Roman intervention in Greek political affairs resulted in conflicts that led to the destruction of Corinth in 146 B.C. and the sacking of Athens in 86 B.C. It was not until 27 B.C., however, that Augustus formally organized the Roman province of Achaea. Achaea consisted of the cities and territories of the southern Greek mainland between the Peloponnese and Thessaly, as well as Epirus in the northwest and the Ionian and some of the Aegean islands. The provincial capital was Corinth. Under Nero in the mid-1st century A.D. Epirus became a separate province, and in the mid-2nd century Thessaly was detached and added to the province of Macedonia. Under Roman domination many cities such as Athens, Sparta, Patras, and Corinth grew in size and prominence, the latter two partly owing to their importance as ports. After an initial decline in the number of rural sites in the early Empire, by the late Roman period the countryside was densely settled with farms and villas, due to changing landholding patterns and Roman improvements in agricultural and irrigation technology. The main exports from Achaea were wine, particularly from the northern Peloponnese, as well as olive oil and honey, linen and woollen textiles and marbles.
Villa of Herodes Atticus
- exedrae (site elements)
- mosaics (visual works)
- nymphaea (garden structures)
A large (20,000 sq. m.) villa on a small hill near the ancient site of Eua has been systematically excavated since the 1980s. Most of the discoveries, however, remain unpublished. Because the earliest remains date to the Flavian period and an inscription mentions the name Hipparchus, father of Herodes Atticus (103-171 A.D.), it is likely that this was family property inherited by Herodes and transformed by him into one of the most luxurious Roman estates in Greece. At the center of the plan was a large garden defined on three sides (north, south, and east) by porticoes paved in mosaics representing various mythological scenes in a continuous sequence (850 sq. m.). The numerous statues placed in the garden, representing divinities, historical characters, athletes, and philosophers, were part of a decorative program in which the sculptural and mosaic themes were linked. For example, in the north portico, in front of a mosaic depicting Menelaus holding the body of Patroclus, fragments of a statuary group representing the same subject were found (“Pasquino” type). In the south portico, a sculpture of Achilles and Penthesilea (copy of a second century B.C. original from Pergamon) was found in front of a mosaic with the same subject. Other mosaic subjects are the hunt of Aeneas and Dido, the Horai and Charites, the labors of Heracles, and cupids making wine. The eastern part of the villa had a nymphaeum and an exedra, containing six statues depicting girls, one of which dates to the fifth century B.C. The villa also had a Serapeum and an Antinoön. After the death of Herodes the villa probably became imperial property. A phase dating to the Tetrarchy is attested, and during the time of Constantine a mosaic, depicting the Circus Maximus, was added. The villa was destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 400 A.D. and by the invasions of the Goths.
From the 2nd century CE until 400 CE
- G. Ieranò, “I tesori di un intellettuale,” Archeo 6, 2001:48-53
- G. Spyropoulos, Drei Meisterwerke der griechischen Plastik aus der Villa des Herodes Atticus zu Eva/Loukou. Frankfurt-am-Main, 2001. (worldcat)
21 Apr 2021