House of Menander, Pompeii

Roman Site in Pompeii

House Of Menander, Pompeii
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Marco Ober

The House of Menander, named after a painting of the Athenian playwright Menander found in its portico, is a prime example of a high-ranking family’s residence in Pompeii. Its construction and development were part of a complex series of events, typical of elite homes of the period.

Architectural Features: The atrium of the house features frescoes depicting scenes from the Iliad and the Odyssey, adding a touch of literary and cultural sophistication. The peristyle is rhodium-shaped, with the northern side being higher than the others. This design choice enhances the architectural elegance of the residence.

Thermal Area and Treasure: The house also includes a small thermal area. Beneath this section is a basement, possibly a cellar, where a box containing 118 pieces of silverware was discovered. This treasure, which had been hidden before restoration works began, represents the family heritage and is now on display at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. The collection includes various items used for serving wine, as well as plates and cups that were likely used at banquets.

Rustic Area and Historical Significance: The south side of the house leads to the rustic area, where visitors can see the reconstruction of a wagon. The house belonged to Quintus Poppaeus Sabinus of the Poppei family, who were relatives of Empress Poppea Sabina, Nero’s second wife. This connection to the imperial family underscores the high social standing of the house’s occupants.

Cultural and Historical Insights: The House of Menander provides a comprehensive glimpse into the life of a wealthy Pompeian family. The intricate frescoes, the layout of the peristyle, the thermal area, and the valuable silverware all highlight the opulence and sophistication of its inhabitants. The residence stands as a testament to the architectural ingenuity and cultural richness of Pompeii before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

The House of Menander, Pompeii appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Pompeii!

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Visiting House of Menander, Pompeii

Duration: 20 minutes

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