Thursday, 22 November 2012

First impressions: ROOM 1 (atrium)

House of Orpheus, south wall of the atrium
Photo by V. Vitale 2012

Room one is the big atrium. It gives light to the many rooms around it that often have no windows at all. Its doors appear to be quite tall. They are not very wide (about 115-118 cm) but, in my opinion, they give a sense of elegance end elevation to the all building.
The door on the south side of the atrium appears to be perfectly symmetrical with the door on the north side (entrance to room 7). Moreover it points out the relationship between the House of Orpheus and the little commercial-industrial complex confining with it (VI, 14, 18 and VI, 14, 19). Despite the fact that the relationship between the two spaces looks fairly evident, I haven’t found so far any explicit mention to that in the literature. 

Unlike many other rich houses in Pompeii, the House of Orpheus has no business area in the traditional sense. It looks as if the owner didn’t want to show any explicit connection with the business. On the other hand, the big door leans directly to the commercial area, and part of the house was visible (with the doors open) from the little commercial/industrial complex. 
The high door on the south side of room 1 also suggests the existence of a second door, symmetrical to the other door on the north side of the atrium (entrance to room 8). The former is no more open, but it is easy to see where it used to be. 
So far, I have no means to say if it has been closed before or after the excavation.

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