Ch.16 : The Villa of Mysteries  

The big set of the Villa of the Mysteries is one of the best examples of suburban remains of antiquity.  The square grows on a slope and the western part of the building was erected on an artificial embankment, supported by a cryptoporticus.  The first construction of the villa dates back to the first half of the second century BC. J.-C. av. BC but the buildings come down to us, as indeed much of the decoration, dating from the years 70-60 BC. J.-C.  AD After the earthquake of the year 62 the villa undergoes a radical transformation: from luxurious home she became country house, probably as a result of a change of ownership.

The original entrance was on the Superior Street, a branch of the Way of the Tombs, the opposite side to the current input.  One enters directly into the peristyle area to sixteen Doric columns.  This sector has been modified to house parts service.  A series of pieces which was added on two floors, in the space between the original facade and Superior Street.  To the southern part of the peristyle is the kitchen courtyard, with two ovens; t close you can see a small spa installation comprising three rooms including a circular laconicum, obsolete.

Oecus a double and a bedroom alcove, decorated second style, overlook a small peristyle atrium.  At the northeast corner of it had been installed two large rooms with torculahum including two grape presses, which clearly highlights the new destination of the villa became the center of a farming business. In the neighborhood was a lararium shaped apse which probably was placed a statue of Livia discovered in the peristyle.  The private apartments of the householder are centered around a large atrium decorated with Nilotic Tuscan landscapes and, originally, paintings on wood.

The double bedroom alcove, north of the atrium, houses one of the most interesting wall decorations II style we know.  Complex architectures, with bold perspectives, are staggered so as to create the illusion of a horizon lies beyond the wall. Basically, the tablinum has refined decoration in IIIc style on black background walls are painted in Egyptian-style figurines while miniatures reproduce Dionysus attributes.
 Beyond tablinum opens a veranda exedra: its windows one can see the hanging gardens and the two porticos that flank them.

For a double room alcove south of tablinum is happening in the covered seating gigantic where the name was derived from the villa frescoes.  As you do it through a portico to the south.  This is probably the most famous painting of antiquity because of unusual dimensions, life-size characters and the grandeur of the composition; according to the traditional interpretation that cycle is a rite of initiation to the Dionysian mysteries.

Starting from the left wall we find a naked child reading the ritual between two matrons;  a young girl, wearing a dish of offerings, is heading into a seated woman, seen from behind, offering a sacrifice, with the assistance of two assistants.
 Next came an old Silenus playing the lyre, a small satyr and panisque nursing a kid, a woman terrorized by pulling out and flee flogging represented a companion to the opposite corner.

On the back wall we first see an old Silenus giving drink to a small satyr satyr while a second lift a theater mask above his head;  in the center of Dionysos Wall surrenders between the arms of Ariadne seated on his throne.
Then succeed a kneeling woman who reveals a phallus, symbol of fertility and a winged figure that gives a boost.  It is part actually the first scene of right wall showing flogged woman, bewildered, knelt and taken refuge in the bosom of a companion while a bacchanal dance naked in the throes of orgiastic fury;  then see the toilet of a young wife, awaiting the rite of initiation into the mysteries, surrounded by two loves and a matron, and finally a seated matron, his head covered, probably the housewife who attends to the scene.

The fresco is to be attributed to a painter from Campania who worked here to the 70-60 years BC. J.-C.  AD that drew its inspiration from the Hellenistic models of fourth and third centuries BC. JC