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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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The Classical Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0009-8388
  • EISSN: 1471-6844
  • URL: /core/journals/classical-quarterly
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