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Villa Romana del Casale at Piazza Armerina

"In the civilized state of the Roman empire, the wild beasts had long since retired from the face of man, and the neighbourhood of populous cities. To surprise them in their solitary haunts, and to transport them to Rome, that they might be slain in pomp by the hand of an emperor, was an enterprise equally ridiculous for the prince, and oppressive for the people."

Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

The Roman estate (Villa Romana del Casale) at Piazza Armerina in the central part of Sicily is the most luxurious in the empire and likely belonged to a Roman magistrate of the senatorial order. Constructed in the early fourth century AD, the mosaics probably were laid down by artisans from Carthage. They show the collecting and transport of animals for the games in Rome and decorate a colonnaded corridor more than two-hundred feet in length.

The impression they make is muted somewhat by the shadows cast by the protective scaffolding and oblique angles from closed galleries.

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