II.ii.2 (House of D. Octavius Quartio)


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 II


Insula II



House of M. Loreius Tiburtinus [Della Corte]; of D. Octavius Quartio [Spinazzola]


Large garden planted with trees and decorated with a water channel (euripus), garden paintings, garden statues, and a biclinium and triclinium](http://vocab.getty.edu/page/aat/300004359). Inside, a spacious peristyles (Roman courtyards) with fountains was decorated with flowers in planting boxes and ornamentals.

Garden Description

A. The spacious Tuscan atrium of this luxurious house excavated in 1918-1921 was a lavish garden. A low, double masonry wall, faced with marble on the outside, bordered the impluvium and according to Spinazzola, the space between the walls had been lined with wood to form a planting box for flowers and ornamentals. The pool had a fountain base, which may have held a statuette, and bases in the center of each side may have held additional statuary. On the north side of the impluvium pipe remains, as well as the cavity where the pipe emerged from under the south base, were excavated. Bombing during WWII extensively damaged the other two sides but these have since been restored.

B. At the rear of the atrium a modest peristyles (Roman courtyards) garden was enclosed by a portico on the east, north and west sides. The supporting columns were smooth and colored red at the base, and fluted and white at the top. A very low wall joined all of the columns. Two circular beds in the center of the garden and a bed bordering the edges with a path between, entered from the south, were shown on the large plan by Spinazzola (see p.376). Although a dot in the center of each circular bed could represent a root cavity, no mention is made of soil contours or root cavities. A glazed terra-cotta statuette of Bes, the Egyptian deity (Pompeii inv. no. 2897) and of a pharaoh (Pompeii inv. no. 2898) were found but indications were that many other statuettes from this garden had been carried away by ancient excavators.

C. A vine covered portico terrace stretched across the back of the house immediately behind the peristyles (Roman courtyards). Animal paintings decorated the north wall of the terrace. There were two panels of deteriorating images that had been quickly rendered. Lions, lionesses, tigers and leopards pursuing bulls, deer, gazelles and hares were noted by Spinazzola. Jashemski recorded seeing the faded images of a deer, lion, and a bull and several unidentified images in the west panel. She reported that the east panel was in poor condition but she could make out lions and a deer being attacked by an unnamed animal. At the east end of the terrace, between two masonry couches of a biclinium (l. imus 2.78; l. summus 3.40 m.), two columns framed an aedicules niche. To the wall right of the niche was a painting of Pyramus and Thisbe, to the left a painting of Narcissus. A marble telamon in the form of a kneeling satyr (Pompeii inv. no. 2891) found on the terrace was thought by Spinazzola to have been a fountain head. This would have stood on the aedicules with a basin on his shoulders, spilling water down into the channel. Dr. Salza Prina Ricotti disagreed, pointing out that there is no evidence of piping either in the aedicules or the statuette. The channel, or euripus, measured 1.00 m. wide and 1.40 m. deep and extended 20 m. along the terrace. The inside of the channel was painted blue and small statues were set in the narrow strip of garden along the sides. Proceeding from east to west, the statues were as follows: on the south side, the head of a bearded Dionysus (Pompeii inv. no. 2910); across the channel on the north side, the bust of a young Dionysus (Pompeii inv. no. 2918); next on the south, a lion holding a ram’s head (Pompeii inv. no. 2922); across from this, a lion devouring an antelope (Pompeii inv. no. 2929); next on the south, the mask of a woman sculptured in a console (Pompeii inv. no. 2928); opposite this, a sphinx (Pompeii inv. no. 2930); next on the north side, a seated baby satyr with head and hands raised (Pompeii inv. no. 2931)(this piece disappeared in 1960); an infant Hercules strangling two serpents (Pompeii inv. no. 2932); opposite this, a greyhound attacking a hare (Pompeii inv. no. 2934). A bearded river god (Pompeii inv. no. 2932) looked down the channel from its source, and on the base between the pillars of the portico stood a statue of the Muse Polyhymnia (Pompeii inv. no. 2917) and one of Mnemosyne (Pompeii inv. no. 2909). These two marble statues bore traces of paint. The channel was crossed by two small bridges, one crossing by the biclinium. The other crossed in front of the grand triclinium opening just off the north side of the terrace. The triclinium offered a view across the bridge to a tetrastyle pavilion. Here fountains spouted water into the channel at the edge of the plinth of the pavilion. The lower garden that extended the length of the insula could be viewed from this point.

D. A nymphaeum in the lower garden was located directly under the tetrastyle pavilion. Water cascaded into this from the pavilion and the upper channel. Brightly colored paintings of fish surrounded a marble mask of a water deity on the rear wall of the nymphaeum. Just below, seated above little marble steps where the water tumbled down to the channel, was a marble amorino holding a mask (0.236 m. high; Pompeii inv. no. 20513). The narrow channel continued more than 50 meters down the length of the garden and was interrupted by three structures. Before the first pergola, three jets of water issued from two low columns and a pillar spaced evenly in the channel. The vine covered pergolas covered an elaborate fountain where water issued from the center of the structure and flowed down four steps in four directions to the pool. A small pavilion was built over the next pool and the final pool had another vine covered pergolas shading a jet of water near the end of the channel. Although this series of pools and channels varied, they were all connected as one feature. Spinazzola suggested that the pools were used for raising different species of fish which would have separate habitat requirements. Shade and cover for the fish would have been supplied by the pavilion and hollows in the first marble fountain.

There was evidence of long vine arbors on each side of the channel and cavities of large shade trees lined the side walls, although no measurements were recorded. On the east side of the garden by the row of shade trees, forty-four amphorae were found buried in the soil. Rows of smaller trees or shrubs filled the area between the shade trees and the arbors.

A masonry triclinium stood to the east of the first fountain and here two sculptured supports for a marble table were found. The west side of the covered passageway once had wooden benches, and near the wall at the south end of the garden a one-third life size statuette of a sleeping hermaphrodite (Pompeii inv. no. 3021) was discovered. An entrance from the Via di Castricio allowed direct access to the garden.


Döhl, H. 1976. Plastik aus Pompeji, Habilitationsschrift, Göttingen, p.6.
W. F. Jashemski, 1979, Garden of Pompeii: Herculaneum and the villas destroyed by Vesuvius, pp.46-47 (worldcat)
W. F. Jashemski, 1993, Gardens of Pompeii: Herculaneum and the villas destroyed by Vesuvius. Volume 2, Appendices, p.82-83. (worldcat)
Balázs Kapossy, 1969, Brunnenfiguren der hellenistischen und römischen Zeit, p.40. John Goldicutt and Norman Neuerburg, 2016, Specimens of Ancient Decorations from Pompeii, p. 119, no.20.
Erich Pernice and Franz Winter, 1925, Gefässe und Geräthe aus BronzeDie Hellenistische Kunst in Pompeii, 5, p.49.
Salza Prina Ricotti, 1979, 'Triclini', In CronPomp, 5, pp.114-115.
P. Soprano, 1950, 'I triclini all’aperto di Pompei', In Pompeiana, raccolta di studi per il secondo centenario degli scavi di Pompei, Napoli, Gaetano Macchiaroli, Editore, pp.305-6, no.25. (Address wrongly given as II.v.2 at pp.308-309, no. 37).
Vittorio Spinazzola, 1910-1923, Pompei alla luce degli Scavi Nuovi di Via dell'Abbondanza, pp.407-418 and figs. 467-478, 481 on pp.409-416, 418.
Thomas D. Price and A. W. Van Buren, 1935, 'The House of Marcus Loreius Tiburtinus at Pompei', In MAAR 12, pp.151-153 and pls. 11-13.
Paul Zanker, 1998, Pompeii: Public and Private Life, pp.477-480.

Pleiades ID




Excavation Dates

1916, 1918, 1921, 1933-35 and 1973


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

Publication date

21 Apr 2021