I presented today my paper, “Perfettissimo Marmo Lavorato: Influences and Meaning in the Pavements of Cappella Palatina, Palermo.” In this talk, I argued that the pavements of the Chapel (completed between 1132 and 1140) themselves offer many outlets of influences and meaning, from Middle Byzantine and South Italian exempla, to the lions at the entrance to the choir and the snakes at the altar. The various outlets of influence are persuasive of the world nature of the kingdom of Roger II, who was the King of Sicily, starting in 1130. It is interesting that the pavements alone (not withstanding the whole decorative ensemble of the chapel as a whole) can illustrate where Roger is drawing his influence–and what he wants to illustrate about his kingdom.
The conference was a great success, with over 23 papers from a wide range of scholars. It was really exciting to hear so many different people talking on so many different aspects of the 14th century in Italy and throughout the Mediterranean basin.
During the proceedings, it was decided to rename the conference the Andrew Ladis Trecento Conference. It was fitting that I was able to participate, as Mr. Ladis received all three of his degrees from UVa.