logo planet pompeii
Close this tab

Portico della Concordia Augusta (Edificio di Eumachia)

Regio VII   Insula 9.1

Continuing along the eastern side of the Forum, just after the junction with Via dell'Abbondanza, we find a majestic and elegant building with a marble frieze above the portal.

Two inscriptions - one on the marble colonnade in the Forum and another by the rear entrance in Via dell'Abbondanza - attribute this building to Eumachia, a priestess of Venus and owner of a flourishing business operating in the wool industry, which she had inherited from her husband.

Indeed, this is thought to be the seat of the Corporation of wool and cloth manufacturers, although another interpretation claims that the building was dedicated by the priestess to the Gens Iulia and was used for cult worship of the Emperor Augustus through the statues of his ancestors. It may well be that the building served both commemorative and commercial functions.

The building itself dates from the Tiberian age and looks onto the Forum from a facade with two apses and four rectangular niches which, according to the fragments of inscriptions found here, housed the statues of the imperial family's ancestors: Aeneas, Romulus, Julius Caesar, the Emperor Augustus, as in the Augustan Forum in Rome. 

Just inside the entrance, on the right we find a small room that was used as a urinal. Its location at the vary centre of the Forum can be explained by the need to procure urine, which was used to bleach material in the manufacturing process.

A large courtyard inside the building was surrounded by a two-storey colonnade with an Apse that housed a statue of the Concordia Augusta on a podium.

On the other side of the colonnade wall with its large windows stood the three-sided Cryptoporticus. Here, behind the Apse the statue of Eumachia was found in a niche adjacent to a small corridor leading to Via dell'Abbondanza, right in front of the fountain that gives its name to the street (the Street of Plenty). Damaged during the earthquake of 62 A.D. the building had been only partially restored by the time of the eruption. The wool-makers dedicated a statue to the priestess, whose family manufactured tiles and amphorae and also made wine. The statue is on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples.

The Building of Eumachia
The Building of Eumachia. The room used for collecting urine
The wool-makers dedicated a statue to the priestess
The Building of Eumachia. The entrance from the Forum
Colonnade in front of the Building of Eumachia
The Building of Eumachia
Close this tab