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House of the Faun

 

The name of the house comes from a beautiful bronze statue of a faun, a roman divinity related to woods and nature. It is portrayed while dancing and was placed there as a decoration for the impluvium, a shallow pool located in the atrium to collect rainwater.

The house dates back to the beginning of the 2nd Century BC; with its 2970 square meters, it is the largest house in Pompeii. The current form is the result of subsequent modifications. It may have belonged to Sulla’s nephew, responsible for overseeing the establishment of the Roman colony as well as mediating between previous citizens and new colonists.

Because of its size, as well as architectural and decorative significance, it could be considered the finest example of a private house from ancient times. Entering the door the greeting “AVE” welcomes the visitors. The entrance on the left leads to the reception area while the door on the right leads to the private living quarters: an atrium with 4 columns, stables, bathrooms, baths, and a kitchen.

The walls, decorated in the Pompeian “First style” the floor and the threshold covered with a characteristic marble mosaic, are a trick to show that the house was designed as an aristocratic Roman domus. Along the sides of the atrium two rooms were used as a triclinium -an enclosed and heated dining room used during the cold seasons- with an awesome view out to the garden.

In the center of the building a beautiful mosaic (now kept at the National Museum of Naples) showed up, portraying Alexander the Great’s victory over King Darius of Persia, perhaps suggesting a connection between the Macedonian sovereign and the (unknown) cultivated and rich owner.