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The Campanian Villas of C. Marius and the Sullan Confiscations1

  • John H. D'arms (a1)

By the end of the Republic the Bay of Naples had become a preferred setting for the pleasure villas of wealthy Romans, a centre of fashion and of cultivated ease. The villa of C. Marius at Misenum, though not the first of which we hear, is the earliest coastal Campanian estate whose appointments are explicitly described as having been luxurious. In an epistle of Seneca (Ep. 51. 11) Marius is said to have built the villa, and on a height; of the location Seneca says, vaguely, in regione Baiana, for the subject of the epistle is the depravity of Baiae, and the author took pleasure in contrasting the character of the early villas in the area with the moral decadence of the imperial resort; the elder Pliny locates the site of Marius' villa more precisely: in Misenensi. From Plutarch's somewhat fuller account come a first indication of date, a different impression of architectural character, and the names of two subsequent owners of the property. He states that after the Social War, when Sulpicius proposed Marius, others Sulla, for command in the Mithridatic War, the detractors of Marius urged him to look after his failing health and to go to the warm baths at Baiae:

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page 185 note 2 The portion of the Campanian coast bounded on the north-west by Misenum, on the south by Athenaeum, was known familiarly as ‘the crater’ (Strabo 5. 4. 3 ff. = C 242); hence Cicero's cratera ilium delicatum (Att. 2. 8. 2). I hope elsewhere to publish a complete register of owners of coastal Campanian villas; for a partial list cf. Dubois C., Pouzzoles Antique, 361 ff.

page 185 note 3 Beloch J., Campanien2, 198; Frank T., ESAR, i. 295.

page 185 note 4 Ep. 51. 11:... C. Marius et Cn. Pompeius et Caesar exstruxerunt quidem villas in regime Baiana, sed illas imposuerunt summis iugis montium.

page 185 note 5 Plin . N.H. 18. 32: novissimus villam in Misenensi (sc. regions) posuit C. Marius vii cos....

page 185 note 6 Plut. Mar. 34. 2. Marius thus had his villa by 88, and had built it presumably some years before. But not before his election to the consulship of 107: possession of so luxurious a coastal retreat would have made mockery of Marius' bitter denunciation, in his post-electoral speech, of the mollitia, luxuria, and ignavia of the nobiles (Sall. BF. 85. 35, 43). Again, the pressures of subsequent campaigns and the turmoil of domestic politics can have afforded Marius little time for leisurely attention to a villa's construction in the later years of this decade. The estate at Misenum will probably have been built after Marius' return from the east in the mid-nineties, the years in which he forged marriage links with the Crassi and Scaevolae (see Badian E., ‘Caepio and Norbanus’, Hist. vi [1957], 329), and Antonius M. (cos. 99) defended the old Marian legate Aquillius M. (Badian, For. Client., 212 n. 5). For independent evidence (Cic. de Orat. 2. 60; on which see Beloch , Camp. 199) attests that M. Antonius himself owned a villa at Misenum, and that he defended (probably in 92) Marius' cousin, M. Marius Gratidianus, involved in a shadowy dispute at the Lucrine Lake with the Campanian oyster-breeder and real-estate speculator Orata C. Sergius (Munzer, R-E. ii a, 1713-1714, no. 33). The Campanian holdings of Antonius and Gratidianus ought surely to be noticed in connexion withMarius' own villa at Misenum.

page 186 note 1 Bailey D. R. Shackleton, Cicero's Letters to Atticus, ii. 148 Att. 3. 12. 2).

page 186 note 2 Att. 1. 16. IO (Shackleton Bailey's text): Surgit pulchellus puer, obicit mihi me ad Baias fuisse. falsum, sed tamen ‘quid? hoc simile est’ inquam ‘quasi in operto dicasfuisse ?’ ‘quid’ inquit ‘homini Arpinati cum aquis calidis ?’ ‘narra’ inquam ‘patron tuo, qui Arpinatis aquas concupivit’ (nosti enim Marianas).

page 186 note 3 Clod. et Cur. fr. 20 (ed. Klotz-Schoell , viii. 447): nec enim respexit ilium ipsum patronum libidinis suae non modo apud Baias esse, verum eas ipsas aquas habere, quae gustu tamen (Boot: rustici atque) Arpinatis fuissent.

page 186 note 4 Stangl T., Cic. Orat. Schol., 89: C. Curionem qui de proscribtione Syllana fundum emerat in Campania; qui C. Marii nuper fuerat, et ipsius Arpinatis.

page 186 note 5 Confirmed by Phaedr. 2.5. 9; Tac. Ann. 6. 50. 2.

page 186 note 6 Cf. n. 3 above.

page 186 note 7 The exact location cannot be determined. If (as is probable) the younger Curio (tr. pl. 50) inherited the villa at the death of his father (in 53: fam. 2. 2), the estate is called Cumanum in Att. 10. 4. 7.

page 186 note 8 Marius' second Campanian villa has been noticed by Frank T., ESAR i. 295; cf. Bailey Shackleton, Letters to Att. i. 321 (Att. 1. 16. 10), where Sen. Ep. 51. II is adduced, but Plin . N.H. 18. 32 and Plut . Mar. 34. 2 are neglected. Gabba (Ath. N.S. xxix [1951], 256 ff.), followed by Carney (‘A Biography of C. Marius’, 23–24; G. & R. N.S. viii [1961], 102), has argued that Campania was a centre of Marian influence, and to those arguments the evidence for the two coastal holdings of Marius appears to lend some support (despite Badian Hist. vi [1957], 344 ff. [= Stud. in Gk. and Rom. Hist. 59 ff.]); it would be surprising if the owner of two Campanian villas situated in close proximity could not claim some contacts and friends among the local inhabitants (cf. p. 185 n. 6 above). But the evidence is inconclusive: it may have been the presence of such distinguished sojourners as M. Antonius (p. 185 n. 6 above) rather than that of native Campanians which induced Marius to build villas in the area.

page 187 note 1 For Curio's career see Münzer , R-E. ii a, 862–3, no. 10.

page 187 note 2 Sulla Plut. 6. 16.

page 187 note 3 Livy, ep. 77.

page 187 note 4 Ascon . Mil. 28.

page 187 note 5 Beloch, Camp. 198 (where Cornelia is called ‘eine Verwandte des Dictators’); Münzer , R-E. iv, 1596, no. 412; Frank T., ESAR i. 295.

page 187 note 6 Val. Max. 4. 2. 7.

page 187 note 7 See p. 186 n. 4 above.

page 187 note 8 Fuhrmann , art. publicatio bonorum, R-E. xxiii (1959), 2491 ff.

page 187 note 9 Plut . Crassus 2. 3.

page 187 note 10 Plut . Sulla 31. 5.

page 187 note 11 Plut ., Comparison of Lysander and Sulla 3. 3.

page 188 note 1 Plut ., Marius 34. 2: inline-graphicinline-graphicinline-graphic.

page 188 note 2 Cic. Rosc. Amer. 6.

page 188 note 3 Cic. Att. 11. 6. 6; cf. Att. 9. 9. 4.

page 188 note 4 App. B.C. 1. 104.

1 A somewhat different version of this paper was read at the 97th annual meeting of the American Philological Association in Providence, Rhode Island, 28 December 1965.

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