The North African Influence on the Mosaics of Piazza Armerina
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This study begins with a discussion regarding the military crises of third and early fourth century Roman Empire and how they appear to have missed Sicily entirely, resulting in the island entering a period of prosperity, especially in the rural regions. The direct link between the establishment of Constantinople as capital of the Empire and Sicily’s subsequent economic boom is also examined. Within this historical context, the relationship between the mosaics of North Africa and those of Sicily begins with a survey of the richly-decorated Villa Romana del Casale near modern-day Piazza Armerina. The extensive collections of mosaics adorning this villa are examined in depth and grouped thematically. Finally, comparisons of the motifs, and the methodologies used for creating these mosaics are made with similar, and in some cases even identical works found in North Africa, especially around Carthage. From this, it can be determined that not only were the mosaics of Piazza Armerina influenced by North African design, but they may have even been made by North African mosaicists themselves.