Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sicily: Culture and Conquest review – gods, monsters and multiculturalism

By Jonathan Jones
Byzantine-style mosaic showing the Virgin as advocate for the human race, from Palermo Cathedral in Sicily (AD 1130-1189). Photograph: © Museo Diocesano di Palermo
The Normans, those lean invaders in scaly chain mail who slew and conquered their way into Britain in the embroidered scenes of the Bayeux tapestry, have a harsh reputation. The British Museum’s latest stimulating survey of world history shows why we should rediscover these feudal fighters as heroes of multiculturalism. Far from a simple hymn to the lovely landscapes and ruins of Sicily, this exhibition invites you to rethink Britain’s own history and heritage. The Normans, it shows, creatively blended religion and art and in Sicily sponsored the most liberal culture of the middle ages. [link]
The Normans sponsored the most liberal culture of the middle ages’ … tombstone in four languages, Palermo, Sicily, AD1149. Photograph: © Regione Siciliana