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Pompeii (Campania), Italy

Building of Eumachia

The priestess Eumachia, patron of launderers, financed the construction of this building during the reign of Emperor Tiberius (14-37 AD); however, the façade visitors can see today with its gorgeous rectangular portal clad in marble was built after 62 AD.

The niches on the façade contained statues celebrating the Imperial House and the marble on the portal is reminiscent of structures built in Rome during the Augustan age. The building can be accessed from the Forum and hosts a colonnaded porch. Fabric dyers and launderers -called fullones- had their guild headquarters in that building.

The construction was dedicated to Concordia Augusta, as one can read on the architrave above the porch. A statue in her honor was placed on the porch alongside representations of the Imperial family. Of course there was also a statue  portraying  Eumachia (the original can be found the National Museum of Naples).

As in the fullonica, jars were placed close to the entrance with the purpose to collect urine: pedestrians could use it on their way up the ladder; the use of urine as a bleaching and degreasing agent for fabrics was subject to taxation by Emperor Vespasian.