VESUNNA, Gallo-Roman Museum

Only about a ten minute walk from the centre of Perigueux is the most gorgeous Roman Villa. Encased in a glass structure you can see every detail of what is the remains of a truly outstanding Roman Villa.

The antique town of Perigueux was founded around 16 B.C, after the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar, the province of Aquitaine was established by Augustus, the first Roman Emperor. Originally called Vesunna, Perigueux became the capital of the Petrucores’ territory.

As with the rest of Gaul, prominent wealthy citizens, handled public matters. They personally financed the construction of monuments and owned the most beautiful villas.

After extensive digging in 1959, the ruins of a vast and richly decorated villa were uncovered. Occupied from the 1st to the 3rd Century, the layout is very typical of a large urban home.

A model of the villa at Vesunna.
 

A central garden surrounded by porticoes and colonnades.
The patio around the pond, was decorated with marine life in bright colours. There were also sculptures among the flowers which decorated the area.
 

The kitchens, reception rooms and bathrooms were heated by the hypocaust.
 

A copy of the wall frescoes which adorned the villa.
 

An example of one of the Gods, Diana. Wonderful detail.
 

Romans allowed conquered people to keep their own Gods as long as the Emperor’s Cult was practiced. This came a little fussy over time and often overlapped with the Roman Gods. A bit of both.

Symbolism was important to show the persons power and wealth.
 

Another example of the Gods. The detail is outstanding.
 

I was particularly interested in finding any signs of the slaves that kept the villa to a high stranded for such a long time. Everything of course was below ground, the kitchens, the heating and mostly with very little light in small hot and cramped conditions.

I did find evidence of two “below stairs” occupations…

… that of weaving, stone weaving weights and tools …
 

… and mending.

Gallo-Roman public figures had very good taste in clothing. The workmanship and detail of these buttons are outstanding.
 

VESUNNA, Gallo-Roman Museum, Perigueux
 
 

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