Necropolis of Porta Nola

East of the road leaving the city through Porta Nola is a burial area with three tombs. The one with a squared fence is of M. Obellio Firmo, among the most important figures in the final years of Pompeii: inside the fence was a stele, the glass urn containing the ashes, the forum for libations, and the remain of the stake. The other two tombs are the exedra type: one is anonymous, the other is of Aesquilia Polla, wife of N. Herennius Celsus, an influential person in the Augustan period. At the center is a podium with an Ionic column, topped by a marble urn, which in burial symbolism was supposed to contain the blessed water to bathe the dead.
Porta Nola owes its name to the fact that it opened onto the road leading to the Nola countryside.
An inscription in the Oscan language (no longer present) on the façade of the gate attributes its construction to the meddix tuticus (supreme functionary) Vibio Popidio (approximately 3rd cent. BC).
It has surfaces of opus quadratum, consisting of rows of tufa blocks, and a barrel vault in opus caementicium. In the keystone of the internal arch is a sculpture of Minerva's head, almost as though to place the entrance to the city under the goddess's protection. The outer gate is preceded by two bastions fitted into the walls: these were intended to force any attackers to come out into the open in order to cross a dangerous gorge. The south section of the walls, to the right leaving the city, was rebuilt to approximately 100 m in opus caementicium, perhaps after 100 BC. The north section instead retains its dual structure, with limestone base and upper portion in tufa.
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