Roman Villa in Rabat, Malta
In Rabat, close to Citta Vecchia, Mdina, there is a Domvs Romana where a Roman Aristocrat and his family lived. They resided in a large town-house overlooking the Rabat Gardens, where they lived their lives according to their role in society, which reflected in the interiors and in their clothing.
The Roman Villa is well-known for its intricate mosaics and architecture as well as artefacts dating back to the 1st Century BC. Most of the Roman remains were found all over Malta and preserved in the Museum, Domvs Romana. It gives visitors a glimpse into the life of a Roman Aristocratic Household and covers various aspects such as fashion, education, entertainment, food and drink.
A few of the exhibits not to miss at the Museum…
The only set of beautiful statues portraying the Emperor Claudius and his family. The statues are of distinguished ancestors, which may have served as a family-tree of one of the Romans who resided in Malta. These were allowed to those families which had held the higher roles of state.
This was the most important part of the Roman villa, the mosaic pavement of the central court, is among the finest Hellenistic mosaic depicting two doves perched on a bowl which was copied from drinking doves by Sosus. With an unroofed, quadrangular court surrounded columns on each of the four sides. The Roman Aristocrat in the Peristyle, would greet middle class Roman Citizens who would have needed his protection or legal advice, be it in the law courts or in public business, he would have appeared as their advocate.
One other featured floor is the made of a polished cement with a pattern, consisting of small cubes of stone, white and black, creating an optical effect. One can find more of these works of art depicting theatrical masks, mythological creatures and more.
Food and Drink
The Domvs Romana has a display of cups and plates in great diversity of shape and material. Glass vessels were numerous, ceramic jugs of various shapes and purposes and can also be found on display.
Lighting – Oil lamps
In the Roman era, lighting the house with oil-lamps was common. They usually added olive scent using olive oil in oil-lamps, which were made of terra-cotta. One can still find these artefacts on exhibit to this very day.
The Roman remains are testimony enough of the original magnificence and richness of the Roman Aristocrats who once lived, leaving their Roman mark in Rabat for locals and tourists to witness now and for centuries to come.
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