Dwight Peck's personal website

Now for a week in Naples

Our visit to Italy, October 2023

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

The National Archaeological Museum of Naples, part 2

An eternal circular parade of trouserless fellows round a big something

'Muse, the so-called Urania' [the muse/goddess of astronomy, stars, and astrology]; note the globe. 1st century BC or AD 2nd century reworking of a 2nd century BC Greek original

'Female deity (Kore of Eleusus type), restored as a Muse' [i.e. Melopmene, the muse of tragedy]. Late 2nd century copy of a 5th century BC Greek original

Clearly this is going to take a little while.

Somebody with a labrys or two-headed axe, intentions unclear

It's time to ascend the monumental staircase, past . . .

. . . this redoubtable gatekeeper. Luckily, tame now.

On y va.

Wow . . . sensory overload.

We have no idea what those ponderous black things sprinkled all about are all about.

Our cameraman has been specially requested to take a photo of this odd thing.

This is the large floor mosaic from the House of the Faun in Pompeii, called the Alexander or Battle of Issus Mosaic, dated to between ca. 120 and 100 BC but believed to be a copy of a late 4th century Hellenistic painting. It depicts the battle between Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia and is made up of 1.5 million tiny colored tesserae, though before its damages there may have been up to 4 million tiles.

This is a modern reconstruction of what it must have looked like on the floor of the peristyle in the House of the Faun.

Awkward. How would you eat?

'Statuette of dancing satyr', bronze, Pompeii, House of the Faun, 3rd-2nd century BC [We'd thought that satyrs all had big furry goat's legs etc., but not so: 'In Greek art they were represented as a man with a horse's ears and tail, but in Roman representations as a man with a goat's ears, tail, legs, and horns'. Who knew?]

An invasion of black metal things, and an Atlas statue, and Kristin.
In fact, that's the 'Farnese Atlas' -- from about AD 150, it's probably a copy of a Hellenistic work but is the oldest extant statue of the Titan Atlas and 'the oldest known representation of the celestial spheres and the classical constellations'.

A nice view

Dionysus and a satyr, from Pompeii, mid 1st century AD
[That Dionysus was quite the God About Town, back in the day. No bunch of grapes this time, though.]]

A face-off

A putto in a hurry with a torch ('Putto con fiaccola'), from Herculaneum, mid 1st century AD

More Pompeii frescoes

'Fountain figure of a satyr pouring wine.' Pompeii, House of the Centenary, bronze, 1st century AD

Fountain figures of a Cupid 'tightening a goose' and 'playing with a dolphin'. Pompeii, House of the Little Fountain, bronze, 1st century AD [Conversation pieces for after-dinner soirées?]

Plaster mold from Pompeii. [Thanks for that!!]

Hercules and a centaur, and some lady. And two normal horses.

The information plaques describe the 1st century BC emphasis on architectural motifs in Pompeii's frescoes.

The famous Europa going off with the Zeus/bull, ignoring her friends' advice. From the Pompeii House of Jason, 'third style of pompeian wall painting', early 1st century AD
[Here's some Europa art to be reckoned with (Punta del Este, Uruguay, 2015).]

Fresco viewing in elegant comfort

Selene, presumably

The sacrifice of Agamemnon's daughter Iphigenia to get the winds blowing for the ships to invade Troy. From Pompeii's House of the Tragic Poet

[ -- What are you staring at?]

Hippodamia, bride of King Pirithous of the Lapiths, receives a fake homage from one of the Centaurs [The Centaurs tried to kidnap Hippodamia and her female friends, but Pirithous and his friend Theseus defeated them in the battle called the Centauromachy.] Pompeii, AD 45-75.

The goddess Isis/Fortune/Demetra with the symbols of fertility, abundance, destiny, and fate, looks at Harpocrates ('Horus the Child', god of silence and secrets) 'between two beneficent snakes' in the pose of 'Horus of the crocodiles', lord of the animals. Pompeii, AD 45-79.

The 'Sappho' Portrait of Pompeii, mid-1st century BC
(the identification with Sappho the 6th century BC poetess is seldom accepted)


'Portrait of the baker Terentius Neo and his wife in an intellectual pose. It is perhaps the only one of this kind discovered in the Vesuvian cities.' Pompeii, House of Terentius Neo, AD 55-79.

'Model of Pompeii excavated throughout 1879'. Scale 1:100.

The Greek rooms

Bronze runners or wrestlers from Herculaneum's Villa of Papyri

Pan and his favorite goat (long kept in the museum's 'Cabinet of Secrets'), also from the Villa of Papyri

Plenty of room for more Good Stuff, if ever, but these well-known pieces are a good start. The 'Drunken Satyr' is in the centre background, and the chap on the left is 'Hermes in repose or resting'. The 'Sleeping satyr' is in the right-centre foreground, and the 'Fawn' is on the far left. All were found in the Villa of the Papyri, Herculaneum, evidently.

A mosaic floor (not very lively or inspiring)

Back down to the guardian lion, where we get to . . .

. . . create another exhibit for our collection of 'Kristin's with her hand in a lion's mouth'. This time unsuccessfully.

That's it for all the archaeological stuff -- we're passing through the nearby Galleria Principe di Napoli, shortcutting our way downtown.

The Via Avvocata as we're approaching the Piazza Dante

The Piazza Dante

And there's the great old poet himself, with, evidently . . .

. . . another pigeon perched on his head. As usual.

We're about 300 meters farther on now; that's the Via Pasquale Scura branching off from what has here become the Via Toledo.

We continue along Via Toledo, but the cars are backing up, and the crowd's scarcely moving.

Now it's nearly impossible to move in any direction. But there's the reason -- it's still another religious parade!

We appreciate religion, generally, and wish it all the best, but we've got a date with destiny here and need to get ahead of all this solemn fun.

They can continue at their own pace now. We're rushing back to base.

Time to freshen up, as it were, and now . . .

. . . that's the Royal Continental Hotel across from our Castel dell'Ovo, and our friends Cathy and Oscar have arrived more or less on schedule.

A nice picture of Capri -- a place we will not have time to revisit on this trip, alas.

The view of our little castley neighborhood from Oscar and Cathy's room.

Another unsuspecting lion about to join our collection


Some important sports celebrity is about to arrive here, and the Via Partenope is crowded with sports fans and police.

But we ignore all that and head for the Ristorante Ciro

Next up: The Spanish Quarter, Sant'Anna dei Lombardi, Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 4 January 2024.

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