VI.17.32 Pompeii. July 2010. Entrance doorway on west side of Via Consolare.
Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.
According to Breton, the house was named after an inscription found on the pilaster facing the Academy of Music (VI.3.7).
This pilaster would have been on the north (right) side of the doorway –
C. IVLIVM POLYBIVM
II VIR. MVLIONES ROG [CIL IV 134]
See Breton, Ernest. (1855). Pompeia, decrite et dessine: 2nd ed. Paris: Baudry, (p.220).
VI.17.32 Pompeii. Inscription drawn by Mazois.
See Mazois, F., 1824. Les Ruines de Pompei: Second Partie. Paris: Firmin Didot. (p.1)
VI.17.32 Pompeii. May 2011. Entrance doorway. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.
According to Fiorelli –
“VI.17.32-38. L’ingresso principale del caseggiato anzidetto e dal no.36, essendo un adito minore quello che porta il no.32.
In entrambi sonovi scale per accedere ad un piano piu elevato dal livello della strada, ove trovansi situati due atrii, ambo uscenti nel peristilio di uno spazioso giardino, circondata da piu stanze. Vi stavano due gradinate, piu cubicoli, un triclinio con apotheca a fianco, e nel mezzo del giardino una vasca con scalini per scendervi dentro.”
Altre botteghe, ed una gradinata per cenacoli independenti, furono pure scoperte, che ora trovansi nuovamente sottera.
See Fiorelli, G. (1875). Descrizione di Pompei, (p.434)
See Pappalardo, U., 2001. La Descrizione di Pompei per Giuseppe Fiorelli (1875). Napoli: Massa Editore. (p.159).
“The main entrance to the aforesaid house was by entrance number 36, having a secondary doorway entrance that carried the number 32.
In both of these doorways, there were stairs to access a higher level from the street, where two atriums were located, both opening into the peristyle of a spacious garden, surrounded by many rooms. There were two flights of steps, more cubicula, a triclinium with small room/apotheca alongside, and in the middle of the garden a basin/pool with steps to go down inside.
(VI.17.37 and 38. “Other shops, and steps to an independent living area, were also discovered, which now again have been reburied under the earth.”
(Note: These have since been re-excavated).
VI.17.32 Pompeii. December 2005. Entrance doorway, looking west.
VI.17.32 Pompeii. 1819 drawing with title “Maison de Julius Polybius”.
VI.17.32 is on the right, with the indentation in the kerb, and the steps up.
VI.17.36 is on the left of the drawing with the step in front of the kerb.
See Wilkins H, 1819. Suite des Vues Pittoresques des Ruines de Pompei, Rome, pl. XII.
VI.17.32 Pompeii. December 2005.
Ornamental plaster and niche on exterior wall, north side of doorway.
VI.17.32 Pompeii. December 2005. Ornamental plaster on exterior wall on south side of doorway.
VI.17.32 Pompeii. September 2004. Entrance doorway.
VI.17.32 Pompeii. May 2005. Step from street and house steps.
VI.17.32 Pompeii. December 2005. North side wall of atrium.
VI.17.32 Pompeii. May 2005. Looking south-west from entrance doorway across atrium.
VI.17.32 Pompeii. December 2005. Looking south-west from entrance doorway across atrium.
VI.17.32 Pompeii. December 2005.
Looking west across atrium, towards blocked doorway to north-east corner of peristyle.
VI.17.32 Pompeii. May 2005. Doorway and steps to north-east corner of peristyle, looking west.
VI.17.32 Pompeii. May 2006. Looking north along remains of east side of rear peristyle area, taken from VI.17.41.
According to Jashemski, steps at each entrance (VI.17.32 and 36) led to an atrium: immediately at the rear of these there was a large peristyle garden.
This was enclosed by a portico on 4 sides.
In the middle of the garden was a pool with a fountain, with little steps leading into the pool, but this was no longer in existence when Breton wrote.
See Jashemski, W. F., 1993. The Gardens of Pompeii, Volume II: Appendices. New York: Caratzas. (p.166 with plan)
See Breton, Ernest. 1870. Pompeia, Guide de visite a Pompei, 3rd ed. Paris, Guerin. (p.266)
VI.17.32 Pompeii. 1824. Plan of house. VI.17.38 (on left lower), 37, 36, 35, 34, 33, 32, and VI.17.31 (on right lower).
The lower doorways correspond to entrances on Via Consolare. The peristyle would have been on the west side.
See Mazois, F., 1824. Les Ruines de Pompei: Second Partie. Paris: Firmin Didot. (Tav XIII).
According to Mazois (p.53)
“This house, known as House of Polybius, must have belonged to one of the richest inhabitants of the town.
It was remarkable because of its two main entrances in the same façade and its double vestibule; but we proceed to describe the plan.
Shops (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) occupy the façade; the shop (4) was linked to the interior of the house.
The two entrance doorways (6) have no entrance corridor;
Rooms (7) and (8) larger than ordinary rooms also served as the vestibule;
Around the edge of room (7) were various rooms.
By these two waiting rooms one entered a large Corinthian atrium, whose portico (11), formed by arches and pillars was decorated with engaged columns, surrounding a courtyard (12), decorated with a fountain (13).
These arches were closed with glass frames. (See Note 1 below).
Around the portico we have different rooms numbered (14), and here we find a small fountain (15).
The stairs (16) and (18 –this should presumably be 17) lead by one to the kitchen areas and to the underground part, the other to a few rooms on the upper floor, but perhaps neither one nor the other could be the main staircase.
Room (18) would have been used by the “manager” of the house.
This dwelling would certainly be one of the most interesting found in Pompeii, without the ruinous state in which it was found.
It was built, as all the houses on the edge of the sea, on the demolished ancient walls of the city, with a magnificent view and refreshing and healthy breezes in the warm country.
The portico (11) and rooms (9), (18) and (14) were all paved with mosaics. This kind of flooring is almost general at Pompeii.
(Mazois - Note 1: It is demonstrated today that the ancient knew about the use of glass.
Conserved at the Musee des Studj at Naples, are several beautiful samples of glass tiles found at Pompei, and I myself own some fragments which can be compared to the most beautiful modern glass, etc).
(See Plin., lib XXXVI, cap 22)
PAH 1,3, 1808 (p.3)
“9 Aprile - Si e lavorato nella passata settimana nella casa detta di Polibio, a levare terra dalla parte occidentale, dove al piano del portico si e scavata una gran stanza con pavimento di musaico ordinario; dirimpetto all’ingresso principale alla stessa stanza, per mezzo di due murella, vi resta formato un sito, che credo destinato fosse a porvi un letto, con pavimento pur anche di musaico, che per quel poco che puo vedersene, pare non sia de’comuni.”
(translation – “9th April 1808. They have worked for the past week in the house of Polybius, to remove earth/soil from the western part, where at the floor of the portico, a large room with an ordinary mosaic floor had been dug, opposite the main entrance to the same room, by means of two small walls, there was a site, that I believe was intended to put a bed, with a mosaic floor, that by the small amount that can be seen, was not common.”)