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Villas And Aquatic Culture In Late Roman Spain

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Chapter Summary

Spanish cities, towns, and dwellings have long been situated in intimate contact with water sources. This chapter explores the aquatic elements of villa architecture in Roman Spain, with an emphasis on the achievements of late Roman designers. This essay has surveyed only a few of the many water features to be found in Spanish villas, and has attempted to demonstrate the exceedingly rich range of associations linked by the subject of water in late Roman domestic design. These features are examined in greater detail in a discussion of an excavated dining hall in a late Spanish villa, where the proprietor created a watery architectural setting that was enhanced by carefully chosen sculptures on aquatic themes. The stibadium became the preferred form of dining furniture in the late Empire, eventually replacing the traditional three couches that had defined the triclinium.

Keywords: aquatic culture; late Roman designers; Spanish villa; Triclinium



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