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Villae Maritimae as economic enterprises

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Chapter Summary

Maritime villas offered their owners a wide range of possible economic enterprises, that could be as profitable as agriculture, if not more so. The principal possible economic activity, already mentioned in the context of a discussion of the architectural features of villas, was fish-breeding. The archaeological evidence for fishpond in maritime villas indicates that most of them were built in the first century B.C., the period of the diffusion of pastio villatica in its various forms according to Pliny the Elder. One villa complex that presents archaeological evidence of fish-breeding on a very large scale, is the complex of Torre Astura, on the coast of Latium, just south of Antium. The elaborate fishponds for intensive fish-breeding displayed by many villas were clearly meant for the production of the highly sought after fresh fish, but there are few instances of coastal villas with archaeologically attested fish processing activity.

Keywords: agriculture; architectural features; economic enterprises; fish-breeding; maritime villas

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