The Roman Domus in Rabat
This Roman townhouse is situated in Rabat. In Roman times, this house would have been situated well within the walls of the city of Melite. For quite a long time this house was mistakenly referred to by locals as a Roman Villa. This is a mistake as since it was situated in the city of Melite it was a townhouse. The Roman term for a townhouse is domus.
This domus was discovered in 1881, just outside Mdina. The site was first investigated by A.A. Caruana. It was further investigated between 1920 and 1924 by Sir Themistocles Zammit, who was Malta's first Director of Museums and a pioneer of Maltese archaeology.
The mosaic pavements in the 'Roman Domus' at Rabat are among the finest and oldest mosaic patterns from the western Mediterranean, alongside those of Pompeii and Sicily. The mosaics were composed using two methods. Small cubes of marble or stone are fixed closely together in cement. Parts of these mosaics were created by extremely skilled artists working in specialized workshops at Pergamum in Asia Minor, Antioch in Syria and Alexandria in Egypt. One of the mosaic pavements shows two doves perched on the rim of a bowl. This design is known as the drinking doves of Sosos, and a similar one can be seen in a Roman house in Italy. Other extremely fine mosaics were found in the adjoining rooms.
The Roman Domus also has a vast exhibition of artifacts which bear witness to the rich material culture and flourishing Roman civilisation in Malta. Not all the museum's exhibits were found within the villa's grounds. Among the artifacts and architectural fragments is an olive-grinder found in Marsaxlokk, parts of flourmills made from Italian lava, and tombstones. In the cabinets there is a display of terra-cotta ornaments, theatrical masks, glassware, amphorae, lamps from Imperial Rome and a section of fine mosaics from the villa. The Domvs Romana was re-opened for public visits on the 26th February 2005.
On our outing.
At the Roman Domus there are a lot of things to see such as architectural features of the Roman house itself as well as Roman antiquities that have been discovered throughout the whole Island. In the Museum section one can view various artefacts such as pottery that was used in the preparation and serving of meals, perfume bottles, carnival masks and Roman coins. Of particular interest are the several mosaic floors that formed part of this Roman house. I think going there was a fantastic idea for we got to see these things first hand and thus we learned more about the Romans and the interesting heritage that they left in our country.