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A Roman Villa near Anguillara Sabazia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 August 2013

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Extract

Investigations at the site of the Mura di Santo Stefano near Anguillara began as a study of the standing remains of the Roman period by the two authors of the present paper. Subsequently it became clear that some of the problems involved could only be elucidated by the excavation of selected areas of the site and more extensive researches. As a result a more general publication about the site is envisaged and further work is in progress, including a study of the inscriptions by Miss J. M. Reynolds, and of the classical and medieval settlement of the area by Dr. A. T. Luttrell. Excavations on the site conducted by Dr. D. Whitehouse commenced in September 1977, with financial support from the British Academy, the British Museum, the British School at Rome, and the University of Adelaide.

The present authors wish to thank Professor H. Burns, who generously advised on problems connected with the drawings and text of Ligorio and Palladio, and T. F. C. Blagg who produced the drawing of the south wall, and added a number of useful observations.

The British Academy, the British Museum, and the University of Adelaide generously made contributions to the expenses incurred in carrying out these researches.

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Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British School at Rome 1977

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References

1 The Mura di Santo Stefano lie 2 km. NE of the farmhouse Le Crocicchie at Km. 14 on the modern Via Clodia, and about 1½ km. NE of the track of the ancient Via Clodia. For divergences between the routes of the ancient and modern roads see Ward-Perkins, J., ‘Southern Etruria and the Ager Veientanus’, PBSR, xxiii (1955), 5869, esp. fig. 7Google Scholar.

2 Ward-Perkins, J., PBSR, xxiii (1955), 66Google Scholar, ‘on the adjoining ridges are the remains of several smaller sites the agricultural purpose of which is attested by numerous fragments of dolia’.

3 The fullest published account of the church is given by Nibby, A. (Analisi della Carta de' Dintorni di Roma, I, 1st ed., Rome, 1837, 152)Google Scholar, who dates the apse to the eighth century. Dr. David White-house will publish an interim report on the excavation of the church undertaken in 1977.

For the sake of convenience throughout the account of the site the main block is described as if it faced south, although in fact it faces south-south-west; see Figs. 1 and 3.

For a plan of the site showing the apse and cistern in relation to the main block (although the N. point is incorrect), see Ashby, T., ‘Ancient Remains near the Via Clodia’, Röm. Mitt., xxii (1907), fig. 2Google Scholar.

4 Opus signinum is a type of plaster made of potsherds and lime suitable for lining surfaces subjected to damp, e.g. cisterns and bath ceilings: Blake, M. E., Ancient Roman Construction in Italy from the Prehistoric Period to Augustus, Washington, 1947, 322–3Google Scholar. For concrete faced with alternating rows of bricks and small stone blocks see Lugli, G., La tecnica edilizia romana, I, Rome, 1957, 643–55Google Scholar.

5 For the drawings by Palladio see Zorzi, G., Disegni delle Antichità di Andrea Palladio, Venice, 1959, figs. 247, 248 and p. 100Google Scholar. The drawings by Ligorio are part of a manuscript in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, Cod. Canonici Ital. 138, which are reproduced as Plates XXXV–XXXVIII and XLIIb and are discussed infra, p. 244–7.

6 See Ashby, , Röm. Mitt., xxii (1907), 313323Google Scholar, Lugli, , Tecnica edilizia romana, I, 577–8Google Scholar, and II note on pl. clxxx; and Ward-Perkins, , PSBR, xxiii (1955), 66Google Scholar.

7 See Ashby, op. cit., 313, note 2, who, from the type of brick, was ‘inclined to attribute the building to a period not later than the first half of the second century A.D.’. Lugli, op. cit. I, 577, dated construction to the reign of Hadrian (117–138 A.D.), or of Antoninus Pius (138–161 A.D.); Ward-Perkins, , PBSR, xxiii (1955), 66Google Scholar, suggested ‘a date rather later than Hadrian’, comparing the decorative brickwork to that of wealthy mausolea of the third quarter of the second century A.D.

8 Ashby, op. cit., 320–3; Lugli, op. cit., I, 577; Ward-Perkins, op. cit., 66; Boëthius, A., The Golden House of Nero, Ann Arbor, 1960, 178–9Google Scholar.

9 Further excavations of this site are planned under the direction of Dr. David Whitehouse.

10 Some sections of this survey have already been published, such as Kahane, A., Threipland, L. M., Ward-Perkins, J., ‘The Ager Veientanus’, PBSR, xxxvi (1968)Google Scholar, and Hemphill, P., ‘The Cassia–Clodia Survey’, PBSR, xliii (1975), 118–72Google Scholar.

11 See note 5 above.

12 A substantial part of one of these inscriptions has now been found. See further below page 249 and Plate XXXV.

13 See for example Strong, D., Burlington Magazine, cvi (1964), 384–5Google Scholar, reviewing Pirro Ligorio's Roman Antiquities, by E. Mandowsky and C. Mitchell.

14 Bodleian, , Cod. Canonici Ital. 138, fGoogle Scholar. 119v: ‘Egli ha primieramente verso mezo giorno l'entrare, alla destra alla porta sta la sua scala, la sinistra fa un spatio che le fa andito o portichetto, largo nove piedi. Da quivi s'entra in quel luogo quadrato … È da havertire, che colui fece la scala e il portico verso mezo giorno, accio che il muro di fuori del portico defendesse quel di dentro dal vento del mezzo di; accio che le stanze non piglissero mal aria, questo è quanto alla parte disotto. Sallita la scala si truova una loggetta che sta sopra al detto portichetto’.

We are indebted to Dr. A. de la Mare of the Bodleian Library for checking the transcription of the manuscript.

15 Cod. Canonici Ital. 138, f. 112r: ‘Si veden’ per terra molti pezzi di colonne di marmo’.

16 See Boëthius, Golden House of Nero, fig. 104, and Lugli, , Tecnica edilizia romana, II, pl. CLXXX, fig. 1Google Scholar.

17 Ashby, , Röm. Mitt., xxii (1907), 316Google Scholar.

18 For a description of different types of Roman bricks see Lugli, , Tecnica edilizia romana, I, 541–51Google Scholar.

19 For a list of the types of marble found on the site see Hemphill, , ‘The Cassia–Clodia Survey’, PBSR, xliii (1975), 153, Site 117Google Scholar.

20 Cod. Canonici Ital. 138, f. 119v: ‘… quel luogo quadrato, qual era coperto tutto, et la sua volta era sustentata da quattro pilastri’.

21 Cod. Canonici Ital. 138, f. 122v: ‘et nel mezzo haveva un scoperto qual circuiva quaranta quattro piedi, questa è la parte di mezzo’.

22 Cod. Canonici Ital. 138, f. 119v: ‘al parer mio questa stanza non serviva ad altro che per ambulatorio o Atrio per starvi a spasso’.

23 In bath buildings the span of the vaults was sometimes reduced by the use of free-standing columns adjacent to the walls, e.g. the Baths of Diocletian and the Baths of Constantine: Krencker, D., Die Trierer Kaiserthermen I, Augsburg, 1929, figs. 412, 422aGoogle Scholar.

24 Cod. Canonici Ital. 138, f. 112v: ‘Se veden’ per terra molti pezzi di colonne di marmo. et anco questo capitello segnato. Q. ch' era inopera in questo luogho, ma in qual parte della villa non so io: È molto eccellentamente lavorato con questi intagli’.

25 See note 16 above.

26 Röm. Mitt., xxii (1907), fig. 4 and p. 316Google Scholar.

27 Supra page 232 and note 14.

28 Cod. Canonici Ital. 138, f. 119v, 122v: ‘Sallita la scala si truova una loggetta che sta sopra al detto portichetto et dilà s' entra poi nelle stanze, che sono otto, et per ogni verso è ciascuna XI piedi antichi. Come mostrarò per quest' altra pianta che viene a stare sopra alla narrata disotto. et nel mezzo haveva un scoperto qual circuiva quaranta quattro piedi, questa è la parte di mezzo, per cio che sopra di queste fa altre tanto, con le sue loggette. Et per che meglio s' intenda, di quanto si è parlato ho posto qui il proffilo, cioè una metà della parte di dentro, il segno. A. è quella della seconda logia, il. B. è della parte di mezzo il C è della prima parte atterreno’.

29 In the collection of T. Ashby's photographs in the British School at Rome.

30 Access to the highest flight of stairs was presumably by means of a wooden landing projecting from the top floor loggia over the first flight of stairs from the middle to the top floor. Holes for timbers to support a landing are visible on the face of the S. wall (see Fig. 2). The aperture at the foot of the highest staircase suggests these stairs were also accessible from the adjacent room.

Towers were sometimes found in Roman villas; see liny's description of his Laurentian villa, Letters, II, xviiGoogle Scholar.

31 Ribbing also occurs in the nearly contemporary villa at Sette Bassi: Ashby, T., ‘Classical Topography of the Roman Campagna’, PBSR, iv (1907), 105Google Scholar; Lupu, N., ‘La Villa di Sette Bassi sulla Via Latina, Eph. Dac., vii (1937), 155Google Scholar.

32 Meiggs, R., Roman Ostia, Oxford, 1973, 240Google Scholar.

33 Boëthius, Golden House of Nero, fig. 104; Lugli, , Tecnica edilizia romana, II, pl. CLXXX, 1Google Scholar.

34 Meiggs, R., Roman Ostia, 240Google Scholar, and Blake, M. E., Roman Construction in Italy from Nerva through the Antonines, Philadelphia, 1973, 164, pl. 24, fig. 4Google Scholar.

35 Nash, E., Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Rome, II, London, 1968, 170, pl. 896Google Scholar.

36 Lugli, op. cit., II, pl. CLXXV, fig. 2; Blake, op. cit., pl. 18, fig. 2; Scavi di Ostia, vii, = Pensabene, P., I Capitelli, Rome, 1974, pl. LXX, figs. 747, 749Google Scholar.

37 Mandowsky, E. and Mitchell, C., Pirro Ligorio's Roman Antiquities, London, 1963, 2 ffGoogle Scholar.

38 For evidence of Ligorio's early antiquarian researches see Mandowsky and Mitchell, op. cit., p. 3 note 1. We are indebted to Dr. A. Luttrell for information about the probable date of Ligorio's visit to the Mura. For Ashby's date see The Bodleian MS. of Pirro Ligorio’, JRS, ix (1919), 171–2Google Scholar.

39 This manuscript was purchased by the Bodleian Library from the heirs of Abate Matteo Luigi Canonici, a Venetian, in 1817: Mitchell, J. B., in Bodleian Library Record, viii (19671972), 125 ffGoogle Scholar. The folios described here measure c. 440 × 290 cms.

40 Cod. Canonici Ital. 138, f. 119v: ‘… credo che esso sia Villa di Caio Cecilio cavalier Romano, come le infra scritte inscrittioni qua poste dichiarano; per ciò che l' ho copiate in marmi, che sono in questo luogo: parte sono di sepolchri, et parte d' altre cose; et si trovano raunate in una chiesa ch'è nella villa ch'è chimata san stephano’. Part of one inscription has been found in Anguillara; see below page 249 and Plate XLIVb.

41 This cistern is built of brick-faced concrete similar to that of the Mura di Santo Stefano rectangular block: Ward-Perkins, , PBSR, xxiii (1955), 66Google Scholar, note 27. It should be identified with site 125 in Hemphill, 's ‘Cassia–Clodia Survey’, PBSR, xliii (1975), 153Google Scholar. There are indications that it was the site of another villa.

42 Disegni delle Antichità di A. Palladio, 29. For contacts between Ligorio and Palladio see Burns, H.. ‘I disegni del Palladio’, Boll. del Centro Internazionale di Studi Architettura Andrea Palladio, xv (1973), 173Google Scholar.

43 Burns, H., Andrea Palladio, Arts Council Exhibition Catalogue, London, 1975, 268Google Scholar.

44 For Palladio's use of the antique foot see Burns, , Andrea Palladio, Exhibition Catalogue, 111Google Scholar.

45 I disegni del Palladio’, Boll. del Centro di Studi di Architettura A. Palladio, xv (1973), 169–71Google Scholar.

46 We owe this observation to Dr. A. Luttrell. Palladio's separation of the drawing of the ornamental decoration of the capital from the profile of the mouldings misled Zorzi into thinking that Palladio was representing two capitals, one Corinthian and one Doric: Disegni delle Antichità di A. Palladio, 100, note on fig. 248.

47 JRS, ix (1919), 170Google Scholar. However, Ligorio's drawing of the windows on the stairs (Plate XXXVIII), does appear incorrect.

48 Ashby, , Röm. Mitt., xxii (1907), fig. 2Google Scholar, where the piers are marked on the ground plan of the building in dotted lines, and are incorrectly placed so as to divide the room into 9 equal bays.

49 See schematic plans in Wittkower, R., Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism, London, 1952, 65, fig. 8Google Scholar: Villa Thiene, Cicogna; Villa Sarego, Miega; Villa Pisani, Montagnana.

50 Analisi della Carta de'Dintorni di Roma, i, 146Google Scholar.

51 See von Mercklin, E., Antike Figuralkapitelle, Berlin, 1962, 296 and fig. 1345CrossRefGoogle Scholar. We owe this reference to T. F. C. Blagg.

52 If the ruins of the Mura di S. Stefano were known at this earlier date one might speculate that its articulation with pilasters could have influenced the design of palace facades, e.g. the Cancelleria in Rome.

53 Aurigemma, S., Villa Adriana, Rome, 1962, 76–7, fig. 52Google Scholar; E. von Mercklin, op. cit., 215, figs. 997–1000.

54 The extensive study of capitals with leaves in place of volutes by K. Ronczewski does not provide any examples comparable to the capitals of the Mura: Romische Kapitelle mit pflanzlichen Voluten’, JDAI, xlvi (1931), AA, col. 1–102Google Scholar.

55 See above note 7.

56 Blake, , Roman Construction from Nerva through the Antonines, 129, pl. 16, 1Google Scholar. For further illustrations, see Boëthius, A. and Ward-Perkins, J., Etruscan and Roman Architecture, Harmondsworth, 1970, pls. 125, 146Google Scholar.

57 Lugli, , Tecnica edilizia romana, II, pl. CLXXX iii, 3Google Scholar, Blake, , Roman Construction from Nerva through the Antonines, 132, pl. 16, 4Google Scholar; p. 135, pl. 16, 3.

58 Scavi di Ostia, vii, = Pensabene, P., I Capitelli, pl. LXX no. 756 and p. 178–9Google Scholar.

59 Scavi di Ostia, vii, I Capitelli, pl. LXX nos. 747, 749.

60 Meiggs, , Roman Ostia, 542Google Scholar.

61 For a description of the N. wing of the Villa of Sette Bassi see Lupu, , Eph. Dac., vii (1937), 151 ffGoogle Scholar. The date has been disputed. Lupu (op. cit., 151–3), thought it post-Antonine, but the collapse of masonry in 1951 showed brick-stamps dated from 134 to 150 A.D. had been incorporated in the wall. Therefore a date slightly after 150 A.D. is now proposed for this part of the villa (Blake, , Roman Construction in Italy from Nerva through the Antonines, 106–7Google Scholar).

62 Miss J. M. Reynolds has kindly undertaken to study these inscriptions. We are indebted to her for preliminary notes on them. For previous publication see CIL, xi, Pars I, nos. 446*–448*.

63 In addition to the references given in note 8, Lugli, G. also discussed the function of this building in ‘Due singolari monumenti della Gallia romana’, in Saggi di Storia dell' Archittetura in onore di Vicenzo Fasolo, Rome, 1961, 27Google Scholar.

64 Rickman, G., Roman Granaries and Store Buildings, Cambridge, 1971, 148Google Scholar; for a detailed description of the Horrea Epagathiana see 30 ff.

65 Rickman, op. cit., 29, 39.

66 See above note 63.

67 Ward-Perkins, , PBSR, xxiii (1955), 66Google Scholar; Hemphill, , PBSR, xliii (1975), 152–3Google Scholar. For the importance of roads in the siting of villas see Kahane, , Threipland, , Ward-Perkins, , PBSR, xxxvi (1968), 157Google Scholar.

68 Letters, II, 17, 2Google Scholar.

69 e.g. the Casalaccio villa in the Ager Veientanus (Kahane, Threipland, Ward-Perkins, op. cit., 139–44).

70 See Meiggs, , Roman Ostia, 544–5Google Scholar, for examples of block and brick construction at Ostia dating from the second century A.D. onwards. For this type of construction in general, see Lugli, , Tecnica edilizia, I, 643–55Google Scholar.

71 Pliny, , Letters, II, 17, 11Google Scholar; Lupu, , Eph. Dac., vii (1937), 156–7, fig. 34Google Scholar.

72 Compare the large windows in the north wing of the Villa of Sette Bassi, Lupu, op. cit., 160, fig. 38.

73 Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Lucius Verus, VIII, 8Google Scholar.

74 Antiche ville suburbane’, Bulletino della Comm. Arch. Comunale di Roma, li (1924), 47 ffGoogle Scholar, pls. I and II.

75 For the inscription from S. Stefano see above note 62. For the owners of Sette Bassi see Lupu, op. cit., 118, and for the owners of the Villa of the Quintilii see Ashby, T., ‘La Villa dei Quintilii’, Ausonia, iv (1909), 50–1Google Scholar.

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