Sunday, December 11, 2011


Eumachia was priestess and one of the most prominent citizens of the city of Pompeii. She was patroness of the guild of fullers (cleaners, dyers, and clothing makers), one of the most influential trade-guilds of the city because of the importance of the wool industry in Pompeii's economy. Although her ancestry was humble, the fortune she inherited from her father, a brick manufacturer, enabled her to marry into one of Pompeii's older families. She provided the fullers with a large and beautiful building on one side of the Forum which was probably used as the guild's headquarters.

Eumachia Priestess of Fullers

Entrance to Fullery

The elegant doorway is faced with fine marble which is carved with acanthus leaves.
This small room's entrance is to the right of the main marble arch.  Gentlemen could discretely pop in while passing and pee in a buried urn providing a source of urea for the cleaning process.

Fulling consisted of cleaning raw wool or cloth in vats of urine, soda and fuller's earth.  The workers trod the cloth in this mixture to clean it.  It was then rinsed in a series of other vats and hung to dry.  The cloth was combed, brushed and trimmed and white cloth was bleached by laying it on a cage over burning sulphur and brimstone.  The final process was the pressing of the cloth which was done in a press at the entrance of the fullonica of Stephanus, the most famous of four large laundries in Pompeii.


  1. I loved this post as I have an interest in all things ancient Roman!

    Book recommendation: The First ladies of Rome by Annalise Freisenbruch

    Great book on being female companion or family to some of Rome's Emporers

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