Friday, July 14, 2006

Another view from the Theatre Baths.

More from the Theatre Baths. There has been some restoration work on these mosaics but they are open to the elements and something more needs to be done to try to preserve them, especially if we get an influx of tourists to Libya.

This was unusual as it looks so haphazard, most of the mosaics are very planned and this one wasn't.

Next stop. . . The Theatre. Visiting the theatre is a must!

Detail at the theatre.

It was getting late and we had the long drive home. I took this picture as Sara was calling out 'Hey Mom! We're going to leave now!' So I pulled myself back into the year 2006 and we headed for home.

[Click on the images to see them larger. ] Posted by Picasa


  1. its so good to see that you are again doing what you are really good at, beautiful photos and vey informative blogs, i havent been to Sabrata since i was about 10 (im 43) i still remember vagouly the theatre and the sea.

  2. Great pics...enjoyed them ...
    Btw ... the mosaic you say looks so haphazard isn't so... try looking at the rhombuses... you'll see the pattern then :-)

  3. hey teri can you send some pics of the tile workto me i have a friend that would love them she works with clay and would love some new ideas hugs holly p.s. adam give your mom a kiss would you

  4. KT: With your permission, I'd like to borrow a copy of the "haphazadrous mosaic" picture. In exchange, I'll give you the following (scientific, not artistic) interpretation of the quirky nature of this piece.

    The mosaic does have a regularly repeating pattern, but something is off about it. If you mark identical points in the pattern with a dot, say the centers of the horizontal rhombi, you'd end up with a square array of dots, or a square grid if you connect the dots. The whole mosaic is constructed on this invisible square skeleton, but its outward appearance is not completely square.

    The space is filled with squares and rhombi, each shape bringing its own symmetry, but they don't both get to keep all of it. A square, for example, can be turned a quarter-turn about its center, or mirrored along its diagonal, without changing its appearance. A rhombus also has diagonal mirrors, but its swing is a half-turn. All of the rhombus symmetries are preserved in the overall pattern, but some--not all--of the square symmetries are lost or "broken" in assembling the big picture. That's why, as "me" pointed out, if you only look at the rhombi, you can make out the pattern more easily. The oddity is in the squares! [As always... lol lol lol] You can still turn the entire pattern 1/4-turn about any square center, but you cannot mirror it along any square diagonal. The pattern is odd because it lacks some of the attributes of its components-- a whole that's less than the sum of its parts. Since the pattern does not take full advantage of what the square has to offer, it's not optimal, you might say, not planned. And the twist of the squares relative to the underlying (invisible) square grid, though a systematic disharmony, still makes for an out-of-sync appearance.

    This pattern represents one of (only) 17 distinct types of periodic wallpaper-like patterns. This type is named p4gg in the notation of crystallography, and oddly enough, it is classified in the "square system" not in the system of the rhombus. In teaching crystal symmetry to materials scientists, I have used biological and artistic examples (like flowers and some Escher prints) to introduce the subject. I'd love to add this historical example, not only for its nostalgic value, but also for its technical subtlety.

  5. Suliman and me - Now that you point it out and I look closer you are right! amazing really! Suliman, you're more than welcome to use the image and if I make it out to Sabratha in the future I'll try to get an even better on for you.

    See... something told me to focus on the mosaic... and it came in useful for someone. That sure makes me happy!!

  6. Thank you, KT, I'll make good use of it.

  7. These pictures are really great; thanks for sharing! They remind me entirely of Italica, a Roman ruins site that I visited in Spain a few years ago. There were the same tiled baths surrounded by crumbling rock walls, and the theater looked almost exactly the same!

    I'll try to get some photos from that trip scanned and posted to my blog so you can see the amazing similarities! The only difference I noticed was the lovely sea in the background of your photos. Italica was completely land locked, in the arid South of Espana.

    The best photo I can find in a quick web search to represent my memories of the place is at


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