Hello SPQR, Welcome to my Crib; or should I say my Domus! My name is Invictus and I am a Roman import/export magnate living in the glorious city of Pompeii. Let’s get right to it!
We are currently standing outside of my stunning Domus on the street of one of the upper-class districts in Pompeii. Do not be fooled by quaint shops, my domus takes up the entire city block! On our way inside please greet Felix, one of my ianitors (or doorman). We are now passing through one of my Fauces (entry hall). As you can see, I have only the finest and most ornate mosaics to adorn the entryway into my atrium.
The Atrium serves as the center of the pars urbana, or the public section of the house that serves as a waiting room for my guests. As we step into the Atrium, notice that it was created in the Tuscan style, with no columns. This should not be confused with my second atrium, made in the tetrastyle (I just couldn’t make up my mind so I had to have both). This impressive atrium is outfitted with a compluvium and matching impluvium, that is – a sky light opening in the center of the room to aid with ventilation and light, and a pool of water directly beneath it on the floor which keeps the house cool and collects rainwater to feed into the house cistern. Notice my statue of the faun in the center pool. I procured an alexandrian statue of this funny little half man-goat to dance around for my enjoyment.
While I purchased this domus only some time ago, it was originally created during the era of the Republic. During this time long passed, the atrium was seen as the most important room in the house. This room served as the waiting room for patrons engaging with the head of the house (paterfamilias). In typical fashion, the Atrium has received much attention and has been outfitted with impressive art and decor meant to wow my social guests.
Off of the atrium are many, many other important rooms. Perhaps the most important of all: My tablinum (home office) where I conduct my business dealings and engage in my totally 100% legitimate import business. Also off of the atrium are the cubicula (bedrooms) of the slaves we house. I won’t bore you with the second atrium – it was featured in SPQR digest and is yesterday’s news.
This next section of the house was remodeled not long after I purchased it. I had the chief architect convert it to a more updated Imperial domus, giving focus to the peristyle (garden and accompanying courtyard) and to the (not one, not two, but four!) tricliniums (or dining room) which we will see shortly. You see, in this Imperial era there is a de-emphasis on a central atrium to receive visitors, and more of a focus on the peristyle and triclinium.
As we enter the next section of the house, the pars rustica (or private living quarters) I am sure you will immediately notice the massive peristyle (or outdoor garden). My Peristyle is immense and full of decorative plants, a functional kitchen garden, various statues and even a water fountain. Off of the peristyle you can see my culina (or kitchen) which is fully staffed by slaves. Most importantly, off of the peristyle you will also find my four triclinium. This impressive dining space is frequently used to host elaborate dinner parties. I’m sure you will note, My triclinium is much larger than most, which allows ample room for live music or drinking games. The next rooms off of the peristyle are the private cubicula where the extended family will sleep. My cubiculum is adorned with elaborate wall murals painted by the finest artists in Rome.
Grand Peristyle & Conclusion
Now we shall move into the grand peristyle which is nearly the size of the rest of my domus. As we pass through the exedra (walkway between house and peristyle) take note of the fabulous Alexander Mosaic pictured on the ground. This wonderful depiction of a great conqueror is only fitting in my house. This brings us to the rear entrance of the house with two other fauces that open onto the street. It also serves as a second exit if my family wishes to leave unobserved (or if I’m hiding from my ex-wife!).
As you can see, my domus is clearly superior to any others. It is fairly difficult to study ancient residential architecture as Rome existed before architects were super into that sort of thing. So even if my domus isn’t that great, you’ll have to trust archeologists, and take my word for it!
Grant Thomas is a sophomore at Colgate University studying Computer Science and Economics. He is interested in ancient history and enjoys MTV Cribs