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Villa of the Papyri

From Academic Kids

The "Villa of the Papyri" is an enormous private house of ancient Herculaneum owned by Julius Caesar's father-in-law, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, and first excavated in 1785 by Karl Weber. Its name derives from the discovery of a library in the house containing 1,800 carbonized papyrus scrolls.

The 800 feet (245 m) long seaside villa had four levels and was the most luxurious house in all of Herculaneum and Pompeii. It was complete with swimming pools, fountains and water features.

Many of the scrolls contained works by the philosopher Philodemus, a client of Piso. The villa of the Papyri is thought to contain a second library full of papyrus scrolls. The villa of the papyri also housed a large collection of privately owned sculptural art. The house contained 80 sculptures of magnificent quality and craftsmanship. Lucius Piso was a highly educated man and was a patron for both philosophers and poets. There is still 30,000 square feet (2,800 m²) left to be excavated of this grand estate.

The reason that the remainder of the dig-site has not been excavated is that the Italian government is practicing a policy of conservation and not excavation, and is more interested in protecting what has already been uncovered. David W. Packard has said that he is likely to be able to fund excavation of the Villa of the Papyri when the authorities agree to it; but no work will be permitted on the site until the completion of a feasibility report, which has been in preparation for some years. There is still no firm date set for the release of that report.

The original J. Paul Getty Museum at Malibu, California is a free reproduction of the Villa of the Papyri. With the move of the Museum to the Getty Center, the "Getty Villa" as it is now called, was closed for renovations.

External links

  • The Friends of Herculaneum Society [1] (http://www.herculaneum.ox.ac.uk)
  • Philodemus Project Home Page [2] (http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/classics/philodemus/philhome.htm)
  • Roman Herculaneum Website [3] (http://www.romanherculaneum.com)
  • Millionaire to fund dig for lost Roman library (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1482342,00.html), February 13, 2005, The Sunday Times - Britainfi:Villa Papyri
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