The title “THE VILLAS OF THE ANCIENTS ILLUSTRATED” is a bit misleading cause the author Robert Castell only refers to two ancient buildings, the Laurentium and the Tusculum, described by Pliny the younger. Castell pictures in his book these two Villas also with floor plans and elevations. The book is directed “TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE RICHARD EARL of BURLINGTON” as Castell writes at the beginning cause of the rising interest in ancient styled buildings for the upper class.
After the dedication, a small preface and a list of the subscribers the book starts with the letter of Pliny to Gallus both in Latin and the English translation in which he writes about the Laurentium (P. 1-16). In the following chapter named “REMARKS ON LAURENTIUM” (P. 17-54) all aspects of the Villa are described in detail. Included are also some plans and elevations. After that the author writes about some other interpretations of the word “Villa” mostly by Varro and Columella the most influential ancient writers about agriculture (P. 55-78). The next chapter again quotes a letter of Pliny in which he writes about the Tuscum again with an English translation (P. 79-93) continuing with another chapter of “Remarks” (P. 95-126). The book ends with a small summary (P. 127-128) and an index. Through all the book there are mentioned floor and site plans, elevations and other small illustrations.
The book is really big while not that thick, because of the size of the plans which take always two pages. Cause of that size more text fits on one page, so not that many pages are necessary.