December 2016: On the Significance of Roger II of Sicily’s Antiquated Loros in the Mosaic in Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, Palermo


December 4, 2016                 The Lynda Nilsen Memorial Lecture

Dr. Dawn Marie Hayes

On the Significance of Roger II of Sicily’s Antiquated Loros in the Mosaic in Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, Palermo

In his well-known portrait “Martorana” in Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, Palermo, Roger II of Sicily dons an antiquated loros. The stole is not a “modified” loros that hangs in a straight line down the ruler’s torso and legs, but a “traditional” loros – a piece of cloth that wraps his body and crosses diagonally over both of his shoulders. One might speculate that his outdated appearance is the result of simple ignorance of the changes to Byzantine imperial vestments that had occurred during the 11th and 12th centuries. However, this is not an adequate explanation as the kingdom and empire were in close contact with each other during this time. Additionally, Roger is shown wearing a modified loros on a gold seal attached to a diploma dated 1131 as well as in an enamel plaque in Bari which dates ca. 1140, both of which predate the Martorana, which was likely mounted between 1140 and 1151. The loros was deeply symbolic, an icon of empire as well as a garment that was associated with Easter, the Feast of the Resurrection. The Matorana antiquated loros, combined with the fleurs-de-lis that appear on the robe Roger wears underneath, were designed to symbolize Roger’s hopes to forge a Franco-Sicilian alliance that would resurrect an imaginary past. A time when the ancestors of the Normans and the French ruled territory that was, in Byzantine hands by the 12th century.

THIS LECTURE WILL BE IN FOUNDATION HALL IN THE MANZULLI BOARD ROOM.  Sunday at 3pm.  Wagner College, 631 Howard Avenue (1 Campus Road), Grymes Hill, Staten Island, NY 10301

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Meet the speaker over coffee and cake following each lecture

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