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The Craftsmen Who were

The Craftsmen Who were they? Very little is known about them, the chances are many were slaves, or former slaves now freed. There would also have been free born citizens who worked their way up from young apprentices. In the early days the men creating the floors in Rome and its provinces would have been Greek. With the huge amount of workers needed eventually there would be many nationalities. They were working with their hands therefore they were seen as manual labourers, regardless of how fine their work was. In 301 CE the Emperor Diocletian set prices for trades across the empire. Because of it, a mosaicist was not paid much more than a stonemason or carpenter. Obviously there would have been a difference for those creating the much finer mosaics but it was still seen as just a trade. 11

How they cut the marble A modern day hammer and hardie. The marble is held on the hardie (the upturned chisel in the wood) and then hit with the hammer to cut it. These tools are same as those used 2,000 years ago. A gravestone from Ostia showing stone workers cutting up the marble into tesserae. They are using a hammer and hardie. A few facts and figures; ● Average tesserae size 8mm - 12mm (⅜”) ● Tesserae per square metre (3’ x 3’) 8,000 - 10,000 ● Estimated work rate for a day 0.8 square metres ● A room of only 3m x 8m would have 128,000 - 160,000 tesserae, all hand cut. 12

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