Livestock farming

Cattle and pigs

Alongside the cultivation of land, livestock farming, in particular with cattle, formed the second mainstay of a Roman villa.
Cattle were bred as working animals and for meat suppliers whilst the milk they provided was, in contrast, only secondary.
At least two breeds can be differentiated:
A large breed was of Italian origin whilst a smaller “country breed” originates from local animals.

Pigs – the second most important source of meat – were herded to the forests by herdsmen where they were fattened up.
Their meat and the bacon and ham produced from this was regarded as a Gallic speciality and was so popular that it was even sold in Italy.

Roman villas also often had a smoking chamber or oven.


Goats and sheep

Goats and sheep were also a source of meat whereby sheep had a significant further use.
Fabrics and clothing items out of sheep’s wool were known as products of the Treveri and a source of considerable prosperity.

It was also believed that sheep made fields more fertile.
Grazing animals naturally fertilised fallow land and prevented premature soil exhaustion.



The local Treveri were experienced horse breeders.
And this could well be one of the reasons that the Celtic protector of horses Epona was so highly revered in the Roman period.

There was great demand for draught, pack and riding animals for trade, transport and the army.

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