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Casa del Rilievo di Telefo

a Pleiades place resource

Creators: Tom Elliott, Yifan Li
Contributors: Wilhelmina Jashemski, Jeffrey Becker
Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
Last modified Oct 05, 2021 08:30 AM History
The House of the Relief of Telephus or Casa del Rilievo di Telefo is one of the largest houses attested in the excavated area of Herculaneum (ca. 1,800 sq. m.). The house was excavated between 1934 and 1936.

40.8052476715, 14.3472928832

garden, hortus, townhouse


The excavation of this house in 1934-1936 revealed an unusual atrium arrangement, which Maiuri states was the first time the architectural scheme that is used in a peristyle was stylishly applied to the atrium. The atrium had no fauces, there were three columns on both the north and south sides, and on the west side, there were two engaged columns with two freestanding columns between them forming the entrance and supporting the room above. A collection of marble oscilla was uncovered here, second only to the collection found in the House of the Golden Cupids in Pompeii. The tondi, peltae, and pinakes were hung between the columns against the background of glossy red walls. Various Dionysiac and theater themes, satyrs, maenads, Pan, theater masks, an amorino, a sea horse, and a sea panther were the subjects featured on the oscilla. The impluvium was enclosed by a low wall with a planting space on the top providing a garden atmosphere to the atrium. A marble puteal was located on the west side of the impluvium.

From the atrium, the peristyle on the lower level was reached by way of a steeply sloping corridor. Stuccoed brick columns and a low wall 0.50 m. high enclosed the central area and a large gutter collected water from the edges and conducted it to the cistern. A rectangular pool ca. 2.60 x 5.00 m. with the inside painted blue was located in the center of this area. At the rear of the pool, an area paved with bipedales (tiles two feet long) covered the cellars below with an opening 1.70 x 2.20 to provide light. Jashemski noted that the paved and planted areas were reconstructed with a lattice fence between them, although she did not know of any evidence to support this interpretation.

There are five rooms south of the peristyle and on a lower level beyond them is another garden.

A rustic shrine was attached to the north side of the house and a long narrow garden was located here. There was evidence of earlier construction at this location.

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Tom Elliott, Yifan Li, Wilhelmina Jashemski, and Jeffrey Becker, 'Casa del Rilievo di Telefo: a Pleiades place resource', Pleiades: A Gazetteer of Past Places, 2021 <> [accessed: 25 September 2023]

            {{cite web |url= |title=Places: 656691255 (Casa del Rilievo di Telefo) |author=Elliott, T., Y. Li |accessdate=September 25, 2023 1:16 pm |publisher=Pleiades}}