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2 Lecture 18 tus ) rather than farms (funds). (To wish for more was considered a sign of a malcontent, if not downright dangerous.) The dwelling of an estate re fl ected the wealth of it owner. The prosperous Roman had a little place in the country, a suburbanum . It contained fruit orchards, in which grew apples, pears, fi gs, olives, pomegranates and fl ower gardens with lilies, roses, violets, pansies, poppies, iris, marigolds, snapdragons, and asters. The mansions of the wealthy became quite splendid. Formal gardens were enclosed by frescoed walls and were amply endowed with statuary and fountains, trellises, fl ower boxes, shaded walks, terraces, topiary (“bush sculpture”) and even heated swimming pools. The rule was luxury; the desired effect was extravagance. Rome was largely a parasitic empire based on borrowed culture, slave labor and stolen goods. This was not destined to last forever, however, for in the middle of the fi rst millennium BCE , the Roman Empire disintegrated, and Europe took a step backward to the village.
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