House of the Tragic Poet, Pompeii

Roman Site in Pompeii

Pompeii Ruins Mosaic Dog At House Of The Tragic Poet
Public Domain / Gary Todd

This house, which retains the traditional shape of an atrium house, is renowned for the famous mosaic at its main entrance that reads “CAVE CANEM” (“beware of the dog”). This mosaic is now protected with glass. Access to the house is through a side entrance that leads directly to the peristylium.

Interior Decorations: The atrium and tablinum of the house feature fine mosaics, including a notable scene of actors preparing for a play, which gives the house its name. The living room was particularly well-decorated, with grand mythological paintings depicting episodes from the Iliad. Among these, the painting of Ariadne abandoned by Theseus is still visible, situated on the wall opposite the “Sale of Cupids”—a popular theme in the early 19th century following the house’s excavation.

Lararium: In the peristylium, a small aedicula can be observed. This is the lararium, a common feature in Roman houses, dedicated to the worship of the Lares and other protective deities of the family.

Preservation: The originals of the mosaics and paintings from the House of the Tragic Poet are preserved at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, ensuring their protection and continued appreciation.

This house stands out not only for its preserved traditional Roman architecture but also for its rich artistic decorations, offering valuable insights into the domestic life and cultural values of ancient Pompeii.

The House of the Tragic Poet, Pompeii appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Pompeii!

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Visiting House of the Tragic Poet, Pompeii

Duration: 20 minutes

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