Dr. Hans Eschebach

Eschebach (1909-1982) was a Doctor of Engineering, architect, urban planner and archaeologist.  He studied architecture between 1927 and 1933 in Stuttgart and Dresden and from 1940 worked as an urban planner for the City of Dresden. He accompanied his supervisor to Pompeii on summer holidays from 1938 to 1940 where he conducted archaeological research.  He completed a thesis in 1942 on the urban development of Pompeii in pre-Roman times. The work was not published because of the war.  It contained the first comprehensive plan made of the ancient city since 1877.  Based upon this earlier work, he published a 1:1000 map of Pompeii in 1970 that has been used extensively by tourists, historians and archaeologists.  He and his wife Liselotte worked together on town planning projects in Germany and archaeological projects in Pompeii, including the Stabian Baths and House of Ganimede.  His plan of Pompeii was updated and published in 1993 as part of Liselotte Eschebach’s extensive building register reference book. (Biographical Dictionary of Ostfriesland)

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A Catalogue of the Names of the Structures Along Via dell’Abbondanza

Modern visitors to Pompeii are on one hand impressed by its size and the numerous remains of its structures, and on the other confused by the scarcity of installations or decoration inside many of the buildings.  With the exception of public buildings and elite houses, it is difficult to determine the function of many of the properties.  Signs that name the properties are not prevalent.

Over the 250-year period since investigations began along via dell’Abbondanza, generations of archaeologists and historians have excavated and studied the buildings, artifacts and inscriptions.  Structures and features have been subsequently reinterpreted, sometimes on a number of occasions.  This has led to multiple names being attributed to the buildings over the centuries.

125_pahThe names evolved in a piecemeal fashion.  Originally the Superintendent or the Director of the Scavi may have named an excavated building.  Inspiration for the names could have been from an artifact found within the building, a fresco still intact on the walls, a mosaic or an architectural feature.  Structures were sometimes named after royalty or other notable persons to commemorate a visit.[1] These entries were many times noted in the Notizie degli Scavi, the daily reports on the excavations as recorded by the office of the Direzione degli Scavi.  One of the major sources of the early excavation material is Pompeianarum Antiquitatum Historia (PAH) edited by Giuseppe Fiorelli.  This three-volume work compiles the official excavation reports from 1748 to 1860.  Early travel and art books and tourist guides also attributed names to structures.



125_cilOver time, the graffiti and dipinti found on the building walls began to gather more interest.  Pompeian epigraphic data were first compiled and edited by Karl Zangemeister and published as the first fascicle of Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum IV in 1871.  Matteo Della Corte started working in Pompeii in 1902, and spent his entire career there in various administrative positions as well as studying the excavations and transcribing newly discovered inscriptions. He is credited with using epigraphic information to correlate buildings with the names of the Pompeians who lived and worked within them.  Although his methodologies have been challenged, much information about the names of the structures since 1914 was recorded and published by Della Corte.


A number of other archaeologists have contributed to the toponymy of Pompeii such as Mau and Kelsey in the late eighteenth century, Spinazzola in the early twentieth century followed by Maiuri and Eschebach later in that century.   However, the total list of officials, travelers, authors, historians and archaeologists that have attached names to structures is much more extensive.

A Catalog of the Names of the Structures

There is not one single reference that contains a totally exhaustive list of the multitude of names that have been attributed to the properties in Pompeii.  A comprehensive understanding requires the investigation of multiple authorities.  This catalogue was compiled from seven sources.  It was created not only as a database for research, but also to determine if a consensus as to the name and/or original use of each structure could be inferred.  The information is intended to complement the visual images of via dell’Abbondanza in order to give a better understanding of the original purpose of each property, and where possible, clues about the identity of the occupants.

Two of the references were chosen because of their connection to the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei, the Italian organization in charge of the site.  Several sources are publications of original excavators or cartographers.  The others are scholarly compilations of historical information, epigraphic data and Pompeian art and decoration.  A brief description of each source follows:

Catalogue Heading:  SAP Signage
Reference:  Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei signs attached to structures

270 housesign dSome of the properties along via dell’Abbondanza are identified with name plaques that have been installed by the site authorities.  The older markers tend to be in Latin, incised in stone and generally all in capital letters.  There are also newer signs that are printed in Italian, all in lower case letters, on vertical metal plates.

As the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei has placed these signs on the buildings, the names are taken to be de facto official designations.  The names on the signs included with this catalogue were transcribed from the structures in 2007.

Catalogue Heading:  Neapolis Project
Reference Publication:  Pompei: L’informatica al servizio di una città antica

125_neappolisUnder the auspices of the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei, IBM Italia and Fiat Engineering formed the Consorzio Neapolis in 1986 to carry out the Progetto Neapolis.  The goal of the project was to create an extensive digital database of topographical, architectural, artistic and historical information about Pompeii.  The project took two years to complete at a cost of 36 billion lire (approximately $25 million) with a staff of 110.  The cultural heritage project was technically innovative and utilized a relational database.[2] In 1988 “L’Erma” di Bretschneider published the two-volume set Pompei: L’informatica al servizio di una città antica that summarizes the data collected by the project team.

Volume I, Analisi delle funzioni urbane, contains a variety of information including social and economic analyses of the various types of structures and their locations in Pompeii.  The final section of this volume is an Indirizzario di Pompei that is a register of the name and purpose of each property in the city arranged by numerical address.  Because the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei sponsored the project, this directory is considered to be a de facto official list.  It is used by the Photographic Archives of the Soprintendenza for cataloguing purposes.  Unfortunately, the list is not as thorough as several other sources cited herein.

The mainframe computer used to collect and store the project data was closed in 1989 due to funding restraints.  Thereafter, it was not possible to access the information.  In 1999 the Soprintendenza allocated €200,000 to recover the original project work contained on 140 storage tapes.  The material included scans of maps, drawings, watercolors and excavation journal pages; catalogues of historical images; inventories of monuments, frescoes and mosaics; and a variety of archaeological information including the register of the names of the structures.[3]

Catalogue Heading:  Spinazzola
Reference Publication:  Pompei alla luce degli scavi nuovi di Via dell'Abbondanza (anni 1910-1923)

125_spinazzolaVittorio Spinazzola held the position of Soprintendente degli Scavi from 1911 to 1923.  One of Spinazzola’s goals was to connect Pompeii’s forum and amphitheater by excavating along the main arteries of the city.  These excavations were named the Nuovi Scavi.

Spinazzola brought new ideas and methods to Pompeian archaeology.  He believed that many of the buildings in the city originally had second stories that had been ignored or overlooked.  New excavation and material recovery methods were developed that identified and saved the remains of the upper levels of the structures.  About 400 meters of via dell’Abbondanza were systematically unearthed, recorded and conserved during his tenure.[4]

Publication of the Nuovi Scavi was in process at the time of Spinazzola’s death in 1943.  The work was to have been published in three volumes by Casa Editrice Libraria Ulrico Hoepli di Milano.  In August of 1943 Milan was bombed and the first printing of Sponazzola’s book (42 signatures or 672 pages, proofs of other pages, printing plates and color illustration sheets) was destroyed.[5]

Spinazzola’s wife Alda was also an academic and the Director of the Administration of Antiquities at Pompeii.  After his death, she compiled his writings about the Nuovi Scavi.  His son-in-law Salvatore Aurigemma also worked on the excavations.   His experience and the information assembled by Alda made it possible for him to posthumously publish Pompei alla luce degli scavi nuovi di Via dell'Abbondanza (anni 1910-1923) on behalf of his father-in-law in 1953.[6]

The Nuovi Scavi project excavated and recorded details about 18 of the insulae along via dell’Abbondanza.  The information in this catalogue is primarily taken from the notes accompanying the insula elevation drawings produced by Alberto Sanarica contained in the portfolio volume (Tavole).  The information about the bombing of Pompeii in September of 1943 was taken from the preface of Volume I.

Catalogue Heading:  Eschebach, L.
Reference Publication:  Gebäudeverzeichnis und Stadtplan der antiken Stadt POMPEJI

125_eschabachThis German language reference book [Translation - Building Register and City Plan of the Ancient City Pompeii] was published in 1993.  It was compiled and edited by Liselotte Eschebach, the widow of the archaeologist Dr. Hans Eschebach.  It contains an updated 1:1000 map of the city by Jürgen Müller-Trollius based upon the 1969/1981 plans of Dr. Eschebach (which are still currently sold and used).

Frau Eschebach attended lectures in archaeology at the University of Göttingen and was a teacher in Germany.  After her marriage to Dr. Eschebach in 1963, they worked together on both architectural and archaeological projects.  Her personal interest and specialty was collecting information about Pompeian buildings.  She assembled this material for more than twenty years.  After Dr. Eschebach’s death in 1982, their daughter Dr. Erika Eschebach assisted her mother in accumulating data in Pompeii and finishing her manuscript.[7]


The text of the book is primarily a compilation of information about each of the properties in Pompeii including excavation dates, name and/or use, phasing, finds and literary references.  Buildings can be located by address on the city plan and by name.  The information presented is extensive and the coverage is comprehensive.  Although the language of publication is German, it also contains Latin and Italian words, names and references.  Because of the valuable information provided by this source, each German entry has been translated into English.  The translations are contained in [brackets] below the German.

Catalogue Heading:  CTP Pars II and CTP Pars IIIA
Publication Reference:  Corpus Topographicum Pompeianum

125_ctpThe Corpus Topographicum Pompeianum (CTP) is a five-volume work that was published by the University of Texas at Austin between 1977 and 1987 and is devoted to the cartography of Pompeii and the names of the structures. The Italian epigraphist Prof. Matteo Della Corte proposed the original idea around 1959.[8] Halstead B. Vander Poel took on the role of Project Director of the Research in Campanian Archaeology (RICA) organization that compiled and produced the five volumes.  In this capacity he assumed the responsibility for the continuation of the lifetime work of the Russian archaeologist Prof. Tatiana Warsher in the field of Campanian archaeology.  Mr. Vander Poel is also credited with rescuing the manuscripts prepared by Della Corte after his death.[9]

Corpus Topographicum Pompeianum Pars II, Toponymy
- Published in 1983, this volume collects and summarizes the names of streets and structures in Pompeii both alphabetically and by street address.  The volume extracts information from well-known authorities such as Della Corte, Eschebach (Hans), Fiorelli, Maiuri, and Spinazzola as well as lesser-known sources such as Breton, Dyer, Gell, La Vega, Mau and Zangemeister.

Corpus Topographicum Pompeianum, Pars IIIA, The Insulae of Regions I - V – This volume was completed in 1986, following the publication in 1984 of Pars III, The RICA Maps of Pompeii.  The maps in Pars III were produced at a scale of 1:1000 from aerial photographs and the volume includes both the photographic images and drawings.  Pars IIIA is a collection of maps of only regions I-V at a scale of 1:500, produced in order to be able to better record topographic and structural detail.  An explanatory page accompanies each insula map that discusses the buildings in address order.  In many case, these explanations include the name or function of the property.  The names cited in Pars II and Pars IIIA do not necessarily agree, and the entries in Pars II do not generally discuss function, other than as contained in names.  Both publications have therefore been included in this catalogue.

The RICA project originally intended to publish 1:500 annotated maps of the rest of the insulae in Pompeii as Pars IIIB, IIIC and IIID, as well as Pars I, Register.  Toward the end of the 1990’s, the project schedule began to slip and an aging Vander Poel returned to the United States with all of the project material.  The funding for the project ended and the publishing arrangement with The University of Texas Humanities Center was terminated. The final draft of the maps of Insula VI and notes for other unpublished insulae now reside at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.[10]

After obtaining Halsted Vander Poel’s permission, the 1:1000 RICA map of Pompeii was subsequently published in digital form by the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei in through a World Monuments Fund project financed by American Express.  Studio di Architettura, Rome, managed the digitization.

Catalogue Heading:  Pitture e Mosaici
Publication Reference:  Pompei:  pitture e mosaici

125_pittureThis massive ten-volume work was published by the Istituto dell Enciclopedia Italiana between 1990 and 1999.  Its goal was to record all architectural decoration in all of the structures in Pompeii. Each volume averages 1,000 pages and primarily documents the interiors of the properties with black and white photographs and text.  There are a number of color plates as well as early excavation photographs and drawings of decoration and artifacts.  A well-illustrated supplement to the set was published in 1995, which catalogues Pompeii related artwork from the 18th and 19th centuries organized by artist.

The information in the ten volumes is arranged by Pompeii address.  Some of the properties are identified by name, and the original function of some structures is described in the text.  Even though many of the buildings are not named, it is a well-researched resource.

Organization of the Catalogue

The names in this catalogue are organized by “Pompeii Address”.  As far as has been determined, there was not an address structure in Pompeii in ancient times.  Numerical location systems first appeared about two hundred years ago.  One of the early nineteenth century excavators, Carlo Bonucci wrote that the then Soprintendente degli scavi, Michele Arditi, developed a numerical system of addresses for the major buildings in 1829.  Later on in the same year Bonucci placed numbered plaques on major edifices.[11] In 1851 Soprintendente Sangiorgio Spinelli introduced a system of addresses for each structure that alternated from one side of the street to the other.

In an 1858 pamphlet, Giuseppe Fiorelli proposed that Pompeii be divided into nine regions, with each region (regio) being assigned a unique number.  This convention eventually included numbering each city block (insula) in each of the nine regions and each doorway in its respective insula.[12] Modern scholars use this Fiorelli numbering system.  Over time it has been modified somewhat, mostly as a result of additional excavation in the twentieth century in regions I and II.

The regio number of an address is usually written as a Roman numeral.  The insula and door numbers are written either as Roman or Arabic numerals, depending on the preference of the source.   The Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei uses Roman numerals for only the regio number in its printed materials, but the Pompeii address plaques on buildings display Roman numerals for both regio and insula numbers.

The door numbers used in this catalogue are taken from both small plaques placed by the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei in the entranceways of buildings and from the 1:1000 site plans by Eschebach and Müller-Trollius.  The door numbers for insulae III, 7, II, 3 and II, 5 are taken from CTP Pars IIIA.  The field investigation carried out by the RICA team confirmed needed corrections to the Eschebach maps.

The addresses in this catalogue are arranged in two tables to correspond with the organization of the photomosaic images.  The lists begin at the Forum and move eastward on the north side of via dell’Abbondanza, and repeat this pattern on the south side of the street.  Not all sources had information about all addresses.  Therefore the following entries have been used when appropriate:

N/A (Not Applicable) – The source did not examine or research this part of the street.  For instance, Spinazzola’s publication only contains information about the excavations of about 400 meters of the street, but not the rest.

N/E (No Entry) – The source did research the insula, but did not have an entry for the specific entrance.

Links to the Names Catalogue tables are below and in the menu at the top of the page:

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[1] Halsted B. Van der Poel, Corpus Topographicum Pompeianum, 5 vols.,  Rome: Edizioni dell'Elefante, 1977-1986, Pars II, p. XVI- XXIII.

[2] Alessandra Ruggiero, ed.,  Conservazione delle memorie digital: rischi ed emergenze: sei casi di studio, The Future of Digital Memory and Cultural Heritage, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy, 16-17 October 2003, pp. 13-15.

[3] Alessandra Ruggiero, ed.,  Conservazione delle memorie digital: rischi ed emergenze: sei casi di studio, The Future of Digital Memory and Cultural Heritage, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy, 16-17 October 2003, pp. 13-15.

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

[5] Vittorio Spinazzola, Pompei alla luce degli scavi nuovi di Via dell'Abbondanza (anni 1910-1923), 2 vols. and portfolio,  Roma: La Libreria della Stato, 1953, Volume Primo XVIII-XXXI.

[6] Halsted B. Van der Poel, Corpus Topographicum Pompeianum, 5 vols.,  Rome: Edizioni dell'Elefante, 1977-1986, Pars IIIA, p. XVIII.

[7] Erika Eschebach,  Interview via e-mail correspondence,  2-17 February, 2009.

[8] Halsted B. Van der Poel, Corpus Topographicum Pompeianum, 5 vols.,  Rome: Edizioni dell'Elefante, 1977-1986, Pars II, p. XVI.

[9] n.a., “Paid Notice: Deaths, Vander Poel, Halsted Billings.”   The New York Times: New York, June 30, 2003.

[10] Ruggero Morichi and Paola Rispoli, “Dalle RICA Maps alla Nuova Cartografia di Pompei,”  Opuscula Pompeiana , Vol. 12 (2003), pp. 3-15.

[11] Halsted B. Van der Poel, Corpus Topographicum Pompeianum, 5 vols.,  Rome: Edizioni dell'Elefante, 1977-1986, Pars II, p. XXIII.

[12] Halsted B. Van der Poel, Corpus Topographicum Pompeianum, 5 vols.,  Rome: Edizioni dell'Elefante, 1977-1986, Pars II, p. XXIV