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the house, were stationed in the chambers surrounding the Atrium. Encolpius, one of the characters, on entering the house of Trimalcion, under which title Nero is supposed to be designated, speaks first to the Atriensis, who explains to him the subjects of the paintings which decorated the Atrium; then before reading the Triclinum, a tablet containing a list of engagements, he meets with the housesteward busy with his accounts; and at last is compelled to turn back to implore the indulgence of the treasurer. The household of a Roman Patrician was very numerous; and the servants composing it were divided into Decuria, or classes of ten, in the roll kept by the house-steward. It was discovered on one occasion, particularly mentioned by Gibbon, that four hundred slaves were maintained in a single house'.
They were all executed at Rome for not preventing their master's murder. The same number of slaves belonged to an estate which a widow of private condition resigned to her son, whilst she reserved for herself a much
Almost every profession, either liberal or mechanical, might be found in the household of an opulent Roman, independent of those servants who were employed in agriculture, or those who had the care of the immense herds and flocks, who could not be fewer in number than the domestics'.
At Rome it was also usual for the Patricians, even in the time of the Republic, to have about them, besides their menials, a number of clients or free-born persons devoted to their service, who in quality of humble friends were treated as intimates, and were occasionally charged with private commissions. These confidential persons were called Comites and Amici", and larger share of the property.–Gibbon's History of Rome, chap. ii.
· Pignorius, a learned Italian, has collected in a treatise De Servis, more than three hundred sorts of employments exercised in the town houses only by menials; and even then has omitted many offices which are indicated in the Monuments collected by Gruter, a work which throws light upon a multitude of obscure passages in classical authors.
? Also Cohors Amicorum, Contubernales, and Commensales.
held such posts under their patron as private Secretaries, Physicians, Cash-keepers, or Privypurse, &c. forming a suite more of state, than of necessity, for their services.
Some of the greater houses in Rome had attached to them a Basilica, or hall for the discussion of business and the hearing of causes', like the Sala of the modern palace, where the throne and canopy are always placed.
THE PERISTYLE, or INNER COURT. The division of a Roman mansion appropriated to the personal use of the owner considerably exceeded that which was devoted to the public in extent. Corridors on each side of the Tablinum, called Fauces, led to the inner court, which being surrounded by columns became a Peristyle', and gave name to the interior division of the house. Through the Tablinum was also a way into this court; but that entrance was reserved for the owner himself”. The Peristyle, more extensive than the Atrium, had columns that were connected together by a low parapet, or Pluteum', sometimes hollowed out so as to contain earth for planting flowers*. A Xystus, or parterre formed beneath the shade of plane-trees, occupied the centre of the court, with its walks bordered with clipt box, &c. In the middle was a deep basin to contain fish, many of which basins were found in the Xysta at Pompeii. In a town-house the refreshing light of the green, and the delightful scent of the flowers in this Xystus, were calculated to afford some compensation for the absence of a garden.
1 Vitruvius, lib. vii. cap. 10. The public Basilicæ in the earlier ages of Christianity were readily converted into churches, and the original name is still retained in the largest and most sumptuous churches of Rome; but although so called were mostly, erected, as in the instance of St. John Lateran, on the site of an ancient Basilica, or hall of justice, not one of which bore any resemblance to a Cross in its plan.
1 A term derived from stylus, a pillar, and peri, about; which also signified the colonnade on the exterior of the temples, and any place encircled with pillars. 2 Ruines de Pompeii, vol. ii. p. 24.
3 This wall was composed either of stone, or some material less durable. The last was adopted only in places under cover.
4 After this manner is the Pluteum in many places at Pompeii.
5 Pliny's Natural History, book xvi. chap. 10.
The fresco paintings on the walls of the Peristyle represented architectural views in perspective', and the boarding of the roof which concealed the frame-work was also painted; a practice, says Pliny, introduced by Pausias of Sicyon”. Ceilings formed in com
1 A remarkable modern instance of this style of painting was executed by J. F. De Vries, at Antwerp. He represented on a wall fronting an entrance, a Vista, through which appeared an elegant garden laid out in noble parterres. This performance was so amazingly like nature, and the perspective so exactly true, that by many it was taken for a real view; and the deception was so strong that it imposed on the Prince of Orange, who could scarcely be persuaded that it was not really, what it appeared, till he was convinced by the nearest approach to it. In this style of painting De Vries excelled; his lights and shadows were judici. ously conducted, and every object which he introduced in the perspective views of rooms, halls, or galleries, was represented with all the truth of nature, and finely coloured with remarkable transparency.
2 Natural History, book xxxv. chap. 11.