One of the Trojan War frescoes uncovered at Pompeii

Incredible Trojan War frescoes found at Pompeii

Culture News

Amazing Trojan War frescoes have been found in the latest discovery in fresh digs at Pompeii, officials said Thursday. 

The mythological figures inspired by Homer’s epic the Iliad have been found in all their former glory on the elegant, black-painted walls of an imposing banqueting hall. This is part of the ongoing excavations in the insula 10 of the Regio IX in the ancient Roman city.

“Pompeii is truly a treasure trove that never stops surprising us and prompting amazement because, each time we dig, we find something beautiful and significant,” said Culture Minister Gennaro Sanguliano.

Watch the Culture Minister’s statement

The dominant theme of the hall seems to be heroism, both for the depiction of pairs of heroes and gods linked to the Trojan War, and for the references to fate and at the same time the possibility of humans to change their destinies.

As well as Helen and Paris, there is Cassandra, daughter of Priam, together with Apollo. Cassandra was known in Greek myth for her ability see the future but at the same time the inevitability of her prophecies being disbelieved. This was because of a curse inflicted on her by Apollo. She therefore was unable to prevent the tragic events of the fall of Troy despite having foreseen it.

Details of the banqueting hall

The banqueting hall is approximately 15 metres by 6 metres and opens onto a courtyard, with a long undecorated staircase leading to the first floor.

Archaeologists found a large amount of construction site material underneath the stairway arches.

Someone made charcoal drawings of two pairs of gladiators on the raw plaster of the arches of the larger staircase, and what appears to be a stylised phallus.

The walls of the banqueting room would have been painted black to hide the smoke from the oil lamps on the walls. Furthermore, the flickering light from the lamps would have given the effect of the painted characters moving.

Gabriel Zuchtriegel, director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii explained the reason for the frescoes.

“The mythological couples provided ideas for conversations about the past and life, only seemingly of a merely romantic nature. In reality, they refer to the relationship between the individual and fate. Cassandra who can see the future but no one believes her. Apollo who sides with the Trojans against the Greek invaders, but being a god, cannot ensure victory. Helen and Paris who, despite their politically incorrect love affair, are the cause of the war, or perhaps merely a pretext.”

Insula 10 of Regio IX provides new insights

Insula 10 of Regio IX is part of a larger project. Designed to shore up the front of the perimeter between the excavated and unexcavated areas of Pompeii, it is also to improve the hydrogeological structure, aimed at making the vast heritage of Pompeii more efficient and sustainable.

There are over 13,000 rooms in 1070 residential units, besides public and sacred spaces at the Pompeii site.

The excavation of the area has so far brought to light two residences connected to each other, one house with a bakery.

Behind these two houses are emerging sumptuous living rooms with frescoes, also in this case undergoing major restructuring work at the time of the eruption.

Sangiuliano added: “We believe firmly in this global uniqueness that Pompeii represents and for this reason we have finances fresh excavations in our current budget law.

“We must go forward in safeguarding this important site, and also in its valorisation”.

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