A rural villa in Britain
The building discovered at Fishbourne, about a mile to the west of Chichester and lying on the southern side of the Roman road, was not a normal Roman British country villa, but a very large mansion, constructed round three, if not four, side of a large rectangular open area and consisting of many rooms and corridors arranged around at least five inner courtyards. This sumptuous residence has in eleven, if not more, of its rooms some fine mosaics.
The patterned mosaic pavement ii – in origin – a translation into durable material of a textile mat, rug or carpet. The designs of floor-mosaics fall into two categories, those composed of abstract or geometric paterns, and those with subjects. The subjects are floral motives, vessels, shells, birds, fish, beasts and human beings.
The Romans not only builts and founded towns in Britain but also introduced in the countryside the division of the land into estates commonly known as villas. The inhabitants of those villas were rich landowners and some of those country houses – of which there are some remains – are very large, with many rooms where it is possible to admire some fine mosaics. Maybe one of the most famous mosaics in Britain is at Bignor in West Sussex, and a large Roman villa was discovered at Fishbourne.