The restored Pompeii house offers a rare glimpse into the lives of the volcano-studded city’s ancient elite
Pompeii — The newly restored remains of an opulent house in Pompeii, likely owned by two former slaves who became wealthy from the wine trade, offer visitors an extraordinary insight into the details of domestic life in the doomed Roman city. On Tuesday, the house of the Vettii, Domus Vettiorum in Latin, was inaugurated after 20 years of restoration.
Frescoes of the latest fashion were revived in Pompeii’s wall decorations before the thriving city was buried in AD 79 under volcanic ash that angrily spewed from Mount Vesuvius.
The unveiling of the restored house is another sign of Pompeii’s rebirth, which has followed decades of modern day bureaucratic neglect, flooding and looting by thieves in search of artifacts to sell.
That delights tourists and rewards experts with tantalizing new glimpses into the daily life of one of the ancient world’s most famous remains.
“The House of the Vetti is like the history of Pompeii and actually Roman society in one house,” enthused Pompeii’s director, Gabriel Breeding, while showing off a section of domus known as the Cupid Rooms last month.
“We see here the final phase of Pompeian mural painting in incredible detail, so you can stand in front of these images for hours and still discover new details,” the archeological park’s energetic director told The Associated Press ahead of the public inauguration.
“So this mixture: nature, architecture, art. But it’s also a story about the social life of Pompeian society and actually of the Roman world at this stage in history,” Breeding Riegel added.
Previous restoration work, in which paraffin was repeatedly applied to the frescoed walls in the hope of preserving them, “resulted in them becoming very blurred over time because of the build up of very thick and opaque layers that made the ‘reading’ impossible.” ‘ of the fresco,” he told Stefania Giudice, director of fresco restoration.
But the wax served to preserve them remarkably.
Breeding Riegel ventured that the fresh “readings” of the revived fresco painting “reflect the dreams and imaginations and anxieties of the owners because they lived between these pictures”, which include Greek mythological figures.
And who were these owners? The Vettis were two men – Aulus Vettius Conviva and Aulus Vettius Restitutus. Not only did they share part of their names, they also shared a past – not as descendants of Roman noble families accustomed to opulence, but experts from Pompeii say with some certainty that they were once enslaved men who were later freed.
It is believed that they got rich from the wine trade. While some have hypothesized that the two were brothers, there is no certainty about this.
In the dining room, known as the Hall of Pentheus, a fresco depicts a child Hercules crushing two serpents, in an illustration of an episode in the life of the Greek hero. According to mythology, Hera, the goddess wife of Zeus, sent serpents to slay Hercules because she was angry that he was born from the union of Zeus with a mortal woman, Alcmena.
Could Aulus Vettius Conviva and Aulus Vettius Restitutus have somehow recognized their own life story in the figure of Hercules, who met challenge after challenge in his life?
This question concerns breeding bars.
After years in slavery, the men “had made incredible careers thereafter and reached, at least economically, the highest echelons of local society,” said breeding bars, judging by their upscale domus and garden, breeding bars said. “They obviously tried to show their new status also through culture and through Greek mythological painting, and it’s about saying, ‘We made it and that’s why we’re part of this elite’ of the Roman world.
Pompeii’s architectural director of the restoration work, Arianna Spinosa, called the restored house “one of Pompeii’s iconic architecture.”
Ornamental marble baths and tables surround the garden.
The Domus was first uncovered during archaeological digs in the late 19th century and was closed in 2002 for urgent restoration work, including the bracing of the roof. After a partial reopening in 2016, it was closed again in 2020 for the final phase of work, which included the restoration of the frescoes and the floor and colonnades.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pompeii-house-restored-rare-look-life-ancient-elites-volcano-pummelled-city/ The restored Pompeii house offers a rare glimpse into the lives of the volcano-studded city’s ancient elite