Roman villa
Overview
 
A Roman villa is a villa
Villa
A villa was originally an ancient Roman upper-class country house. Since its origins in the Roman villa, the idea and function of a villa have evolved considerably. After the fall of the Roman Republic, villas became small farming compounds, which were increasingly fortified in Late Antiquity,...

 that was built or lived in during the Roman republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 and the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. A villa was originally a Roman
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 country house built for the upper class. According to Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

, there were two kinds of villas: the villa urbana, which was a country seat that could easily be reached from Rome (or another city) for a night or two, and the Villa rustica
Villa rustica
Villa rustica was the term used by the ancient Romans to denote a villa set in the open countryside, often as the hub of a large agricultural estate . The adjective rusticum was used to distinguish it from an urban or resort villa...

, the farm-house estate permanently occupied by the servants who had charge generally of the estate.
Encyclopedia
A Roman villa is a villa
Villa
A villa was originally an ancient Roman upper-class country house. Since its origins in the Roman villa, the idea and function of a villa have evolved considerably. After the fall of the Roman Republic, villas became small farming compounds, which were increasingly fortified in Late Antiquity,...

 that was built or lived in during the Roman republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 and the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. A villa was originally a Roman
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 country house built for the upper class. According to Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

, there were two kinds of villas: the villa urbana, which was a country seat that could easily be reached from Rome (or another city) for a night or two, and the Villa rustica
Villa rustica
Villa rustica was the term used by the ancient Romans to denote a villa set in the open countryside, often as the hub of a large agricultural estate . The adjective rusticum was used to distinguish it from an urban or resort villa...

, the farm-house estate permanently occupied by the servants who had charge generally of the estate. The villa rustica centered on the villa itself, perhaps only seasonally occupied. Under the Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 there was a concentration of Imperial villas near the Bay of Naples, especially on the Isle of Capri
Capri
Capri is an Italian island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrentine Peninsula, on the south side of the Gulf of Naples, in the Campania region of Southern Italy...

, at Monte Circeo
Mount Circeo
Monte Circeo or Cape Circeo is a mountain remaining as a promontory that marks the southwestern limit of the former Pontine Marshes. Although a headland, it was not formed by coastal erosion–as headlands are usually formed–but is a remnant of the orogenic processes that created the...

 on the coast and at Antium (Anzio
Anzio
Anzio is a city and comune on the coast of the Lazio region of Italy, about south of Rome.Well known for its seaside harbour setting, it is a fishing port and a departure point for ferries and hydroplanes to the Pontine Islands of Ponza, Palmarola and Ventotene...

). Wealthy Romans escaped the summer heat in the hills round Rome, especially around Frascati
Frascati
Frascati is a town and comune in the province of Rome in the Lazio region of central Italy. It is located south-east of Rome, on the Alban Hills close to the ancient city of Tusculum. Frascati is closely associated with science, being the location of several international scientific...

 (cf. Hadrian's Villa
Hadrian's Villa
The Hadrian's Villa is a large Roman archaeological complex at Tivoli, Italy.- History :The villa was constructed at Tibur as a retreat from Rome for Roman Emperor Hadrian during the second and third decades of the 2nd century AD...

). Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 is said to have possessed no less than seven villas, the oldest of which was near Arpinum, which he inherited. Pliny the Younger
Pliny the Younger
Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo , better known as Pliny the Younger, was a lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome. Pliny's uncle, Pliny the Elder, helped raise and educate him...

 had three or four, of which the example near Laurentium is the best known from his descriptions.


The late Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 witnessed an explosion of villa construction in Italy, especially in the years following the dictatorship of Sulla. In Etruria
Etruria
Etruria—usually referred to in Greek and Latin source texts as Tyrrhenia—was a region of Central Italy, an area that covered part of what now are Tuscany, Latium, Emilia-Romagna, and Umbria. A particularly noteworthy work dealing with Etruscan locations is D. H...

, the villa at Settefinestre
Settefinestre
Villa Settefinestre lies between Capalbio and Orbetello in Tuscany, Italy, and is the site of a late Republican Roman slave-run villa owned by the senatorial family of the Volusii, built in the 1st century BC and enlarged in the 1st century AD with a large cryptoportico. The villa was fortified at...

 has been interpreted as being one of the latifundia
Latifundia
Latifundia are pieces of property covering very large land areas. The latifundia of Roman history were great landed estates, specializing in agriculture destined for export: grain, olive oil, or wine...

, or large slave-run villas, that were involved in large-scale agricultural production. At Settefinestre and elsewhere, the central housing of such villas was not richly appointed. Other villas in the hinterland of Rome are interpreted in light of the agrarian treatises written by the elder Cato
Cato the Elder
Marcus Porcius Cato was a Roman statesman, commonly referred to as Censorius , Sapiens , Priscus , or Major, Cato the Elder, or Cato the Censor, to distinguish him from his great-grandson, Cato the Younger.He came of an ancient Plebeian family who all were noted for some...

, Columella
Columella
Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella is the most important writer on agriculture of the Roman empire. Little is known of his life. He was probably born in Gades , possibly of Roman parents. After a career in the army , he took up farming...

 and Varro
Marcus Terentius Varro
Marcus Terentius Varro was an ancient Roman scholar and writer. He is sometimes called Varro Reatinus to distinguish him from his younger contemporary Varro Atacinus.-Biography:...

, both of whom sought to define the suitable lifestyle of conservative Romans, at least in idealistic terms.

The Empire contained many kinds of villas, not all of them lavishly appointed with mosaic
Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

 floors and fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

es. Some were pleasure houses such as those— like Hadrian's Villa
Hadrian's Villa
The Hadrian's Villa is a large Roman archaeological complex at Tivoli, Italy.- History :The villa was constructed at Tibur as a retreat from Rome for Roman Emperor Hadrian during the second and third decades of the 2nd century AD...

 at Tivoli
Tivoli, Italy
Tivoli , the classical Tibur, is an ancient Italian town in Lazio, about 30 km east-north-east of Rome, at the falls of the Aniene river where it issues from the Sabine hills...

— that were sited in the cool hills within easy reach of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 or— like the Villa of the Papyri
Villa of the Papyri
The Villa of the Papyri is a private house in the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum . Situated north-west of the township, the residence sits halfway up the slope of the volcano Vesuvius without other buildings to obstruct the view. The villa suburbana was owned by Julius Caesar's father-in-law,...

 at Herculaneum
Herculaneum
Herculaneum was an ancient Roman town destroyed by volcanic pyroclastic flows in AD 79, located in the territory of the current commune of Ercolano, in the Italian region of Campania in the shadow of Mt...

— on picturesque sites overlooking the Bay of Naples. Some villas were more like the country houses of England or Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, the visible seat of power of a local magnate, such as the famous palace rediscovered at Fishbourne
Fishbourne Roman Palace
Fishbourne Roman Palace is in the village of Fishbourne in West Sussex. The large palace was built in the 1st century AD, around thirty years after the Roman conquest of Britain on the site of a Roman army supply base established at the Claudian invasion in 43 AD. The rectangular palace surrounded...

 in Sussex
Sussex
Sussex , from the Old English Sūþsēaxe , is an historic county in South East England corresponding roughly in area to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex. It is bounded on the north by Surrey, east by Kent, south by the English Channel, and west by Hampshire, and is divided for local government into West...

. Suburban villas on the edge of cities were also known, such as the Middle and Late Republican villas that encroached on the Campus Martius
Campus Martius
The Campus Martius , was a publicly owned area of ancient Rome about in extent. In the Middle Ages, it was the most populous area of Rome...

, at that time on the edge of Rome, and which can be also seen outside the city walls of Pompeii
Pompeii
The city of Pompeii is a partially buried Roman town-city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the comune of Pompei. Along with Herculaneum, Pompeii was destroyed and completely buried during a long catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius spanning...

. These early suburban villas, such as the one at Rome's Auditorium site http://www2.comune.roma.it/auditorium/ or at Grottarossa in Rome, demonstrate the antiquity and heritage of the villa suburbana in Central Italy. It is possible that these early, suburban villas were also in fact the seats of power (maybe even palaces) of regional strongmen or heads of important families (gentes). A third type of villa provided the organizational center of the large holdings called latifundia
Latifundia
Latifundia are pieces of property covering very large land areas. The latifundia of Roman history were great landed estates, specializing in agriculture destined for export: grain, olive oil, or wine...

, that produced and exported agricultural produce; such villas might be lacking in luxuries. By the 4th century, villa could simply connote an agricultural holding: Jerome
Jerome
Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

 translated the Gospel of Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

 (xiv, 32) chorion, describing the olive grove of Gethsemane
Gethsemane
Gethsemane is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem most famous as the place where, according to Biblical texts, Jesus and his disciples are said to have prayed the night before Jesus' crucifixion.- Etymology :...

, with villa, without an inference that there were any dwellings there at all (Catholic Encyclopedia "Gethsemane").

Architecture

By the first century BC, the "classic" villa took many architectural forms, with many examples employing atrium
Atrium (architecture)
In modern architecture, an atrium is a large open space, often several stories high and having a glazed roof and/or large windows, often situated within a larger multistory building and often located immediately beyond the main entrance doors...

 or peristyle
Peristyle
In Hellenistic Greek and Roman architecture a peristyle is a columned porch or open colonnade in a building surrounding a court that may contain an internal garden. Tetrastoon is another name for this feature...

, for enclosed spaces open to light and air. A villa might be quite palatial, such as the imperial villas built on seaside slopes overlooking the Bay of Naples at Baiae
Baiae
Baiae , a frazione of the comune of Bacoli) in the Campania region of Italy was a Roman seaside resort on the Bay of Naples. It was said to have been named after Baius, who was supposedly buried there. Baiae was for several hundred years a fashionable resort, especially towards the end of the Roman...

; others were preserved at Stabiae
Stabiae
Stabiae was an ancient Roman town, located close to the modern town of Castellammare di Stabia approximately 4.5 km southwest of Pompeii. It was positioned on a 50 m high headland overlooking the Gulf of Naples...

 and Herculaneum
Herculaneum
Herculaneum was an ancient Roman town destroyed by volcanic pyroclastic flows in AD 79, located in the territory of the current commune of Ercolano, in the Italian region of Campania in the shadow of Mt...

 by the ashfall and mudslide from the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, which also preserved the Villa of the Papyri
Villa of the Papyri
The Villa of the Papyri is a private house in the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum . Situated north-west of the township, the residence sits halfway up the slope of the volcano Vesuvius without other buildings to obstruct the view. The villa suburbana was owned by Julius Caesar's father-in-law,...

 and its libraries. Deeper in the countryside, even non-commercial villas were largely self-supporting with associated farms, olive groves, and vineyard
Vineyard
A vineyard is a plantation of grape-bearing vines, grown mainly for winemaking, but also raisins, table grapes and non-alcoholic grape juice...

s. Roman writers refer with satisfaction to the self-sufficiency of their villas, where they drank their own wine and pressed their own oil, a commonly used literary topos
Literary topos
Topos , in Latin locus , referred in the context of classical Greek rhetoric to a standardised method of constructing or treating an argument. See topos in classical rhetoric...

. An ideal Roman citizen was the independent farmer tilling his own land, and the agricultural writers wanted to give their readers a chance to link themselves with their ancestors through this image of self-sufficient villas. The truth was not too far from it, either, while even the profit-oriented latifundia
Latifundia
Latifundia are pieces of property covering very large land areas. The latifundia of Roman history were great landed estates, specializing in agriculture destined for export: grain, olive oil, or wine...

 probably grew enough of all the basic foodstuffs to provide for their own consumption.

Large villas dominated the rural economy of the Po valley
Po Valley
The Po Valley, Po Plain, Plain of the Po, or Padan Plain is a major geographical feature of Italy. It extends approximately in an east-west direction, with an area of 46,000 km² including its Venetic extension not actually related to the Po River basin; it runs from the Western Alps to the...

, Campania
Campania
Campania is a region in southern Italy. The region has a population of around 5.8 million people, making it the second-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km² makes it the most densely populated region in the country...

, and Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, and were also found in Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

. Villas specializing in the sea-going export of olive oil
Olive oil
Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

 to Roman legion
Roman legion
A Roman legion normally indicates the basic ancient Roman army unit recruited specifically from Roman citizens. The organization of legions varied greatly over time but they were typically composed of perhaps 5,000 soldiers, divided into maniples and later into "cohorts"...

s in Germany were a feature of the southern Iberian province of Hispania Baetica
Hispania Baetica
Hispania Baetica was one of three Imperial Roman provinces in Hispania, . Hispania Baetica was bordered to the west by Lusitania, and to the northeast by Hispania Tarraconensis. Baetica was part of Al-Andalus under the Moors in the 8th century and approximately corresponds to modern Andalucia...

. Some luxurious villas have been excavated in North Africa in the provinces of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and Numidia
Numidia
Numidia was an ancient Berber kingdom in part of present-day Eastern Algeria and Western Tunisia in North Africa. It is known today as the Chawi-land, the land of the Chawi people , the direct descendants of the historical Numidians or the Massyles The kingdom began as a sovereign state and later...

, or at Fishbourne
Fishbourne
-United Kingdom:* Fishbourne, Isle of Wight, a village* Fishbourne, West Sussex, a village.* Fishbourne Roman Palace, an archaeological site in West Sussex....

 in Britannia.

Certain areas within easy reach of Rome offered cool lodgings in the heat of summer. Maecenas asked what kind of house could possibly be suitable at all seasons. The emperor Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

 had a villa at Tibur (Tivoli
Tivoli, Italy
Tivoli , the classical Tibur, is an ancient Italian town in Lazio, about 30 km east-north-east of Rome, at the falls of the Aniene river where it issues from the Sabine hills...

), in an area that was popular with Romans of rank. Hadrian's Villa
Hadrian's Villa
The Hadrian's Villa is a large Roman archaeological complex at Tivoli, Italy.- History :The villa was constructed at Tibur as a retreat from Rome for Roman Emperor Hadrian during the second and third decades of the 2nd century AD...

 (123
123
Year 123 was a common year starting on Thursday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Paetinus and Apronianus...

 AD) was more like a palace, as Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

's palace, his Domus Aurea
Domus Aurea
The Domus Aurea was a large landscaped portico villa, designed to take advantage of artificially created landscapes built in the heart of Ancient Rome by the Emperor Nero after the Great Fire of Rome had cleared away the aristocratic dwellings on the slopes of the Palatine...

 on the Palatine Hill
Palatine Hill
The Palatine Hill is the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city...

 in Rome, was disposed in groupings in a planned rustic landscape, more like a villa. Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 had several villas. Pliny the Younger
Pliny the Younger
Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo , better known as Pliny the Younger, was a lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome. Pliny's uncle, Pliny the Elder, helped raise and educate him...

 described his villas in his letters. The Romans invented the seaside villa: a vignette in a frescoed wall at the house of Lucretius Fronto in Pompeii still shows a row of seafront pleasure houses, all with porticos along the front, some rising up in porticoed tiers to an altana at the top that would catch a breeze on the most stifling evenings (Veyne 1987 ill. p 152)

Late Roman owners of villae had luxuries like hypocaust
Hypocaust
A hypocaust was an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air. The word derives from the Ancient Greek hypo meaning "under" and caust-, meaning "burnt"...

-heated rooms with mosaic
Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

 floors. As the Roman Empire collapsed
Decline of the Roman Empire
The decline of the Roman Empire refers to the gradual societal collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Many theories of causality prevail, but most concern the disintegration of political, economic, military, and other social institutions, in tandem with foreign invasions and usurpers from within the...

 in the fourth and fifth centuries, the rustic villas were more and more isolated and came to be protected by walls. Though in England the villas were abandoned, looted, and burned by Anglo-Saxon invaders in the fifth century, in other areas large working villas were donated by aristocrats and territorial magnates to individual monks, often to become the nucleus of famous monasteries
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

. In this way, the villa system of late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed...

 was preserved into the Early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages
The Early Middle Ages was the period of European history lasting from the 5th century to approximately 1000. The Early Middle Ages followed the decline of the Western Roman Empire and preceded the High Middle Ages...

. Saint Benedict
Benedict of Nursia
Saint Benedict of Nursia is a Christian saint, honored by the Roman Catholic Church as the patron saint of Europe and students.Benedict founded twelve communities for monks at Subiaco, about to the east of Rome, before moving to Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy. There is no...

 established his influential monastery of Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino is a rocky hill about southeast of Rome, Italy, c. to the west of the town of Cassino and altitude. St. Benedict of Nursia established his first monastery, the source of the Benedictine Order, here around 529. It was the site of Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944...

 in the ruins of a villa at Subiaco that had belonged to Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

; Around 590, Saint Eligius
Saint Eligius
Saint Eligius is the patron saint of goldsmiths, other metalworkers, and coin collectors. He is also the patron saint of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers , a corps of the British Army, but he is best known for being the patron saint of horses and those who work with them...

 was born in a highly-placed Gallo-Roman family at the 'villa' of Chaptelat near Limoges
Limoges
Limoges |Limousin]] dialect of Occitan) is a city and commune, the capital of the Haute-Vienne department and the administrative capital of the Limousin région in west-central France....

, in Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

. The abbey at Stavelot
Stavelot
Stavelot is a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Liège. On January 1, 2006, Stavelot had a total population of 6,671. The total area is 85.07 km² which gives a population density of 78 inhabitants per km².-History:...

 was founded ca 650 on the domain of a former villa near Liège
Liège
Liège is a major city and municipality of Belgium located in the province of Liège, of which it is the economic capital, in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium....

 and the abbey of Vézelay
Vézelay
Vézelay is a commune in the Yonne department in Burgundy in north-central France. It is a defendable hill town famous for Vézelay Abbey. The town and the Basilica of St Magdelene are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites....

 had a similar founding. As late as 698, Willibrord
Willibrord
__notoc__Willibrord was a Northumbrian missionary saint, known as the "Apostle to the Frisians" in the modern Netherlands...

 established an abbey at a Roman villa of Echternach
Echternach
Echternach is a commune with city status in the canton of Echternach, which is part of the district of Grevenmacher, in eastern Luxembourg. Echternach lies near the border with Germany, and is the oldest town in Luxembourg....

, in Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 near Trier
Trier
Trier, historically called in English Treves is a city in Germany on the banks of the Moselle. It is the oldest city in Germany, founded in or before 16 BC....

, which was presented to him by Irmina, daughter of Dagobert II
Dagobert II
Dagobert II was the king of Austrasia , the son of Sigebert III and Chimnechild of Burgundy. The Feast Date of St Dagobert II is 23 December -Biography:...

, king of the Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

.

Examples of Roman villas

  • Hadrian's Villa
    Hadrian's Villa
    The Hadrian's Villa is a large Roman archaeological complex at Tivoli, Italy.- History :The villa was constructed at Tibur as a retreat from Rome for Roman Emperor Hadrian during the second and third decades of the 2nd century AD...

     at Tivoli, Italy
  • Villa Armira
    Villa Armira
    Villa Armira is a 1st-century suburban Roman villa in southeastern Bulgaria, located in the proximity of Ivaylovgrad, Haskovo Province. Discovered in 1964 during reservoir construction, it is a primary historical attraction to the Ivaylovgrad area. It is classified as a monument of culture of...

     near Ivaylovgrad, Bulgaria
  • "House of Antiope" at the Museum of Mosaics
    Museum of Mosaics, Devnya
    The Museum of Mosaics is a museum in the town of Devnya in Varna Province, northeastern Bulgaria. The museum, built on top of a large ruined Roman villa from Late Antiquity, exhibits mosaics from the Roman and early Byzantine city of Marcianopolis, as well as other archaeological artifacts.-Villa...

     in Devnya, Bulgaria
  • Fishbourne Roman Palace
    Fishbourne Roman Palace
    Fishbourne Roman Palace is in the village of Fishbourne in West Sussex. The large palace was built in the 1st century AD, around thirty years after the Roman conquest of Britain on the site of a Roman army supply base established at the Claudian invasion in 43 AD. The rectangular palace surrounded...

     and Bignor Roman Villa
    Bignor Roman Villa
    Bignor Roman Villa is a large Roman courtyard villa which has been excavated and put on public display on the Bignor estate in the English county of West Sussex...

     in West Sussex, England
  • Lullingstone Roman Villa
    Lullingstone Roman villa
    Lullingstone Roman Villa is a villa built during the Roman occupation of Britain, situated near the village of Eynsford in Kent, south eastern England....

     in Kent, England
  • Villa Romana del Casale
    Villa Romana del Casale
    Villa Romana del Casale is a Roman villa built in the first quarter of the 4th century and located about 5 km outside the town of Piazza Armerina, Sicily, southern Italy...

     in Piazza Armerina, Sicily, Italy
  • Chedworth Roman Villa
    Chedworth Roman Villa
    Chedworth Roman Villa is a Roman villa located at Chedworth, Gloucestershire, England. It is one of the largest Roman villas in Britain.-Siting:...

     in Gloucestershire
  • Littlecote Roman Villa
    Littlecote Roman Villa
    Littlecote Roman Villa is a Roman winged corridor villa and associated religious complex at Littlecote Park in the civil parish of Ramsbury in the English county of Wiltshire...

     in Wiltshire
  • Villa Rumana in Rabat, Malta
  • Villa of the Mysteries
    Villa of the Mysteries
    The Villa of the Mysteries or Villa dei Misteri is a well preserved ruin of a Roman Villa which lies some 400 metres northwest of Pompeii, southern Italy.-Overview:...

    , Pompeii
  • House of Menander
    House of Menander
    The House of Menander is a building in Pompeii, Italy. It is located in the southern half of the town, just northeast of the Little and Large Theaters, as well as the Gladiators’ barracks...

    , Pompeii
  • List of Roman villas in Belgium
  • La Olmeda Roman Villa in Palencia, Spain
  • Roman Villa Borg
    Roman Villa Borg
    The Roman Villa Borg is a reconstructed Roman villa rustica located near the villages of Borg and Oberleuken in the municipality of Perl in Saarland, Germany. Discovered at the end of the 19th century, the site was excavated in the late 1980s. Reconstruction work, which began in the mid 1990s, was...

    , Germany

Architecture of the villa complex

Upper class, wealthy Roman citizens in the countryside around Rome and throughout the Empire lived in villa-complexes, the accommodation for rural farms. The villa-complex consisted of three parts.

The villa urbana where the owner and his family lived. This would be similar to the wealthy-person's in the city and would have painted walls.

The villa rustica where the staff and slaves of the villa worked and lived. This was also the living quarters for the farm's animals. There would usually be other rooms here that might be used as store rooms, a hospital and even a prison.

The villa fructuaria would be the storage rooms.These would be where the products of the farm were stored ready for transport to buyers. Storage rooms here would have been used for oil, wine, grain, grapes and any other produce of the villa. Other rooms in the villa might include an office, a temple for worship, several bedrooms, a dining room and a kitchen.

Villas were often plumbed
Plumbing
Plumbing is the system of pipes and drains installed in a building for the distribution of potable drinking water and the removal of waterborne wastes, and the skilled trade of working with pipes, tubing and plumbing fixtures in such systems. A plumber is someone who installs or repairs piping...

 with running water and many would have had under-floor central heating from a hypocaust
Hypocaust
A hypocaust was an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air. The word derives from the Ancient Greek hypo meaning "under" and caust-, meaning "burnt"...

.

Further reading

  • Branigan, Keith 1977. The Roman villa in South-West England
  • Hodges, Richard, and Riccardo Francovich 2003. Villa to Village: The Transformation of the Roman Countryside (Duckworth Debates in Archaeology)
  • Frazer, Alfred, editor. The Roman Villa: Villa Urbana (Williams Symposium on Classical Architecture, University of Pennsylvania, 1990)
  • Johnston, David E. 2004. Roman Villas
  • McKay, Alexander G. 1998. Houses, Villas, and Palaces in the Roman World
  • Percival, John 1981. The Roman Villa: A Historical Introduction
  • du Prey, Pierre de la Ruffiniere 1995. The Villas of Pliny from Antiquity to Posterity
  • Rivert, A. L. F. 1969. The Roman villa in Britain (Studies in ancient history and archaeology)
  • Shuter, Jane 2004. Life in a Roman Villa (series Picture the Past)
  • Smith, J.T. 1998. Roman Villas'
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK