Database of Pompeian Houses: introduction

Pompeii, b: The marble impluvium - Constructed during the rebuilding of the house, when also the fullonica was built (Photo: Miko Flohr [2006])

These pages publish the database I used to estimate Pompeii’s population and to discuss the relation between house size and patterns of investment and consumption (Flohr 2017). It has been made available online to make it possible for scholars and students to check the evidential underpinning of my argument. Users may want to keep in mind that the database was designed for a number of specific analyses on a rather macro-scale level, and that it therefore does not catalogue and categorize with German precision each and every room in the city’s excavated area. For reasons of comparability, the totals listed on these pages only include fully excavated structures and buildings, and are limit itself to buildings within the city walls.

This introductory page gives a quick overview of the dimensions of the evidence by simply showing how much evidence there is. For lists of the data underlying these totals, and more detailed records of the actual evidence, simply follow the links. Listed are the total numbers of houses and units by type, and a list of all room types that I have identified in Pompeii more than 100 times. Except for the negatively defined room type 'room' (which includes all rooms that resist clear architectural definition), these are the room types that are sufficiently well-defined and recognizable to allow for a more-or-less unproblematic and consistent identification. 

There is a lot to say about the significance of the evidence assembled here. I would like to stress that none of the graphs and charts offered here 'speaks for itself' - all need careful and close scrutiny before they can be used to assess the domestic landscape of Pompeii. As presented here, the data also lack time-depth: they represent the situation in AD 79, without revealing how this situation came into being. They should therefore be read, for instance, with the seismic upheaval of the 60s and 70s AD in mind.

These database originally was compiled in Oxford, in 2011, and refined and polished over the years. In its present state, it was finalized in 2016, before publication of The Economy of Pompeii. Room numbers are based on Pitture e Pavimenti di Pompei and Pompeii Pitture e Mosaici, with some additions from secondary literature for houses that were only fist published in the 1990s. 

Technical information

Please cite as:

Flohr, M. (2018). Database of Pompeian Houses

Archived versions (pdf):

1.0 (23 january 2018)


Bragantini, I., M. De Vos, F. Badoni and V. Sampaolo (1981). Pitture e Pavimenti di Pompei I. Rome.
Bragantini, I., M. De Vos, F. Badoni and V. Sampaolo (1983). Pitture e Pavimenti di Pompei II. Rome.
Bragantini, I., M. De Vos, F. Badoni and V. Sampaolo (1986). Pitture e Pavimenti di Pompei III. Rome.
Eschebach, L. and J. Müller-Trollius (1993). Gebäudeverzeichnis und Stadtplan der Antiken Stadt Pompeji. Cologne.
Flohr, M. (2017). ‘Quantifying Pompeii: Population, Inequality and the Urban Economy’, in M. Flohr and A. Wilson (eds), The Economy of Pompeii. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 53–84.
Hodske, J. (2007). Mythologische Bildthemen in den Häusern Pompejis. Ruhpolding: Rutzen.
Hodske, J. (2010). ‘Häuser und Mythenbilder in Pompeji als Spiegel der Gesellschaft’. BABesch 85: 179–192.
Robinson, D. (1997). ‘The social texture of Pompeii’, in S. Bon and R. Jones (eds), Sequence and Space in Pompeii. Oxford: Oxbow, 135–144.
Wallace-Hadrill, A. (1994). Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Princeton.

Totals by unit type

Unit TypeNumberRoomsAvg. areaavg. room number
taberna unit468129341.912.76
walled area1880519.674.44

Totals by building type

Building TypeNumberUnitsAvg. areaavg. number units
domestic building454897449.761.98
commercial building33102233.333.09
public building16581158.383.63
agricultural land1616539.941
religious building111631

Totals by room type

Room typeTotal identifiedNumber of unitsNumber of buildings