Villa of the Quintilii

Last updated
Villa of the Quintilii
Villa dei Quintili

Villa quintili.jpg

Ruins of the Villa dei Quintili.
Location map Italy Rome.png
Archaeological site icon (red).svg
Shown within Rome
Location Rome, Italy
Region Lazio
Coordinates 41°49′49.72″N12°33′5.11″E / 41.8304778°N 12.5514194°E / 41.8304778; 12.5514194 Coordinates: 41°49′49.72″N12°33′5.11″E / 41.8304778°N 12.5514194°E / 41.8304778; 12.5514194
Type Dwelling
History
Periods Roman Imperial
Cultures Roman
Site notes
Condition Ruined
Ownership Public
Public access Yes
Website Official website

The Villa of the Quintilii (Italian: Villa dei Quintili) is an ancient Roman villa beyond the fifth milestone along the Via Appia Antica just outside the traditional boundaries of Rome, [1] Italy. It was built by the rich and cultured brothers Sextus Quintilius Valerius Maximus and Sextus Quintilius Condianus (consuls in 151 AD). [2]

Roman villa type of rural settlement of ancient Rome without walling

A Roman villa was a country house built for the upper class in the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, similar in form to the hacienda estates in the colonies of the Spanish Empire.

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.

The ruins of this villa suburbana are of such an extent that when they were first excavated, the site was called Roma Vecchia ("Old Rome") by the locals, as they occupied too great a ground, it seemed, to have been anything less than a town. [3] The nucleus of the villa was constructed in the time of Hadrian. The villa included extensive thermae fed by its own aqueduct, and, what was even more unusual, a hippodrome, which dates to the fourth century, when the villa was Imperial property: the emperor Commodus coveted the villa strongly enough to put to death its owners in 182 and confiscate it for himself.

Hadrian 2nd-century Roman Emperor

Hadrian was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus in Italica, near Santiponce, Spain into a Hispano-Roman family. His father was of senatorial rank and was a first cousin of Emperor Trajan. He married Trajan's grand-niece Vibia Sabina early in his career, before Trajan became emperor and possibly at the behest of Trajan's wife Pompeia Plotina. Plotina and Trajan's close friend and adviser Lucius Licinius Sura were well disposed towards Hadrian. When Trajan died, his widow claimed that he had nominated Hadrian as emperor immediately before his death.

<i>Thermae</i> public facilities for bathing in ancient Rome

In ancient Rome, thermae and balneae were facilities for bathing. Thermae usually refers to the large imperial bath complexes, while balneae were smaller-scale facilities, public or private, that existed in great numbers throughout Rome.

Roman aqueduct type of aqueduct built by the Romans

The Romans constructed aqueducts throughout their Republic and later Empire, to bring water from outside sources into cities and towns. Aqueduct water supplied public baths, latrines, fountains, and private households; it also supported mining operations, milling, farms, and gardens.

View in Luigi Rossini, Viaggio pittoresco da Roma a Napoli, 1839 Rossini - viaggio pittoresco tav19 - veduta di Roma vecchia.jpg
View in Luigi Rossini, Viaggio pittoresco da Roma a Napoli, 1839

In 1776 Gavin Hamilton, the entrepreneurial painter and purveyor of Roman antiquities, excavated some parts of the Villa of the Quintilii, still called "Roma Vecchia", and the sculptures he uncovered revealed the imperial nature of the site:

Gavin Hamilton (artist) 18th-century Scottish painter

Gavin Hamilton was a Scots neoclassical history painter, who is more widely remembered for his hunts for antiquities in the neighbourhood of Rome. These roles in combination made him an arbiter of neoclassical taste.

A considerable ruin is seen near this last upon the right hand, and is generally considered to have been the ruins of a Villa of Domitian's nurse. The fragments of Collossal Statues found near this ruin confirms me in this opinion, the excellent sculptour strengthens this supposition... [4]

There he found five marble sculptures, including "An Adonis asleep", [5] that he sold to Charles Townley and have come to the British Museum and "A Bacchante with the tyger", listed as sold to Mr Greville. [6] The large marble relief of Asclepius found at the site passed from Hamilton to the Earl of Shelburne, later Marquess of Lansdowne, at Lansdowne House, London. [7] The "Braschi Venus" from the site was purchased by Pius VI's nephew, Luigi Braschi Onesti.

Charles Townley Collector of Roman antiquities

Charles Townley FRS was a wealthy English country gentleman, antiquary and collector. He travelled on three Grand Tours to Italy, buying antique sculpture, vases, coins, manuscripts and Old Master drawings and paintings. Many of the most important pieces from his collection, especially the Townley Marbles are now in the British Museum's Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities. The marbles were overshadowed at the time, and still today, by the Elgin Marbles.

British Museum National museum in the Bloomsbury area of London

The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom, is a public institution dedicated to human history, art and culture. Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, having been widely sourced during the era of the British Empire. It documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. It was the first public national museum in the world.

Charles Francis Greville British antiquarian, collector and politician

Charles Francis Greville PC FRS FRSE FLS FSA was a British antiquarian, collector and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1774 to 1790.

"Braschi Venus", from the Villa of the Quintilii (Glyptothek, Munich). Aphrodite Braschi Glyptothek Munich 258.jpg
"Braschi Venus", from the Villa of the Quintilii (Glyptothek, Munich).

Today the archeological site houses a museum [8] with marble friezes and sculptures that once adorned the villa. The nympheum , the hall of the tepidarium and the baths may also be visited. A grand terrace overlooking the Via Appia Nuova, which dates back to 1784, commands a fine view of the Castelli Romani district. The villa's grounds extended even beyond the route of the Via Appia Nuova.

Tepidarium warm bathroom of the Roman baths

The tepidarium was the warm (tepidus) bathroom of the Roman baths heated by a hypocaust or underfloor heating system. The speciality of a tepidarium is the pleasant feeling of constant radiant heat which directly affects the human body from the walls and floor.

See also

Notes

  1. The villa lies in the Parco Regionale dell'Appia Antica.
  2. The modern monograph is A. Ricci, Le villa dei Quintilii (Rome 1998).
  3. Robert Piperno, "Villa of the Quintilii"; Touring Club Italiano, Roma e dintorni 1965:401. Charlotte Eaton's guides informed her that these were "the remains of a small Roman town, whose name is unknown" though she was aware that "no remains of temples or theatres can be traced". (Eaton, Rome in the Nineteenth Century,vol II London, 1820, pp 211ff.).
  4. Hamilton to Charles Townley, quoted in Cornelius Vermeule, 'Graeco-Roman Statues: Purpose and Setting - II: Literary and Archaeological Evidence for the Display and Grouping of Graeco-Roman Sculpture", Burlington Magazine110 No. 788 (November 1968:607-613) p. 612.
  5. "Endymion asleep on Mount Latmus, according to Vermeule.
  6. The "Adonis" and "Bacchante" appear in a list of "Ancient marbles found by Mr Gavin Hamilton in various Ruins near Rome since 1769", annexed to a volume of transcripts of the Hamilton-Townley correspondence, published by G. J. Hamilton and A. H. Smith, "Gavin Hamilton's Letters to Charles Townley" The Journal of Hellenic Studies21 (1901:306-321); the Townley "Bacchante" at the British Museum is "merely a draped female with a bunch of grapes in the left hand and a panther beside the lower limbs" according to Vermeule; it had been called a "Libera" and "found by Mr. Gavin Hamilton, at Roma Vecchia", in Charles Knight, Guide cards to the antiquities in the British Museum 1840.
  7. Vermeule 1968:612, noting A.H. Smith, in Journal of Hellenic Studies21' (1901:316). Smith had identified the site as the Domus Quintiliana in The Lansdowne Marbles 1889. (Vermeule, ibid., note 14).
  8. Catalogued by Paola Brandizzi Vittucci, La collezione archeologica nel Casale di Roma Vecchia (Rome) 1982.

Related Research Articles

Appian Way roman road

The Appian Way is one of the earliest and strategically most important Roman roads of the ancient republic. It connected Rome to Brindisi, in southeast Italy. Its importance is indicated by its common name, recorded by Statius:

Appia longarum... regina viarum

"the Appian Way the queen of the long roads"

<i>Discobolus</i> sculpture by Myron

The Discobolus of Myron is a Greek sculpture completed at the start of the Classical Period, figuring a youthful ancient Greek athlete throwing discus, circa 460–450 BC. The original Greek bronze is lost but the work is known through numerous Roman copies, both full-scale ones in marble, which was cheaper than bronze, such as the first to be recovered, the Palombara Discobolus, and smaller scaled versions in bronze.

Villa Doria Pamphili villa

The Villa Doria Pamphili is a seventeenth-century villa with what is today the largest landscaped public park in Rome, Italy. It is located in the quarter of Monteverde, on the Gianicolo, just outside the Porta San Pancrazio in the ancient walls of Rome where the ancient road of the Via Aurelia commences.

Carlo Marchionni Italian architect

Carlo Marchionni was an Italian architect. He was also a sculptor and a virtuoso draughtsman, who mixed in the artistic and intellectual circles. He was born and died in Rome.

Townley Vase

The Townley Vase is a large Roman marble vase of the 2nd century CE, discovered in 1773 by the Scottish antiquarian and dealer in antiquities Gavin Hamilton in excavating a Roman villa at Monte Cagnolo, between Genzano and Civita Lavinia, near the ancient Lanuvium, in Lazio, southeast of Rome. The ovoid vase has volute handles in the manner of a pottery krater. It is carved with a deep frieze in bas-relief, occupying most of the body, illustrating a Bacchanalian procession. Its name comes from the English collector Charles Townley, who purchased it from Hamilton in 1774 for £250. Townley's collection, long on display in his London house in Park Street, was bought for the British Museum after his death in 1805.

Timotheus (sculptor) Greek sculptor of the 4th century BC

Timotheus was a Greek sculptor of the 4th century BC, one of the rivals and contemporaries of Scopas of Paros, among the sculptors who worked for their own fame on the construction of the grave of Mausolus at Halicarnassus between 353 and 350 BC. He was apparently the leading sculptor at the temple of Asklepios at Epidaurus, c. 380 BC. To him is attributed a sculpture of Leda and the Swan in which the queen Leda of Sparta protected a swan from an eagle, on the basis of which a Roman marble copy in the Capitoline Museums is said to be "after Timotheus". The theme must have been popular, judging by the more than two dozen Roman marble copies that survive. The most famous version has been that in the Capitoline Museums in Rome, purchased by Pope Clement XIV from the heirs of Cardinal Alessandro Albani. A highly restored version is in the Museo del Prado, and an incomplete one is in the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut.

Luigi Acquisti (1745–1823) was an Italian sculptor mainly known for his works in the neoclassical style.

Villa delle Vignacce

Villa delle Vignacce, or the "Villa of the Vineyards", was one of the largest in the southern suburbs of ancient Rome, located on via Lemonia, in the Parco degli Acquedotti, or Acqueduct Park. Constructed in the 2nd century AD, and showing signs of restoration in the 4th century, it still remains one of Rome’s lesser documented villas, despite the extensive ruins being available in Rome’s largest public park.

Townley Caryatid

The Townley Caryatid is a 2.25m high Pentelic marble caryatid, depicting a woman dressed to take part in religious rites.

Hermes Fastening his Sandal

The sculptures of Hermes Fastening his Sandal, which exist in several versions, are all Roman marble copies of a lost Greek bronze original in the manner of Lysippos, dating to the fourth century BCE. The identity of the subject, which may simply represent an idealized athlete, is conventional. No attribute in any of the surviving examples clearly identifies Hermes, who wears neither hat nor helmet; none of the surviving original sandals are represented as winged. A pair of sandals figures in the myth of Theseus, and when the painter-dealer Gavin Hamilton uncovered an example in the swamp ground called the Pantanello at Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli in 1769, he hesitated between calling it a Theseus or a Cincinnatus. Jason's myth also involves a lost sandal. When Augustus Hare saw that sculpture in the Ball Room of Lansdowne House, in Berkeley Square, he noted it as "Jason fastening his sandal."

<i>Pasquino Group</i> Group of marble sculptures

The Pasquino Group is group of marble sculptures that copy a Hellenistic bronze original, dating to ca. 200–150 BCE. At least fifteen Roman marble copies of this sculpture are known. Many of these marble copies have complex artistic and social histories that illustrate the degree to which improvisatory "restorations" were made to fragments of ancient Roman sculpture during the 16th and 17th centuries, in which contemporary Italian sculptors made original and often arbitrary and destructive additions in an effort to replace lost fragments of the ancient sculptures.

Flaminio Vacca sculptor

Flaminio Vacca or Vacchi was an Italian sculptor. His sculptural work can be seen in Rome in the grandiose funeral chapel of Pope Pius V designed by Domenico Fontana at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, in the Church of the Gesù and in the right transept of the Chiesa Nuova. At the notoriously awkward fountain that marked the terminus of the Acqua Felice, Vacca contributed one of the angels supporting Sixtus V's coat-of-arms that crown the attic, and a bas-relief Joshua Leading His People across the Jordan River; in these commissions for the fountain his partner in the documented payments was Pietro Paolo Olivieri. His self-portrait (1599) is conserved in the Protomoteca Capitolina on the Campidoglio. At the Villa Medici the two marble Medici lions flank the staircase; one is Roman, its pendant, made to match it in 1600, was by Flaminio Vacca. Vacca's copy was replaced by a copy when Villa Medici was sold by the Grand Duke of Tuscany and moved the lions to Piazza della Signoria, Florence, where with its ancient companion it flanks the steps to the Loggia dei Lanzi. In Santa Susanna, the prophets Ezekiel and Daniel have been attributed to him.

Carlo Albacini Sculptor, restorer

Carlo Albacini was an Italian sculptor and restorer of Ancient Roman sculpture.

<i>Lansdowne Heracles</i> Roman sculpture

The Lansdowne Heracles is a Roman marble sculpture of about 125 CE. Today it is in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum's "Getty Villa" in Malibu, California. The statue, representing the hero Heracles as a beardless Lysippic youth grasping the skin of the Nemean lion with his club upon his shoulder, was discovered in 1790 on the site of Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli, Italy, where many fine Hadrianic copies and pastiches of Greek sculptures had been discovered since the 16th century. Today, the sculpture is considered to be an example of Roman-era improvisations on the Greek sculptural style of the fourth century BCE than a copy of a specific Greek original.

The Palazzo Bolognetti-Torlonia, today demolished, was a palace located in Piazza Venezia, Rome, Italy.

Luigi Rossini Italian artist

Luigi Rossini (1790–1857) was an Italian artist, best known for his etchings of ancient Roman architecture.

Villa of the sette bassi

The Villa dei Sette Bassi is an archaeological site located in Rome, Italy.

Appian Way Regional Park

The Appian Way Regional Park is a protected area of around 3400 hectares, established by the Italian region of Latium. It falls primarily within the territory of Rome but parts also extend into the neighbouring towns of Ciampino and Marino. The Catacombs of Rome and Colli Albani are nearby.