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Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2021


Roman villa, Kefallonia, Skala, mosaics, epigraphy, emotion, envy, shame, evil eye, materiality


A third-century C.E. inscribed mosaic from Skala, on the Greek island of Kefallonia, has greatly expanded our knowledge of envy’s evil eye in the Roman Mediterranean. Yet its inscription has not drawn the attention it deserves. Paying heed to the literary, affective, and material dimensions of this and other mosaic texts, I explore how the Skala poem, in tandem with the imagery it accompanies, mediates encounters between guest, host, and house. In so doing, it forms part of a decorative program materializing envy as actor in a drama celebrating a householder’s fortune while exposing the envious to general scorn.


Preprint file updated January 3, 2022.



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