Despite the reduced dimension, this house is one of the most elegant and richly decorated in Pompeii. It’s an “italic style” house, having more rooms along the same line, and a tuscan atrium. The building located in Regio VI, the far western part of the town, probably belonged to Anino, member of one of the new senatorial class families emerging in Pompeii.
It was built in the second century B.C., but the decoration was entirely remodeled after the earthquake in 62 A.D. The name derives from the mosaic depicting the scene of a theatre rehearsal of a satirical choir, rediscovered inside the house, and nowadays at the Archaeological Museum of Naples.
Even now we can admire the decorations of the oeucus (living room), with Ariadne abandoned by Theseus and at the entrance we can see the mosaic depicting a dog and the message “CAVE CANEM” (beware of dog), typical of other Pompeian dwellings: this warning is also recalled in literary sources, such as in the entertaining episode of Petronius’s Satyricon, in which the protagonist is frightened to death by the large painted dog.
The atrium was decorated with great frescoes depicting mythological themes, such as Zeus and Hera, Achilles and Breseis, of high quality composition.
All about there were the cubicula (bed rooms) and the alae (alcoves opening to the sides of the atrium), well decorated.
The peristyle (interior garden) is colonnaded on three sides, where there was another famous fresco, known as the Sacrifice of Iphigenia, derived from Timante’s painting, who lived in the V-IV century B.C., and a lararium at the rear.
Three further rooms open off the portico, one of these is a triclinum (dining room), decorated with “Fourth style” frescoes with other mythical themes (Venus and cherubs, Ariadne abandoned by Theseus, Danae).