Remarkably Preserved "Black Room" of Frescoes Excavated in Pompeii

Featuring mythological characters from the Trojan War.

Art
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A remarkably preserved banquet hall of frescoes was recently excavated in the Ancient Roman city of Pompeii. Dating back nearly 2,000 years, the 50 foot long by 19 foot wide room was once used as an entertainment space, where cordial gatherings and conversations were believed to have taken place. Dubbed “The Black Room”, due to the black walls that were meant to prevent the smoke of the burning candle light from being seen, the room featured elaborately painted depictions of mythological figures from the Trojan War, from Spartan princess Helen to Paris, prince of Troy.

“The mythological couples provided ideas for conversations about the past and life, only seemingly of a merely romantic nature,” said Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the Director of the Archaeological park of Pompeii. “In reality, they refer to the relationship between the individual and fate: Cassandra who can see the future but no one believes her, Apollo who sides with the Trojans against the Greek invaders, but being a god, cannot ensure victory, Helen and Paris who, despite their politically incorrect love affair, are the cause of the war, or perhaps merely a pretext.”

Researchers believe that “The Black Room”, along with nearby archaeological sites, were united by a sense of heroism in the artistic depictions across the walls and floor mosaics. “Who knows?” Zuchtriegel continued, “These days, Helen and Paris represent us all: each day we can choose whether to focus solely on our own private lives or whether to explore the way our lives are entangled with the broad sweep of history, thinking for example, not just of war and politics, or of the environment, but also of the atmosphere we are creating in our society, communicating with others in real time and on social networks”.

Skeletons of a child and two adults were also found in a nearby bakery, believed to have been owned by the same person in charge of “The Black Room.” A third of Pompeii was tragically buried after a volcanic eruption occurred at Mount Vesuvius on August 24, 79 AD.

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