Itinerary B
Piazza Armerina

[4] Sound of the hunt

The first scene is portrayed in such detail that it feels like you can hear the hounds pacing over the sloping woodland and the hunters’ footsteps making their way through the agave-like bushes. In the near distance you can hear the screeching of a hawk resting on the shoulder of a bird catcher, waiting for visible prey, while a lively crackle comes from the brazier of an altar where resin and incense are burning for the country sacrifice in front of a statue of Diana, the goddess of the hunt. Below, the representation of an open-air breakfast seems to be animated by the voices of the diners and the trampling of horses’ hooves, resting under the trees.

After resting, the hunt resumes in the scenes below. The breath of a dark-coated hound becomes laboured. It has its jaws wide open in an attempt to catch a fox, before it disappears among the rocks and, at the same time, a hare hides in a bush, causing the leaves to rustle loudly.

The landscape of the scenes below is less flourishing and the footsteps of the hunters and their steeds become more muted. The beaten earth muffles the gallop of three horses, ridden by horsemen in pursuit of three large deer, whose long antlers are now destined to become entangled in the mesh of a large net. In a patch of marshland, a wild boar is heard screeching, now hunted by dogs and hunters, after having wounded a man lying on the ground with his broken spear.