Naples National Archaeological Museum /The Macellum of Naples

March 23, 2016

The Naples National Archaeological Museum it is the most important Italian archaeological museum and contains a large collection of Roman artifacts from Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum.

The collection includes works of the highest quality produced in Greek, Roman and Renaissance times.

Farnese Hercules c. 216 AD (4th century BCE for original)

The Farnese Hercules is an ancient statue of Hercules. Like much Ancient Roman sculpture it is a copy or version of a much older Greek original that was well-known.

The enlarged copy was made for the Baths of Caracalla in Rome (dedicated in 216 AD), where the statue was recovered in 1546.

Gallery of the emperors

The gallery of the emperors was developed in the 16th century with particular emphasis on collecting the portraits of the twelve Suetonian Caesars who reflected in the early Roman Imperial period.

A major collection of ancient Roman bronzes from the Villa of the Papyri is housed at the museum.

The museum's Mosaic Collection includes a number of important mosaics recovered from the ruins of Pompeii and the other Vesuvian cities.

Alexander Mosaic c.100 BC

The Alexander Mosaic, is a Roman floor mosaic originally from the House of the Faun in Pompeii. It depicts a battle between the armies of Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia and measures 2.72 x 5.13m (8 ft 11in x 16 ft 9in).

Charles III of Spain founded the museum in the 1750s.

Assortment of bronze kitchen paraphernalia found at Pompeii

We can get a sense of the Roman aristocrats' love of food and elaborate meal preparations from the range of specialized kitchen utensils on display.

Silver cutlery

The profusion of gadgets that graced a wealthy Roman's kitchen suggests that this is not just a tendency among today's would-be home chefs (though of course the Ancient Roman had those gadgets to be used by slaves).

The Sacrifice of Iphigenia - Pompeii Painting

After offending Artemis, Agamemnon was commanded to kill Iphigenia as a sacrifice to allow his ships to sail to Troy.

In the second half of the 1st century AD the repertoire of stories depicted in painting grew notably including mythological themes.

Fresco showing a woman so-called Sappho - Pompeii

"Sappho" is a Roman fresco of about 50. Discovered in 1760, is one of the most famous and beloved paintings.

It portrays a high-society Pompeian girl, richly dressed with gold-threaded hair and large gold earrings.

Portrait of the baker - Pompeii

The Portrait of the baker, Terentius Neo and his wife in the pose of intellectuals, which contrasts with their rough and ready appearance and look of embarrassment. This is perhaps the only true portrait to have been found in the Vesuvian cities.

The museum was also the seat of the University of Naples (from 1616 to 1777).

A gold wreath (showing oak leaves)/ Potidea (Macedonia) 250 BC

In the Greco-Roman world, wreaths were used as an adornment that could represent a person’s occupation, rank, their achievements and status.

In the burial practices of ancient Rome and Roman funerary art, marble and limestone sarcophagi elaborately carved in relief were characteristic of elite inhumation burials from the 2nd to the 4th centuries AD.

Ancient Roma Sarcophagus

At least 10,000 Roman sarcophagi survive, with fragments possibly representing as many as 20,000.

The Macellum of Naples

The Macellum of Naples was the macellum or market building of the Roman city of Neapolis, now known as Naples.

Below the patio is the market

Due to the rise of the ground level the macellum is now located beneath the church of San Lorenzo Maggiore.

Cardo - A street that crosses the city from north to south

The first construction dates to 5th or 4th century BC when the area was the location of the agora (central place in ancient Greek cities) during the Greek period.

When Neapolis became a Roman possession it was eventually transformed into a macellum (market). This structure was covered by a mud slide in the 5th century AD, probably as a result of flooding.

An early Christian basilica was constructed over the remains of the covered macellum. Consequently, this basilica was replaced by new construction over the centuries. As a result, the mud slide preserved the remains of the macellum.


This part of the marketplace was connected with barrel vaults and skylights to let air and daylight go in. Food and other goods were showed on workbenches of stone.

A bakery, a laundry, a small taberna and a small laundry can also be easily identified.