The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 2: Roman Gardens (500BC-500AD)

Sack of Rome's Gardens

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59.Rome was invaded by the Goths under Alaric A. D. 408. �The city at this time contained 1780 residences of wealthy and honourable citizens (Nardini, Roma Antica, p. 89, &c.), and the precincts of each palace contained not only aviaries, porticoes, and baths, but groves, fountains, hippodromes, temples, and even markets. (Rutil. Claudian. Numatian Itinerar., v. iii.) A moderate palace would have covered the whole four-acre farm of Cincinnatus. (Val. Max., lib. iv. cap. 4.) So little space was left for the houses of the plebeians, that they were built many stories high, and each was inhabited by a number of families, more than equal to the stories it contained. Wealth, and consequently landed property, gradually accumulated in the hands of the comparatively few noble families. The estates of the same order stretched over a large space in Italy, as well as in distant provinces. Faustinius, a Roman, as Gale (Antoninus, Itinerary in Britain) conjectures, possessed an estate near the modern Bury, in Suffolk, and a second one in the vicinity of Naples.� (Johnson's History of English Gardening, 8vo. 1829, p. 27.) The Goths and Vandals successively plundered Rome from the time of Alaric till A, D. 455, and Italy was soon afterwards parcelled out into a number of petty states.