Cosa and the Ager Cosanus

Fentress, Elizabeth and Perkins, Phil (2016). Cosa and the Ager Cosanus. In: Cooley, Alison E. ed. A Companion to Roman Italy. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 378–400.



Cosa and its territory, the Ager Cosanus, are often taken as the typical exemplars of a Roman colony, its territory and history over time. This chapter summarizes what we know of the urban plan of the colony of Cosa and its development over time, and the evidence for the settlement of its territory. The colony’s high point appears to have been the second century BC, when most of the public buildings were erected, and its insulae were occupied by both large and small houses. In the countryside there were numerous small farms. During the late second and early first centuries BC these were gradually replaced by villas, of which Settefinestre is the best known, and agricultural production was widely exported. The destruction of the town around 70 BC does not seem to have affected the inland settlement, where a large number of villas continued to flourish. The Augustan reoccupation of the town was on a smaller scale, and subsequently both the town and the territory experienced a marked decline in occupation.

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