The House of the Faun is one of the largest and grandest private houses in Pompeii. This house can be used to gain an understanding of how the wealthy lived during the 1st century AD in the Roman world. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius and subsequent burying of the House of the Faun, along with the rest of Pompeii, allowed for excellent preservation of the site until modern times. As a result, the House of the Faun is one of the best reflections of aristocratic life in the Roman Republic and beginning of the Roman Empire.

Brief History of Pompeii 

Pompeii was founded during the 7th and 6th centuries BC by the Oscans. The area suffered from seismic and volcanic activity before the events of AD 79. Pompeii was a crossroads between several cities and served as a safe port for the Greeks and Phoenicians. In the 5th century BC, it was conquered by the Samnites, who enlarged the town and influenced the local architecture. In the 4th century BC, Pompeii became a socium of Rome, and the town was fortified. The town took part in the Campanian uprisings against Rome.  

In AD 62, Pompeii was hit by an earthquake which caused considerable damage not only in Pompeii, but to the entire Bay of Naples. The earthquake caused fires which added to the panic, and many houses, temples, and roads were destroyed. Some rebuilding was done between the earthquake and the eruption which buried the town.  

Pompeii was a wealthy and lively town, and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 allow for modern scholars and tourists to see a snapshot of what life was like. There are a large number of frescoes and mosaics that were preserved from Ancient times.  

Current Debate

Two theories have arisen about architectural planning of the house.  Some believe that the house was built as a single unit.  Evidence for this arises from the coherent plan and the way the rooms formed series of rectangles within each other.  Others believe the house was built in two phases because of the two separate atria, and the second phase was a large scale renovation of the first section of the house.