3.1.4 The frontage

The frontage is the public face of the house. It is also the aspect that, along with the roof, is hardest to study in isolation. The impact that the front of the house makes on visitors and casual passers-by is hard to assess without also modelling its neighbours on the street. Sadly, how the house frontage looks in-situ on a populated Via Consolare is something for much later on in the project. One thing that is apparent from looking at the house in isolation is that it seems very difficult to de-emphasise the shop to the north of the doorway. The southern commercial property looks divorced from the main property due to it being lower and set back from the front of the house (Figure 27), but the commercial space to the north is right next to the main doorway and is also much bigger. Ancient writers such as Cicero (De Officiis 1.150-1) stressed that any Roman gentleman of status would avoid commerce if he sought social standing. This view has little support from the archaeology of Pompeii due to the sheer number of commercial units flanking the doorways of grand houses. With the House of the Surgeon there is no escaping commerce when it's such a prominent part of the frontage.

There are several aspects to the front of the house that will be dealt with separately. Select the numbers on the image to examine these further.

Figure 27. A view of the frontage from the north west 1. Balcony 3. Door 2. Shop


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Last updated: Tues Feb 5 2008