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Regio V - Insula III - Caseggiato dei Lottatori (V,III,1)

The House of the Wrestlers, a guild-seat, was excavated in 1938-1942 and 1975. It has been dated to the Hadrianic period (opus latericium).

In the north part is the vestibule, between two shops. A drinking fountain was set against the east wall. It has now disappeared. The building is centered around a courtyard with a large basin. The courtyard is surrounded by a porticus. Of the six columns of the porticus (only four of which can be seen on the plan) only the travertine bases have been preserved. In the western part of the porticus are some piers (not indicated on the plan), dividing this part in two sections.

In the west wall of the building are two doors (one leading to a shop), and nine windows at a height of two meters. In the east wall are two doorways, and the plan in SO I suggests another series of windows. Of the latter no traces can be seen, but presumably these were found amongst the collapsed masonry. The windows may be a later addition.

In the back part is an accentuated room, originally with two doors in each side wall. Three doors were later blocked, and the main entrance was narrowed (opus latericium, second century AD).

Several modifications in opus vittatum can be seen (third century AD). In the room to the east of the accentuated room a dividing wall was built. A similar wall in the room to the west has disappeared. A few walls were erected in the south-east part of the porticus, and here a staircase was built, accessible from the street to the east.

The floors of the rooms are covered with opus spicatum, and black-and-white mosaics with geometric motifs and vessels. In the vestibule is a depiction of two wrestlers, one victorious, the other on his knees. We also read their names:


From the lay-out of the building can be deduced that it was the seat of a guild, perhaps of wrestlers. According to Hermansen this guild owned the entire block V,III.

Plan of the building.
After SO I.


The mosaic of wrestlers in the vestibule. Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

The courtyard seem from the vestibule. Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

The west side of the porticus, seen from the north. Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

The courtyard seen from the accentuated room. Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

Floors of rooms to the east of the courtyard.
Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

[jthb - 29-Oct-2005]