IL NOVUM MUSIVI GENUS DI SIMMACO E I PANNELLI IN OPUS SECTILE
dressed by Symmachus (Epistulae 8.42) to an anonymous recipient. The author asks him to send urgently – on a board or a tile – samples of a novum musivi genus that he wished to use to decorate some rooms of his residences. In order to recreate the main features of this type of floor decoration, this paper compares the vitreous and marble sectilia panels recovered in Faragola (Ascoli Satriano, FG), ones from Kenchreai(Corinth) and other Egyptian contexts, and crustae from San Vincenzino (Cecina, LI). These decorations were particularly popular during Symmachus’ age, between the second half of the 4th century and the beginning of the 5th century CE. This paper briefly focuses on specific topics that have already been analyzed in previous studies, by questioning the origin of the sectilia and the raw materials, the manufacturing and placement process and techniques, and the clients and the workers. We tackle all of these issues based on the results of archaeometry, and the analysis of the building materials used in the design and the preparatory layers. We also present significant data from the most recent research.