An Architectural Reassessment of a ‘Villa Rustica’
Institute of Art Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Krakra str. 21, Sofia 1504, Bulgaria
This article focuses on the search for answers concerning the architecture of villas located around the Roman city of Serdica. My thesis is that a villa rustica is a place for trade and business, and not only for agricultural production, as they have been considered up to now. I highlight the boundary between public and private space within the architecture of the villa. It is my position that both in its architectural composition and aesthetics, these villas are also intended for visitors. My reassessment of villa rustica architecture is conducted on a case study of a villa now situated in the residential quarter of Obelia in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Through graphic reconstruction, the villa is represented in one possible use, as a stud farm. I suggest its role as one of logistical supply to mansio and mutatio along the Via Diagonalis trans-provincial road. The redefinition of the Villa Obelia is conducted by recreating the whole building in graphic form. The ‘villa rustica’ is a widespread architectural archetype in the Roman Empire, so consequently the paper offers a new opportunity for discussion about villas in their generality.
Keywords: Roman empire, stud farm, antiquity, horse, Via Diagonalis, province Thrace, Sofia, villa rustica
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