The anticipation of the arrival of an authoritative figure, perhaps the dominus of the late antique villa, can be read in the faces and actions of the characters depicted in the central mosaic of this official room, through which we enter the heart of the residence. The bright flame of the torch held by the lampadarius seems to invite us to take part in an important ceremony, also underlined by the presence of a laurel branch held by the young man. They are all neatly arranged, dressed in richly decorated clothes. The scene is so realistic that the mosaicists even depicted their shadows reflected on the ground!
Doesn’t it feel like you can hear what the laurel-wreathed young man holding the diptych is declaiming or reciting? There is a burst of colours and hymns. Look…everyone turns their heads slightly to the right, and the sound of horses’ hooves approaching is getting louder and louder. Was Dominus about to enter his residence?
The smell of candles must have wafted through the atmosphere of the vestibule, mixed with the aroma of the laurel branches and plant crowns that encircled the heads of all the characters represented! Looking at the southern wall, we can now just make out, a short distance from the floor, the shoes of an armed figure who was originally flanked by other guards. Our minds take us back in time to that solemn moment when even the pervading smell of the metal of numerous umbrellas mingled with the acrid smell of wax and plant essences.
The welcoming ceremony involved wearing appropriate clothing for the occasion. It was an important form of homage and even the clothes had to express the official character through the richness of the fabric, cotton and silk materials from the East. The decorations, orbicles and clubs, superimposed on the tunics of the characters, were embroidered with silver, copper and gold threads.