Plate XXXVII - Poet's house restored

This restoration is calculated to afford an idea of the pleasing effect which even a moderately sized house, arranged in the manner of the ancients, is capable of producing.

Nothing has been changed from the original drawing, plate XXXVI, the lines having been traced from it by means of a pane of glass. The roof only has been added, which must have existed, and, probably, in a much more complicated and ornamented form than that here represented. The pendent ornements are taken from a picture at Herculaneum. The light also has been thrown from the contrary side, which has contributed to the apparent change of the picture ; and the sombre shades, contrasted with the partial lights of the impluvium and the peristyle, produce an effect scarcely credible by those who have only seen the habitation exposed to the glare of sunshine.

The light is admitted into the nearest division of this atrium or cavaedium through a quadrangular hole in the roof, which inclined toward the centre, and seems to have been called comaedium, as the opening itself was styled compluvium, and the recipient of the water in the pavement below the impluvium. Nevertheless these terms seem to have often been confounded, for Plautus mentions the seeing into an impluvium from another house, and Terence also says, «per alienas tegulas», and «per impluvium», showing they must have intended to speak of the opening when they use the word impluvium, and consequently the recipient should be termed the compluvium. The compluvium of the cavaedium should be, according to Vitruvius, not larger than a third part of the atrium, nor less than a fourth. This, however, was still less, and the house must therefore have been somewhat darker than usual.

The tablinum seems, to our eyes, too much exposed for comfort ; but it was so called because it could be shut up with shutters : «quod e tabulis componeretur».

There always seems a difficulty between the terms atrium and cavaedium, and between exedra and tablinum ; but the tablinum was next to the atrium - «Tablinum proxime atrio locus fuit». Festus. - When it is said that, in going from the atrium to the cavaedium, it was necessary to pass through the tablinum, such description cannot apply to houses like those of Pompeii, unless the cavaedium and peristyle were the same ; but Vitruvius, who is not always clear, must have spoken of houses different from those of Pompeii. Professor Nibby says, however, that those of Rome had the same sort of atrium ; for that below the foundations of Adrian's temple of Venus and Rome were found, in 1828, the remains of an ancient house exactly similar to those of Pompeii, and with the compluvium distinctly visible.

Many persons are inclined to think that the draperies and splendid ceilings, with which a restoration of this kind might be decorated, would want the support of ancient authorities ; but veils or shades against sun, wind, and min were used between columns and called Cilicia, and the rods for them remain at Herculaneum. Pliny says, «Laquearia que nunc et in privatis domibus auro teguntur». Festus cites Cato saying, «Villae expolitae maximo opere citro atque ebore atque pavimentis punicis stant». Seneca says the ceilings of caenaenia were versatilia or changeable, and that a man was poor who had not glazed windows. Tertullian talks of Tyrian curtains and hyacinthine veils, and so much gold was at one time expended on the ceilings, that an edict to prohibit the use of it was published.