Dr Sean Leatherbury visited the The Baron Thyssen Centre for the Study of Ancient Material Religion on the 11th July 2019, to give a paper entitled "Materializing the Community in the Late Antique Syrian Church". After the seminar, Jessica Hughes and Sean Leatherbury were joined by Dr Janet Huskinson and Dr David Noy to record an audio discussion about ancient mosaics - and the artists who made them. The discussion also features the voice of artist Aidan Hart, who spoke about the techniques and theology underpinning his contemporary mosaic work.
You can listen to this recording via the Soundcloud link above.
Programme structure and timecodes
0.36 Sean Leatherbury on the mosaics of Roman and Late Antique Syria - and their artists.
4.56 David Noy on the Jewish communities of Roman Syria, and the mosaics from the synagogue at Apamea.
10.22 Janet Huskinson on early Christian mosaics in the city of Rome, including those from the churches of Santa Pudenziana, Santa Sabina, and Santa Maria Maggiore.
17.31 Extract from a conversation with the mosaic artist Aidan Hart.
23.38 Responses to Aidan Hart.
29.50 Janet Huskinson on a fourth-century mosaic from Hinton St Mary.
32.16 David Noy on the mosaic floor from the synagogue at Ostia.
35.44 Sean Leatherbury on a floor mosaic from the nave of the sixth-century church at Huwat in northwestern Syria.
Further reading and resources:
Manar al-Athar ('Guide to Archaeology'): an open-access image resource for the study of the Middle East, including many images of mosaics: http://www.manar-al-athar.ox.ac.uk
The Digital Apamea website (a digital reconstruction of the fourth-century synagogue mosaic floor at Apamea on the Orontes).
‘A synagogue from Ostia Antica’ - article and photos from the International Catacomb Society.
You can find a description and photos of the Ostia synagogue on the Ostia Antica website.
Images of the mosaics in Santa Maria Maggiore at the Web Gallery of Art.
Images of the mosaics in Santa Pudenziana at the Web Gallery of Art.
Balty, J. (1995) Mosaïques antiques du Proche-Orient, Paris.
Donceel-Voûte, P. (1988) Les pavements des églises byzantines de Syrie et du Liban, Louvain-la-Neuve.
Donderer, M. (1989) Die Mosaizisten der Antike und ihre wirtschaftliche und soziale Stellung, Erlangen.
Dunbabin, K.M.D. (1999) Mosaics of the Greek and Roman World, Cambridge.
Hart, Aidan (2014) Beauty, Spirit, Matter: Icons in the Modern World, Leominster.
Hart, Aidan (2011 - second edition 2015) Techniques of Icon and Wall Painting, Leominster.
Leatherbury, Sean V. (2018) 'Christian Wall Mosaics and the Creation of Sacred Space' in Robin M. Jensen and Mark D.Ellison (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of early Christian Art, pp 86 -103 (and for further suggested reading).
Leatherbury, Sean V. (2019) Inscribing Faith in Late Antiquity: Between Reading and Seeing, London.
Noy, D. & Bloedhorn, H. (2004) Inscriptiones Judaicae Orientis III: Syria and Cyprus, Mohr-Siebeck, pp.84-116.
Noy, D. & Sorek, S. (2003) , “ ‘Peace and mercy upon all your blessed people’: Jews and Christians at Apamea in Late Antiquity”, Jewish Culture and History 6.2, 11-24.
Olson, B., Mitternacht, D., and Brandt, O. (eds) (2001), The Synagogue of Ancient Ostia and the Jews of Rome: Interdisciplinary Studies, Stockholm.
Stern, Karen (2019) ‘Memory, Postmemory and Place in the Synagogues of Roman Syria’, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 62.1, pp. 53-85.
Talgam, R. (2014) Mosaics of Faith: Floors of Pagans, Jews, Samaritans, Christians, and Muslims in the Holy Land, University Park, PA.
Additional extract from the conversation with Aidan Hart.