Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Cyrene libya

Looking north from the agora
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

In Tunisia and Libya on a University of Victoria travel study program ‘Exploring Roman Africa’ in 2006, I painted tiny sketches in a spiral-bound watercolour book. Recently I have started expanding some of my favourites. Cyrene is one of them.

Originally a Greek colony, situated in a lush valley near the Mediterranean coast in eastern Libya, Cyrene was one of the principal cities in the Hellenic world.  It was Romanized and remained a great capital until the earthquake of 365 CE. The agora is an excellent illustration of the claim that more mosaics have been preserved in the Roman provinces of North Africa than anywhere else in the empire, and the North African mosaics exhibit more vibrant colours than their Italian counterparts.