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Archeological Object

Riot between Pompeians and Nucerians

Riot between Pompeians and Nucerians

The fresco, painted in Fourth Style, portrays a riot that broke out in Pompeii in 59 A.D. during games held in the arena involving Pompeians and inhabitants of Nuceria which, on the orders of Nero, led to the closure of the amphitheatre for ten years (Tacitus, Annales, XIV, 17). It formed part of a frieze depicting gladiatorial combat, and faithfully reproduces places and events in the tiniest detail and with expressive immediacy. The lower part of the panel is occupied by the stalls of streetsellers and a few trees that offer shade to small groups of women passing by. The centre of the fresco is dominated by the amphitheatre; it is possible to recognise the large staircase giving access to the summa cavea while inside there are figures of people fighting on the steps and in the arena, and the velarium, surreally leaning against two towers of the town walls that flank the building. To the right is the palaestra, which is similarly depicted both inside and outside with the large natatio; the riot takes place between the palaestra and the amphitheatre, and to the left of the latter building where it has spread outside its confines and is recounted by means of figures who repeat the type of the wounded person who has fallen to the ground of those escaping with arms raised and those engaged in hand-to-hand fighting. On the wall of the palaestra, when the fresco was discovered, the following words were clearly legible: "D. Lucretio fel(i)citer" in Roman lettering and "Satri(o) Oualenti O(g)ousto Ner(oni) phelikit(er)" in Greek lettering, a reference to two famous show-organisers. The attention paid to reproducing realistic details, the absence of perspective not only for the buildings but also in the proportions of the figures, which are the same size regardless of their position in space, and the choice of showing buildings from above, evoke the popular Roman art, and are also linked to the scenes present on the coclid columns of Rome as well as triumphal painting, which unfortunately has survived only through historical sources.

Further information
Codici (Label is not translated)
  Ente_competente: Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici delle Province di Napoli e Caserta
  SGTI: rissa all'Anfiteatro fra Pompeiani e Nocerini, Rissa all'Anfiteatro fra Pompeiani e Nocerini
Localizzazione_geografico-amministrativa (Label is not translated)
  PVCS: Italia
  regione: CAMPANIA
  provincia: Napoli
  comune: Napoli
  LDCT: palazzo
  Name: Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
  Indirizzo: Piazza Museo, 19 - 80135
  Location: Currently awaiting redisplay
Altre_localizzazioni_geografico_amministrative_reperimento (Label is not translated)
  PRVS: Italia
  regione: CAMPANIA
  provincia: Napoli
  comune: Pompei
Dati_patrimoniali (Label is not translated)
  Inventory number: 112222
  INVD: 1863 post
Modalita_di_reperimento (Label is not translated)
  SCAN: Casa di Actius Anicetus
  DSCD: 1869/00/00
Dati_tecnici (Label is not translated)
  MISU: cm.
  Height: 188
  Width: 172
  Length: 185
Dati_analitici (Label is not translated)
  Inscriptions - language: Latin; Greek
  Inscriptions - text:

Condizione_giuridica_e_vincoli (Label is not translated)
  CDGG: proprietà Stato
Fonti_e_documenti_di_riferimento (Label is not translated)

Ruesch 1344; Collezioni Museo 1989, I, 1, n. 336, p. 170; PPM I, 1990, nn. 6a-6b, pp. 80-81; De Caro 1994, p. 123; Romana Pictura 1998, n. 112, p. 306; Barbet 1999, p. 49; De Caro 1999, pp. 104-105; Quante Pompei 1999, p. 69; Sangue e arena 2001, n. 23, p. 333; Agonismo 2002, n. 1, p. 27.