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Leisure and the roman villa

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Aristotle (1984) treats happiness as the ultimate goal of life, since good life cannot be limited to reason and knowledge. A good life is that in which individuals understand every situation, choose the right activity for the right place, and do it in right way to achieve the desired feeling (Aristotle 1984). Aristotle (1984) believes that work limits individual opportunities to achieve happiness, and leisure can compensate for the lack of happiness and self-fulfillment. According to Aristotle (1984), leisure benefits everyone, since it enables individuals to take and make the best of themselves.

In Politics, Aristotle writes that the citizens of Athens must be educated and prepared to spend their lives in noble pleasure (Hunnicutt 1990). Eventually, the entire human happiness depends on leisure (Aristotle 1984). It is no wonder that Aristotelian ideas about leisure inspired Ancient Romans, especially wealthy ones, to spend their lives in affluence and entertainment. Leisure was considered an essential ingredient of daily lives among wealthy, which did not merely entertain but expanded wealthy Romans’ mental and emotional potential (Pike & Price 2008). The wealthier the Roman was the more opportunities he had to devote himself to leisure activities.

Only the wealthiest could afford building villas, which exemplified a foundational element of leisure in Ancient Rome. The importance of leisure, within and beyond the Roman Villas, was further supported by Epicurus, who treated leisure as a means to reduce the stress of urban life and release body and mind from anxiety (Pike & Price 2008). It is noteworthy that not all leisure activities bring happiness and self-satisfaction. Aristotle (1984) claims that only virtuous life and leisure activities designed to exercise virtue can bring real happiness.

In this sense, the Roman Villa was clearly an example of leisure, which was virtuous by nature and brought pleasure and satisfaction into the lives of wealthy Romans. The Roman Villa: A Retreat from the Stresses of Urban Life Why discuss the Roman Villa? The answer is simple: the Roman Villa is a complex philosophic intersection between leisure space and leisure time (Toner 1995). Leisure space (villas) and leisure time (activities) do not automatically co-exist (Toner 1995). Rather, it is through the actions of people that the relationship between leisure time and leisure space is created, improved, and remade (Toner 1995).

Leisure space and leisure time can create a serious conflict; however, the Roman Villa enabled wealthy citizens to achieve and maintain the state of harmony between the place, time, and leisure activities, so popular and accepted throughout Ancient Rome.

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preview essay on Leisure and the roman villa
  • Pages: 8 (2000 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Philosophy
  • Level: Undergraduate
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