Elab­o­rate ‘cos­mopoli­tan’ paint­ings of Egypt found in Ro­man villa in Pom­peii

Timeless Travels Magazine - - ARCHAEOLOG­ICAL NEWS -

In­tri­cate de­signs from Casa dell’ Efebo, which was one of the big­gest homes in Pom­peii be­fore it was de­stroyed by the erup­tion of Mount Ve­su­vius in 79 AD, show a se­ries of Nilotic mu­rals with croc­o­diles, hip­popota­muses, lo­tuses and short-statured men fight­ing with wild beasts.

Caitlin Bar­rett from the de­part­ment of Clas­sics at Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity said the draw­ings give the house a more cos­mopoli­tan feel and that “The paint­ings from the Casa dell’ Efebo were cre­ated after Egypt was in­cor­po­rated into the Ro­man Em­pire, but sev­eral gen­er­a­tions after Au­gus­tus’ ini­tial con­quest of Egypt”.

While some ar­chae­ol­o­gists in­ter­pret the paint­ings as show­ing an in­ter­est in Egyp­tian re­li­gion and oth­ers as a po­lit­i­cal state­ment,

Bar­rett sug­gests that “in­stead of try­ing to ap­ply a one-size-fits-all ex­pla­na­tion, we should look at con­text and in­di­vid­ual choices”.

Bar­rett con­tin­ued: “In this par­tic­u­lar as­sem­blage, rather than solely try­ing to make some kind of state­ment about Isiac rit­u­als or Ro­man pol­i­tics, the owner of this house seems to be as­sert­ing a cos­mopoli­tan iden­tity as a ci­ti­zen of the Em­pire.

In Pom­peian houses at this time, when peo­ple are rep­re­sent­ing far­away lands in do­mes­tic art, they are also try­ing to fig­ure out what it means to them to be par­tic­i­pants in the Ro­man Em­pire”.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tions of Egypt found in Pom­peii

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