A New Book on Rural Villas in Roman Greece

David Smith’s recent article in Archaeological Reports notes the publication of a new book titled Villae Rusticae: Family and market-oriented farms in Greece under Roman rule. Proceedings of an International Congress held at Patras, 23-24 April 2010. Edited by A.D. Rizakis and I.P. Touratsoglou, the publishers (Institute of Historical Research/National Hellenic Research Foundation) describe the content of the volume in this way:

“As that of other provinces of the Empire, the rural economy of Greece underwent many changes as well, with important implications for the strategies and organization of the production, as well as for the distribution and consumption of goods. Thanks to the extraordinary mass of archaeological data collected in Greece in the last decades, and to the possibility of applying both more sophisticated research instruments and more profitable methods of approach and analysis of these data, a re-examination of a regional case study such as Roman Greece is now more feasible. The publication in this volume of material remains – remarkable both for number and quality, from various in size productive complexes– and the synthetic studies on the other hand will provide students of the ancient world with an invaluable material which will greatly contribute to a better understanding of the economic organization of this part of the Roman Empire. It will also represent a point of reference for the study of both the rural world and more specific the economy of the cities of a small but not insignificant Roman administrative unit.”

Running 800 pages long, Smith may be right that Villae Rusticae will become “a standard text for the study of the rural economy of Roman Greece.”At the moment, however, there seem to be few libraries in the world that actually own a copy. I couldn’t find a loaning library in the U.S. via Interlibrary Loan, and the price is a hefty 120 €, plus shipping. An article or two are available for free on the National Hellenic Research Foundation website, and I found one or two more via Academia. It would be wonderful if the publisher would release a PDF version of the entire volume as they did with their Roman Peloponnese series.

The table of contents, available here, lists chapters mainly in Greek, with a few English, Italian, and French contributions.

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Categories: Archaeological Survey, Books and Articles, Ceramics, Economy, Periods, Territory

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