elevated basement, oc-
cupying the finest site in the city, and
from its elevated position commanding
a magnificent view over the plain ot

Digitized by V^OOQIC


Boute 5. — Pompm :

the Sarno, and the Apennines that
encircle it. It is hnilt of brick and
volcanic tufa, covered with white
stucco, and at the time the city was
buried it was in course of restoration
from the effects of the earthquake of
A.D. 63. The entrance is approached by
a flight of steps, flanked by pedestals
for colossal statues. Exclusive of these
steps the building is 100 ft. long and
43 ft. wide. In front is a square ves-
tibule with a portico of fluted Co-
rinthian columns, six in front and
three at each side, one of which has
been set up, and is nearly 40 ft. in
height. The interior of the cella,
42 ft. by 28, is bordered on each side
by a row of eight Ionic columns.
At the N. end of the cella are three
small chambers, and on the 1. is a
staircase leading to the basement,
whereon stood a statue of the god (fine
* view).

Adjacent are the ruins of a brick
arch, which probably served to close
the Forum at this end.

At the N.W. comer of the Forum
are two small chaijibers wrongly called
Prisons, but thought by Fiorclli to
have been the treasury of the temple.
Close by, towards the S., is the

Public Oranary, a long narrow
Jbiiilding, in a niche adjoining which
was found a Table of Measures for com,
jQiii and wine.

We now pass out of t^e Forum at its
J«r. end^ beneath a

Triumphal $xfih.f built of brick and
lava, and originally coyered with slabs
pf marble. Its massive piers are de-
corated with t^o fluted Corinthian
columns. Large atones are placed
across the stre^ under <^is arieh, to
prevent the entnmce q( ^wrheejed Yehi-i-

Ill a straight line from the ?trch is
•the Street of the Forum, 200 ft. long
and 22 ft. wide, with a ^oot <?ausew^y,
and bordered by shops, appareuftly of a
^superior class. In some of them have
been placed large oil-jars, dug out in
excavations near the Samo. .In one
^ouse was found the skeleton of a man

in the act of escaping with 60 coins, a
small plate, and a saucepan of silver.
S.£. of the Arch stands the so-called

♦Temple of Angiistiu {Pantheon) y
now more generally believed to have
been a Macellumy or Provision Market.
In front of the building, under the
portico of the Fomm, are seven shops,
perhaps the Tabemss Argentarix or
Tables of the money-changers. The
principal entrance firom the Forum
being decorated with fluted Corinth-
ian marble columns and pedestals for
statues. "Within is an open atrium
120 ft. by 90, with 12 pedestals placed
in a circle. In a niche at the back
of the building were found statues of
Augustus, of Livia as a priestess, and
of her son Drusus, now in the Museum,
here replaced by casts. The extensive
compartment on the rt. had a marble
counter inclined inwards, and to judge
by the paintings in the vestibule used
for the sale of fish ; the corresponding
compartment on the 1. contains a raised
platform, over which is a niche for a
statue ; before it stands an altar covered
with a slab of lava, as appears to have
been generally the case, to resist the
action of the fire during the sacrifices
burned upon them. On the S. side
of the building are 12 open recesses,
supposed to be provision shops, and
the holes for rafters prove that there
were similar rooms over them, perhaps
intended for the occupation of the
Augustales. The inner walls are deco-
rated with paintings of Ulysses in dis-
guise meeting Penelope on his return
to Ithaca, lo and Epaphus, Latona and
her children, Ethra and Theseus, Cupids
making bread, and donkeys worHng
corn-mills. The culinary paintings at
this entrance, and the large collection
of fish-bones and other fragments of
food foimd in the drain in uie centre,
indicate the character of the building,
while a large room with channels placed
^n an incline is supposed to have been
a Slauehterhouse.

Further on is the

0«ria (Senaculum)^ a large semi-
circular hall with a portico of Ionic
colunpis of white marble. On each

Digitized by V^OOQIC

Boute 5.— Description of the Buins,

side of the entrance are pedestals for
statues. In the centre of the area is
an altar, and at the end a recess with a
seat for the decurions, who are sup-
posed to have held their puhlic sittings
The next huilding to the N. is the

* Temple of Mercury, or more pro-
perly of Augustus, a small building,
83 ft. by 53. It stands upon a basement,
and is approached by a narrow vestibule,
with steps on each side leading to the
platform of the cella, in the centre of
which is an *altar of white marble with
reliefs representing a sacrifice on one
side and the sacrificial implements on
the others. Adioining the building
were the apartments for the priests, in
one of which numerous ampnorsB were
found. This edifice, which is now
enclosed by iron gates, has been con-
verted into a repository of objects found
in the excavations, marbles, weights,
amphorae, roof decorations in terracotta,
architectural fragments, and vases.

At the opposite comer of the street,
forming part of the E. side of the
Forum, is the

*Crypto-Porticii8 of Enmaehia, or
the Chalcidicum, a large enclosure in
the form of a basilica, supposed to have
been the Exchange of the clothworkers.
It had two entrances, one from the
Street of Abundance, the principal one
from the Forum. The latter had a
portico of 18 columns ; the entrance was
closed in the centre by folding doors,
of which the sockets and bolt-holes are
still visible in the marble. This was
flanked by two circular recesses, and
these again by raised platforms, the
stairs to which still remain. The in-
terior was divided into a large area,
130 ft. by 65, surrounded by a double
gallery, a portico of 48 columns of
white marble of beautiful workman-
diip, very few of which have been
found ; a chalcidicum or enclosed apart-
ment at the extremity of the area ;
at the end is a semicircular recess
which contained a statue of Concord;
and a ciypto-porticus, entered from the
side street, in which walls pierced with
windows have replaced tne columns


usually seen in the interior. Behind
the apse of the Chalcidicum, in a niche
in the centre of the wall of the crypto-
porticus, entered from the Street of
Abundance, stands a copy of the origi-
nal statue (now at Naples) of the public
priestess Eumachia, with an inscription
recording that it was erected to her by
the corporation of cloth-scourers. On
the architrave over the side entrance is
another inscription, recording the erec-
tion of the Chalcidicum, crypt, and
portico, by Eumachia the priestess.

S. of this building runs the Strada
dell* Abbondanza, so called from a relief
of Abundance over a fountain. On the
rt., further on, is the

House of the Wild Boar (^Cignale),
named from a mosaic in the prothyrum.
In the atrium are some mosaics of great
beauty, one of which is supposed to
represent the waUs of the city. The
peristyle has 14 well-preserved Ionic

On the wall of a house at the comer
of a small street leading to the rt., is a
painting representing the Dii Consentes,
or the 12 superior divinities, with the
tutelary serpents nndemeath. Juno
wears a blue robe, Diana a yellow one,
and Venus a pale green, more trans-
parent than the dresses of the other

On the rt., further down the Strada
dell' Abbondanza, is the

House of the Holconii, a very hand-
some dwelling. It consists of an atrium
communicating by a wide fauces with
the inner peristyle, surrounded by fluted
Doric columns, the lower third of which
are painted yellow. In tiie centre is a
large deep fountain in marble, with a
waterfall in the form of marble steps,
at the top of which stands a gracefiil
statue of a small Cupid. The side
rooms are adorned wim paintings of
the Bape of Europa, Bacchus and a
Satyr unveiling the sleeping Ariadne,
Ulysses discovering Achilles in female
attire, and the Judgment of Paris, with
Juno, Venus, Minerva, and Mercury,
The peristyle is irregular i|i form, and
from each of the columns that surround




Boute 5. — Pompeii :

it projects a small bronze water-pipe,
forming with the fountain and small
cascade a handsome system of artificial

"We now follow a street leading S.,
to the

"'Triangvlsr Fomm, which is entered
through a propylsBum or vestibule of 8
Ionic columns, raised upon two steps,
with a fountain in front of one of the
columns. The Forum itself is an irre-
gular triangle, surrounded on its W.
side and its E. side, which are 300 ft.
and 450 ft. long respectively, by a
Doric colonnade, forming a portico of
90 columns ; the third side had no
portico, and appeai-s to have been bor-
dered with shops. The portico probably
served as a sort of piazza for the
frequenters of the theatres, to which
there were three entrances ; and in the
columns may still be seen fragments of
the iron bars, inserted between them
to keep the people from pressing in.
Parallel to the portico on the E. side is
a long low wall, extending nearly to
the bottom of the triangular Forum;
it is terminated at the N. end by a
pedestal, with inscription; and at the
S. end by two altars and a circular

At the S. end is a

*0reek Temple (of Hercules), the
most ancient building yet discovered,
and named from the retra Herculis
upon which it stood. Its high an-
tiquity, generally attributed to early
Hellenic colonists, is shown by the
massive dimensions of its Doric col-
umns, some fragments of which in
tufa, with their capitals and bases in
travertine, still remain; bv the great
depth and projection of the abacus;
and by the general construction of the
building, which resembles that of the
Temples of PsBstum. It appears to
have stood upon a basement of 5 steps,
and to have been 120 fr. long, exclusive
of the steps^ and 70 wide. It had a
cclla, which from the remains of a cross •
wall appears to have been divided into
two, with separate entrances from the
N. and S. ' in the former is a circular
pedestal. In front of the steps is a

curious enclosure, supposed to have
contained the victims for the sacrifice,
and at the side are the two altars with
the remains of a smaller one between

Beyond this enclosure are the remains
of a small *€liroiilar Temple of 8 Doric
columns, which covered a pwteal for the
supply of water used in the sacrifices.
The supposition that it was an expia-
tory altar marking the situation of a
bidental, a spot on which a thunderbolt
had fallen, and which was always held
in peculiar sanctity, has been generally

At the "W. angle of the temple is a
small HemicycUy a semicircular seat of
stone, facing the S., in which a sun-
dial was discovered. It must have
commanded a magnificent view.

We now pass into the

*Oreat Theatre, a structure which
probably superseded an earlier one
made of wood, placed on the S. slope
of a hill of tufa. It was semicircular
and open to the sky, and was lined
in every part with wnite marble. The
seats faced the S. and commanded a
fine view over the plain of the Samo
and the mountains behind Stabi».
Owing to the great height of the outer
wall, the upper portion of it has always
remained above ground, though no
one seems to have suspected that it
was the summit of an ancient theatre.
The scenic decorations being of wood
and textiles have perished, and it is
said that in the Bourbon days many of
the marble seats were removed and cut
up for use in modem buildings. In spite
of these spoliations, the interior is still
sufficiently p^ect to explain itself far
better than the most elaborate descrip-
tion. The general audience entered the
theatre by an arched corridor on a level
with the colonnade of the Triangular
Forum, and descended thence into the
cayea by six flights of stairs, which
divided tiie seats into five wedge-shaped
portions, called caneL The doors of
the corridor at the head of these stairs
were called tiie Yomitoria. A careful
calculation has shown that the space
allotted to each person was 1 ft. 3| in.
By making this me basis of a calcula-

Digitized by V^OOQIC

Route 5. — Description of the Buins.


tion, the theatre might contain 5000
persons. A separate entrance and stair-
case led to the women's gallery, which
was placed above the corridor we have
described, and was divided into com-
partments like the boxes in a modem
theatre. Below, in what we should
call the pit, a semicircular passage,
bounded by a wall, called the prsB'
dnotio, separated the seats of the
plebeians from the privileged ones re-
served for the equestrian order, the
Augustales, the tribunes, &c. These
seats were entered by a separate pas-
safe, commimicating with an area
behind the scena. It seems probable
from the form of these seats that the
privileged spectators brought their own
Miellia, or official seats, and deposited
them according to their rank in the
place allotted to them. The level semi-
circular platform in front of the privi-
leged seats was called the orchestra.
In the proseenium, or the wall which
supported the stage, are seven recesses,
in which probably the musicians were
stationed. The stage, or pxQpitum,
appears from the pedestals and niches,
which remain, to have been decorated
with statues. It is a long and narrow
platform, quite disproportioiiate to the
size of the theatre according to our
modem notions of stage effect; but
it must be remembered that the scenes
of a Roman theatre were very simple
and revolved upon a pivot, and that
the ancient drama was unassisted bv
those illusions of perspective which
constitute the art of the modem scene-
painter. The wall at the back of the
stage was called the foena; it has
three doors, the central one circular
and flanked by columns, the two side
ones rectangular. Behind it is ihe
poftieeniimi, containing the apartments
for the actors. The exterior of the
upper wall of the cavea still retains
the projecting stone rings for receiving
the poles of the Yelarium or awning,
by which, on special occasions, the
audience were protected from the heat
of the sun.
N. of the Great Theatre is the

^Temple of Uis, a small but very
interesting building, standing on a

basement in the centre of a court sur-
rounded by a portico of Corinthian
columns, 10 ft. high, with painted
shafts. Over the entrance is a fac-
simile of an inscription (original at
Naples), recording the erection of the
.^Jdes IsidiSf by Numerius Popidius
Oelsinus, then of the age of six years,
at his own cost, after it had been
thrown down by the earthquake of
A.D. 63; and his elevation by the
Decurions to their own rank in ac-
knowledgment of his liberality. The
building was no doubt, as Overbeck
says, erected by a Freedman, who
having been a slave could not be made
a Decurion. In the next generation
this disability would be removed and
the child was made Decurion (gratis)
as a compliment to his father. The
word ^des is here used to distinguish
the building from a Temple, which was
always a consecrated edifice, whereas
the worship of Isis had been forbidden
by a decree of the Roman Senate, in
B.C. 57, and was therefore only tolerated.
The court presents all the arrangements
of the Isiac worship. In one comer is
an aediculum with a vaulted roof and
pediment over the door, covering the
sacred well of lustral purification, to
which there was a descent by a luurow
flight of steps. It is covered with
stucco ornaments, of figures of Isis and
Harpocrates, of Mercury, Mars, and
Jupiter, with arabesques of dolphins,
&c., all of inferior execution. Near it
is an altar, on which were found the
burnt bones of victims. The front of
the basement, on which the ^des
stands, is broken in the centre by a
narrow projecting flight of steps, flanked
by two altars, one for the votive offer-
ings, the other probably for the sacred
flre. In front of the cella is a portico
of six Corinthian columns, having at
each angle a small wing with a niche
between two pilasters supporting a
pediment. The interior of me Sacra-
rtum or cella is small and shallow, the
entire width being occupied with a long
hollow pedestal for statues, having two
low doorway s at the end near the secret
stairs, by which the priests could enter
unperceived, and dehver the oracles as
if they proceeded from the statue of

Digitized by V^OOQIC


Boute 5. — Pompeii :

the goddess herself. Fontana's aque-
duct, which crosses the street of Stabiae,
runs to the rt. of the Temple.

Adjoining is the Tribunal {Cur it
Isiaca)^ an oblong open court, 79 ft. by
57, surrounded on three sides by a
portico of Doric columns, and having
two small rooms at one end. In front
of the portico is a stone pulpit, with a
pedestal and a flight of steps behind,
from which orations may have been

At the S.E. comer of the Great
Theatre is the *3mall Theatre or Tkea-
ii^m tectum, supposed to have been
used for the comic drama. It is similar
in its general arrangement to the larger
theatre, but is different in form, the
semicircle being cut off by straight
walls from each end of the stage ; and
the style and execution of the work
show an inferiority, which may possibly
be explained by an inscription record-
ing that it was erected by contract. It
appears to have been permanently
roofed, the same inscription describing
it as the Theatrum tectum. The seats
of the audience were separated by a
passage from the four tiers of benches
which held the hisellia. This passage
was bounded on the side of the cavea
by a wall, the ends of which were
ornamented with kneeling Herculean
figures which are supposed to have
sustained lights. The parapet on the
stage side of the passage, forming
the back of the privileged seats, termi-
nated at each end in a griffin's leg.
The pavement of the orchestra is in
coloured marbles, and was presented by
Verus the Duumvir instead of giving
games in the amphitheatre on his
election. A band of grey and white
marble runs dii-ectly across it, bearing
an inscription in large bronze letters
recording the gift of the pavement.
In the corridor which runs round the
back of the house to give access to
the seats, several inscriptions in rude
Oscan letters were found upon the
plaster of the walls, the work probably
of idlers who could not find seats. This
theatre is estimated to have held 1500

At the S.W. angle of the small
theatre are the

Gladiators' Barracks, a large en-
closure, 183 ft. long by 148 ft. wide,
surrounded by a Doric portico of 22
columns on the longer, and of 17 on
the shorter sides. The columns of the
portico are covered with stucco, the
lower third plain and painted red, the
upper portion fluted and painted alter-
nately red and yellow. Under the
portico open numerous apartments of
imiform size, a mess-room, guard-house
or prison, kitchen, stables for horses,
an oil-mill, and other minor offices.
Above was a second floor, approached
by three narrow flights of steps, and by
one of better construction leading to
the chambers which were probably oc-
cupied by the officers. Sixty- three
skeletons, together with various inscrip-
tions, drawings, weapons, and innumer-
able records of gladiatorial life, were
discovered in this building. Here also
the stocks for prisoners, now in the
Naples Museum, were found.

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