François Mazois

179 Mazois 1828 medalCharles-François Mazois (1783-1826) was a French architect who also had a strong interest in the classics and historical structures.  After completing his formal education in Bordeaux and Paris, he lived and worked in Rome.  In 1809 he was appointed the Director of the Buildings of the Crown by King Joachim Murat of Naples to oversee projects such as the restoration works at the royal palace at Portici.  Mazois gained the favor of Queen Caroline, and with her patronage was able to study Pompeii and its structures between 1809 and 1811.  He meticulously measured and recorded the monuments, buildings, houses and their decorations, and created over four hundred and fifty highly detailed maps, plans, drawings and watercolors.  With the financial assistance of Queen Caroline, part of this work was published as Les Ruines de Pompei in two volumes in 1812.  After his death, François Gau edited, added to and published a four-volume set with the same title between 1824 and 1838.  (The 'Fortuna Visiva' of Pompeii and Amery & Curran, The Lost World of Pompeii)

Sir William Gell

179 gell dSir William Gell (1777 – 1836) was an English traveler, classical archaeologist and illustrator.  He was born in Derbyshire and received both a BA and MA from Emmanuel College, Cambridge.  After university he traveled in Greece and published two books about its geography and antiquities, thereby establishing his reputation as a classical topographer.  In 1807 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society and was knighted in 1814.  He traveled to Italy with Princess Caroline in 1814 as one of her chamberlains (household managers), and subsequently moved to Rome in 1820.

During his travels, Gell would visit ruins and vistas where he made sketches and drawings that would then be turned into engravings for publication.  His works included books on Troy, Ithaca, Greece, the Morea, Rome and Pompeii.  His best-known work, Pompeiana; the Topography, Edifices and, Ornaments of Pompeii, was published in several editions between 1817 and 1832.  Gell died in Naples, and is buried there in the English Cemetery. (Image of Sir William Gell from Pompeiana, 1832)

The Excavation History of via dell’Abbondanza - 1800 to 1849

The excavation activity in Pompeii during this period changed with the political fortunes of southern Italy.  Shortly after the turn of the century, Ferdinand IV of Bourbon regained his title of King of Naples and Sicily.  In 1806 Napoleon was the Emperor of France.  He forced Ferdinand to flee to Sicily and installed his brother Joseph Bonapart as King of Naples.  Two years later Joseph was moved to rule Spain and Napoleon’s aide and brother-in-law, Joachim Murat, was made King.  Queen Caroline (Napoleon’s sister and Murat’s wife) took a personal interest in Pompeii and expanded the work, including a plan to identify and excavate the city wall.  Ferdinand of Bourbon was returned to the throne of Naples in 1815, and the explorations slowed and moved to the area of the forum. François I succeeded his father in 1825 and was interested not only in Pompeii, but also restarted work in Herculaneum.  Ferdinand II ruled from 1830 to 1859.  During this period excavations progressed from the forum along via dell’Abbondanza and other major streets, and a number of elite houses were unearthed in the west of the city.  These discoveries, and many new illustrated publications, spurred significant popular interest and started a new era in Pompeii – tourism.

The Directors of the Pompeii excavations and museum during this period were[1]:

  • 1780 to 1804 - Francesco la Vega, Director of Archeological Works
  • 1808 to 1814 - Pietro la Vega, succeeded his brother Francesco as Director of Archeological Works
  • 1807 to 1815 - Michele Arditi, curator of the Portici Museum and Director of Archeological Works
  • 1814 to 1815 - Antonio Bonucci, architect and Director of Archeological Works
  • 1815 to 1838 - Michele Arditi, Superintendent of the Museum
  • 1815 to 1825 - Antonio Bonucci, architect and Director of Archeological Works
  • 1825 to 1828 - Nicola d’Apuzzo, architect and Director of Archeological Works
  • 1827 to 1837- Carlo Bonucci, architect and Director of Archeological Works
  • 1837 to 1848 - Pietro Bianchi, architect and Director of Archeological Works
  • 1839 to 1850 - Francesco Maria Avellino, Superintendent of the Museum and Director of Archeological Works
  • 1849 to 1851 - Giuseppe Settembre, architect and Director of Archeological Works

The following documents have been located that indicate the chronology of the excavation of via dell’Abbondanza during this period:

1812 - Map of Pompeii showing the excavations from 1755-1812

1812 300 mazois dBy: Charles François Mazois (1783-1826)

Source: Printed book - Les Ruines de Pompéi dessinées et mesurées par F. Mazois, pendant les années MDCCCIX - MDCCCX - MDCCCXI

Publication Date:  1812

Location: Library of the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei

Copyright:  Expired


This map, which is found in Volume I of Mazois’ richly illustrated books, records fifty-eight years of Pompeii excavations.  The small rectangular area to the west of the oval-shaped amphitheater (labeled E on the map) locates the Weber excavations at the Praedia of Julia Felix started in 1755.  Explorations in the latter part of the eighteenth century concentrated on the theater district (labeled H on the map) and areas around the Herculaneum Gate in the northwest.  Excavations in these areas continued through the first decade of the nineteenth century.  The forum had not been located or investigated as of the date of the publication of the first volume in 1812.

1819 - Map of Pompeii showing the excavations through 1817

1818 300 gellmap dBy:  Sir William Gell (1777-1836) and John P. Gandy (1787-1850)

Source: Printed book - Pompeiana:  the topography, edifices, and ornaments of Pompeii

Publication Date:  1817-1819

Location:  Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Copyright:  Copyright on the original work has expired.  However, the digital image of this map was scanned by and purchased from the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin.  The Harry Ransom Center assesses a fee for the use of materials in its collections, and prohibits further reproduction or sharing. This image may NOT be copied or reproduced in any manner.

A comparison of this map with the one published by Mazois shows that between 1812 and 1817 the forum had been located and the central plaza cleared.  Progressing from the forum, the first 40 or 50 meters of via dell’Abbondanza was also unearthed.  The street extending north from the theaters and Triangular Forum (now called via dei Teatri) was excavated through to the intersection with via dell’Abbondanza, which was also excavated about 60 meters back towards the forum to the west.

1818 - Plan of the Forum and Basilica

1819 300 gellforum dBy:  Engraving by S. Porter in a book by Sir William Gell (1777-1836) and John P. Gandy (1787-1850)

Source: Printed book - Pompeiana:  the topography, edifices, and ornaments of Pompeii

Publication Date:  1817-1819 (the plan cites a publication date of May 27, 1818)

Location: Library of the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei

Copyright:  Expired

 

 

This detailed plan shows the excavated and unexcavated areas in and around the forum as of 1818.  North is to the right of the plan.  Via dell’Abbondanza is shown at the bottom of the drawing with the name “Street Leading from the Theater”. 

1818 - Engraving of the forum and Building of Eumachia

1819 300 gelleumach dBy:  Engraving by C. Heath in a book by Sir William Gell (1777-1836) and John P. Gandy (1787-1850)

Source: Printed book - Pompeiana:  the topography, edifices, and ornaments of Pompeii

Publication Date:  1817-1819 (the engraving cites a publication date of April 1, 1818)

Location: Library of the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei

Copyright:  Expired

 


This is the earliest pictorial image of via dell’Abbondanza that has been located.  The drawing was created looking from the southwest corner of the forum towards the northeast, and shows the front of the Building of Eumachia on the far side.  The first four sections of the south wall of the Building of Eumachia, which border the street that is now called via dell’Abbondanza, are also shown.  Volcanic deposits higher than the Building of Eumachia can be seen blocking the street.

1819 - Map of Pompeii showing the excavations through February 1819

1819 300 wilkins dBy:  Henry Wilkins, architect (1767-1847)

Source: Printed book - Suite de vues pittoresques des ruines de Pompéii, et un précis historique de la ville, avec un plan des fouilles qui ont été faites jusqu'en février 1819, et une description des objets les plus intéressants

Publication Date: 1819

Location: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Copyright:  Copyright on the original work has expired.  However, the digital image of this map was scanned by and purchased from the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin.  The Harry Ransom Center assesses a fee for the use of materials in its collections, and prohibits further reproduction or sharing. This image may NOT be copied or reproduced in any manner.

Exploration around the forum progressed further between 1817 and 1819.  A connection was made to the northern excavations around the Herculaneum Gate.  A number of additional buildings in and around the forum were uncovered, including about two-thirds of the Building of Eumachia.  Via dell’Abbondanza was completely cleared from the forum to the intersection with via dei Teatri.

1822 - Map of Pompeii

1822 300 lerche dBy: Jules Maret Le Riche

Source: Printed book - Vues des monumens antiques de Naples, gravées à l'aqua-tinta, accompagnées de notices et de dissertations

Publication Date:  1827

Location: Library of the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei

Copyright:  Expired

 
 


As reflected on this map, little more was explored in Pompeii than that shown on the 1819 map published by Wilkins.  Excavations on via dell’Abbondanza were extended from the intersection at via dei Teatri about 15 to 20 meters further to the east.

1826 - Plan of the Forum

1826 150 gellforum dBy:  Plan by B.F. Calrusac Sculp in a book by Sir William Gell (1777-1836)

Source: Printed book - Pompeiana:  the topography, edifices, and ornaments of Pompeii, the result of excavations since 1819

Publication Date:  1832 (Plan dated 1826)

Location:  Fondren Library, Rice University, Houston and Anderson Library, The University of Houston

Copyright:  Expired

 
 

This plan shows that the excavations had progressed to the east of the forum between 1822 and 1826, including all of the Building of Eumachia.  Via dell’Abbondanza is shown with the name “Street of the Merchants”.

 

1830 - Engraving of doorway VIII, 3, 10 on via dell’Abbondanza

1830 150 gelldoor d1830 150 doorway 2008 dBy:  Engraving by J. Hershall from a drawing by T. Scandrett from a sketch by W. Gell in a book by Sir William Gell (1777-1836)

Source: Printed book - Pompeiana:  the topography, edifices, and ornaments of Pompeii, the result of excavations since 1819

Publication Date:  1832 (Engraving dated July 1, 1830)

Location:  Anderson Library, The University of Houston

Copyright:  Expired

 

 

 


This doorway is located about 55 meters east of the forum on the south side of via dell’Abbondanza.  At the time the original drawing was made, the facades along the street had been exposed, but the volcanic material behind the building fronts had not been removed.  As can be seen from a photograph taken in 2008, ithe doorway is still in place, and is still in a condition similar to that when first unearthed.

1840 - Map of Pompeii showing the excavations through 1840

1839 300 dejorio2 dBy: Andrea de Jorio (1769-1851)

Source: Printed book - Plan de Pompéi, et remarques sur ses édifices

Publication Date:  1828 (Map dated 1840, which is later than the publication date of the book – possibly a replacement?)

Location:  The British Library

Copyright:  Copyright on the original work has expired.  However, the digital image of this map was scanned by and purchased from the British Library.  The British Library retains the ownership and the copyright on all reproductions and assesses fees for their publication.  This image [Copyright © The British Library Board, All Rights Reserved - shelfmark 813.e.9.(2)] may NOT be copied or reproduced in any manner.

This colored map shows that no further excavation had been undertaken along via dell’Abbondanza since the 1820’s.  Significant progress was made in the areas immediately to the east of the forum, Regio VI in the north and along via Nola.

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[1] Soprintendenza Archaeologica di Pompei, History of the Excavations, Pompei, 2008, http://www.pompeiisites.org/