Pompeii: Eumachia's Building

All about Eumachia.

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  • Created by: Holly
  • Created on: 08-05-12 13:57

Who was Eumachia?

  • Daughter of Lucius Eumachus 
  • Public priestess for the cult of Venus
    • Venus was the patron goddess of Pompeii
    • This was a high profile for a woman
  • Matron of the Concordia Augustus (cult created by the widow of the Emperor Augustus) 
    • she was very loyal to the deified emperor
    • shown by statues in front of her building (Emperor Augustus claimed Romulus - founder of Rome - was his ancestor)
  • It is said she modelled her life on Livia's, the wife of Augustus
    • Livia also funded a porticus in Rome
  • She married a rich family, but was of humbler ancestry
  • Funded the construction of a large building (thought to be the base for the fullers) in the public forum
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Eumachia Building Plan and Inscription

Eumachia, daughter of Lucius [Eumachius], a public priestess, in her own name and [in the name] of her son, Marcus Numistrius Fronto, built at her own expense the chalcidicum, the porticus, and the crypta, and dedicated them to Concordia Augusta and to Pietas.

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Eumachia Building Facts

  • Outside 2 statue plaques showing allegiance to the Emperor Augustus were found:
    • Aeneas - Trojan hero, Augustus claimed him as an ancestor
    • Romulus - Founder of Rome, another of Augustus' "ancestors"
    • Similar statues were in the forum of Augustus
  • Herm of Norbanus - fertility and wealth
  • Grand entrance, shows the building is of great importance
    • Although Eumachia's statue was in the back
    • Corinthian (ornate and floral) decoration
  • Positioning of the building is at an unusual angle
    • they did not want to buy the land next to them (generous/kind)
    • or wanted to face the speaker
  • Had marble window sills - building was brick but with marble veneer
  • Between the temple of Vespasian and Voting Hall, shows an interest in politics and religion
  • Her statue was dedicated by the fullers, so there is reason to believe it was a building for trading cloth - however there is little evidence for it
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Eumachia's Statue

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Eumachia's Statue Points

  • Never stolen as it was hidden in the back of the building
  • Statue means that people respected her
  • She is wearing a priestess robe
  • Can see her breasts
    • sign of fertility and motherhood
      • motherhood was very important as it showed that she had fulfilled her "duty" as a woman, to produce sons
  • Modesty (an ideal trait in a woman of the time) is shown through how she holds her robes and the position of the statue
    • however her robes emphasise the shape of her body and femininity
  • Statue was dedicated by the fullers
    • possibly she had a link with the cloth trade
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