Terms relating to domestic architecture derive from literary sources and their attribution to a particular room in a house is at times controversial. Nevertheless their common usage in Roman studies ensures they have taken on a meaning that, while possibly not the same as their ancient meaning, is commonly accepted by the majority of modern researchers.

Atrium - Large central connecting hall, usually containing an impluvium to catch rainwater from a gap in the roof. The atrium is room 5 in the House of the Surgeon.

Bourbon - A royal house of Europe, the Bourbons ruled Naples from 1735–1860 with a brief hiatus between 1806–1815. The Bourbon kings of Naples were often the authorising force behind early excavation work in order to recover statuary and artwork for the royal palace at Portici.

Compluvium - The gap in the centre of the roof of the atrium, allowing water to drain into the impluvium.

Fauces - The narrow entrance hall into the atrium. The fauces is room 1 in the House of the Surgeon.

Fourth style - Chronologically the latest of four styles of Roman wall painting, as described by August Mau (1882). It typically contains fantastical architectural elements, scenes from Greek mythology and panoramic vistas.

Impluvium - Small rectangular stone pool set into the floor of the atrium, catching water coming through the compluvium. The impluvium usually drains into a cistern.

Lararium - Small domestic shrine in which offerings to the lares, the household gods, may be placed. Piranesi records a lararium in the kitchen (room 13) of the House of the Surgeon but little now remains to confirm this.

Programmata - Election notices painted on the outside of houses throughout Pompeii.

Tablinum - Large open room on the opposite side of the atrium to the fauces. This is where the patron of the house would receive clients in the morning salutatio. The tablinum is room 7 in the House of the Surgeon.

Triclinium - The triclinium refers to both the three-sided couch that was the proper seating for meals and also the room in which it was positioned. Room 10 has been suggested as the triclinium of the House of the Surgeon but it is possible that seasonal factors meant that various rooms were used for dining.


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Last updated: Tues Feb 5 2008