REBECCA MCKIE, SESSION 4 2012Roman Villa’s and Estates    Villa of Oplontis, Italy
What were they? Large estates in the country- traditionally with a  strong focus on agriculture and farming. Luxury retr...
Functions Varied functions can be seen through archaeology.  Remains of buildings show three areas mentioned by  writers ...
Villa at Settefinestre, Italy
Functions: Agricultural Subsistence farming (to support inhabitants) Mass production for profit- often of key cash crops...
Balaeric islands- agricultural villas Villas specializing in the sea-going export of olive  oil to Roman legions in Germa...
Function: Leisure                              Villa itself also a place for                               the pursuit of...
Leisure- early empire Luxury villas of the late  republic and early empire  had very luxurious  residential quarters. Vi...
Luxury Villas    Some estates were purely     luxurious such as Hadrians     villa at Tivoli    Very ostentatious with  ...
Villas- late empire This dual aspect of villas continued into the late empire. Luxuries in late villas such as hypocaust...
Development of the villa The ideology behind the villa and many key elements  remained into the late empire, but there we...
Development of the villa Even during the collapse of the roman empire in the  fourth and fifth centuries the villa system...
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Session no. 4, 2012: Rebecca McKie: Roman villa’s and estates

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Session no. 4, 2012: Rebecca McKie: Roman villa’s and estates

  1. 1. REBECCA MCKIE, SESSION 4 2012Roman Villa’s and Estates Villa of Oplontis, Italy
  2. 2. What were they? Large estates in the country- traditionally with a strong focus on agriculture and farming. Luxury retreats for elite citizens- with many luxury villas across the empire with a focus on leisure and displays of wealth and power. Many slave-run estates with huge productive capacities. Villas of the late empire focused most on production, providing the organizational centre of the large holdings called latifundia, that produced and exported agricultural produce.
  3. 3. Functions Varied functions can be seen through archaeology. Remains of buildings show three areas mentioned by writers of agricultural manuals: Pars urbana- residential quarter, often very luxurious with features of the Domus or Roman town house. Pars rustica- working and productive quarters, could have wine presses, stables etc. Pars fructaria- storage areas.
  4. 4. Villa at Settefinestre, Italy
  5. 5. Functions: Agricultural Subsistence farming (to support inhabitants) Mass production for profit- often of key cash crops such as oil and wine. Wine and oil vats and presses discovered in many villas of the early empire, such as at Settefinestre which could produce many thousands of litres of wine a year. profit-oriented latifundia of late empire probably grew enough of all the basic foodstuffs to provide for their own consumption.
  6. 6. Balaeric islands- agricultural villas Villas specializing in the sea-going export of olive oil to Roman legions in Germany were a feature of the southern Iberian province of Hispania Baetica. Olive oil was a key cash crop which was produced in vast quantities in villa estates and exported for profit.
  7. 7. Function: Leisure  Villa itself also a place for the pursuit of Otium- Roman idea of time for recreational and academic activities.  Villas began to include greater spaces for relaxation and luxury with the pars urbana having lotsVilla of oplontis of decoration and spaces for relaxation and entertainment.
  8. 8. Leisure- early empire Luxury villas of the late republic and early empire had very luxurious residential quarters. Villa of the mysteries in Pompeii (built end of the republic, refurbished 1st Century AD) had a very decorated pars urbana with many fresco’s and mosaics.
  9. 9. Luxury Villas  Some estates were purely luxurious such as Hadrians villa at Tivoli  Very ostentatious with different building complexes spread over different terraces, palatial in style.  Many entertaining spaces and fantastic architecture, as well as many sculptures, water features etc.
  10. 10. Villas- late empire This dual aspect of villas continued into the late empire. Luxuries in late villas such as hypocaust-heated rooms and mosaics. This can be seen in the late roman villa at La Olmeda in the province of Palencia (now Castile and Leon, Spain)
  11. 11. Development of the villa The ideology behind the villa and many key elements remained into the late empire, but there were also various changes. The increasing manumittence of slaves led to a shift from large slave-run estates to estates run by lords with the land worked by peasant farmers dependant on them.
  12. 12. Development of the villa Even during the collapse of the roman empire in the fourth and fifth centuries the villa system continued. The villa systems of late antiquity survived into the middle ages as many working villas were donated to famous monks becoming nuclei of monasteries. Despite the changes that underwent the basic concept still remained- of the villa as a place primarily for large scale production, but also as a luxurious retreat and place of display.

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