Portrait of Paquio Proculo or the Pompeii couple  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
[1], [2]

The so-called portrait of Paquio Proculo or the Pompeii couple is a fresco preserved at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples found in the "house of Pansa" in the archaeological excavations of Pompeii.

The fresco depicts a bourgeois couple of Pompeii, most likely husband and wife. They are commonly referred to as "Paquio Proculo and his wife" because of an inscription found on the exterior of the house, in reality it is the baker Terentius Neo, as would reveal a graffiti found inside the house, while the external graffiti found on the outside of the building was an electoral poster in favor of Paquio Proculo, then actually elected duovir Pompeii.

Baker - who had his pistrinum on the path of Abundance - comes dressed in a toga, thus qualifying as a Roman citizen.

It has been suggested also that the somatic characters of the two characters depicted betrays the Samnite origins, which explains the desire to show social status achieved: the man pictured shaking it a roll of papyrus (rotulus), while the woman holds in holding a wax tablet and stylus, suggesting that the man would deal with cultural and public activities or that the woman instead of the administration of occupied home and business: it waxed tablets found at Pompeii, which still show traces of inscriptions, are all commercial and economic (rent contracts, receipts, sales, credit or debit notes, etc...)


Italian description

Ritratto di Terentius Neo e sua moglie, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli (inv. nr. 9058). Da Pompeii, Casa di Terentius Neo (VII, 2, 6) - A lungo erroneamente considerato il ritratto di Paquio Proculo e di sua moglie, in realtà l'affresco ritrae il panettiere Terentius Neo con la moglie. I due personaggi, di origini umili, saliti nella scala sociale, si mostrano lui come un letterato (tiene in mano un rotolo di papiro), mentre lei tiene una tavoletta cerata (dunque si cura della contabilità sia della panetteria che della casa).

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