Nefeli Pirée Iliou, “In Search of the Greek and Roman agricultural economies in Epirus during the early Imperial period”
In the ancient world different farms and country houses existed. Some have held the spotlight, like villas that proliferated in Roman times, and as a result became linked to so-called “Roman” agricultural practices. Large-scale production sold in far-away markets, and luxuriously self-indulgent country lifestyles became synonymous with villas, and with the way that aristocrats managed land in the Roman Empire. Villas, however, were not alone. Different country houses also existed, like fortified farms, which emerged in the region of Epirus in northwest Greece during the Hellenistic period, and flourished in early Roman
times. Fortified farms, being like villas country houses, have awkwardly been squeezed into the villa category, but they do not comfortably fit into it. If fortified farms grew out of communities in pre-Roman times, could they be interpreted as a farm typical of Greek, rather than Roman, agriculture? In my talk I investigate agricultural economies of different areas of Epirus dotted by these two forms of country houses, and explore whether using them we can distinguish between a “Greek” and a “Roman” agriculture.