Monday, July 30, 2007

The Romans

The Romans in their time also ruled Sicily. This marble relief sculpture dates from the competition in the Roman Empire between Christians and mystery religions: it depicts the rites of Mithras. The museum collection of course includes a vast number of clay oil lamps, which are found in every archaeology dig, as they were the one common possession of almost every household around the Mediterranean throughout antiquity.

Finally, the Romans left their signature mosaic floors in several places in Sicily. Here is one portion from a beautiful one in the museum. On our previous tour, we saw the very spectacular villa at Piazza Armerina, where acres of amazing mosaics were preserved by a mud slide.

Empire upon empire, the Sicilians, said Di Lampedusa, were always ruled by outsiders. In sum, all the beautiful art and sculpture bears witness to rule in Sicily by Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Normans, by representatives of the Pope in Rome, indirectly by Byzantines, by the Holy Roman Emperor, the Spanish, the French, and -- in their view the last outsiders -- the Italians.

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