Paris and Helen, whose love launched the Trojan War, Source: Pompeii Sites

Pompeii surprises with new frescoes

Pompeii surprises with new frescoes

The newly revealed wall art gives a peek into the decorations of a household dining room

The ancient Roman town of Pompeii is once again in the news headlines after archaeologists announced having discovered previously unseen wall frescoes in one of the houses. The wall art paintings have been described as among the finest ever found in the city buried after a Vesuvius eruption in the 1st century AD.

The frescoes decorate the black walls of what experts say had served as a dining hall of a well-to-do household in insula 10 of Region IX. They represent legendary characters from the Trojan War and could have served as the inspiration for conversations among the guests being entertained during dinners.

The walls were black to prevent the smoke from the lamps on the walls from being seen. Here they gathered to feast after sunset, the flickering light of the lamps made the images seem to move, especially after a few glasses of good Campania wine,” explains Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the Director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii.

The frescoes show Helen and Paris, whose love drama was the cause of the war described by Homer in his epic. There are also representations of Cassandra, who predicted the war and its outcome but was cursed to never have anyone believe her predictions.

The heritage site that keeps on giving

The hall measures approximately 15 meters long by 6 meters wide and opens into a courtyard which appears to be an open-air service hallway, with a long staircase leading to the first floor, devoid of decoration.

The excavation activity in insula 10 of Regio IX is part of a broader project to secure the perimeter front between the excavated and non-excavated area and to improve the hydrogeological structure, which should ensure better protection for the World Heritage site.

Pompeii overall has 1070 housing units and a total of 13,000 rooms inside them, and that’s not even counting the public and sacred spaces in the town. Continuing excavations and works keep on occasionally unearthing new artistic elements, which tell us more about the way its inhabitants have lived before tragedy befell them.



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