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VI.17.36 Pompeii. Casa di Giulio Polibio or House of Julius Polybius.

Columned entrance and vestibule. Linked to VI.17.32.

Sporadically excavated 1760, 1764, 1769, major excavation from 1807/8. 1983.

(another house at VI.17.23-26 was also known as Casa di Polibio, see CTP pt II, p.268)

Part 1                                                                         Part 2

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. 1824. Plan of house. VI.17.38 (on left lower), 37, 36, 35, 34, 33, 32, and VI.17.31 (on right lower).
The lower doorways correspond to entrances on Via Consolare. The peristyle would have been on the west side.
See Mazois, F., 1824. Les Ruines de Pompei: Second Partie. Paris: Firmin Didot. (Tav XIII).
According to Mazois (p.53) 
“This house, known as House of Polybius, must have belonged to one of the richest inhabitants of the town.
It was remarkable because of its two main entrances in the same façade and its double vestibule; but we proceed to describe the plan.
Shops (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) occupy the façade; the shop (4) was linked to the interior of the house.
The two entrance doorways (6), have no entrance corridor; 
Rooms (7) and (8) larger than ordinary rooms also served as the vestibule; 
Around the edge of room (7) were various rooms. 
By these two waiting rooms one entered a large Corinthian atrium, whose portico (11), formed by arches and pillars was decorated with engaged columns, surrounding a courtyard (12), decorated with a fountain (13). 
These arches were closed with glass frames. (See Note 1 below).
Around the portico we have different rooms numbered (14), and here we find a small fountain (15). 
The stairs (16) and (18 –this should presumably be 17) lead by one to the kitchen areas and to the underground part, the other to a few rooms on the upper floor, but perhaps neither one nor the other could be the main staircase. 
Room (18) would have been used by the “manager” of the house.
This dwelling would certainly be one of the most interesting found in Pompeii, without the ruinous state in which it was found.  
It was built, as all the houses on the edge of the sea, on the demolished ancient walls of the city, with a magnificent view and refreshing and healthy breezes in the warm country.
The portico (11) and rooms (9), (18) and (14) were all paved with mosaics. This kind of flooring is almost general at Pompeii.
(Mazois - Note 1: It is demonstrated today that the ancient knew about the use of glass. 
Conserved at the Musee des Studj at Naples, are several beautiful samples of glass tiles found at Pompei, and I myself own some fragments which can be compared to the most beautiful modern glass, etc). 
(See Plin., lib XXXVI, cap 22)

VI.17.36 Pompeii. 1824. Plan of house. VI.17.38 (on left lower), 37, 36, 35, 34, 33, 32, and VI.17.31 (on right lower).

The lower doorways correspond to entrances on Via Consolare. The peristyle would have been on the west side.

See Mazois, F., 1824. Les Ruines de Pompei: Second Partie. Paris: Firmin Didot. (Tav XIII).

According to Mazois (p.53)

“This house, known as House of Polybius, must have belonged to one of the richest inhabitants of the town.

It was remarkable because of its two main entrances in the same façade and its double vestibule; but we proceed to describe the plan.

Shops (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) occupy the façade; the shop (4) was linked to the interior of the house.

The two entrance doorways (6), have no entrance corridor;

Rooms (7) and (8) larger than ordinary rooms also served as the vestibule;

Around the edge of room (7) were various rooms.

By these two waiting rooms one entered a large Corinthian atrium, whose portico (11), formed by arches and pillars was decorated with engaged columns, surrounding a courtyard (12), decorated with a fountain (13).

These arches were closed with glass frames. (See Note 1 below).

Around the portico we have different rooms numbered (14), and here we find a small fountain (15).

The stairs (16) and (18 –this should presumably be 17) lead by one to the kitchen areas and to the underground part, the other to a few rooms on the upper floor, but perhaps neither one nor the other could be the main staircase.

Room (18) would have been used by the “manager” of the house.

This dwelling would certainly be one of the most interesting found in Pompeii, without the ruinous state in which it was found. 

It was built, as all the houses on the edge of the sea, on the demolished ancient walls of the city, with a magnificent view and refreshing and healthy breezes in the warm country.

The portico (11) and rooms (9), (18) and (14) were all paved with mosaics. This kind of flooring is almost general at Pompeii.

(Mazois - Note 1: It is demonstrated today that the ancient knew about the use of glass.

Conserved at the Musee des Studj at Naples, are several beautiful samples of glass tiles found at Pompei, and I myself own some fragments which can be compared to the most beautiful modern glass, etc).

(See Plin., lib XXXVI, cap 22)

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. 1819 drawing with title “Maison de Julius Polybius”. 
VI.17.36 is on the left of the drawing with the step in front of the kerb.
VI.17.32 is on the right, with the indentation in the kerb, and the steps up.
See Wilkins H, 1819. Suite des Vues Pittoresques des Ruines de Pompei, Rome, pl. XII.

VI.17.36 Pompeii. 1819 drawing with title “Maison de Julius Polybius”.

VI.17.36 is on the left of centre of the drawing, with the step in front of the kerb.

VI.17.32 is on the right, with the indentation in the kerb, and the steps up.

See Wilkins H, 1819. Suite de Vues Pittoresques des Ruines de Pompei, Rome, pl. XII.

 

VI.17.36-35 Pompeii. May 2011. Looking west to entrance doorways on Via Consolare. 
Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

VI.17.36-35 Pompeii. May 2011. Looking west to entrance doorways on Via Consolare.

Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. July 2010. Looking west to entrance doorway with a brick half round column on each side. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns. According to Fiorelli –
“VI.17.32-38. L’ingresso principale del caseggiato anzidetto e dal no.36, essendo un adito minore quello che porta il no.32. In entrambi sonovi scale per accedere ad un piano piu elevato dal livello della strada, ove trovansi situati due atrii, ambo uscenti nel peristilio di uno spazioso giardino, circondata da piu stanze. Vi stavano due gradinate, piu cubicoli, un triclinio con apotheca a fianco, e nel mezzo del giardino una vasca con scalini per scendervi dentro.” Altre botteghe, ed una gradinata per cenacoli independenti, furono pure scoperte, che ora trovansi nuovamente sottera.
See Fiorelli, G. (1875). Descrizione di Pompei, (p.434)
See Pappalardo, U., 2001. La Descrizione di Pompei per Giuseppe Fiorelli (1875). Napoli: Massa Editore. (p.159).
(translation - “The main entrance to the aforesaid house was by entrance number 36, having a secondary doorway entrance that carried the number 32. In both of these doorways, there were stairs to access a higher level from the street, where two atriums were located, both opening into the peristyle of a spacious garden, surrounded by many rooms. There were two flights of steps, more cubicula, a triclinium with small room/apotheca alongside, and in the middle of the garden a basin/pool with steps to go down inside. (VI.17.37 and 28. “Other shops, and steps to an independent living area, were also discovered, which now again have been reburied under the earth.” (These have since been re-excavated)

VI.17.36 Pompeii. July 2010. Looking west to entrance doorway with a brick half round column on each side.

Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

According to Fiorelli –

“VI.17.32-38. L’ingresso principale del caseggiato anzidetto e dal no.36, essendo un adito minore quello che porta il no.32.

In entrambi sonovi scale per accedere ad un piano piu elevato dal livello della strada, ove trovansi situati due atrii, ambo uscenti nel peristilio di uno spazioso giardino, circondata da piu stanze. Vi stavano due gradinate, piu cubicoli, un triclinio con apotheca a fianco, e nel mezzo del giardino una vasca con scalini per scendervi dentro.

Altre botteghe, ed una gradinata per cenacoli independenti, furono pure scoperte, che ora trovansi nuovamente sottera.”

See Fiorelli, G. (1875). Descrizione di Pompei, (p.434)

See Pappalardo, U., 2001. La Descrizione di Pompei per Giuseppe Fiorelli (1875). Napoli: Massa Editore. (p.159).

(translation -

“The main entrance to the aforesaid house was by entrance number 36, having a secondary doorway entrance that carried the number 32.

In both of these doorways, there were stairs to access a higher level from the street, where two atriums were located, both opening into the peristyle of a spacious garden, surrounded by many rooms. There were two flights of steps, more cubicula, a triclinium with small room/apotheca alongside, and in the middle of the garden a basin/pool with steps to go down inside.”

(VI.17.37 and 28. “Other shops, and steps to an independent living area, were also discovered, which now again have been reburied under the earth.” (These have since been re-excavated)

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. July 2010. Looking west to entrance doorways of VI.17.37, 36 and 35. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

VI.17.36 Pompeii. July 2010. Looking west to entrance doorways of VI.17.37, 36 and 35.

Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. May 2005. Entrance doorway with two half round side columns, and with remains of steps to vestibule. According to PAH, the external façade of this house was clad with white stucco, with squarings imitating large stones, and between them were seen distinct lines coloured blue.

Found painted in red in November 1807 on the left side of the doorway, was the electoral recommendation  –
C(aium) Iulium Polybium II vir(um)
Vatia rog(at)    [CIL IV 132]
See Pagano, M. and Prisciandaro, R., 2006. Studio sulle provenienze degli oggetti rinvenuti negli scavi borbonici del regno di Napoli.  Naples : Nicola Longobardi. (p.97)   
PAH I, 2, 89.

VI.17.36 Pompeii. May 2005.

Entrance doorway with two half round side columns, and with remains of steps to vestibule.

According to PAH, the external façade of this house was clad with white stucco, with squarings imitating large stones, and between them were seen distinct lines coloured blue.

Found painted in red in November 1807 on the left side of the doorway, was the electoral recommendation 

C(aium) Iulium Polybium II vir(um)

Vatia rog(at)    [CIL IV 132]

 

See Pagano, M. and Prisciandaro, R., 2006. Studio sulle provenienze degli oggetti rinvenuti negli scavi borbonici del regno di Napoli.  Naples : Nicola Longobardi. (p.97)  

PAH I, 2, 89.

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. December 2007. Entrance looking south west at the different levels.

VI.17.36 Pompeii. December 2007.

Entrance doorway with remains of steps, looking south-west at the different levels.

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. December 2007. Lower and upper level, south side and doorway to underground room in west side.

VI.17.36 Pompeii. December 2007.

Lower and upper level, south side and doorway to underground room in west side.

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. December 2007. Looking west at the different levels.

VI.17.36 Pompeii. December 2007. Looking west at the different levels.

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. May 2011. Looking west. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

VI.17.36 Pompeii. May 2011. Looking west. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. December 2007. Looking west across the lower and upper level. The upper level would have been the atrium and would have had a wide central doorway, and two smaller side doorways. These would have led into the peristyle on the west side of the atrium.

VI.17.36 Pompeii. December 2007. Looking west across the lower and upper level.

The upper level would have been the atrium and would have had a wide central doorway and two smaller side doorways.
These would have led into the peristyle on the west side of the atrium.

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii, May 2005. Looking west across lower rooms. Ahead would have been the wide doorway to the atrium, now blocked.

VI.17.36 Pompeii, May 2005. Looking west across lower rooms.

Ahead would have been the wide doorway to the atrium, now blocked. 

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. May 2011. North side, with both upper and lower levels. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns. Possibly the upper level on the right of this photo may have been the area as described in PAH, 1, 3, (p.4)  “1-18th Maggio 1808 – Il giorno 15 del corrente venne il Re a Pompei, ed in sua presenza si scavarono due stanze e due botteghe appartenenti alla casa di Polibio. In una di queste stanze la fabbrica era alquanto diroccata, ed il pavimento in musaico bianco e nero, con un quadro nel mezzo di musaico colorito rappresentante la figura di Atteone; detto quadro era di circa palmi due in quadro. Nell’altre stanze le pareti sono tutte dipinte con varii arabeschi, e vi sono due quadri, uno con figura di uomo sedente con puttino, l’altro con due figure sedenti una di uomo a l’altra di donna con puttino.  Detti quadri sono di palmi 1 and three-quarters in quadro. In questa stanza e nelle due botteghe si era trovato quanto segue –”
(translation – "1-18th May 1808 –  On the 15th day of the current month the King came to Pompeii, and in his presence they dug two rooms and two shops belonging to the House of Polybius. In one of these rooms the structure was somewhat dilapidated, and the floor in black and white mosaic, with a picture in the middle of colorful mosaic representing the figure of Actaeon; this picture was approximately 0.53m square).  In the other rooms the walls were all painted with various arabesques, and there were two paintings, one with a figure of a sitting man with a small cherub, (NAP inv. no: 9382, Helbig 1357), the other with two sitting figures, a man and a woman, with a small cherub.  These paintings are approximately 0.46m square. In this room and in the two shops, the following were found, (see list p.4-6) –”

“28 Maggio 1808 – Nella casa detta di Polibio a Pompei si sono terminate di ricercare, la stanza che resta alla destra dell’ingresso, e le due botteghe della stessa abitazions, che s’incominciarono a frugare il di 15 di questo mese………………...  Quello che si trovo……..., e quell’altro poco che in seguito si era rinvenuto, era il seguente – Argento……(p4-6 elenco). (translation: “28th May 1808 –  In the house called of Polybius in Pompeii, they had finished searching, the room that is to the right of the entrance, and the two shops in the same dwelling, which they had begun to search on the 15th of this month……………….  The items found, ………… and those others found later, were as follows – Silver............ (p4-6 list)”

VI.17.36 Pompeii. May 2011. North side, with both upper and lower levels.

Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

Possibly the upper level on the right of this photo may have been the area as described in PAH, 1, 3, (p.4)

“1-18th Maggio 1808 – Il giorno 15 del corrente venne il Re a Pompei, ed in sua presenza si scavarono due stanze e due botteghe appartenenti alla casa di Polibio.

In una di queste stanze la fabbrica era alquanto diroccata, ed il pavimento in musaico bianco e nero, con un quadro nel mezzo di musaico colorito rappresentante la figura di Atteone; detto quadro era di circa palmi due in quadro. Nell’altre stanze le pareti sono tutte dipinte con varii arabeschi, e vi sono due quadri, uno con figura di uomo sedente con puttino, l’altro con due figure sedenti una di uomo a l’altra di donna con puttino.  Detti quadri sono di palmi 1 and three-quarters in quadro.

In questa stanza e nelle due botteghe si era trovato quanto segue –”

(translation – "1-18th May 1808 –

On the 15th day of the current month the King came to Pompeii, and in his presence they dug two rooms and two shops belonging to the House of Polybius.

In one of these rooms the structure was somewhat dilapidated, and the floor in black and white mosaic, with a picture in the middle of colorful mosaic representing the figure of Actaeon; this picture was approximately 0.53m square).  In the other rooms the walls were all painted with various arabesques, and there were two paintings, one with a figure of a sitting man with a small cherub, (NAP inv. no: 9382, Helbig 1357), the other with two sitting figures, a man and a woman, with a small cherub.

These paintings are approximately 0.46m square.

In this room and in the two shops, the following were found, (see list p.4-6) –”

 

“28 Maggio 1808 – Nella casa detta di Polibio a Pompei si sono terminate di ricercare, la stanza che resta alla destra dell’ingresso, e le due botteghe della stessa abitazions, che s’incominciarono a frugare il di 15 di questo mese………………...

Quello che si trovo……..., e quell’altro poco che in seguito si era rinvenuto, era il seguente – Argento……(p4-6 elenco).

(translation: “28th May 1808 –

In the house called of Polybius in Pompeii, they had finished searching, the room that is to the right of the entrance, and the two shops in the same dwelling, which they had begun to search on the 15th of this month……………….

The items found, ………… and those others found later, were as follows – Silver............ (p4-6 list)”

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. Painting of a sitting man with a small cherub. 
Now in Naples Archaeological Museum.  Inventory number 9382.
See Helbig, W., 1868. Wandgemälde der vom Vesuv verschütteten Städte Campaniens. Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, 1357.

VI.17.36 Pompeii. Painting of a sitting man with a small cherub.

Now in Naples Archaeological Museum.  Inventory number 9382.

See Helbig, W., 1868. Wandgemälde der vom Vesuv verschütteten Städte Campaniens. Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, 1357.

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. December 2007. North side of atrium.

VI.17.36 Pompeii. December 2007. North side of atrium.

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. c. 1800-1824. Painting of Actaeon Mosaic by F. Morelli. According to Niccolini, this was one of the most beautiful mosaics found at Pompeii. Rather than worked in mosaic, this floor would be said to be exquisitely painted, so great was the symmetry and equality of its details; and although it doesn't offer more than a geometric design, still it does not have a coldness, but has all the warmth of a composition.
In the square in the middle, we see Actaeon turned into a deer, being attacked by the dogs of Diana. See Niccolini F, 1890. Le case ed i monumenti di Pompei: Volume Terzo. Napoli, L’Arte in Pompei, tav. XIII.

According to Breton –  “This house was built on the ancient city ramparts, and had many floors on terraces leading down to the sea, it appears to have been very large
but despite the excavations made in 1808 and 1817, it had never been fully excavated. Of the remains, much of it was in a large state of degradation.  This house showed many remarkable peculiarities, having two doors onto the same street opening directly and without a prothyron onto two rooms bigger than an ordinary vestibule. The large Corinthian atrium (?peristyle) did not have a width of less than 28.9m: its portico was formed of arches and columns. The portico of the atrium, as well as several rooms, was paved with black and white mosaics.  A fountain that decorated this area was not placed in the axis of the atrium, but a little to the side, in order to face the door of main vestibule. In one of the rooms that surrounded the atrium was another small fountain. Under this house was the most beautiful cellar yet found at Pompeii.
See Breton, Ernest. (1855). Pompeia, decrite et dessine: 2nd ed. Paris: Baudry, (p.219-220)

VI.17.36 Pompeii. c. 1800-1824. Painting of Actaeon Mosaic by F. Morelli.

According to Niccolini, this was one of the most beautiful mosaics found at Pompeii.

Rather than worked in mosaic, this floor would be said to be exquisitely painted, so great was the symmetry and equality of its details; and although it doesn't offer more than a geometric design, still it does not have the coldness, but has all the warmth of a composition.

In the square in the middle, we see Actaeon turned into a deer, being attacked by the dogs of Diana.

See Niccolini F, 1890. Le case ed i monumenti di Pompei: Volume Terzo. Napoli, L’Arte in Pompei, tav. XIII.

 

According to Breton –

“This house was built on the ancient city ramparts, and had many floors on terraces leading down to the sea, it appears to have been very large but despite the excavations made in 1808 and 1817, it had never been fully excavated. Of the remains, much of it was in a large state of degradation.

This house showed many remarkable peculiarities, having two doors onto the same street opening directly and without a prothyron onto two rooms bigger than an ordinary vestibule. The large Corinthian atrium (?peristyle) did not have a width of less than 28.9m: its portico was formed of arches and columns.

The portico of the atrium (?peristyle), as well as several rooms, was paved with black and white mosaics.

A fountain that decorated this area was not placed in the axis of the atrium, but a little to the side, in order to face the door of main vestibule.

In one of the rooms that surrounded the atrium was another small fountain. Under this house was the most beautiful cellar yet found at Pompeii.

See Breton, Ernest. (1855). Pompeia, decrite et dessine: 2nd ed. Paris: Baudry, (p.219-220)

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. Mosaic. According to Roux, “these two mosaics that occupy the extremity of this page, come from the building called the House of Polybius. They do not offer any colours other than black and white. The pattern of the first is quite pleasant; and the Greek lozenge of the second seems to be the same as the Greek square, which would have been compressed by two of its opposing corners, and elongated by the other two.” 
See Roux, H., 1840. Herculanem et Pompei recueil general des Peintures, Bronzes, Mosaïques : Tome 5. Paris: Didot, mosaïques pl. 13, (p.18). See Mazois, F., 1824. Les Ruines de Pompei: Second Partie. Paris: Firmin Didot, p. 52, pl. XIV.

VI.17.36 Pompeii. Mosaic.

According to Roux, “these two mosaics that occupy the extremity of this page, come from the building called the House of Polybius.

They do not offer any colours other than black and white.

The pattern of the first is quite pleasant; and the Greek lozenge of the second seems to be the same as the Greek square, which would have been compressed by two of its opposing corners, and elongated by the other two.”

See Roux, H., 1840. Herculanem et Pompei recueil general des Peintures, Bronzes, Mosaïques : Paris: Didot, Tome 5, 6th series - Mosaics. (p.18), pl.13.

See Mazois, F., 1824. Les Ruines de Pompei: Second Partie. Paris: Firmin Didot, p. 52, pl. XIV.

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. Mosaic. According to Roux, “these two mosaics that occupy the extremity of this page, come from the building called the House of Polybius. They do not offer any colours other than black and white. The pattern of the first is quite pleasant; and the Greek lozenge of the second seems to be the same as the Greek square, which would have been compressed by two of its opposing corners, and elongated by the other two.”
See Roux, H., 1840. Herculanem et Pompei recueil general des Peintures, Bronzes, Mosaïques : Tome 5. Paris: Didot, mosaïques pl. 13, (p.18). See Mazois, F., 1824. Les Ruines de Pompei: Second Partie. Paris: Firmin Didot, p. 52, pl. XIV.

VI.17.36 Pompeii. Mosaic.

According to Roux, “these two mosaics that occupy the extremity of this page, come from the building called the House of Polybius.

They do not offer any colours other than black and white.

The pattern of the first is quite pleasant; and the Greek lozenge of the second seems to be the same as the Greek square, which would have been compressed by two of its opposing corners, and elongated by the other two.”

See Roux, H., 1840. Herculanem et Pompei recueil general des Peintures, Bronzes, Mosaïques : Paris: Didot, Tome 5, 6th series - Mosaics. (p.18), pl.13.

See Mazois, F., 1824. Les Ruines de Pompei: Second Partie. Paris: Firmin Didot, p. 52, pl. XIV.

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. Mosaic. 
According to Roux, “It was probably of the same building that provenanced these three black and white fragments. The first is remarkable for the variety of decoration on each tile. 
The last for the successful provision of white rhomboids and black triangles.  
See Roux, H., 1840. Herculanem et Pompei recueil general des Peintures, Bronzes, Mosaïques : Tome 5. Paris: Didot, mosaïques (p.19),  pl. 14.

VI.17.36 Pompeii. Mosaic.

According to Roux, “It was probably of the same building that provenanced these three black and white fragments.

The first is remarkable for the variety of decoration on each tile.

The last for the successful provision of white rhomboids and black triangles. 

See Roux, H., 1840. Herculanem et Pompei recueil general des Peintures, Bronzes, Mosaïques : Tome 5. Paris: Didot, Tome 5, 6th series - Mosaics. (p.19), pl. 14.

 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. Mosaic. (Note – these may or may not belong to the House of Julius Polybius).
According to Roux, “The fragments, which occupy the top and the bottom of this plate, don’t show any colour other than black and white, the designs are quite ordinary. 
Those in the middle are more curious, consisting of a happy curvature of scrolls and leaves.  By completing the drawing on which we give here only half, we see that these marble bands would have had to decorate the thresholds or the floor between the columns of the porticos. ”
See Roux, H., 1840. Herculanem et Pompei recueil general des Peintures, Bronzes, Mosaïques : Tome 5. Paris: Didot, mosaïques pl. 15, (p.19-20).
 

VI.17.36 Pompeii. Mosaic. (Note – these may or may not belong to the House of Julius Polybius).

According to Roux, “The fragments, which occupy the top and the bottom of this plate, don’t show any colour other than black and white, the designs are quite ordinary.

Those in the middle are more curious, consisting of a happy curvature of scrolls and leaves. 

By completing the drawing on which we give here only half, we see that these marble bands would have had to decorate the thresholds or the floor between the columns of the porticos.”

See Roux, H., 1840. Herculanem et Pompei recueil general des Peintures, Bronzes, Mosaïques : Tome 5. Paris: Didot, Tome 5, 6th series – Mosaics, p.19-20, pl. 15.

 

 

Part 2