oil lamp
The Cubiculum of Senex Caecilius

If you are looking for erotic paintings, you have come to the wrong house! The Vetti brothers live two doors down.

What you will find here are sparse furnishings and a few personal effects: bed, chair, chest, lamp, brazier, and chamber pot. The bed has a base of interwoven webbing with a mattress and a bolster filled with wool. It is spread with two coverings (tapetia) and a quilt. (There is a bedside mat for those cold winter mornings.)

More often than not, the chair holds a cast-off cloak or a forgotten scroll. The chest (arca) contains some clothing, a few denarii, and an extra blanket (lodix). A lamp (lucerna), like the one above, burns olive oil for light at night; a brazier burns charcoal for heat in the winter. The chamber pot (lasanum) needs no explanation.

The floor mosaics of the cubiculum often clearly mark out the rectangle where the bed is to be placed, or the bed might be situated in a niche. Sometimes in front of the bedroom there is a small antechamber, the procoeton, where a personal servant may sleep.

A reconstruction of a cubiculum from a villa in Boscoreale displays a bed (lectus) and a footstool (scamnum).

For additional information about furnishings or clothing, you can consult these references:


Some of the preceding information comes from Daily Life in Ancient Rome, written by Jérôme Carcopino and published in1968 by the Yale University Press (New Haven).

Vicus | Ianua | Fauces | Atrium | Library | Tablinum | Kitchen | Triclinium | Lavatory | Cubiculum
Taberna | Viridarium | Museum | Mausoleum | Tabularium | Odeum | Scriptorium | Tropaeum
Exedra | Peristylium | Hortus | Lararium | Baths | Farm | Ludi | Album | Schola