Lucius Caecilius Iucundus
The herm was found in the atrium of the House of the Pompeian banker Lucius Caecilius Iucundus and portrays one of his ancestors, whose features are reproduced with great realism: the middle age, the flap ears and the huge wart complete a face furrowed with wrinkles on the forehead and the sides of the nose. The expression is characterized by the cunning, with which the small and deep-set eyes, skillfully made by an artist of great ability, are shining.
The herm was dedicated to the genius of Lucius by the freedman Felix, as indicated by the Latin inscription (GENIO. L. NOSTRI/FELIX. L) on the small pillar, where his male physical characteristics are embedded.
Scene of a dyeing shop (fullonica)
The scenes, in the IV Pompeian style, take place on three frescoed faces of a pillar from one of the numerous fullonicae, Pompeian dyeing shops.
Each side of the pillar is divided horizontally into two sections, each illustrating consecutive operations for the wool manufacture.
The upper panel shows a worker brushing wool with a thistle, another stepping with a r dome-shaped wicker cage on his shoulders and a bucket in his hand for the sulphuring process.
On the lower register three slaves are washing clothes treading them in special tanks full of a mixture of hot water and urine.
On the upper part of the next side there is a large wooden press with two screws, the function of which was to stretch the cloth.
Only the upper part of the third face remains. It features a simple sacellum made of four thin columns supporting a roof under which there is a statue of Venus.
Scene of a baker’s shop
The small picture, in the IV Pompeian style, can be dated to the second half of the first century AD (45 – 79 AD) according to a stylistic analysis.
The picture, bordered by a black frame that stands out against the yellow background of the wall, depicts a scene of everyday life. The central part shows, in front of a square wooden counter on which are arranged piles of bread, two customers, viewed by three-quarters, wearing heavy dark cloaks and footwear, and a boy dressed in a short dark tunic, in the act of buying a loaf of bread from the baker, who is sitting opposite them and is wearing a white tunic. Behind him, on the purple background, stands a wooden piece of furniture with two shelves, on which are placed in neat piles other loaves of bread; on the left side there is a small basket full of bagels or round cakes.
The silver decadrachm, from the mint of Syracuse, reproduces on one side a charioteer driving a four-horses chariot at a gallop, while a winged Nike (Victory) is crowning him; on the exergue is a panoply.
On the other side there is the head of Kore Persephone shown in left-facing profile, with a crown of ears of wheat, a necklace and earrings; in the background there are three dolphins; at the bottom the letters EYAINE within a beaded circle.
The beautiful cones used for the production of this decadrachm were made by Euainetos, one of the most skilled engravers working at Syrakousai (Syracuse) between the end of the fifth and the beginning of fourth century BC. The face value, which is extremely high, was used for issues linked to important moments in the history of the issuing poleis, when payments of large amounts were necessary. The presence of the panoply would seem to suggest that the coins were part of a series of prizes for winners of competitions held to celebrate the glory of the town.
The medallion was found in Pompeii in 1759, together with eleven gold coins, although the lack of precise indications makes it impossible to reconstruct the original sum of money. The inscription of the observe also indicates the date of issue, which can be to be fixed at 9-8 BC.
This coin, which is a unique example produced at the mint of Lugdunum, is known as the medallion of Augustus.
The front side shows the portrait of the emperor with the title ‘Caesar Augustus, son of the Divine (Caesar), father of the fatherland’. On the observe there is the image of Diana, which may be the reproduction of a cult statue of the goddess worshipped in a Sicilian temple, as the indication on the exergue suggests. Given the fame that the goddess enjoyed in antiquity, it is not unlikely that it came from the temple of Erice.