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PARNDORF (Bruckneudorf) Austria.

A Roman country estate close to the Roman road which led from the S (Savaria-Scarbantia) to Carnuntum, about 15 km S of the Danube fortification and within its territory and that of the province of Pannonia (superior). An enclosure wall ca. 1.5 km long, with fortified gates, surrounded a roughly rectangular area of ca. 12 ha. At the center was a rectangular porticus villa (40.5 x 45 m) with protruding corners. The main facade was toward the S, a festive hall or aula with a large exedra 9 m in diameter protruding from the N side. This mansion contained 30 rooms on the ground floor, corridors, etc.; almost all of them were equipped for heating. Running water and drains were provided. The luxuriousness of the establishment is indicated by the fact that 11 rooms of ca. 500 sq. m had mosaic floors; of these 185 sq. m were in the aula. It is one of the largest mosaic finds in the Roman Danube provinces. Ca. 320 sq. m are fairly well preserved. The decoration consists partly of figures (e.g. Bellerophon on Pegasos fighting with the Chimera; a medallion with Diana Nemesis ?), and is partly ornamental. Many rooms had been decorated at various times with frescos, those of the older periods using figures, those of later times pure ornament.

Several smaller buildings are grouped around the mansion: a well-preserved bathhouse (24 x 19 m), dwellings for the servants, workshops, and farm buildings. Two long farm buildings (each 110 x 18 m), forming the enclosure of a courtyard (24 m wide), indicate the economic capacity of this estate. Even more indicative is an unusually large granary (horreum) with an undivided room (56 x 26 m) two stories high, accessible by a ramp (21 m long).

All the buildings existed over a long period; in some parts three building periods could be identified. The first building phase of the villa, which may have existed as early as ca. A.D. 100, has become unrecognizable owing to rebuilding necessitated by the Marcomannic wars; a large part of the mosaics dates from an extensive renovation ca A.D. 300. The construction of the aula with exedra followed soon after. Clear signs of decline are noticeable in the 4th c. A.D., and the building was destroyed by fire when the Danube limes collapsed.

The whole complex of Parndorf is interesting with regard to the economic structure of the province as the center of a latifundium, or perhaps of a public domain; the architecturally interesting and impressive villa; the opulent mosaics. One may assume that beyond its primary function this villa served also as a residence for dignitaries or even emperors.

For financial reasons it has not been possible to exhibit all the mosaics. They were covered up, except for two, which were transferred to the Burgenländisches Landesmuseum in Eisenstadt.


E. B. Thomas, Römische Villen in Pannonien (1964) 177ffMPI; B. Saria, Festschrift für Alphons A. Barb (Wissenschaftliche Arbeiten aus dem Burgenland, 1966) 252ffMPI


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