The Roman Villa of Rio Verde was built at the end of the  First and the beginning of  The Second Centuries A.D. as a fish farming estate, dedicated to the production of Garum, a spicy sauce made of various fish, particularly mackerel. Garum was an essential part of ancient Roman cuisine, and could fetch hefty prices in Rome.

The Hispanic-Roman poet, Marco Valerio Marcial wrote that a few drops of Garum could convert ordinary eggs into a delicacy.

Roman villas normally consisted of two interior courtyards, Atrio and Peristilo. The Greek origin of Peristilo, peri (around) stylos (column) indicates an open air courtyard with a small garden. The Peristilo was the centre of master’s house communicating with various rooms. The main feature was the area called tablinum, the dining area connected to six rooms; and it is precisely this area of the Periostilo which still remains of the Rio Verde Villa.

The tiled mosaic floor features a reproduction of Medusa.

The mosaics are made of 1cm sized cubes, called tessellae, predominately of two colours, black and white. Although this artistic technique had its limitations, the artwork is rather realistic. In the room of the Medusa a small number of grey, pink, salmon, and ochre coloured tessellae were used. This room reproduces a theme which enjoyed great popularity in ancient art:  Gorgoneion, a shield with the face of the Medusa.

According to mythology, three sister  were known as Gorgons, two were immortals and the third was mortal and called Medusa. Medusa was an extraordinary beauty and Poseidon, the God of the sea was deeply in love with her. When the God consummated his love with her in the temple of Atenea, she got angry and turned into a monster, turning her lovely hair into serpents and her soft voice changed to frightening barks. After Medusa’s metamorphosis, her gaze would turn those looking at her into stone.

However, the head of the Medusa  on a round shield was  considered a sign of good  fortune in ancient times, and provide protection against curses.

The Roman Villa of Rio Verde is an area considered of High Cultural Interest  by the Andalusian Government and is  an important example  of the Heritage of Andalusia..



Los mosaicos que se pueden apreciar en el peristilo de la Villa Romana de Río Verde reproducen motivos geométricos con un esquema de gran simplicidad y en una armoniosa simetría, alternando cuadrados grandes y pequeños, unidos entre si por los vértices y separados unos de otros por un rectángulo blanco. Los cuadrados de menos tamaño son todos iguales mostrando en el centro una flor blanca de cuatros pétalos sobre un fondo oscuro, mezclando espacios blancos y negros. Los cuadrados más grandes presentas seis modelos diferentes, como los que se ven en las fotografías que acompañan el texto.

También encontramos en el peristilo de la Villa Romana una franja que constituye la parte más interesante del conjunto: es una reproducción de objetos e instrumentos necesarios para las actividades culinarias, como diversas clases de alimentos vegetales o animales destinados a satisfacer el apetito de los comensales. Algunos motivos aparecen aislados, otros forman pequeños conjuntos temáticos a la manera de bodegones o naturalezas muertas, motivos que eran muy del gusto de los romanos. Además de la cabeza de Medusa, observamos otros dibujos figurativos en la Villa romana. En una franja vemos un conjunto de sabor marinero. Lo componen tres anclas, dos remos de pala ancha y dos delfines. Para la gente del mundo antiguo, las anclas simbolizaban una navegación feliz, y el tema alcanzó gran popularidad en el arte paleocristiano porque, de una manera metafórica, se convirtieron en la imagen de la ayuda que necesitan las almas para transitar seguras por el camino que las lleva a la salvación.

     

Reconstrucción infográfica de la Villa Romana de Río Verde

1 Peristilo
2 Habitación de Medusa
3 Columna
4 Franja de mosaicos con temas culinarios
5 Habitaciones
6 Mosaicos geometricos
7 Jardín


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