Casa del Menandro

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The peristyle (garden) of the Casa del Menandro
Plan of Pompeii with the Casa del Menandro highlighted in red

The Casa del Menandro (House of Menander) is a house in Pompeii, Italy. It is located in Region I, Insula 10, Entrance 4 (I.10.4). It covers an area of about 1,800 square metres (19,000 sq ft).[1] The house was excavated between November 1926 and June 1932.[2]

Ownership of the house[edit]

Della Corte thought the owner could be Quintus Poppaeus Sabinus due to a seal and a graffito in the entrance corridor mentioning 'Quintus' and other graffiti in the house referring to 'Sabinus',[3] the house may have belonged to a local magistrate.[4]

The nationality of the owner is more in dispute than their economic status. Pompeii’s Mediterranean climate enticed many Romans to invest in holiday villas there, so it is possible that the owner at the time of Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 AD was a wealthy tourist, not a local.[5]

Art, architecture, and graffiti[edit]

Fresco[edit]

The fresco of Menander from which the house takes its name

The estate is referred to as “The House of Menander” because there is a well-preserved fresco of the ancient Greek Dramatist Menander in a small room off the peristyle. Some speculate the painting is not actually of Menander but rather of the owner of the house or another person reading works by Menander.

The house included other frescoes, including one depicting the death of Laocoon.

Classical style and Hellenism[edit]

The large columns in the peristyle of the Casa del Menandro are representative of the Doric style of architecture, an offshoot of the Classical Style, which also stems from Greece. The emphasis on Greek culture in Pompeian architecture is not surprising since Greek sailors had been using the port as a trading post before the Oscans founded the city in the 6th century BC.[6][7]

Graffiti[edit]

Numerous examples of Roman graffiti can be observed on the exterior walls of the house.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Casa del Menandro". www.stoa.org. Retrieved 2016-09-25. 
  2. ^ "Casa del Menandro". www.stoa.org. Retrieved 2016-09-25. 
  3. ^ "Casa del Menandro". www.stoa.org. Retrieved 2016-09-25. 
  4. ^ Ling 1997: 142-3
  5. ^ No Author Listed, House of Menander, Tourist Attractions in Pompeii, Italy 2007
  6. ^ Roberts, Adam, Classical Architecture. London, Penguin Books. 1990
  7. ^ Curran, Leo, Pompeii: House of Pansa: Atrium and Peristyle, 1988
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-02-23. 

Further reading[edit]

External video
Casa del Menandro Pompeii 14.jpg
Tour of the Casa del Menandro
  • Allison, P. M. 2004. Pompeian households: an analysis of the material culture. Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Allison, P. M. 2006. The Insula of the Menander at Pompeii: Volume III - The Finds. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Beyen, H. G. 1954. ‘Die Grüne Dekoration des Oecus am Peristyl der Casa del Menandro’. Nederlands Kunsthistorische Jaarboek.
  • Ling, R. 1997. The Insula of the Menander at Pompeii: Volume I - The Structures. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Ling, R. & Ling, L. 2005. The Insula of the Menander at Pompeii: Volume II - The Decorations. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Lorenz, K. 2014. ‘The Casa del Menandro in Pompeii: Rhetoric and the Topology of Roman Wall Painting’. In J. Elsner & M. Meyer (eds.), Art and Rhetoric in Roman Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 183-210.
  • Maiuri, A. 1932. La casa del Menandro e il suo tesoro di argenteria. Rome: Libreria dello Stato.
  • Painter, K. S. 2001. The Insula of the Menander at Pompeii: Volume IV - The Silver Treasure. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Coordinates: 40°44′59″N 14°29′24″E / 40.74972°N 14.49000°E / 40.74972; 14.49000