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Mary Manley
Mary Manley
Mary Manley is a writer for Sputnik’s Washington, DC, bureau focusing on US politics, pop culture and other breaking news. Before moving to Washington, DC, Manley attended the University of Maine to study art and literary theory and criticism.

Banquet hall adorned with stunning Trojan War frescoes unearthed in Pompeii

The Pompeii ruins, which were first discovered in the 16th century, have become the second most-visited archeological site in the world.

A banquet room filled with well preserved frescoes has been unearthed among the Pompeii’s ruins. The striking discovery is a 15-meter-long, six-meter-wide room which was found in a former private residence in Via di Nola during excavations.

The room’s walls are covered in detailed paintings inspired by the Trojan War. The room has been dubbed the “black room” due to the color used in the backgrounds of the paintings which were done in an ornate style and date between 15 BC and AD 40-50.

Experts believe that the black color of the walls was intended to mask the soot from burning oil lamps, and was a “refined setting for entertaining during convivial moments,” one report writes.

The black room’s artworks feature mythical Greek characters including Helen of Troy meeting Paris for the first time. The elopement between Helen of Troy and the Trojan prince Paris is believed to have sparked the Trojan War. Helen, who was the wife of the king of Sparta, Menelais, was thought to be the most beautiful woman in the world.

In Greek mythology, Helen was the daughter of Zeus and Leda – the queen of Sparta and the wife of Tyndareus.

Another fresco depicts the Greek god Apollo trying to seduce the priestess Cassandra. Apollo bestowed her with the ability to see the future, but when she rejected his attempts to seduce her he cursed her so that no one would believe her visions.

The paintings offered a talking point and helped in entertaining guests during feasts, said Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the director of Pompeii’s archaeological park.

“The mythological couples provided ideas for conversations about the past, and life, only seemingly of a merely romantic nature,” he said. “People would meet to dine after sunset; the flickering light of the lamps had the effect of making the images appear to move, especially after a few glasses of good Campanian wine.”

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  1. Centuries from now, a team of archaeologists will unearth an Auckland office building with rows of cubicles and conclude it was some kind of a prison.

    • Indeed. What tortures were done in these chambers?

      Although the hall itself is very grand in size and the decor would’ve looked very smart, one can see the original colour scheme and style, there are but just two small frescoes to see. If I were a tourist there I’d be very disappointed. Talking point or not!


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