The House of the Faun (Casa del Fauno)

Roman Site in Pompeii

House Of The Faun Pompeii
CC BY-SA 4.0 / NikonZ7II

Constructed during the Samnite period around 180 BC, the House of the Faun is a grand Hellenistic palace in Pompeii, Italy. This impressive estate, framed by a peristyle, is historically significant for its many well-preserved pieces of art, protected by the ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. It stands as one of the most luxurious aristocratic houses from the Roman Republic, offering a clearer reflection of this period than many archaeological sites in Rome itself.

Higher Class Houses

The House of the Faun, along with the House of Pansa and the House of the Silver Wedding, represents the upper echelon of Roman houses from the Republic era. More than 190 years after its excavation, the craftsmanship and quality of materials used in the House of the Faun are still regarded as exceptional, even among other noble houses in Pompeii. Evidence, particularly in the eastern walls of the tetrastyle atrium, indicates that the house was rebuilt and repaired after the AD 62 Pompeii earthquake. However, it was only in use until the catastrophic eruption of AD 79. The ash that covered the city preserved the artworks, such as mosaics, which would likely have been destroyed or decayed over time.

The Faun Statue

The house is named after the bronze statue of a dancing faun, found in the center of the atrium. This statue, technically a satyr with a man’s lower body, stands beside a white limestone impluvium, a basin for collecting water. Discovered on October 26, 1830, near the impluvium and a small fountain, the original statue is now housed in the National Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico Nazionale) in Naples. The statue currently seen in the house’s ruins is a replica. Fauns, spirits of untamed woodland, are often depicted as half human and half goat. In Roman art, they are associated with Pan and Greek satyrs, the wild followers of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and drama. Sir Kenneth Clark noted that the statue’s “pose is light and graceful.”

Inscriptions and Familial Associations

Archaeologists discovered an inscription bearing the cognomen Saturninus, suggesting ownership by the important gens (clan) Satria. Additionally, a ring bearing the name Cassius was found, indicating a marriage alliance between the Cassii family and the gens Satria, linking both families to the House of the Faun.

The House of the Faun, with its intricate mosaics, elegant design, and significant historical artifacts, remains a testament to the wealth and cultural sophistication of its inhabitants, offering invaluable insights into the life of the Roman elite.

The The House of the Faun (Casa del Fauno) appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Pompeii!

This website uses affiliate links which may earn a commission at no additional cost to you!

Visiting The House of the Faun (Casa del Fauno)

Duration: 20 minutes
Powered by GetYourGuide

Nearby Attractions