HOUSE OF THE TRAGIC POET-REGIO VI, House Of The Tragic Poet-Regio Vi

Audio File length: 2.21
English / USA Language: English / USA

The House of the Tragic Poet is not named after its owner, Publius Aninius, but after a mosaic found on the floor of his study.

This work, in fact, depicts actors preparing to stage a tragedy. The genre of the performance can be guessed from the type of masks placed on the floor near the actors.

What you are about to visit is a classic Roman domus, with an elegant atrium, preceded by a short corridor along which open the doors to two workshops connected to the house. Around the atrium are several rooms, including the tablinium of Publius Aninius, where the man received customers. Then there is the peristyle with a beautiful inner garden, surrounded on three sides by a colonnaded portico, with a small, elegant sacred shrine, the lararium. Under the portico are rooms reserved for the family, while a mock garden has been painted on the back wall of the peristyle.

All the rooms are very colorful, richly painted with mythological scenes and episodes from the Iliad. The predominant colors are yellow ochre and red on the walls.

Of all the works present, the one that is best known throughout the world is the mosaic on the floor of the main entrance: the image of a threatening-looking dog, under which appears the Latin inscription 'CAVE CANEM', meaning beware of dog!

Today the visit begins by entering through what was originally a secondary entrance, in order to safeguard this precious masterpiece, protected by glass.

The subject depicted is the classic canis catenarius, the guard dog that was portrayed at the entrances to houses for two purposes: to keep out thieves and bad spirits.

Just like today, companion animals, especially dogs, were also widespread in Pompeii, as revealed both by the discovery of other mosaics depicting these animals and by the remains found during excavations.


Here’s an interesting fact: The saddest testimony to the fate of many animals during the eruption is represented by the cast of a dog, in the Antiquarium, which reveals all the suffering of the poor animal, which could not escape because it was chained.

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