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The Insula of the Menander at PompeiiVolume II: The Decorations$
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Roger Ling and Lesley Ling

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199266951

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199266951.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 October 2021

I. 10. 8

I. 10. 8

(p.148) I. 10. 8
The Insula of the Menander at Pompeii

Roger Ling

Lesley Ling

Oxford University Press

Apart from a First Style Pavement and traces of First Style wall-decorations in the front part of the house, the only decorations attested in house 8 are two of the Third Stylewhich were evidently about to be replaced and two of the Fourth Style (one of which is now largely lost). The bulk of the rooms contain, at best, plain mortar pavements and plain wall-plaster. There are remains of First Style wall-decorations beneath later plain plaster in the fauces and room 2, while Elia refers to a yellow socle in the same style on the south wall of the atrium (see Vol. I, p. 186). None of the surviving fragments (which include part of a stucco cornice in room 2) is sufficient to provide any real notion of the decorative syntax. The only pavement that is likely to belong to the First Style phase is that of room 2, which consisted of patterns of white tesserae set in cocciopesto: a lozenge grid along the threshold and a central mat of meander (swastikas alternating with squares) surrounded by a semis of single tesserae. All these elements are typical of the First Style (the meander mat and semis surround can be paralleled in the First Style rooms buried under room 18 in the Casa del Menandro: see pp. 6–7 and Fig. 64). The lozenge and meander patterns, known from Elia’s description, have now perished, along with the bulk of the pavement, but fragments of the semis survive on the west side and reveal that the size of the tesserae (mostly from 5 mm. to 1 cm. across) and their spacing (5 cm.) conform with measurements found in other examples of this type of pavement ascribed to the time of the First Style. One interesting detail is that, in addition to the inset tesserae, the surface of this pavement shows traces of a coat of red paint. Assuming that the pavement goes back to the First Style, we can here accept Pernice’s suggestion that such colour-enhancement represents a later intervention designed to improve the appearance of pavements that had become worn.

Keywords:   Oplontis, villa A (of the Poppaei)

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