20 de setembro de 2012

"Villa dei Misteri" - Pompeii

Villa dei Misteri - "Triclinium" - Pompeii - Italy
On the horizon, the shadow of a bluish gray volcano overlooks, like a dormant giant, the city of Pompeii. The black Vesuvio remains silently steamy, bursting in its guts, with a false serene pose, waiting undisturbed for its next uncontrolled natural explosion.
The Vesuvio and excavations at
Villa dei Misteri - Pompeii - Italy - CRV©
After a full day visiting Pompeii, trying to imagine how terrible it should have been the day of all cataclysms I arrived at the "Villa dei Misteri", a suburban rural-residential Villa, with a close relationship to the city, although located a few hundred meters outside the northern walls. Buried by the eruption of Vesuvius, in 79 AD, excavated since 1909, the "Villa" is one of the most visited buildings in Pompeii, especially for the series of well preserved frescoes at the triclinium (the roman dinning room), representing some mysterious rituals, from which the property takes its name. 

Under meters of ash and other volcanic material, the Villa sustained only minor damage in the eruption and the majority of its walls, floors, ceilings, and most particularly its frescoes survived largely undamaged in many rooms of the house. Excavations continued till today with a wide open area uncovered but with so much more to discover. 
Dionysus Cult - Villa dei Misteri - Pompeii - Italy    
After scoured some rooms of the house I end up in a large chamber with a composition frieze that runs continuously around the walls with twenty-nine figures all involved in some sort of ritual which still continues unrevealed.

Although hotly debated, the most common interpretation of the images is that they represent scenes of the initiation of a woman into a special cult of Dionysus, also called "bacchanalia".
The Dionysian cults used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques (like dance and music) to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual in order to return to a natural state. It also provided some liberation for those marginalized by Greek society: women, slaves and foreigners.

What has startled the dancing woman is uncertain, but it is thought likely to the apprehension of hearing Silenus (center, playing the lyre), that he is divining her future. The seated woman (far left) is a priestess and appears to be preparing to cleanse her hands.

Villa dei Misteri - "Triclinium" - Pompeii - Italy 
The composition of the frieze is typical of the Second Style (80-20 BC), which is marked by its representational people, creating the illusion of receding space.
The use of the most expensive color scheme, including blues and greens, suggests that the owner was a wealthy man that spared no expense to decorate the Villa. As is the case of many private homes, in the city of Pompeii, it is not certain who this owner was. However, certain artifacts give tantalizing clues. A bronze seal found in the villa names L. Istacidius Zosimus, led us to the powerful Istacidii family.
Sources: Wikipedia, net

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