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House of the Faun at Pompeii

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Entryway Mosaic
Entryway Mosaic, House of the Faun at Pompeii

Entryway Mosaic, House of the Faun at Pompeii

jrwebbe

At the entryway of the House of the Faun is this mosaic welcome mat, calling Have! or Hail to you! in Latin. The fact that the mosaic is in Latin, rather than the local languages Oscan or Samnian, is interesting, because if the archaeologists are right, this house was built before the Roman colonization of Pompeii, when Pompeii was still a backwater Oscan/Samnian town. Either the owners of the House of the Faun had pretensions of Latin glory; or the mosaic was added after the Roman colony was established about 80 BC, certainly after the Roman siege of Pompeii in 89 BC by the infamous Lucius Cornelius Sulla.

Roman scholar Mary Beard points out that it's a bit of a pun that the richest house in Pompeii would use the English word "Have" for a welcome mat. They certainly did.

Sources

For more on the archaeology of Pompeii, see Pompeii: Buried in Ashes.

Beard, Mary. 2008. The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.

Christensen, Alexis. 2006. From palaces to Pompeii: The architectural and social context of Hellenistic floor mosaics in the House of the Faun. PhD dissertation, Department of Classics, Florida State University.

Mau, August. 1902. Pompeii, Its Life and Art. Translated by Francis Wiley Kelsey. The MacMillan Company.

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