Thursday, January 15, 2009


I think a lot modern people forget that street lighting is a modern innovation so it was interesting to see how the Romans dealt with the problem of low light levels.

This is a road surface in Pompeii. The white stones were deliberately inset between the large slabs in order to help people see their way around at dusk or to catch the light from torches or lamps . Quite an ingenious solution to a problem.

As well as in the roadways, Roman people also made use of white and light coloured stones inside their houses.
In this peristyle [a covered walkway in the middle of the house surrounding a garden or courtyard] there are large pieces of geometrically shaped marble as well as a circle and cross stud pattern made up of small pieces.
This meant that people were able to walk around in the evening or night and make use of the open space and fresh air without the risk of falling into the plants or ponds.

This is some of the mosaic edging from a differnet house entrance way to light the path of any guests.
This is the imposing gateway of the House of the Faun-so called because of a dancing faun statue found there.
The greeting 'HAVE' means 'Hail' so it acted a bit like the modern doormats that say 'welcome' and with the added advantage of really impressing the neighbours.
The white lettering would have also helped the greeting stand out when guests arrived for a dinner party.

This is the faun that gives the house the name. Its actually a copy , the original is in the archaeological museum in Naples. The pond the faun is dancing in is actually an impluvium which collected and stored away rainwater. The white surrounding and the multicoloured slate tiles also make it stand out in low light.

We were there in November and by 5pm when the site closed, visibility was very poor so we were quite thankful for the Roman ingenuity that allowed us to see the last few things.


Magpie Magic said...

What an ingenious post. I've never looked at it this way! :-) Lovely photos as well. Hope to see more pictures from your Pompeii visit soon.

Alison Ashwell said...

Thanks =]
As you can probably imagine i have thousands of photos to go through from the holiday.
I've been trying to think of slightly different ways of posting them rather than just saying here is house x or monument y -though i might still end up doing that.