I.7.10-12/19 House of the Ephebe; Casa Dell’Efebo; House of P. Cornelius Teges (or Tages)


Italia (Pleiades)


Pompeii (Pleiades)

Location Description

An ancient city of Campania destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79, Pompeii was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.


Region I


Insula VII



House of the Ephebe; Casa Dell’Efebo; House of P. Cornelius Teges (or Tages).

Garden Description

A. This house was made by combining several small houses. The upper garden had an unusual portico on the north with various diameter columns, plastered and painted red, and two pillars. A third column on a square base supported an extension of the portico, which was a step lower and formed by an extension of the vestibule at entrance 12. The triclinium, tablinum, and exedra on the upper level of the portico were protected from cold and rain by some sort of screen installed between the columns and the west pillar. Most scholars surmise these were wooden but Maiuri proposed that they were glass, although he did not find any glass fragments during excavation (window panes surviving from this period from other sites are on display at the Museo Archaeologico in Naples and in the deposito at Pompeii).
Two steps below the portico was the garden. The back wall had a large animal painting and a small aedicules with a semicircular niche. A relief of Dianna and two deer adorned the front and inside a bronze statuette fountain of Pomona (0.38 m. high; Mus. Naz. inv. no. 144 276) stood holding a bivalve shell filled with fruit. Water jetted from the shell, down four marble steps and into the small square pool below. A marble covered channel divided the lectus medius of the triclinium in two parts and carried the water to a small jet in the center of the low triclinium table. Four large columns supported a vine-covered pergola that shaded the triclinium. The soil near the columns had root cavities, as reported by Maiuri, but no further details were recorded.
This was the best preserved triclinium (l. medius, 4.60 m.; l. imus and l. summus 4.40 x 0.88 m.) in the entire city. Each couch had a marble faced step along the top, and on the sides of the triclinium was painted a series of Nilotic scenes. There were two complete paintings while the rest of the work comprised a continuous frieze. These scenes depicted Egyptian life that revolved around the periodic inundation of the Nile. Activities pictured included men fishing, a woman spinning under a canopy, worshipers visiting shrines (some shrines in enclosures, some with extensive gardens), banquet scenes, an erotic scene in a caupona, and a pigmy slave driving a coclea (water screw).
Attached to each of the north columns of the pergolas was a low column (1.00 m. high) which most likely served as bases for statuette. In front and a little to the west of the lectus summus was a large masonry base (0.93 m. high; 0.685 m. in dia.) where Maiuri surmised that the famous bronze statue of the Ephebe stood. This statue (1.49 m. high; Mus. Naz. inv. no. 143 753) had been made into a gilded lamp stand holding candelabra brackets and was found in the atrium where it had been wrapped and placed for protection against the impending disaster. At either end of the portico was an additional pair of low circular bases for statuettes. Four broken marble statuettes were found in the triclinium] where they most likely were brought for protection or perhaps for repair after the earthquake. A statuette of Pan holding a fruit-filled calathos on his left shoulder and a ram’s head in his right hand (0.60 m. high with base; Pompeii inv. no. 3682) was reconstructed from nineteen fragments. The white marble piece had been completely gilded. There was also an inebriated satyr of white marble, (the head was missing) sprawled on a gray marble rock and opening a wineskin (0.32 m. long; 0.27 m. high with base; Pompeii inv. no. 3684). Only the necklace, bracelet, and several other details were gilded on this piece. A completely gilded statuette of a deer suckling a fawn (0.35 m. long; 0.22 m. high; Pompeii inv. no. 3683) and the remains of a gray marble base with white marble goat feet of Pan standing on a scabellum, the typical instrument of satyrs (0.28 m. long; 0. 105 m. high; Pompeii inv. no. 3685) were found there. There were also four vulgar silver-plated statuettes of placentarii or pastry vendors (each with base, 0.255 m. high; Mus. Naz. inv. nos. 143 758, 143 759, 143 761, 143 761 bis). Each carried a silver tray which Maiuri surmised were used to hold food delicacies served at dinner parties in the garden triclinium. The statuettes as well as the delicacies were found stored together in the house. A trellis fence separated the triclinium from the eastern part of the garden. The trellis was supported by four slender marble posts and on top of these were four small sculptured heads (herms). These pieces were: an archaic style head of Zeus rendered in white marble (0.19 m. high) with traces of bright colors, an archaic bust of Hera (0.135 m. high), a head of a woman (0.145 m. high) carved in yellow marble, and a Bacchic head of a child made from red marble. A plain round table and a curved marble seat were found in the center of the garden. The excavation revealed soil arranged in furrows, as customary for vegetable gardens, and root cavities of small plants. Water was supplied to the garden by way of overflow channels from the triclinium fountain. A basin, with two terra-cotta openings which would regulate the flow of water to either half of the garden, was located at the edge of the garden. The south wall at the rear of the triclinium once had a large hunt scene, but the only surviving part was the lower register. To the left of the aedicules fountain the images of a large deer and a bird remain, and to the right a bull flees from an unidentified attacker. A feline is crouched under a large tree in the lower right and other trees are sketchily depicted in the background.

B. This peristyle garden was entered by way of seven steps from the garden of the House of the Ephebe. This part of the building had once been a separate house (19). A portico supported by seven columns, two of them engaged, enclosed the garden on the north and part of the east side. The columns were plastered masonry, painted white on the top and red on the bottom and each had a rectangular hole, 1.70 m. from the bottom, on the side in line with the other columns. It is speculated that these were for wooden beams that held privacy screens or mats which would shield the garden area from heat and cold. The intercolumniation in front of the exedra did not have these holes, as it offered a fine view on the garden. A lead pipe with a tap directed water from the garden above into a dolium near the corner column. The pipe attached to the column had been shaped to resemble a snake fountain. Nearby a cistern collected water from the channels on the portico roof and a puteal was located on the top of the cistern. East–west furrows were preserved in the soil and the south, west and part of the east wall of the garden had garden paintings. Two large niches were located in the north wall of the portico east of the garden steps and there was an arched niche in the west wall of the north portico. In the exedra off the north portico a broken herm of Dionysus (0.12 x 0.19), was found, which was possible a garden decoration. The walls of this peristyles (Roman courtyards) garden were painted with very fine garden paintings on part of the east wall and the other three sides. Slender painted columns complete with painted garlands suspended between them, created the appearance of extending the portico and divided the walls into panels. The excavators found the paintings had been badly damaged, the best preserved was the north panel on the west wall. This showed a slender marble crater fountain on a decorated column standing in a semi-circular niche formed by a low lattice fence. A photograph taken at the time of excavation shows that behind the fence the bushes represented were myrtles with an oleander on the right. In the background there was a date palm with lower leaves trimmed and new growth showing. This palm was flanked by two laurel trees (Laurus nobilis L.). Various birds occupied the thickets and there was a bird perched on the fence, one on the rim of the fountain and one on one of the garlands. The center panel next to this was partially preserved and what remained was the painting of a shallow, round, bubbling fountain supported by three legs located in a three sided niche formed by the lattice fence. Again there were myrtles behind the fence with a slender cypress on the right. Traces of a date palm remain in the center background. The center of the south wall was occupied by a statuette of Venus standing on a circular base, although this had to be deduced from the part of the painting which survived, which only went knee high on the statue. A fragment of a narrow animal painting survived on the west wall above a garden painting.

C. Behind the tablinum, and seen from the entrance (no. 19), a small light well served as a garden. It was painted to represent a garden and the floor had been paved. The only surviving images were the usual fence with faint traces of oleander bushes and birds. Further traces indicated that a statuette of Venus standing on a marble base in an apsed niche in the lattice fence may have been represented on the east wall. The lattice fence on the north wall was painted to represent a rectangular niche. Water was piped from the garden above through the lower part of the rear wall and possible supplied a jet in the middle of the impluvium, as surmised by Maiuri.


Excavated 1912 and 1925.


  • Boyce, G.K. 1937. Corpus of the Lararia of Pompeii, p. 26, no. 41.
  • Chamoux, F. 1950. BCH p. 70-79.
  • Della Corte, M. Case ed abitanti di Pompei, pp. 317-318.
  • Döhl, H. 1976. Plastik aus Pompeji, Habilitationsschrift, Göttingen, pp. 4-5.
  • Jashemski, W.F. 1979. Garden of Pompeii: Herculaneum and the villas destroyed by Vesuvius, pp. 50, 57, 92-93, 113 and figs. 145-149 on pp. 93-94. (worldcat)
  • Jashemski, W.F. 1993. Gardens of Pompeii: Herculaneum and the villas destroyed by Vesuvius. Volume 2, Appendices, pp. 38-41, 316-317. (worldcat)
  • Kapossy, B. 1969, Brunnenfiguren der hellenistischen und römischen Zeit, p. 13.
  • Maiuri, A. 1925. “La raffigurazione del placentarius in quattro bronzetti pompeiani,” In BdA, pp. 268-275.
  • Maiuri, A. 1926. “L’efebodi Via dell’Abbondanza a Pompei,” In BdA, pp. 337-353.
  • Maiuri, A. 1939. NSc, pp. 49-68, 70-74, 370, fig 9 (plan) on p. 33, and pl. 20.
  • Maiuri, A. 1937. Monumenti della pittura antica scoperti in italia, sec. 3. (worldcat)
  • Maiuri, A. 1939. Pompeii, pp. 23-27, pls. 3-5, 20. (worldcat)
  • Goldicutt, J. and Norman Neuerburg, N. 2016. Specimens of Ancient Decorations from Pompeii, pp. 117-119, no. 18.
    PPP, p. 70.
  • Schefold, K. and Dräyer, W. 1956. Pompeji, p. 34.
  • Soprano, P. 1950, ‘I triclini all’aperto di Pompei’, In Pompeiana, raccolta di studi per il secondo centenario degli scavi di Pompei, Napoli, Gaetano Macchiaroli, Editore, p. 295, no. 5 and fig. 31 on p. 296.
  • Zanker, P. 1998. Pompeii: Public and Private Life, pp. 500-501.

Pleiades ID





Wilhelmina Jashemski (https://lib.guides.umd.edu/c.php?g=326514&p=2193250)

Publication date

21 Apr 2021