Quadrangular Peristyle

A hidden meaning

The search for clues continues by observing, in the floor decoration of the peristyle, the ends of the panels containing the laurel wreaths with animal heads. The repeated presence of an ivy leaf and a bird suggests a hidden meaning; in the Roman world artistic compositions often became a treasure chest of secrets that had to be interpreted.According to the hypothesis of one scholar, the composition conceals an acrostic, in this case a succession of initials referring to the names of the subjects represented, which had a further meaning: the Latin word AVIS (BIRD), the shape of the shoots of the ivy leaf, similar to an M and the letter H, the beginning of the word HEDERA (IVY), related to the decorated leaf in the mosaic, seem to indicate the title AURELIUS VALERIUS IMPERATOR SUFFECTUS MAXIMIANUS HERCULIUS.
By analysing the acrostic, we find: Aurelius Valerius, followed in the proper name of Maximian by the first name Marcus, and probably added in 285 AD, the year when Maximian was named caesar by Diocletian , to strengthen the connection with the emperor.
Suffectus in the sense of substitute. Usually suffectus is paired with consul in the not-so-rare case of the appointment of another consul in the event of death or removal of one of the two in office.
The last word, Herculius, is the nickname that Maximian assumed in 286 at the time of his election to augustus, co-regent of the Empire with Diocletian who chose for himself the nickname Jovius, descendant of Jupiter.
The legitimacy of the power of both therefore had a divine approval linked to lineage, but Maximian, though an equal to Diocletian as augustus and therefore collaborator, was, at the same time, subordinate to him: as the myth reminds us, Hercules was the son of Jupiter.

A small room represents one of the activities of the thermal bath route

The mosaics of the late antiquity residence

The prestige of the dominus is revealed through the wall frescoes

The senses tell the room in the private apartment known as “small hunt”

The catalogue of animals

The senses tell the Vestibule

The paths of virus, a reflection of the Dominus

The capture of wild animals for the roman amphitheatre games

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

The senses tell the Basilica

The golden age: hypotheses about the villa’s period of construction and clues

The possible celebration of a solemn event

The mansio of Philosophiana. A stopping place

The realistic depiction of a spa procession with a high-ranking female figure

The senses tell the bi-apsed ambulatory – Corridor of the “Great Hunt”

Form of greeting or ritual?

The senses tell the private entrance to the spa

An individual who has attracted the attention of scholars

A dialogue between mythological and realistic scenes

The protagonists of the mosaics

The late antiquity residence: locus amoenus and centre of administrative activities in the heart of Sicily

High-ranking characters depicted in the mosaics of the apsidal niches of the frigidarium

The senses tell the massage room

The astral interpretation of the mosaic

The rural sacrifice

The public and private rooms of the villa

Outdoor breakfast

An official ceremony to welcome the Dominus

An eloquent symbol: the signum

The senses tell the monumental entrance

Worship of the Lares

Banquets and panegyrics enlivened the vast hall, against the background of a floor mosaic celebrating the feats of Hercules

Is the profile of the dominus hidden among the scenes depicted in the mosaics?

A line of armed men for an important Dominus

A hidden meaning

The main nuclei of the Domus

A large colonnaded portico, a place of connection between the rooms

A small room embellished with marble

A chariot race, set in the circus Maximus of Rome, connects the villa to the city and centre of power

Semi-public rooms

The senses tell the Quadrangular Peristyle

Auspicious symbols and perhaps the initials of the commissioner’s name decorate the mosaic of the apsidal room

The senses tell the Tri-Apsed Triclinium

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

A small room used as a privileged entrance to the baths

An organic microcosm: the structure of the villa

The Latifundium

The marble from the regions of the empire to decorate the basilica

Solemn and majestic architecture to welcome a high-ranking commissioner

A day of hunting at the villa

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

The apotheosis of Hercules

A royal room housed the Dominus during his audiences

The protagonists of the mosaic and the military themed frescoes

The senses tell the frigidarium