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Premium Urban Real Estate, Roman Style

In “The Black Pearl,” a story in The Deadliest Returns, Miriam and Judah, as honored guests of the city of Ephesus, were treated to an upscale villa in the Terrace Houses.  Let her tell you all about it:


Our twelve-room guest villa was one of six residences built in pairs on three terraces cut into the northern slope of Mount Koressos. After we climbed the stepped street to the first terrace, Judah unlocked our heavily studded, bronze-hinged door. The entrance led into a colonnaded atrium decorated with exquisite frescoes in golds, sea greens, and reds. In addition, graffiti, including signed love poems and lists of everyday necessities and their costs, were scratched on the wall. On the far side, a kitchen with running water lay just beyond the latrine and bathtub.

Passing through the atrium into the peristyle courtyard, we circled the impluvium. This sunken marble pool, fed by the figure of a nymph tipping her jug, was edged with padded bronze benches and planters of yellow field marigolds, white chamomiles, and crimson lilies. Off to the left, we passed two dining rooms: one with a table and chairs; the other, larger and more formal, with dining couches. Both had floors tiled in geometric patterns with small black and white stones. Our sleeping chamber, the cubiculum, was straight ahead, but my feet pointed to a small sitting area, an alcove recessed into the outside wall of the courtyard.


Miriam and Judah were treated to an indoor latrine and running water. Still the occasion was far from celebratory. Instead, it quickly became the opportunity for a bizarre murder and an unholy act to escape disfigurement and disgrace. To find out more, click here.


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