Last Tuesday, history department faculty and students listened to the third and final senior honors thesis of the 2010-2011 year: Melissa Hogan’s “Puzzling over History: A Study of Late Antique Cyprus through Mosaic Art.”
In her presentation, Melissa discussed the research she has been conducting over the last two years on mosaic floors and walls uncovered on Cyprus, the large island of the eastern Mediterranean. Mosaics are composite pieces of artwork created by setting into mortar floors or walls thousands of tiny clay and stone squares called tesserae. Mosaics adorned villas, baths, and churches in the Roman and Late Roman era.
Melissa showed in her presentation how one can read mosaic floor and wall panels as historical documents that reflect social and religious change. In particular, as elite investments, she showed how different mosaic panels indicate the changing relationship of pagans and Christians on Cyprus in Late Antiquity (2nd-6th centuries).