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Caecilius

A bust of Lucius Caecilius Iucundus.

"Caecilius est in horto." ~ The most famous mention of Caecilus in the Cambridge Latin Course.

Lucius Caecilius Iucundus (known as Caecilius) was a banker who lived in the town of Pompeii around 69 AD. His house still stands and can be seen in the ruins of the city Pompeii. It was partially destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 69 AD. This house is known for its beauty, along with some materials found such as bank book-keeping and wax tablets, which were used as receipts.

Caecilius is one of the main characters in the first book of the Cambridge Latin Course series. He is the first character introduced, hence "Caecilius est in horto." (Latin for "Caecilius is in the garden"). In the book he is married to Metella. They have a son, Quintus, who is one of the major characters in books 2 and 3. Caeclilus also had a dog, Cerberus, of whom a mosaic was found in the ruins of his house. Other members of his household are Clemens, a loyal slave who appears in later books, and a cook named Grumio.
Caecilius face

Caecilius as he appears in the Cambridge Latin Course.

LifeEdit

The Pompeian banker Caecilius was born around 14 AD. Freedmen and slaves performed many small business tasks for Caecilius, such as signing receipts as witnesses and collecting payments from clients. Many names of elite Pompeian citizens occur frequently in his transaction records, suggesting that Caecilius also had dealings with the upper class of his town. In fact, he even traveled to nearby Nuceria.

Caecilius had two sons, Caecilius Iucundus Metellus (after his wife) and Quintus Caecilius Iucundus. The books include Quintus as a character, and as of the fifth edition of the book, Lucia is imagined as Caecilius' daughter.

The tablets that Caecilius left behind suggest that he died in the earthquake on 5 February 62, which he survives in the books, since his records stop a few days before that date, but we are uncertain of his actual death date.

Caecilius was a type of banker called an argentarius (Latin for banker). According to the records of Caecilius, the buyers had about a year to start paying back the loan to the argentarius.

As a banker, Caecilius kept many records of his business transactions on wax tablets, many of which were found in his house in 1875. Of the 153 tablets discovered, 16 documents were contracts between Caecilius and the city of Pompeii.

The tablets themselves are triptychs, which means that they have three wooden leaves tied together to make six pages. Wax was put on the inner four pages, and the receipt was written on these surfaces. The tablet was then closed and wrapped with a string, over which the witnesses placed their wax seals. This prevented the document itself from being altered, and there was a brief description of the receipt written on the outside for identification purposes.

Part of Caecilius’ house still stands on Stabiae Street in Pompeii today, and it provides many interesting pieces of information both about Caecilius and Pompeii. Archaeologists discovered the wax tablets there, and the lararium, a type of shrine. The atrium was once decorated with paintings. The floor is decorated with a black and white mosaic and at the entrance, a reclining dog, probably Cerberus, is depicted.

The tablinum, or study, in Iucundus’s house contains some beautiful wall paintings, and an amphora given by one of his sons to the other was also found in the house.

The Garden Edit

Caecilius est in hortō. He’s in the garden. Honestly, what more do you want to know?

Etymology Edit

Lucius means Light. Caecilius means blind.

Trivia Edit

  • Caecilius makes a cameo in the upcoming movie trailer of "Despacito 2"
  • Caecilius the subject of critical acclaim, as he is one of the most deep and well written characters in the Cambridge book series.
  • He brought Gordon back down to Silver 1, after he one-tricked Garen stupidly.

Gallery Edit