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Published on Feb 20, 2009
The House of the Menander at Pompeii is so-called because of a painting of the Greek playwright. The house lies close to the theatre in central southern Pompeii and is one of the town's biggest though you would never guess from the outside. It is built round key visual axes, one of which is the view from the fauces entrance passageway right through the house and across the peristyle. The house was modified and enlarged over a long period of time and has been the subject of a recent massive programme of analysis and restoration. Despite this, it is still not open to the public and has to be accessed through a special permit from the Soprintendenza. The house is part of the prescribed content for the UK-based OCR examination board's A-level paper in Classical Civilisation called Cities of Roman Italy (CC6). A huge silver treasure hoard was found here by excavators, and this is now in Naples Museum. Circumstantial evidence has linked the house to the family of Nero's wife Poppaea but this is uncertain. However, there can be no question that the house was owned at the very least by one of Pompeii's most prominent citizens, either a man of the decurial class or an extremely wealthy freedman.