Opus tessellatum is the Latin name for the normal technique of Greek and Roman mosaic, made from tesserae that are larger than about 4 mm. It is distinguished from the finer opus vermiculatum which used tiny tesserae cubes of 4 millimetres or less, was produced in workshops in small panels which were transported to the site glued to some temporary support. Opus tessellatum was laid down at the final site; the two techniques were combined, with small panels of opus vermiculatum called emblemata at the centre of a larger design in opus tessellatum. The tiny tesserae of opus vermiculatum allowed fine detail, an approach to the illusionism of painting. There was a distinct native Italian style of opus tessellatum using only black on a white background, no doubt cheaper than coloured work. Opus tessellatum is used for backgrounds consisting of horizontally or vertically arranged lines — but not both in a grid, which would be "opus regulatum". Mosaic Mosaics of Delos Opus vermiculatum Opus sectile Opus regulatum
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions, in Southern Italy along with surrounding minor islands referred to as Regione Siciliana. Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean Sea, south of the Italian Peninsula, from which it is separated by the narrow Strait of Messina, its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe, one of the most active in the world 3,329 m high. The island has a typical Mediterranean climate; the earliest archaeological evidence of human activity on the island dates from as early as 12,000 BC. By around 750 BC, Sicily had three Phoenician and a dozen Greek colonies and, for the next 600 years, it was the site of the Sicilian Wars and the Punic Wars. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Sicily was ruled during the Early Middle Ages by the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, the Byzantine Empire, the Emirate of Sicily; the Norman conquest of southern Italy led to the creation of the Kingdom of Sicily, subsequently ruled by the Hohenstaufen, the Capetian House of Anjou and the House of Habsburg.
It was unified under the House of Bourbon with the Kingdom of Naples as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It became part of Italy in 1860 following the Expedition of the Thousand, a revolt led by Giuseppe Garibaldi during the Italian unification, a plebiscite. Sicily was given special status as an autonomous region on 15th May 1946, 18 days before the Italian constitutional referendum of 1946. Albeit, much of the autonomy still remains unapplied financial autonomy, because the autonomy-activating laws have been deferred to be approved by the parithetic committee, since 1946. Sicily has a rich and unique culture with regard to the arts, literature and architecture, it is home to important archaeological and ancient sites, such as the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valley of the Temples and Selinunte. Sicily has a triangular shape, earning it the name Trinacria. To the east, it is separated from the Italian mainland by the Strait of Messina, about 3 km wide in the north, about 16 km wide in the southern part.
The northern and southern coasts are each about 280 km long measured as a straight line, while the eastern coast measures around 180 km. The total area of the island is 25,711 km2, while the Autonomous Region of Sicily has an area of 27,708 km2; the terrain of inland Sicily is hilly and is intensively cultivated wherever possible. Along the northern coast, the mountain ranges of Madonie, 2,000 m, Nebrodi, 1,800 m, Peloritani, 1,300 m, are an extension of the mainland Apennines; the cone of Mount Etna dominates the eastern coast. In the southeast lie the lower Hyblaean Mountains, 1,000 m; the mines of the Enna and Caltanissetta districts were part of a leading sulphur-producing area throughout the 19th century, but have declined since the 1950s. Sicily and its surrounding small islands have some active volcanoes. Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and still casts black ash over the island with its ever-present eruptions, it stands 3,329 metres high, though this varies with summit eruptions.
It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps. Etna covers an area of 1,190 km2 with a basal circumference of 140 km; this makes it by far the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy, being about two and a half times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius. In Greek mythology, the deadly monster Typhon was trapped under the mountain by Zeus, the god of the sky. Mount Etna is regarded as a cultural symbol and icon of Sicily; the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the northeast of mainland Sicily form a volcanic complex, include Stromboli. The three volcanoes of Vulcano and Lipari are currently active, although the latter is dormant. Off the southern coast of Sicily, the underwater volcano of Ferdinandea, part of the larger Empedocles volcano, last erupted in 1831, it is located between the island of Pantelleria. The autonomous region includes several neighbouring islands: the Aegadian Islands, the Aeolian Islands and Lampedusa; the island is drained by several rivers, most of which flow through the central area and enter the sea at the south of the island.
The Salso flows through parts of Enna and Caltanissetta before entering the Mediterranean Sea at the port of Licata. To the east, the Alcantara flows through the province of Messina and enters the sea at Giardini Naxos, the Simeto, which flows into the Ionian Sea south of Catania. Other important rivers on the island are the Platani in the southwest. Sicily has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild and wet winters and hot, dry summers with changeable intermediate seasons. On the coasts the south-western, the climate is affected by the African currents and summers can be scorching. Sicily is seen as an island of warm winters but above all along the Tyrrhenian coast and in the inland areas, winters can be cold, with typical continental climate. Snow falls in abundance above 900–1000 metres, but stronger cold waves can carry it in the hills and in coastal cities on the northern coast of the island; the interi
Malta known as the Republic of Malta, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km south of Italy, 284 km east of Tunisia, 333 km north of Libya. With a population of about 475,000 over an area of 316 km2, Malta is the world's tenth smallest and fifth most densely populated country, its capital is Valletta, the smallest national capital in the European Union by area at 0.8 km.2 The official languages are Maltese and English, with Maltese recognised as the national language and the only Semitic language in the European Union. Malta has been inhabited since 5900 BC, its location in the centre of the Mediterranean has given it great strategic importance as a naval base, with a succession of powers having contested and ruled the islands, including the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Greeks, Normans, Knights of St. John and British. Most of these foreign influences have left some sort of mark on the country's ancient culture. Malta became a British colony in 1815, serving as a way station for ships and the headquarters for the British Mediterranean Fleet.
It played an important role in the Allied war effort during the Second World War, was subsequently awarded the George Cross for its bravery in the face of an Axis siege, the George Cross appears on Malta's national flag. The British Parliament passed the Malta Independence Act in 1964, giving Malta independence from the United Kingdom as the State of Malta, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and queen; the country became a republic in 1974. It has been a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations since independence, joined the European Union in 2004. Malta has a long Christian legacy and its Archdiocese is claimed to be an apostolic see because Paul the Apostle was shipwrecked on "Melita", according to Acts of the Apostles, now taken to be Malta. While Catholicism is the official religion in Malta, Article 40 of the Constitution states that "all persons in Malta shall have full freedom of conscience and enjoy the free exercise of their respective mode of religious worship."Malta is a popular tourist destination with its warm climate, numerous recreational areas, architectural and historical monuments, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni and seven megalithic temples which are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world.
The origin of the name Malta is uncertain, the modern-day variation is derived from the Maltese language. The most common etymology is that the word Malta is derived from the Greek word μέλι, meli, "honey"; the ancient Greeks called the island Μελίτη meaning "honey-sweet" for Malta's unique production of honey. The Romans called the island Melita, which can be considered either a latinisation of the Greek Μελίτη or the adaptation of the Doric Greek pronunciation of the same word Μελίτα; this spelling is found in the New Testament. Another conjecture suggests that the word Malta comes from the Phoenician word Maleth, "a haven", or'port' in reference to Malta's many bays and coves. Few other etymological mentions appear in classical literature, with the term Malta appearing in its present form in the Antonine Itinerary. Malta has been inhabited from around 5900 BC, since the arrival of settlers from the island of Sicily. A significant prehistoric Neolithic culture marked by Megalithic structures, which date back to c. 3600 BC, existed on the islands, as evidenced by the temples of Mnajdra and others.
The Phoenicians colonised Malta between 800 -- 700 BC, bringing their Semitic culture. They used the islands as an outpost from which they expanded sea explorations and trade in the Mediterranean until their successors, the Carthaginians, were ousted by the Romans in 216 BC with the help of the Maltese inhabitants, under whom Malta became a municipium. After a period of Byzantine rule and a probable sack by the Vandals, the islands were invaded by the Aghlabids in AD 870; the fate of the population after the Arab invasion is unclear but it seems the islands may have been depopulated and were to have been repopulated in the beginning of the second millennium by settlers from Arab-ruled Sicily who spoke Siculo-Arabic. The Muslim rule was ended by the Normans who conquered the island in 1091; the islands were re-Christianised by 1249. The islands were part of the Kingdom of Sicily until 1530, were controlled by the Capetian House of Anjou. In 1530 Charles I of Spain gave the Maltese islands to the Order of Knights of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in perpetual lease.
The French under Napoleon took hold of the Maltese islands in 1798, although with the aid of the British the Maltese were able to oust French control two years later. The inhabitants subsequently asked Britain to assume sovereignty over the islands under the conditions laid out in a Declaration of Rights, stating that "his Majesty has no right to cede these Islands to any power...if he chooses to withdraw his protection, abandon his sovereignty, the right of electing another sovereign, or of the governing of these Islands, belongs to us, the inhabitants and aborigines alone, without control." As part of the Treaty of Paris in 1814, Malta became a British colony rejecting an attempted integration with the United Kingdom in 1956. Malta became independent on 21 September 1964. Under its 1964 constitution
Opus vermiculatum is a method of laying mosaic tesserae to emphasise an outline around a subject. This can be of one or more rows and may provide background contrast, eg as a shadow, sometimes with Opus tessellatum; the outline created is light and offset by a dark background for greater contrast. The name opus vermiculatum means "worm-like work", has been described as one of the most demanding and elaborate forms of mosaic work. Opus vermiculatum is meant to put emphasis on the main design and foreground details of a work, using a smooth and flowing halo-effect. Sometimes it was used only around the head of a figure; the tesserae used were square but can be variously shaped. Opus vermiculatum originated in Greece than other mosaic methods; the earliest known example is the Sophilos Mosaic of Thmuis, dated to around 200 BC. The method spread throughout the Hellenistic world. In Egypt it was used for tomb decoration from the late-3rd to 1st Centuries BC, in Syria, it survived into times; the Nile Mosaic has a refined use of color and shows an advanced development.
This may indicate. In the 1st Century BC, it reached Italy along with other mosaic methods. Many fine examples of this style have been found at Pompeii. One remarkable work in particular portrays a crucial scene in the Battle of Issus, was copied from a 4th-century BC Greek painting or fresco; the use of opus vermiculatum declined after the 1st century AD, but continued to be employed for finer Roman mosaics until the 4th century. By mosaics were becoming impressionistic, taking advantage of the crystalline reflection of the tesserae, better suited to opus tessellatum, it was entirely abandoned for this style. Vermiculation
Punic-Roman towers in Malta
The remains of six Punic-Roman towers have been identified in Malta. They are believed to have been built while the island was part of the Roman Empires, their architecture suggests a late Punic origin, they remained in use throughout the Roman period, until at least the 3rd century AD. Evidence suggest; the towers are all built on high grounds, in specific locations, could communicate with signals from one to another. Similar towers are found in nearby Tunisia with the same defensive system. In the context of time some locals still lived in caves with few others living in vernacular housing with similar characteristics to nearby Sicily; the towers are held to be built during the Punic era and embellished by the Romans. Roman and Greek housing were constructed much and not in the proximity to the towers which suggests that by the time the towers may have decreased their importance with the use of other military system such as the fortifications of Melite; however the last time when the towers were burned, to send signals, was in the third century AD.
Some towers, such as Ta' Ċieda Tower, were built with the adaptive reuse of pre-historic stones and after the destruction of the towers, when they were not rebuilt again, the ruins were used for funerary tombstones and rubble walls during the Arab period. The bottom base of six towers still survive, at varying extant, while some objects found at the towers are now displayed in museums. Two others were completely demolished during the building of the runway of the Malta International Airport. Six sites, all on the main island of Malta, have been identified as being the remains of towers built either in the Punic or Roman periods; these are: In addition, archaeologist David Trump mentioned a further two towers, bringing the total to eight. The remains of some other towers might have been demolished to make way for the runway of the Malta International Airport. No Roman towers have been identified on Malta's sister island Gozo, but some archaeological finds on the island are sometimes believed to be the remains of towers.
However, the ruins are not sufficient to determine if they were Punic or Roman towers, nothing is known about them. Another Punic tower is found in the garden of the house of the parish priest of Żurrieq, it is 5.5 m high, it is in good condition. Unlike the other towers, this has a square shape, it is believed to have been part of a larger building; the building is believed to have been part of a Greek townhouse. All six towers have a round shape, were built out of large ashlar blocks, typical of late Punic buildings. Ancient cisterns have been found at the towers of Ta' Ċieda; the age and purpose of the towers is not known. Although some theories suggest that the towers are prehistoric, it is believed that they date back to the late Punic period, as evidenced by their architecture as well as by pottery and other artefacts uncovered at Ta' Wilġa and Ta' Ġawhar. A Phoenician tomb was found close to Ta' Wilġa Tower. Ta' Ġawhar Tower is believed to have been burnt twice during the First Punic War and again in around the 3rd century AD.
Coins dating back to 35 BC and the 3rd century AD have been found at Ta' Ġawhar, along with an iron ace and a gold earring. This shows that the towers were in use during the Roman period. Several theories have been suggested as to the purpose of the towers: According to Professor A. Bonanno, the towers might have been built by the Carthaginians in the 3rd century BC, to defend the island from a Roman attack during the Punic Wars, they might have been built to warn the garrison of the city of Melita of an approaching enemy, but some disagree saying that their locations do not make sense in defensive systems. They might have been located in hamlets and defending a large settlement in the Żurrieq-Safi area, they might have been built near villas to guard olive estates, but no remains of villas have been found in the vicinity of any of the towers. At one point there were over thirty Roman villas in rural areas of which most remains were for most of them demolished for modern housing while others lie abandoned and some have limited remains.
They might have been built to protect Malta from an attack by the Heruli people. The towers are believed to have been abandoned in around the 3rd century AD. Ta' Wilġa Tower was excavated by the Museums Department in 1910. Tal-Baqqari Tower was never properly excavated. Ta' Ġawhar and Ta' Ċieda Towers were investigated by British archaeologist David Trump in 1960. Ta' Wilġa and Ta' Ċieda towers were included on the Antiquities List of 1925; the best preserved of the six towers is Ta' Ġawhar Tower, parts of which have survived up to seven courses. This tower is listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands; the Xlejli Tower in Gudja, still in good condition possibly has Roman origins. According to historian Louis de Boisgelin, an urn full of Roman copper medals was found at the tower, its round shape makes it similar to other Roman towers in Malta. However, according to other sources, the tower was built in the 12th or 13th century AD; the Punic-Roman Towers are not found only in Malta as were built in North Africa, that were meant for defensive reasons.
Read: Luttrell, Anthony, "Malta Before 870: Some Libyan Connections", pp. 127–33. From excavations many coins were found belonging to different people during the Roman period, some of which were considered to belong to invaders; this suggests that through the Roman period the inhabitants had a need to defend themselves by embellishing existing t
Għajn Tuffieħa Roman Baths
The Għajn Tuffieħa Roman Baths were discovered in 1929 during government works to cap a fresh water spring in the area. This spring, or a similar one, might explain why the baths, which needed a constant flow of large amounts of water, were built in Għajn Tuffieħa; the site, one of the many excavated under the supervision of Sir Themistocles Zammit, comprises a number of rooms. These represent the full repertoire seen in other Roman baths, including the Tepidarium and Caldarium. There is a latrine and a corridor connecting small rooms which are interpreted to be changing or bedrooms, it is possible that these rooms acted as a dormitory for people visiting the baths as they cannot be connected with any residential remains of the same period. All the rooms are decorated with intricate mosaics of coloured marbles and stones arranged in geometric designs; the corridors and latrine are, on the other hand, paved with ceramic lozenge-shaped tiles of a length of just fewer than ten centimeters. In 1961, the site’s mosaics underwent restoration sponsored by UNESCO and rooms were built to shelter and protect the remains.
The site has benefited in recent years from the UNESCO funded Malta Mosaics Project, which mapped mosaics and pavements at Għajn Tuffieha and the Domvs Romana. The analysis of this mapping has resulted in a detailed conservation plan which will be implemented in the coming years; the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development has granted funds for the study and conservation of the site as part of the 2007 Rural Development Programme for Malta. These funds will help to open the site to the public. National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands
A cemetery or graveyard is a place where the remains of dead people are buried or otherwise interred. The word cemetery implies that the land is designated as a burial ground and applied to the Roman catacombs; the term graveyard is used interchangeably with cemetery, but a graveyard refers to a burial ground within a churchyard. The intact or cremated remains of people may be interred in a grave referred to as burial, or in a tomb, an "above-ground grave", a mausoleum, niche, or other edifice. In Western cultures, funeral ceremonies are observed in cemeteries; these ceremonies or rites of passage differ according to religious beliefs. Modern cemeteries include crematoria, some grounds used for both, continue as crematoria as a principal use long after the interment areas have been filled. Taforalt cave in Morocco is the oldest known cemetery in the world, it was the resting place of at least 34 Iberomaurusian individuals, the bulk of which have been dated to 15,100 to 14,000 years ago. Neolithic cemeteries are sometimes referred to by the term "grave field".
They are one of the chief sources of information on ancient and prehistoric cultures, numerous archaeological cultures are defined by their burial customs, such as the Urnfield culture of the European Bronze Age. From about the 7th century, in Europe a burial was under the control of the Church and could only take place on consecrated church ground. Practices varied, but in continental Europe, bodies were buried in a mass grave until they had decomposed; the bones were exhumed and stored in ossuaries, either along the arcaded bounding walls of the cemetery or within the church under floor slabs and behind walls. In most cultures those who were vastly rich, had important professions, were part of the nobility or were of any other high social status were buried in individual crypts inside or beneath the relevant place of worship with an indication of their name, date of death and other biographical data. In Europe, this was accompanied by a depiction of their coat of arms. Most others were buried in graveyards again divided by social status.
Mourners who could afford the work of a stonemason had a headstone engraved with a name, dates of birth and death and sometimes other biographical data, set up over the place of burial. The more writing and symbols carved on the headstone, the more expensive it was; as with most other human property such as houses and means of transport, richer families used to compete for the artistic value of their family headstone in comparison to others around it, sometimes adding a statue on the top of the grave. Those who could not pay for a headstone at all had some religious symbol made from wood on the place of burial such as a Christian cross; some families hired a blacksmith and had large crosses made from various metals put on the place of burial. Starting in the early 19th century, the burial of the dead in graveyards began to be discontinued, due to rapid population growth in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, continued outbreaks of infectious disease near graveyards and the limited space in graveyards for new interment.
In many European states, burial in graveyards was outlawed altogether through government legislation. Instead of graveyards new places of burial were established away from populated areas and outside of old towns and city centers. Many new cemeteries became municipally owned or were run by their own corporations, thus independent from churches and their churchyards. In some cases, skeletons were moved into ossuaries or catacombs. A large action of this type occurred in 18th century Paris when human remains were transferred from graveyards all over the city to the Catacombs of Paris; the bones of an estimated 6 million people are to be found there. An early example of a landscape-style cemetery is Père Lachaise in Paris; this embodied the idea of state- rather than church-controlled burial, a concept that spread through the continent of Europe with the Napoleonic invasions. This could include the opening of cemeteries by joint stock companies; the shift to municipal cemeteries or those established by private companies was accompanied by the establishing of landscaped burial grounds outside the city.
In Britain the movement was driven by public health concerns. The Rosary Cemetery in Norwich was opened in 1819 as a burial ground for all religious backgrounds. Similar private non-denominational cemeteries were established near industrialising towns with growing populations, such as Manchester and Liverpool; each cemetery required a separate Act of Parliament for authorisation, although the capital was raised through the formation of joint-stock companies. In the first 50 years of the 19th century the population of London more than doubled from 1 million to 2.3 million. The small parish churchyards were becoming dangerously overcrowded, decaying matter infiltrating the water supply was causing epidemics; the issue became acute after the cholera epidemic of 1831, which killed 52,000 people in Britain alone, putting unprecedented pressure on the country's burial capacity. Concerns were raised about the potential public health hazard arising from the inhalation of gases generated from human putrefaction under the prevailing miasma theory of disease.
Legislative action was slow in coming, but in 1832 Parliament acknowledged the need for the establishment of large municipal cemeter