Christian tomb mosaics of late Roman, Vandalic and Byzantine Byzacena
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Christians in North Africa in the Late Roman, Vandalic and Byzantine periods marked the tombs of loved ones with mosaics that combined epitaphs with symbols and images. This study focuses on 186 Christian tomb mosaics from the ancient province of Byzacena in modern Tunisia. This group is investigated intensively from contextual, technical, epigraphic, stylistic and iconographic perspectives. The mosaics were laid in catacombs, churches and open-air cemeteries. They were placed at floor level or on raised caissons covering graves. Mosaics that were covered or destroyed by the repaving of a church were sometimes reproduced as secondary tomb mosaics incorporated into the new pavement. Peculiarities in the placement of certain mosaics suggest that they were prefabricated in the workshop. ... Investigation of provincial, vernacular products like the Byzacena tomb mosaics provides some balance for the strong impression created by the elite arts of the capitals and so broadens our understanding of Late Antique art in its social context.
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