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Title: Villae expolitae: aspects of the architecture and culture of Roman country houses on the bay of Naples (c. 100 BCE - 79 CE)
Author: Zarmakoupi, Mantha
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2007
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This study combines a design analysis of Roman luxury villa architecture with a cultural analysis of Roman luxury villa lifestyle to shed light on the villas' architectural design as a dynamic process related to cultural, social as well as environmental factors. Roman luxury country houses articulated a novel architectural language that Roman designers developed by appropriating the existing stylistic and thematic vocabularies of Hellenistic and Roman architecture. The present analysis ofluxury villa architecture seeks to describe and explain the ways in which architecture accommodated the lifestyle of educated leisure, the lifestyle aIa grecque, and the appreciation of landscape; and how, in doing so, architecture was instrumental in the construction of the identity of the cultural phenomenon itself and became an agent of Romans' cultural identity. In their effort to accommodate the Greek style Romans created something completely unprecedented and intrinsically Roman. Five villas from around the bay ofNaples (circa 100 BCE - 79 CE) are the focus of this study, but examples are drawn from a wider corpus of evidence. The first chapter outlines the luxury villa cultural phenomenon, assesses the previous scholarship, addresses the scope of this study and introduces the five case studies. Chapters two. through five focus on four architectural structures and/or features within the villas to discuss them as generating spaces for the life led in them - the life that was intertwined and became identified with the luxury villa trend: porticus and cryptoporticus (chapter two), peristylia/porticus and gardens (chapter three), water features (chapter four) and dining facilities (chapter five). The final chapter analyzes the architectural design concerns and priorities to which the four architectural structures or features were related, and explicates the ways in which designers responded to them.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Oxford University, 2007 Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available