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VI.17.25 Pompeii. Casa del Leone or Casa di Polibio or House of Polybius.

Linked to VI.17.23. First excavated in 1771. Bombed in 1943.

 

(VI.17.23-26 was also known as Casa di Polibio, La Maison à trois étages, and Maison des cadavres moulés, see CTP II, p.268,and Fiorelli, below).

 

According to Fiorelli, -

“Segue un grandioso edifizio a tre piani, cui fu imposto il nome di Casa di Polibio, da un programma che vi era scritto, simile a quello riferito piu innanzi al numero 2.

Aveva sulla fronte sei botteghe e due ingressi, il secondo de’quali (no.25) preceduto da vestibolo, ch’era seguito dall’atrio tuscanico privo di stanze nei lati, e con tablino nel fondo situato tra due fauci, di cui una con la scala pel piano inferiore.

L’altro adito minore (no.23) dava accesso ad un peristilio, circuente il giardino, e contenente nei suoi ambulacri un grandiose triclinio, con apotheca allato, due oeci, un cubicolo finestrato, ed una gradinata dalla quale montavasi ad altre stanze superiori, e discendevasi parimenti nel piano sottoposto, ov’erano visibili gl’impianti di molte stanze, e l’area di un grande orto con piscina nel mezzo, circondato da portici.”

See Fiorelli, G. (1875). Descrizione di Pompei, (p.433-434)

See Pappalardo, U., 2001. La Descrizione di Pompei per Giuseppe Fiorelli (1875). Napoli: Massa Editore. (p.159).

 

(translation – “Following was a large three-floored building, on which was imposed the name of the House of Polybius, from a programma that was written there, similar to that reported previously at VI.17.2.

On the front, this building had six shops and two entrances, the second of which (VI.17.25) was preceded by a vestibule, which was followed by the Tuscan Atrium without rooms at its sides, and with a tablinum at the rear situated between two corridors, one with the stairs to a lower level.

The other minor entrance (VI.17.23) gave access to a peristyle surrounding the garden, its walkway containing a grandiose triclinium with small room/cupboard at its side, two oeci, a windowed cubiculum, and a staircase which went up to other upper rooms, and descended also to the floor below, where the arrangement of many rooms was visible, and a large garden area with pool in the middle surrounded by porticoes”.

 

VI.17.25 Pompeii. May 2005. Entrance doorway to wide vestibule.

VI.17.25 Pompeii. May 2005. Entrance doorway to wide vestibule.

According to PAH, 1,1, 15th June 1780, (p.311) –

Si continua a slargare la terra dal fianco dell’abitazione gia scoperta, come nel passato rapporto.

Essendosi puliti li due gradi dell’ingresso dell’abitazione gia scoperta, tra lo spazio del grado esterno all’interno vi e il pavimento di musaico nero, di pal.15 ed on.9 di fronte per pal. 4 e 6 on.  Nel mezzo di questo pavimento vi e rappresentato un rettangolo con leone colorito in campo bianco; e di pal. 6 e 9 on. per pal. 3 ed 8 on.

Il grado esterno che vi esiste e di marmo bianco, l’interno mancante dimostra che pure era dello stesso marmo”.

(translation – One continued to widen the soil at the side of the dwelling already discovered, as in the previous report.

Having cleaned the two steps of the entrance of the dwelling already discovered, between the space of the external step to the internal step, there was a black mosaic floor, approximately 4.15m in front, by 1.19m.

In the middle of this floor was a rectangle showing a coloured lion in a white background: it was approximately 1.78m by 0.97.

The external step that exists here is of white marble, the missing internal showed that it was of the same marble”.)

 

According to Fiorelli in PAH, 1, 15th June 1780, (Addenda, p.164) –

Soglia dell’ingresso principale di un’abitazione lungo la strada principale, sul margine della citta, con mosaico rappresentante un leone:

questa trovasi dirimpetto a quella detta di Atteone”.

(translation - The threshold doorstep of the principal entrance of a dwelling along the principal roadway on the edge of the city, with mosaic representing a lion: this was found opposite to that called “of Acteon”.)

 

VI.17.25 Pompeii. May 2011. Looking south into entrance vestibule. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

VI.17.25 Pompeii. May 2011. Looking south into entrance vestibule. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

 

VI.17.25 Pompeii. March 2009. Remains of south side of vestibule and entrance corridor.

VI.17.25 Pompeii. March 2009. Remains of south side of vestibule and entrance corridor.

 

VI.17.25 Pompeii. Plan showing from left to right entrances VI.17.26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19.
According to Mazois -
One recognised in this vast house, on one side the public part, and on the other the private part where the domestic services were: two floors on terraces descended from the city to the ground level of the shore, which was not far away.
In order to avoid the multiplicity of plans, I have reunited the three floors in the same plan, but to distinguish them, I have indicated the upper part by a shade darker on the walls, and the rooms are designated by numbers; the floor below is just traced and shaded, and references are marked with capital letters; finally, at the level of the courtyard it is only punctuated and designed with cursive letters. 
Key:
Upper part (unshaded)
1.   Entrance doorway
2.   Tuscan atrium
3.   Impluvium
4.   Tablinum, open onto the first terrace
5.   Corridor, or passage linked to the terrace
6.   Doorway of tablinum onto the terrace
7.   Entrance to the passage or corridor A, with gentle ramp that descended from the street down to the lower floors
8.   Another passage that seemed to serve as a communication of the private part with the lower part
9.   Staircase up to the first floor from the street 
10. Secondary entrance with two shops, where they sell the edible foodstuffs from the rural properties of the house owner. 
11. Portico of the peristyle or private part of the dwelling with a pluteus or supporting wall between the columns, topped with flowers
12. Porter’s room
13. Courtyard of the peristyle
14. Several rooms
15. Communication from the peristyle with the terraces
16. Large triclinium
17. End of the passage 8 beneath the upper floor, and leading to a small courtyard  E 
18. Shops on the roadway (Via Consolare).

The second part (shaded), below the previous, shows the following –
A.  Passage which, by means of a gentle ramp, leads to the roadway
B.  Room with a bath
C.  Corridor linking with the appartments situated on one or the other side of this passageway
D.  Passage in a gentle ramp leading from the interior of the house to the floor below
E.  Small courtyard that was used by day
F.  Baths
G.  Bath-rooms
H.  Large room
I.    Platform with steps to descend from room H onto the terrace O
K.  Room
L.   Room
M.  Triclinium
N.  Room
O.  Terrace
P.  Steps to descend from the terrace O to the terrace Q, 
Q.  Terrace established on a portico formed by columns of a lower height than those that support terrace O
R. and S. Stairs to descend to the level of the courtyard
t t.  Underground baths, probably intended for the servants of the house;
Under the letter H.  Shown with dotted lines, a large exedra or living room was recognized, which served as a living room during the summer. 
V.  Ground level courtyard garden with pool (on the plan but not explicitly identified by Mazois)?

VI.17.25 Pompeii. Plan showing from left to right entrances VI.17.26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19.

According to Mazois -

One recognised in this vast house, on one side the public part, and on the other the private part where the domestic services were: two floors on terraces descended from the city to the ground level of the shore, which was not far away.

In order to avoid the multiplicity of plans, I have reunited the three floors in the same plan, but to distinguish them, I have indicated the upper part by a shade darker on the walls, and the rooms are designated by numbers; the floor below is just traced and shaded, and references are marked with capital letters; finally, at the level of the courtyard it is only punctuated and designed with cursive letters.

Key:

Upper part (unshaded)

1.   Entrance doorway

2.   Tuscan atrium

3.   Impluvium

4.   Tablinum, open onto the first terrace

5.   Corridor, or passage linked to the terrace

6.   Doorway of tablinum onto the terrace

7.   Entrance to the passage or corridor A, with gentle ramp that descended from the street down to the lower floors

8.   Another passage that seemed to serve as a communication of the private part with the lower part

9.   Staircase up to the first floor from the street

10. Secondary entrance with two shops, where they sell the edible foodstuffs from the rural properties of the house owner.

11. Portico of the peristyle or private part of the dwelling with a pluteus or supporting wall between the columns, topped with flowers

12. Porter’s room

13. Courtyard of the peristyle

14. Several rooms

15. Communication from the peristyle with the terraces

16. Large triclinium

17. End of the passage 8 beneath the upper floor, and leading to a small courtyard  E

18. Shops on the roadway (Via Consolare).

 

The second part (shaded), below the previous, shows the following –

A.  Passage which, by means of a gentle ramp, leads to the roadway

B.  Room with a bath

C.  Corridor linking with the appartments situated on one or the other side of this passageway

D.  Passage in a gentle ramp leading from the interior of the house to the floor below

E.  Small courtyard that was used by day

F.  Baths

G.  Bath-rooms

H.  Large room

I.    Platform with steps to descend from room H onto the terrace O

K.  Room

L.   Room

M.  Triclinium

N.  Room

O.  Terrace

P.  Steps to descend from the terrace O to the terrace Q,

Q.  Terrace established on a portico formed by columns of a lower height than those that support terrace O

R. and S. Stairs to descend to the level of the courtyard

t t.  Underground baths, probably intended for the servants of the house;

Under the letter H.  Shown with dotted lines, a large exedra or living room was recognized, which served as a living room during the summer.

V.  Ground level courtyard garden with pool (shown on the plan but not explicitly identified by Mazois).

 

Different parts occupy the ground floor; but l’ergastulum, or housing for the slaves is the most curious. Here one can recognize something of these spaces of underground prisons, where the Romans locked their slaves intended for the hard work. I never enter into these dark and humid dungeons, divided into small cells barely the length of a man, without experiencing a painful tightening of heart, in mind that these unfortunates had lived this sad asylum, that here they had suffered, and probably that the unhealthy place had shortened for them the days sentenced to work, misfortune and disdain. Nothing can give a more deplorable idea of the condition of slaves among the Romans, than the appearance of this place destined as their home.

 

The courtyard of the house probably had a view onto the shoreline, to which the building descended.

See Mazois, F., 1824. Les Ruines de Pompei: Second Partie. Paris: Firmin Didot. (p.72, pl. XXX.)

 

According to CTP, Mazois and Overbeck-Mau wrongly showed a doorway directly onto the street at VI.17.23 on the above plan.

See Van der Poel, H. B., 1981. Corpus Topographicum Pompeianum, Part V. Austin: University of Texas. (p.307, note 1).

 

For Jashemski’s description of gardens, see VI.17.23

See Jashemski, W. F., 1993. The Gardens of Pompeii, Volume II: Appendices. New York: Caratzas. (p.165 and plan)

 

VI.17.25 Pompeii. 1884. Plan showing the three floor levels.
See Overbeck J., 1884. Pompeji in seinen Gebäuden, Alterthümen und Kunstwerken. Leipzig: Engelmann. (p. 367 Fig. 180).

According to CTP, Mazois and Overbeck-Mau wrongly showed a doorway directly onto the street at VI.17.23 on the above plan.
See Van der Poel, H. B., 1981. Corpus Topographicum Pompeianum, Part V. Austin: University of Texas. (p.307, note 1).

VI.17.25 Pompeii. 1884. Plan showing the three floor levels.

See Overbeck J., 1884. Pompeji in seinen Gebäuden, Alterthümen und Kunstwerken. Leipzig: Engelmann. (p. 367 Fig. 180).

 

According to CTP, Mazois and Overbeck-Mau wrongly showed a doorway directly onto the street at VI.17.23 on the above plan.

See Van der Poel, H. B., 1981. Corpus Topographicum Pompeianum, Part V. Austin: University of Texas. (p.307, note 1).

 

VI.17.25 Pompeii. March 2009. Looking west into site of atrium. According to Garcia y Garcia, in 1943 a bomb fell down into the basement and exploded.  It demolished some (at least two) of the dividing walls.
The house has remained a complete ruin since. See Garcia y Garcia, L., 2006. Danni di guerra a Pompei. Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider. (p.96)

VI.17.25 Pompeii. March 2009. Looking west into site of atrium.

According to Garcia y Garcia, in 1943 a bomb fell down into the basement and exploded.

It demolished some (at least two) of the dividing walls.

The house has remained a complete ruin since.

See Garcia y Garcia, L., 2006. Danni di guerra a Pompei. Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider. (p.96)

 

VI.17.25 Pompeii. March 2009. Looking west across atrium towards site of tablinum and corridors.

VI.17.25 Pompeii. March 2009. Looking west across atrium towards site of tablinum and corridors to rear.

 

VI.17.25 Pompeii. March 2009. North side of atrium.

VI.17.25 Pompeii. March 2009. North-west corner of atrium.

 

VI.17.25 Pompeii. March 2009. Remains of large marble clad niches on north side of atrium.

VI.17.25 Pompeii. March 2009. Remains of large marble clad niches on north side of atrium.

 

VI.17.25 Pompeii?  Found on 29th September 1764 along with 14 other pictures in the Masseria di Don Giacomo Irace. Wall painting of country scene. Now in Naples Archaeological Museum.  Inventory number 9415.
See Pagano, M. and Prisciandaro, R., 2006. Studio sulle provenienze degli oggetti rinvenuti negli scavi borbonici del regno di Napoli. Naples : Nicola Longobardi.  (p.48-9).

VI.17.25 Pompeii?  Found on 29th September 1764 along with 14 other pictures in the Masseria di Don Giacomo Irace.

Wall painting of country scene.

Now in Naples Archaeological Museum. Inventory number 9415.

This may or may not have been found in this house?

See Pagano, M. and Prisciandaro, R., 2006. Studio sulle provenienze degli oggetti rinvenuti negli scavi borbonici del regno di Napoli. Naples : Nicola Longobardi.  (p.48-9).

 

VI.17.25 Pompeii?  Found on 29th September 1764 along with 14 other pictures in the Masseria di Don Giacomo Irace. Wall painting of boats and fishermen and buildings. Now in Naples Archaeological Museum.  Inventory number 9463. See Pagano, M. and Prisciandaro, R., 2006. Studio sulle provenienze degli oggetti rinvenuti negli scavi borbonici del regno di Napoli. Naples : Nicola Longobardi.  (p.48-9).

VI.17.25 Pompeii?  Found on 29th September 1764 along with 14 other pictures in the Masseria di Don Giacomo Irace.

Wall painting of boats and fishermen and buildings.

Now in Naples Archaeological Museum. Inventory number 9463.

This may or may not have been found in this house?

See Pagano, M. and Prisciandaro, R., 2006. Studio sulle provenienze degli oggetti rinvenuti negli scavi borbonici del regno di Napoli. Naples : Nicola Longobardi.  (p.48-9).

 

VI.17.19-26 Pompeii. Found in the week to 17th May 1783 in a room of a lower apartment. Mosaic of skeleton holding a jug in each hand.
Now in Naples Archaeological Museum.  Inventory number 9978.
The parts of the walls that remained were painted black. In the middle was a red panel in which were painted some figures. 
The room had a window with a threshold of ordinary white mosaic and here rested clearly a skeleton that held in each hand a jug made with black mosaic. 
The floor of this room was of ordinary white mosaic with some black bands around it and many items of bronze, terracotta, glass, bone were found here.
See Pagano, M. and Prisciandaro, R., 2006. Studio sulle provenienze degli oggetti rinvenuti negli scavi borbonici del regno di Napoli.  Naples: Nicola Longobardi, p. 80.

VI.17.19-26 Pompeii. Found in the week to 17th May 1783 in a room of a lower apartment. Mosaic of skeleton holding a jug in each hand.

Now in Naples Archaeological Museum. Inventory number 9978.

The parts of the walls that remained were painted black. In the middle was a red panel in which were painted some figures.

The room had a window with a threshold of ordinary white mosaic and here rested clearly a skeleton that held in each hand a jug made with black mosaic.

The floor of this room was of ordinary white mosaic with some black bands around it and many items of bronze, terracotta, glass, bone were found here.

See Pagano, M. and Prisciandaro, R., 2006. Studio sulle provenienze degli oggetti rinvenuti negli scavi borbonici del regno di Napoli.  Naples: Nicola Longobardi, p. 80.

 

VI.17.19-26 Pompeii. Painting of Apollo instructing a female Citharist (muse?) while another woman leaning on a low pillar listens.
Photo © Trustees of the British Museum.  Inventory number 1867,0508.1353.
See Richardson, L., 2000. A Catalog of Identifiable Figure Painters of Ancient Pompeii, Herculaneum. Baltimore: John Hopkins, p. 65, p. 67.

VI.17.19-26 Pompeii. Painting of Apollo instructing a female Citharist (muse?) while another woman leaning on a low pillar listens.

Photo © Trustees of the British Museum. Inventory number 1867, 0508.1353.

See Richardson, L., 2000. A Catalog of Identifiable Figure Painters of Ancient Pompeii, Herculaneum. Baltimore: John Hopkins, p. 65, p. 67.

According to Fiorelli, 10th July 1783.

A painting was discovered in the plaster of a room, showing three figures, one of a sitting man with a woman, who was playing the harp on her lap, and the other woman was watching and listening in admiration.

The entire painting was 2 and three/quarters pal. by 1 and ten/twelfths pal (approximately 0.73m by 0.48m).

See PAH, 1, 2, (p.16).

 

According to Pagano and Prisciandaro, the painting found on 10th July 1783, was found in a room near to the portico on a wall with a black background with painted architectural paintings above.

The painting showed three figures, a man and a woman sitting on a seat, with a standing woman nearby, shown at the rear of the painting was a room with a window.

See Pagano, M. and Prisciandaro, R., 2006. Studio sulle provenienze degli oggetti rinvenuti negli scavi borbonici del regno di Napoli.  Naples: Nicola Longobardi. (p.80).

According to La Vega, the 12th July 1783 –

(translation: we are working to lift the earth from outside the portico of the house noted in the preceding report, and also we have lifted a portion of earth from a room immediate to that portico. In this room, the portion of the façade excavated has plaster with a black background, with some grotesque architecture above: and in the middle there was a painting in which three figures were painted.)

See Pagano, M.1997. I Diari di Scavo di Pompei, Ercolano e Stabiae di Francesco e Pietro La Vega (1764-1810). L”Erma” di Bretschneider, (p.77): SAP book – Monografie 13.

 

According to BdI,

In una stanza piccola ma alta e coperta a volta dell’infimo piano della casa detta di Polibio, decorata in una maniera affine al terzo stile, esistono due quadri su fondo bianco, di cui nessuno, per quanto io sappia, ha fatto menzione.

(And Note 1) – Mi era sfuggito questo passo della PAH: 10 Luglio 1783 –“Si era scoverta nella tonaca d’una stanza una pittuta che esprime tre figure, una d’uomo sedente con una donna, che sonando l’arpa gli siede in seno e l’altra par di donna in atto dammirazione……..”  Non dimeno ritengo per certo che la figura seduta sia femminile.

Il primo e piu importante (alto m.0.64, largo 0.50) che sta sul muro sinistra, e assai svanito, ma grazie ai contorni impressi nello stucco ancora molle si riconosce perfettamente non soltanto il soggetto, ma purance il disegno ed il carattere della rappresentanza. …………..

See BdI, 1875, (p.236)

(translation - In a  small but high room  and covered by a vault in the lowest floor of the house called “of  Polybius”, decorated in a manner akin to the third style, there are two paintings on a white ground, of which no-one, as far as I know, has made any mention.

(And Note 1) – I had missed this passage in  PAH: 10 July 1783 – "Found on the plaster of a room was a painting showing three figures, a man sitting with a woman, playing the harp sitting on her lap and the other woman showing admiration ........"  I am not at all certain that the seated figure is female.

The first and most important (0.64 m high by 0.50 wide) which is on the left wall, and quite faded, but thanks to the outline impressed in the stucco, one can still recognise not only the subject, but the design and character of representation. ……………

 

According to Sogliano,–

No.19-26, in una piccola stanza coperta a volta dell’infimo piano della casa detta di Polibio, A.m 0.64; l. 0.50. Distrutto, perche caduto l’intonaco.

“A sinistra sta seduta una donna interamente vestita e rivolta a destra che tiene in grembo una fanciulla con veste lunga, alla quale insegna a suonar la cetra. ……..Un’altra fanciulla sta incontro a tale gruppo avanti ad una base o altare ……… La figura principale e alta m.0.33. Graziosa invenzione e composizione. E a deplorare che sia pressoche svanita, dovendosene la descrizione ai contorni impressi nello stucco ancora molle.” (Mau).

(translation: In house  no.19-26, in a small room covered with a vault of the lowest floor of the house called “of Polibius”. 0.64m high, 0.50 wide, Destroyed because the plaster fell.

“To the left is a fully clothed woman sitting and facing right holding a girl on her lap with long robe, who she is teaching to play the cithara. ……

Another girl is with this group next to a base or altar. ……… The main figure is 0.33m high. Gracious invention and composition. It is to be deplored that it is almost vanished, owing the description to the impressed outlines in the soft stucco.” (Mau).

See Sogliano, A., 1879. Le pitture murali campane scoverte negli anni 1867-79. Napoli: Giannini. (p.132, no.645, entitled “Musica”).

 

Continuation of BdI, 1875, (p.236-7) above,

La pittura del muro di fondo mostra una figura con lunga veste che pare femminile e tiene sopra un altare la sinista colla parte interna in su e colle dita spiegate, mentre colla destra abbasata versa in terra un liquido da un vaso non abbastanza riconoscibile. Non si puo pensare a Bacco colla pantera, perche quest’ultima manca decisamente.

(translation: The painting of the rear wall showed a figure with long robe that seemed feminine and held the left hand with the inside part upwards and with spread fingers, above an altar, while with the right hand lowered downwards towards the earth, poured a liquid from a vase, not easily recognisable. One cannot think of Bacchus with his panther, because the latter is significantly missing.)

 

Excavations

 

House at VI.17.19-26

According to Laidlaw, “around 1775-76, the excavators were still moving from one side of the roadway (Via Consolare) to the other, so it is generally impossible to pinpoint just where they were digging, except that when the winter weather arrived, they went back to the tunnels in the so-called Villa of Cicero. By the late 1770’s they were also investigating the lower levels (sotterranei) of VI.17, Insula Occidentalis, where the houses were built over the ancient wall on the west side of the city.”

And “Having finished the lower levels of the House of Polibius/Leone (VI.17.25) by the end of 1783, La Vega returned to the House of Vestals and in the next 6 years cleared the rest of VI.1.”

See Laidlaw, A. & Stella, M.S. (2014). The House of Sallust in Pompeii (VI.2.4), Journal of Roman Archaeology, (p.22) and (p.26).

 

1775

See PAH 1,1, (p.282)

8th April 1775 - Started working at the uncovering of the houses, which remain immediate to the Gate, according to the orders communicated by sig. La Vega. 

Addendum 8th April – We began again the excavation of the houses on the right, along the main roadway, immediate to the Gate.

29th April – Continued to excavate, the following were found: bronze, iron, glass, terracotta, and ivory (see PAH 1, 1, p.282-3 for list of finds). These were all sent to Paderni for the Royal Museum.

Addendum 29th April – I believe that the house of which we speak, would be on the right of the roadway going into the city, immediate to the Gate, on the height of the hillock, opposite the House of Acteon.

6th – 13th May - Nothing new

20th May – Excavating the courtyard of the usual house inside the city, and here we found – bronze, glass and terracotta finds (see PAH 1, 1, p.283)

27th May – 24th June – Nothing new

8th – 22nd July – Raising the earth from above (i.e. digging down from above) – a small square marble altar was found, with low relief in all four sides alluding to Apollo.

29th July – 23rd September – Working to cut the earth from the adjoining roadway of the usual house, in order to move the earth itself away from the wall of this house, and then to evacuate some of the rooms.

30th September - Excavated a room of the usual house inside the city, but have not found anything. Excavating then in a courtyard immediate to the same house near to the Gate, that had the flooring of black mosaic intersected by rectangles of white marble, and there the following was found: bronze, glass and terracotta (see PAH 1,1, p.283-4)

7th – 21st October – Raised the earth from around the rooms already excavated last week, and around others that must be emptied.

28th October – Continued the excavation around the usual house where only the following was found – bronze: two door hinges and a “un maschietto” -  terracotta “un ogliaro ad un sol manico” – bone: 5 pieces of bone to use with a musical instrument.

11th November – Continued the excavation of a room of a house inside the city, with many finds – bronze, glass and terracotta (see PAH 1, 1, p.284)

18th November – Continued, but nothing new

25th November – Because of the very rainy days, we worked in the underground areas of the house where we have worked for a long time, and where we found 12 human skeletons, but because it was known to a be a site searched in other times only a few items were found (see PAH 1, 1, p.285)

2nd December – Began to take the ash to repair the royal road immediate to the excavation, some of the workers were sent to the house outside of the city, and some to the portico next to the Theatre, ..........................

9th December – Continued

16th December – In a room of the usual house, having lifted a portion of earth, a bronze pot/vase was found, the lid was found fragmented. Excavated another room next to the same, where more finds were made: bronze, iron, alabaster, terracotta (see PAH 1, 1, p.286 and continuing)

 

1778.

See PAH 1, 1, (p.296)

23rd May – We continue to excavate the extremities of some houses immediate to the Gate, to make them visible in all of their parts, and between the earth was found – list (p.296)

6th June – In the present week, we continue the excavation in the same manner of the past report, and we have found a piece of mosaic of a ruined floor, which contained two most lovely decorations with many colours, and one procures to find that much that has been missed, …….. In the past week, we have sent to Canart, one of various patches of mosaic, etc……… and part of some flooring found in Pompeii.

20th June – We continue to excavate according to the usual and amongst the ruins of a house we found 4 pieces of mosaic already mentioned before, and continuing in this site one can hope above all to find the missing bits of it, at least to be able to find sufficient to conjecture as it would have been in its entirety.

27th June – We have worked to uncover the courtyard of a house neighbouring to the other that has been excavated for a long time, to render visible all of those houses on the side of the main road, that are in that part near to the Gate.

One has sent to Canart that piece of mosaic flooring mentioned in the last report, which has a band decorated with a head, by foliage and ribbons of many coloured ribbons, and was composed of very small pieces.

Together with this main piece, other smaller pieces have been sent, that contain some portions of the continuation of the same band/border, and three other mosaic pieces with some black work above a white background.

Also sent were seven caskets of white mosaic stones.

Addendum 27th June – It seems, the house opposite the House of the Surgeon.  (?VI.17.9/10 or 13)

4th July – We continue the excavation to uncover the courtyard mentioned in the last report: and in the same time where we found the pieces of mosaic in the last mentioned report.  We worked to reinforce with new masonry some walls that had threatened ruin, to be able to continue searching in that site, and to be able to uncover some underground areas entirely. Breaking some boulders of ruined walls, behind them we found a bronze coin that because of the rust that covered it and being very worn, we could not distinguish whose coin it was. And cleaning the drain of one of the side houses to the main street, we found in this a clay lamp with a wick-holder and without a handle, in low relief was seen two figures armed with helmets, leggings and shields, one of which was in the attitude of falling to the ground. In the same place a bronze bolt was found.

11th July – We continued to uncover the courtyard of the house previously mentioned.

8th August – We continue to work around the site where the pieces of mosaic flooring were found, and we discovered the underground areas, almost all ruined.

Addendum 8th August – Ruined underground in the said house, along the principal road of Pompeii, on the right going into the city.

14th August - We continued to dig in the underground area, already mentioned in the past report, where amongst the ruins of walls were found -  a bronze coin covered in rust, and 104 pieces of painted plaster, of varying sizes. Some of these were part of a frieze of a room, that with a black background were figures, arabesques, a ribbon composed of a decoration nearly of a shape of a vase, and many other things. Others include a decoration similar to a pilaster, that in the middle has a straight garland with fluttering cloth that partly goes around it, and are suspended from some twigs, from the garland itself arise some game, some deer/hinds, some flowers, and a circle with figurine, which adorns this decoration, which has a white background, and narrows on one side by a red background, and on the other with a black background. Other pieces have a red background, and others the black, all with various arabesques, that it would be difficult to describe by the amount of things that they contain, that by not being able to form a fair idea, lacking the pieces that do not combine well with each other part: all however are painted with some taste and finish.

These pieces of plaster include many similar things to those of pieces that were found in the same place from 13th February to 3rd March 1764, and all would have had to belong to the same room.

Addendum 14th August - Painted plaster, that decorated a room of this underground. (?VI.17.9/10)

22nd August – 5th September – We excavate in the underground areas already described, and have emptied some rooms of the same, like a cistern under the same, without anything new.

12th September – We have entirely excavated all the underground area of the house already mentioned, or at least all of a floor of the same, not yet being sure whether there is another floor underneath.  The main purpose of discovering this was, to find the remaining pieces of mosaic found in early June this year, and reported on the 6th of the same  month; but we have only found two pieces of it, each aprox, 0.13m squared, which perhaps could be part of the same. In the same underground area another 85 pieces of white mosaic have been found, and 11 pieces of white mosaic with some workings or black bands; all the pieces were sent to Canart.  Afterwards, another 31 pieces of plaster, portions of the decoration of the same room with those described in the cited report, were found near the site of the underground area, where they found the pieces of plaster noted in the report of the 14th of the past month, which filled us with hope that we could arrange some or the other of the pieces already found, because the others are very small. And these have been sent for the royal museum to D. Camillo Paderni, together with two studs and a piece of shapeless bronze found in the same underground area.

19th – 26th September – We have worked near to the underground area already excavated, with the aim of finding if there was another floor below, and by this to see if it is possible to excavate an entire house.

3rd October – We have continued to dig at the site mentioned in the past report, where we discovered as far as the floor, part of another adjoining underground to that already discovered. The Mason was employed to restabilise the plaster of some rooms, discovered in the immediate area of the Gate, and the Carpenter……….

10th October - Continued to dig in the underground area described in the past report, where apart from some other rooms and corridor almost entirely ruined, a room was discovered with one of the walls largely preserved, and this was painted over a black background with the limits/end in a copper colour which contained garlands, and was placed above a zoccolo of the same copper colour, with black pattern/mirrors (con dei specchi neri). Among the ruins of this underground area, three bronze coins all covered with rust were found.

24th October – Continued to excavate in the underground area named other times, where apart from rooms and corridor, we discovered a baths area (stufa) and other rooms for the bath, but all these are very ruined. (Note: either VI.17.25/23 or VI.17.10/9 as baths areas were found in both).

With the result that there are walls of only, approx. 0.79m to 1.05m, and there remain some floors, some of slabs of crushed brick (mattoni pesti), others of stone slabs, and others of ordinary mosaic; but some of the latter were already taken by the ancients in past times.

31st October – Excavated two rooms of the underground area, mentioned other times.

One of these has the floor of white mosaic with two black stripes around, and in the middle a circle partitioned with with various colors, and surrounded by a square; the mosaic threshold of the opening that gave entrance to the room, was adorned with black and white weave. The plaster of the same room was painted with a zoccolo with a red background, adorned with festoons and panels; above this, the plaster was yellow partitioned by some lines/bands, some red some black, and mirrored in the middle, in which one knew would have been painted stories; but these paintings at present are very faded, as was the major part of the plaster.

The other room had a floor of slabstones, and the walls were covered in white plaster. Immediate to these rooms, we began to discover a staircase, going down to another floor below. Found in the mentioned stairway, was -  a clay pot/vase with handles with writing VOLVSSI, written in ink on one side above the belly, and with initials on the other side, in the earth was found a piece of bronze, that could possibly have been a coin, and more coins covered with rust.

Having excavated a quantity of earth from the other underground area, immediate to where the pieces of plaster noted in the reports of 14th August and 12th September past were found, many other pieces were found which certainly belonged to the same decoration of the same room.

Addendum 31st October – Another room with mosaics and paintings, and a staircase in the above mentioned underground, that leads to the floor below.

7th November – We continue the excavation to detect other underground areas immediate to the two already made visible, which is that which is under the house that has been excavated for a long time , where a few months ago the earth was raised from above.

21st November - Excavated to detect the underground area already mentioned many times, where a stairway drops down, with the hope of finding another floor below them: but it seems that this stairs had no other use, than to give an exit to outside the walls of the city. There among the ruins, a piece of a statue was found, and another piece of the body of a marble bird, and continued with diligence in the hope of finding the rest of the remains. As for continuing the excavation, it was necessary to repair a wall that threatened ruin……

28th November - Excavated to reach that same floor, where the portion of statue noted in past reports was found, this being found near the door, which exits out of the same house outside the city.  How to do such a job takes time, so for now the statue we have found has been sent to the Royal Museum.  The statue formed a group, which was of a naked boy with a bird namely a goose. The boy was shown in the act of pressing with the right knee the neck of the goose, which had been drilled to pass water from the mouth: the neck of the bird was broken, and his head was missing: of the young boy, there was only the body combined with thigh and right leg, and left thigh, but it was broken in two above the belly button and corresponded to a figure of about 1.32 m in height. Certainly the goose head was that which was found and taken out in another time in the same house, as noted in the report of January 28, 1764, and maybe the base of this group with the left foot of the young boy, was found at about the same time, as described in the report of the March 24, 1764.

Addendum 28th November – Marble group of a young boy with a duck, which was used as a fountain, found in the underground area.

 

1779.

See PAH 1, 1, (p.302).

2nd January – In the present week we began to search again for the missing pieces of the known statue, and we found the right foot of the same, and another piece of marble that perhaps belonged to it: these will be preserved at Pompeii, with the hope of finding more. The site where we found the pieces was very difficult to excavate because of the very high pumice, with the result that to do all those diligenze,  we will have to enlarge the opening, which it takes time……..  

7th January –We are continuing to search for the missing parts of the last statue found, and it is due to this end to enlarge that excavation, to make clues to be able to find these pieces, being as all the ancient floors are covered again by the ruins of the higher buildings

Amongst these, other than the foot of marble, mentioned in the last report, perhaps part of a shoe, and the other piece that seems part of an arm, we have found the following – Bronze: coins, two door hinges, a base…. Lead… Bone…Glass…  (page 303) for list of finds.

16th January –We are continuing to make the excavation larger, where we hope to find the pieces of the statue.

23rd January –We are continuing to make bigger the cut of the earth, where we hope to find the missing parts of the known statue.

30th January – 6th February – We continue the search for the missing parts of the known statue – without anything new.

13th February - We continue to search for the finding of the missing parts of the known statue, and amongst more ruins of the masonry from above, we have found a marble finger, but one does not think it is possible to be a part of the missing statue as it is too big, and we found other pieces of worked marble. In the same place, we found the following  - Bronze:……Lead:….. Wood:…… (p.303)

20th February – We continue with the usual searching without anything new.

27th February – After having finished doing all the searching that has been possible, to find the missing parts of the known marble statue already mentioned many times, one has passed to explore the nearby underground areas of a house already for some time discovered, where one has worked also from the first of November of the past year, as my report of the 7th of the same month. 

6th March – We continue to excavate the underground areas named in the past report, without anything new occurring, working from above to take up a great quantity of earth.

13th March – For some days we continue the excavation for the purpose to dig out the underground area said in my last report.

20th March – 17th April – We have worked in the mentioned underground to discover a courtyard, which was almost all empty, and the extremities of some houses, which have been visible for some time, without finding anything new.

24th April – 1st May – We have worked to uncover the underground of some houses already at some time searched, and we have found mosaic floors and others, that we had searched for in the winter, and one has cleaned and lifted the grass and weeds, which could cause damage to the ancient buildings.

8th May – We are working to dig out the portion of the house mentioned in the last report: and which renders difficult because of the height of the immediate earth, one must begin another cut to move away the same earth from the building masonry that one tries to discover. Amongst some ruins, we found - Bronze: coin covered in rust. A bell with a square base. A ring. A stud…….. Ivory: 2 hair-pins.  Glass: 3 buttons. Terracotta: a pot without a handle. (p.304 for finds)

15th – 22nd May – We have continued as in the past report, without anything new.

29th May – 12th June – We continue to dig out the underground of a house on the side to the main road, and in the last of these amongst some ruins, before arriving at the ancient floor, we found the following – Bronze: Glass: (see PAH, 1, 1, p.305).