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NENNIG Germany.

A Roman villa, ca. 40 km up the Moselle from Trier. Discovered in 1852 near the village church, it was excavated between 1866 and 1876. After WW II the main mosaic was cleaned and newly set, and the shelter with its galleries for visitors was renovated and enlarged. The villa complex included spring houses, small pavilions, and other accessories of an extensive park, with a necropolis to the S and a workshop or farm courtyard to the N. Of the necropolis only one of the two tumuli survives.

The facade (140 m long) of the main building was designed in the manner of a porticoed villa with its two-storied, colonnaded front framed by three-storied tower wings with massive walls. Beyond these, at either side projected a pair of flanking buildings, single storied, with temple-pedimented superstructures. Roofed colonnades 8.5 m wide, terminating at each end in round pavilions, augmented the facade by 250 m each way to SW and NE, without obscuring the view of the main building. The three architectural elements totaled 600 m in length. At the end of the SW colonnade lay the bath building. This complex (32 x 29 m) with five apses had dressing rooms, frigidarium, anointing room, tepidarium, a heated swimming pool or caldarium 65 m square, as well as a sudatorium. The symmetry of the overall plan of the villa demanded a small subordinate building at the end of the NE colonnade to balance the bath; its foundations, however, lie hidden under the houses of the modern village and hence, like the larger part of the NE colonnade, could not be investigated.

The main building was entered via an open stair (5 m wide) which led into the colonnade (77.5 m long) of the central structure. Two loggia-like rooms, painted red, flanked the cellared portico with its fluted columns of limestone from the Jura. The cryptoporticus (2 m deep) could be reached from two rooms inside the building and through an entrance under the SW loggia. Beyond the central vestibule three large doorways opened into the mosaic-decorated main hall with its fountain. The great mosaic itself is dominated by geometric shapes and framed by a black-and-white ornamental border. The pictorial medallions, depicting scenes of hunting and gladiatorial contests, are of exceptional interest. Narrow passages divided the hall from the other rooms, most of which could be reached through an outer corridor that surrounded the main building and its wings on three sides. To the NE of the main hall was a large columnar peristyle with a semicircular pool and adjoining tablinum. Of the peristyle columns, three bases and one capital were found in situ; the positions of the other columns were indicated by remaining socles for the bases. The height of the columns was estimated to be 3.14 m. The containing walls of the peristyle were painted Pompeian red; at dado level were black panels with galloping horses mounted by riders, perhaps Amazons. Farther NE were bedrooms toward the mountain side and beyond these a row of rooms of various uses were grouped around an atrium. There were various connecting corridors and a N entrance to the villa. The bedrooms and the tablinum were rebuilt in post-Roman times and provided with hypocausts. Little could be learned about the inner structure of the NE corner tower and the flanking building since these are in the built-up area of the modern village and its cemetery. However, these elements of the complex must have balanced the corresponding elements to the SW in function and inner articulation.

The apartments to the SW of the main hall were organized around a corridor which bent at right angles and a courtyard surrounded by a passage. The dining hall (24 x 3.5 m) opened on the main portico. Among the rooms farther SW was one with a mosaic floor and a furnace room, which apparently also served as a kitchen. The semicircular terminal room to the front was also decorated with mosaic and a stairway led from the adjoining corridor to the upper story of the projecting tower wing. The SW flanking building, separated from the main structure by a passage and with its inner organization aligned along the corridor, is remarkable only in that in contrast to the main building two particularly large rooms were heated.

All the rooms in the villa had plastered walls, polished, painted, and enhanced with depictions of dolphins, small landscapes, etc. The ceilings were painted white or blue with egg-and-dart decoration in stucco on the moldings. The roofs were probably tiled, the outer walls plastered and painted red.

Coins from the time of Nero were reported to have been discovered in the foundation layers, and stamps of the emperors Gallienus, Constantine, and Valentinian in the later levels. A coin of Commodus (struck ca. 192), found in the fine stone bedding under the mosaic during the excavations of 1960, dates the construction of the villa to the end of the 2d c. or the beginning of the 3d c. A.D. Other finds of that season brought to light evidence for an earlier building which—in confirmation of the coins of Nero—could have been Early Roman or even, according to the finds of pottery sherds, pre-Roman. Further material for dating came from the subterranean service entrance to the fountain in the mosaic hall. Two levels of use were revealed, containing Middle and Late Roman material. The two levels were separated by a uniform flood deposit layer without finds. This layer may possibly represent the disturbed times of the Germanic invasion in the second half of the 3d c.


J.-N. von Wilmowsky, “Bericht über Nennig,” Jahresbericht der Gesellschaft für nützliche Forschungen Trier (1853-54) 54-61; id., Die Villa von Nennig und ihr Mosaik (1864); A. von Behr, “Die römische Villa in Nennig” (containing excavations by Seyffarth from 1878, with appendices and illustrations), Zeitschrijt für Bauwesen 59 (1909) 314; P. Steiner, Römische Landhäuser im Trierer Bezirk (1923); id., “Die römische Pracht-Villa von Nennig,” Führungsblatt Provinzialmuseum Trier (1924); H. Mylius, “Die Rekonstruktion der römischen Villen von Nennig und Fliessem,” BonnJbb 129 (1924) 110-20; K. Parlasca, Die römischen Mosaiken in Deutschland (1959); R. Schindler, “Restaurierung und Ausgrabungen am römischen Mosaik in Nennig,” Bericht der Staatlichen Denkmalpflege im Saarland 8 (1961) 66-72; id., “Das röimische Mosaik von Nennig,” Führungsblatt (1961) 16 pp.; L. Hussong, Hebung, Festigung und Wiederverlegung des Mosaiks der römischen Villa in Nennig (1961) 73-79.


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