15fīlius est in triclīniō.
fīlius in triclīniō bibit.
16servus est in hortō.
servus in hortō labōrat.
17coquus est in culīnā.
coquus in culīnā labōrat.
18canis est in viā.
canis in viā dormit.
in the dining room
in the garden
in the kitchen
in the street
in the study
in the atrium (reception hall)
Caecilius est in hortō. Caecilius in hortō sedet. servus est in ātriō.
servus in ātriō labōrat. Metella est in ātriō. Metella in ātriō sedet.
Quīntus est in tablīnō. Quīntus in tablīnō scrībit. Cerberus est in
coquus est in culīnā. coquus in culīnā dormit. Cerberus intrat.5
Cerberus circumspectat. cibus est in mēnsā. canis salit. canis in
mēnsā stat. Grumiō stertit. canis lātrat. Grumiō surgit. coquus est
īrātus. “pestis! furcifer!” coquus clāmat. Cerberus exit.
Caecilius had this mosaic of a dog in the doorway of his house.
on the table
About the Language
ALatin sentences containing the word est often have the same order as English. For example:
Metella est māter.
canis est in viā.
Metella is the mother.
The dog is in the street.
BIn other Latin sentences, the order is usually different from that of English. For example:
canis in viā dormit. The dog is sleeping in the street.
servus in culīnā labōrat. The slave is working in the kitchen.
CNote that dormit and labōrat in the sentences above can be
translated in another way. For example: servus in culīnā
labōrat can mean The slave works in the kitchen as well as The slave
is working in the kitchen. The story will help you to decide which
translation gives the better sense.
Practicing the Language!
Write out each Latin sentence, completing it with a suitable word
or phrase from the box. Then translate the sentence. Use each word
or phrase only once.
For example: . . . . . est in hortō.
servus est in hortō. The slave is in the garden.
A1 . . . . . est in hortō.
2 . . . . . est in viā. 3 . . . . . est in culīnā. 4 . . . . . est in tablīnō. 5 . . . . . est in ātriō. 6 . . . . . est in triclīniō.
Detail from a wall-
painting from a villa
Caecilius lived in Italy during the first century A.D. in the town of
Pompeii. The town was situated at the foot of Mount Vesuvius on the
coast of the Bay of Naples and may have had a population of about
10,000. Caecilius was a rich Pompeian banker. When archaeologists
excavated his house, they discovered his accounts in a strongbox; these
documents tell us that he was also an auctioneer, tax collector, farmer,
He inherited some of his money from his father, Lucius Caecilius
Felix, but he probably made most of it through shrewd and energetic
business activities. He dealt in slaves, cloth, timber, and property. He
also ran a cleaning and dyeing business, grazed sheep and cattle on
pastures outside the town, and sometimes won the contract for collecting
the local taxes. He may have owned a few shops as well and probably lent
money to local shipping companies wishing to trade with countries
overseas. The profit on such trading was often very large.
Caecilius’ full name was Lucius Caecilius Iucundus. Lucius was his
personal name, rather like a modern first name. His second name,
Caecilius, shows that he was a member of the “clan” of the Caecilii. Clans
or groups of families were very important and strong feelings of loyalty
existed within them. Caecilius’ third name, Iucundus, is the name of his
own family and close relatives. The word Iucundus means “pleasant,”
just as in English we find surnames like Pleasance or Jolly.
Above: Central and
Left: The Bay of Naples
(Neapolis). The area
covered by this map is
about 40 miles (60
Only a Roman citizen would have three names. A slave would have
just one, such as Clemens or Grumio. As a Roman citizen, Caecilius not
only had the right to vote in elections but also was fully protected by the
law against unjust treatment. The slaves who lived and worked in his
house and in his businesses had no rights of their own. They were his
property, and he could treat them as well or as badly as he wished. There
was one important exception to this rule: the law did not allow a master
to put a slave to death without showing good reason.
The front of
The spaces on either
side of the door
were shops that he
This is one of the wooden tablets found
in Caecilius’ house. They recorded his
business dealings. The writing was on
wax in the central recess, and, when the
tablets were discovered, much of the
writing could still be read. The tablets
were tied together in twos or threes
through the holes at the top.
house may be
a portrait of
Caecilius kept his tablets
and money in a wood and
metal strongbox like this.
One page of writing: it records the sale at
auction of a slave for 6,252 sesterces.
Roman women of all classes had much greater personal freedom
than women in other parts of the Mediterranean. Caecilius’ wife, Metella, like
many Roman wives and mothers, had an important position in her home.
She was responsible for the efficient and economical management of the
household. She supervised the work of the domestic slaves. In order to
run the house successfully, she would need to be well organized and firm
but sensitive in her control of the slaves.
Although complete equality of the sexes was never an issue in ancient
Rome, the Roman wife often had considerable power, influence, and
freedom of behavior. She enjoyed her husband’s confidence; she was his
companion and helper; she shared his authority over the children and
slaves; she shared responsibility for the religious cult of the family; she
prepared for social occasions and helped to welcome guests; she dined
next to her husband at banquets (a practice Greeks
would have condemned as disgraceful); she played
a part in his career if it took him on a tour of duty to
Unlike women in Greece or the Near East, Roman
women were not required to live in seclusion in the
home. Although their lives did center on the home,
Roman women of all classes went out to shop, to
exchange visits with friends, to go to the baths, to
worship at temples, to attend public events in the
theater or amphitheater, and to accompany their
husbands to banquets where they took a well-
informed part in social and literary conversation.
We know of women who were cooks, bakers,
weavers, hairdressers, shoemakers, silversmiths,
midwives, and doctors. Occasionally women
engaged in business. Often such women were
widows who took over control of their husbands’
affairs. One influential Pompeian businesswoman
was Eumachia (right), a public priestess and
patroness of the powerful clothworkers and
merchants. She inherited money from her father,
who had owned a brickmaking business. It was her
donation of money that built the large meeting hall
of the cloth trade in Pompeii.
Eumachia, a Pompeian businesswoman who built the Clothworkers’ Meeting Hall in the forum.
Houses in Pompeii
The town house in which a wealthy man like Caecilius lived differed in
several ways from an equivalent house today. The house came right up to
the sidewalk; there was no garden or grass in front of it. The windows
were few, small, and placed fairly high. They were intended to let in light
but to keep out the heat of the sun. Large windows would have made the
rooms uncomfortably hot in summer and cold in winter.
Some houses stood only one story high; others had a second floor. On
either side of the front door, many houses had shops, which were rented
out by the owner of the house. From the outside, with its few windows
and high walls, the house did not look very attractive or inviting.
The ground plan of the house shows two parts or areas of about equal
size. They look like courtyards surrounded by rooms opening off the
The main entrance to the house was on the side facing the street. On
passing through the door, the iānua, the visitor came into a short corridor
which led directly into the main room, the ātrium. This impressive room
was used for important family occasions and for receiving visitors. In the
middle, the roof sloped down slightly towards a large square opening
called the compluvium. Air and light streamed in through this opening,
high overhead. Immediately below was the impluvium, a marble-lined,
shallow rectangular pool that collected rainwater, which was then stored
in a cistern for household use.
One of the most striking things about the atrium was the sense of
space. The high roof with the glimpse of the sky through the central
opening, the large floor area, and the absence of much furnishing all
helped to give this impression. The furniture would include a bronze or
marble table, a couch, and perhaps a strongbox in which the family
valuables were stored. In a corner, near the main door, there was the
larārium, a small shrine at which the family gods were worshipped.
The floor of the atrium was paved with marble slabs or with mosaics.
The walls were decorated with panels of brightly painted plaster. The
Pompeians were especially fond of red, orange, and blue. On many of
these panels there were scenes from well-known stories, especially the
Around the atrium were arranged the bedrooms, the study, and the
dining room. The entrances to these rooms were usually provided not
with a wooden door but with a heavy curtain.
Below: The atrium in Caecilius’
house as it is today. We can see
how spacious it was, but for a real
sense of the dignity of an atrium,
we need to look at a better
preserved one (right). The visitor
entering the front door would see,
beyond the impluvium, the
tablinum and the sunlit peristylium.
From this first area of the house, the visitor walked either through the
tablīnum (study) or through a narrow passage into the second part.
This was the peristȳlium, which was made up of a colonnade of pillars
surrounding the hortus (garden). Like the atrium, the colonnade was
often elaborately decorated. Around the outside of the colonnade were
the summer dining room, the kitchen, the toilet, slaves’ quarters, and
storage rooms. Some houses even had their own set of baths.
The garden was laid out with flowers and shrubs in a careful plan. In
the small fishpond in the middle, a fountain threw up a jet of water.
Marble statues of gods and heroes stood here and there. In the
peristylium, the members of the family enjoyed the sunshine or shade as
they wished; here they relaxed on their own or entertained their guests.
The Pompeians not only lived in houses that looked very different
from modern ones but also thought very differently about them. They
did not expect their houses to be private places restricted to the family
and close friends. Instead, the master conducted much of his business
and social life from home. He would receive and do business with most
visitors in the atrium. The more important ones would be invited into the
tablinum. Certain very close business friends and high-ranking
individuals would receive invitations to dine in the triclīnium or relax in
the peristylium with the family.
Only the wealthy lived like this; poor people lived in much simpler
homes. Some of the poorer shopkeepers would have had only a room or
two above their shops. In large cities, such as Rome, many people lived in
īnsulae, apartment buildings several stories high, some of them in very
A peristylium with hanging ornaments between the columns.
In what ways is
this house typical
of houses in
A painting of a marble
fountain in a garden.
Three-legged table in the tablinum of the
House of Paquius Proculus.
AIn the Stage 1 Vocabulary Checklist, find the Latin word from which these words are derived:
B Match each definition with one of the words given below:
1 . . . . . a room or building used for scientific testing or research 2 . . . . . a person who works with plants 3 . . . . . motherhood 4 . . . . . the act of providing goods or assistance 5 . . . . . pertaining to dogs 6 . . . . . tending to be inactive 7 . . . . . to associate or join oneself
While the butcher
cuts meat, his wife may
be working on the accounts.
Stage 1 Vocabulary Checklist
atrium, reception hall
works, is working
sits, is sitting
Metella was very
fond of jewelry. Here
are some examples of
the things she might