The Dancing Faun of Pompeii
I am a Faun… well, that’s what they call me. No, that’s what they named me. I am not a faun. The faun is my later Italian counterpart. I am a GRECIAN satyr. I have a strong build, defined features, and some sharp horns. My features are like those of a horse, not a weak goat, but that’s beside the point. I am here to tell you the story of how I went from a lively, energetic creature, to a still, lethargic block of stone.
Back in my glory days, I was the life of the party. My best friend Dionysus and I ruled Greek mythology, you know, him being the god of wine and me being the god of fertility. We knew how to have a good time. We were invited to every party and everyone always watched as we danced around. And let me tell you, the Greek gods and goddesses know how to throw an awesome party. However, all that was changed on one fateful night. The regular crew was over at Zeus house having a good time when we got wind of these rumors going around that there were “humans” going around and crashing parties and stealing our land. Of course, I didn’t take it seriously and continued having a good night. However, in the middle of my world-renounced dance routine, I heard a disturbance in the crowd. Everyone took their attention off of me which only made me continue to dance harder. Big Mistake. In the midst of my frenzy, I was snatched up by a “human” and taken to an unknown location. The next thing I knew, I couldn’t move. I was stuck in the final pose of my routine for the rest of eternity. You would have thought I got in an argument with Medusa!
The year was around 180 BCE when I was captured and trapped into my bronze-like statue body. It was alright for the first couple of days until I realized that none of my Greek gods and goddesses were coming back for me. Luckily, the final pose of my dance had me looking up toward the sky so that I could still look to the gods and give them an evil eye for not coming back and rescuing me. After a while, I figured out why they chose me out of everyone to bring down to their filthy, human house. And it wasn’t because I was the best dancer. The owner of my prison was a man who goes by the name of D. Lucretti Satrii. He captured me because his name, “Satrii,” translates to Satyr, and he thought that I would be a nice centerpiece to his new home. But he didn’t even name his house after me! Adding insult to injury, he decided to name his residence, “The House of the Faun.” He couldn’t even get my name right! At least they placed me in the center of their Tuscan Atrium, so that I could have a nice view out of the doorway.
I came to learn that The House of the Faun was one of the most expensive residences in all of ancient Pompeii. It took up an entire city block and had an interior of some 3,000 square meters. However, even with all this space, nobody ever came in here! The elite family only allowed the wealthiest citizens of Pompeii to enter their house. How selfish. I resented them for owning all this wealth and not sharing it with their community. Even I, the god of fertility, shared my gifts with everyone. However, one day, I finally got my revenge. Around 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted and turned my captors into stone themselves. You know what they say about karma, what goes around comes around. Although I have moved around the world after the discovery of the house during the excavations, I’ve had the delight of seeing “The House of Faun” become one of the most visited tourists’ destinations of the ruins of ancient Pompeii. It brings me joy to see millions of people come through their house and experience what it was like to be trapped in time.