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Villa of Anteros and Hercules

Description of the Villa

The villa of Anteros and Hercules is the only example of an otium villa (a residential building used for rest and recreation) in the town of Gragnano, found a few metres from the border at Castellammare di Stabia and the Villa San Marco on the plateau of Varano.
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The villa derives its name from the discovery of a stone tablet about 1.5m wide (pictured above), on which was written in red letters:
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'ANTEROS HERACLIO SUMMAR MAG'
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It is not known whether this is the name of one or two judges (the judiciary's function was to keep records of the town, to collect taxes and organize events).
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The property was explored for the first time by Karl Weber in 1749 and was one of the first Roman buildings found during the Bourbon excavations of the ancient town of Stabiae.

In addition to the plaque, excavators uncovered a bust of a woman (pictured left) with curly hair adorned with a brooch that some scholars have identified as Livia (third wife of Augustus and mother of Tiberius) and a cameo (pictured right) depicting a woman, perhaps Venus, holding in her hands a leafy branch. After all objects of worth had been removed, including a quantity of scales and coins, the building was re-buried.

The villa remained hidden for over 200 hundred years until it was rediscovered by accident in 2006. On its rediscovery the villa was briefly explored, uncovering an entrance hall with white walls and some mosaic flooring. However, due to lack of funds to allow the excavations to be made stable, the building was again re-buried.



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