Sacred Area Outside the South Walls
An ancient Roman town of Campania destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D.79. Named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
The southern edge of town was against a sharp drop to the sea. A terrace located on this drop held two shrines (a) and (b) and a series of rooms for cult activities. All of these faced on a long garden (c) 6.85 x 22.60 m. where the fragments of two large marble fountain basins were found when this area was excavated in 1939 to 1958. On the south end of the garden a parapet had a podium which could have been used as a garden seat. Garden paintings decorated the interior walls of shrine (b). The fragments that survived were enough to give an idea of what the original effect must have been. The lower part of the panel to the left of the entrance on the south is the best preserved. The base of the wall was painted with hart’s-tongue ferns, each plant separated by a trellis that was identical to the woven fence just above which must have encircled the entire room. A garden extended behind the fence and on the south wall a marble basin supported by three legs was graced by three doves perched on the rim to drink. A small date palm and flowers are nearby, including a corn poppy on the left with carefully executed foliage and flowers, two in profile and the others drawn open faced. A young palm tree and a plant with daisy-like flowers comes next and to the right of the basin there is a rosebush with blossoms very similar to the ones painted in the garden rooms of I.ix.5. The east wall appears to have had a crater-shaped fountain, and on the north wall above the large podium altar three panels each contained a garden painting. The side panels each had a young palm tree as the dominant feature in the middle, but the center panel was too damaged to determine what it contained.
1939 to 1958
- Jashemski, Gardens, 1:158-160 (worldcat)
- Jashemski, Gardens, vol.II, p. 371 (worldcat)
- Maiuri, Ercolano, pp. 181-182 and fig. 143 (plan) opposite p. 176 (worldcat)
- Michel, p. 386
Wilhelmina Jashemski (https://lib.guides.umd.edu/c.php?g=326514&p=2193250)
21 Apr 20210