While few detailed descriptions of Roman homes exist in the textual evidence, there are abundant depictions of individuals and their varied relationships with select objects in their possession from which emerge two generalizations. First, ancient descriptions of houses and villas fall roughly into two categories: specific descriptions of the author’s own residence and anti-luxury commentary. Second, two distinct paradigms of domestic display emerge; I call them decorating and collecting, terms that are familiar yet have heretofore lacked precise definitions in this field of research. Collectors are a popular topos in texts with an anti-luxury bent; Trimalchio is a prime example. Decorators, like Cicero for example, enhance their homes according to principles associated with the ancient concept of decor.


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pp. 333-345
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