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    We are travelers

    TESELA

    InuitBuild your life like a mosaic... putting all your effort, creativity and love into it. Lay one “tessella” (a tile piece) after another making every day something beautiful and authentic.

    The precious sun peers through the window while I stretch. It is my favorite day of the week, Sunday. I get out of the bed eager to take the car and explore a new place. I pack my toiletries and some outerwear. I also take some fruit and a bottle of water.  I’m ready.  Once in the car, with a map of Spain on my legs, I close my eyes and turning my index finger in the air I point to the map. I open my eyes and see that my finger is on the city of Mérida (Badajoz, Extremadura). It appears that I have an appointment with history. In just three hours I arrive to Mérida, a city declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its archaeological treasures and monuments.

    Where to begin? The Roman Theater and Amphitheater, the Circus Maximus, the Aqueduct, the Temple of Diana, the Villa Mitreo, the Arch of Trajan, the Santa Maria Cathedral... With a list of monuments I had found at the Office of Tourism, I close my eyes, turn my index finger once again and it falls on the Villa Mitreo. Climbing the slope that descends from Mount St. Albin, I reach a construction that lies to the southwest outside the city walls. It is called the Mithraeum. It was a place of worship for the followers of the mystery religion of Mithraism. It was a temple dedicated to the cult of Mithras, the God of Solar Light.

    After crossing the atrium with its central pond covered with marble slabs, I enter the room where the Cosmogonic Mosaic is located. Looking at this unique spectacle of blue and gold, one wonders if we really live in the age of development or we are walking back wards as crabs....

    - “The famous Cosmogonic Mosaic is one of the most important mosaics found in the Iberian Peninsula.  It is a good example of the Roman domestic architecture from the last part of the first century A.D.”, a person behind me was narrating. Upon rotating my head I saw an octogenarian too tall to have been born during the depression.

    - “It is an exceptional representation of the Cosmos. It is remarkable for the beauty of its polychromic colors, especially blue and gold. It embodies the worldview at the time it was constructed and the forces of nature that governed it”, the gentleman continued while I admired that stunning creation that represents the Universe.

    - “Overall we can say that it is a representation of air, earth and water. The concepts, figures and specific groups are typically Mithraic. The mythical-conceptual groups represented in this beautiful mosaic contain a special meaning and hermetic significance whose mystery we can only imagine.”

    After, he asked me: “Do you know what a mosaic is?”

    - “An artistic work made with small pieces of stone, glass and ceramics... that form a picture”, I answered without knowing if the answer was correct.

    - “That’s right. In this case we are talking about a Roman mosaic made with tiles, which are cube-shape pieces made of limestone, glass or ceramic. These pieces are very carefully crafted and cut in different sizes. The artist arranged the pieces on a surface, like a puzzle, distributing the color and the shape and fixing them together with cement. The first thing to do was to design the frame. This work was called an emblem or “something that is embedded in.” Later, after dividing the tessellae according their color, a template was drawn on papyrus or a cloth where the tessellae were placed.

    The Roman Republic, a “polis” in its beginnings, managed to consolidate its domination over the Italian Peninsula, conquer Carthage and extending its domain to the Western Mediterranean. Later, the Romans conquered the Hellenistic Kingdoms and took over the Eastern Mediterranean. The conquest of the Mediterranean world produced great economic and social changes in Rome, as well as political. The republican system, capable of governing a city-state, no longer served to manage the vast Roman territories. It was replaced by an Imperial government. To achieve this took several civil wars between the Roman aristocracy and popular leaders.  Augustus consolidated the Roman Empire, which assimilated the Hellenic culture, unified the Mediterranean world and provided a common language and legal system.

    To Rome we owe, among other contributions, Civil Law and the basis of the Romance languages. Romans admired the Greek culture and assimilated many of its elements.  From this fusion came the Greco-Roman culture, which is the foundation of all Western cultural development. Knowing our origins helps us to better understand our present.”

    - “The Roman Circus is really impressive... would you like to see it?”

    - “Of course, I exclaim with a sincere smile.” He offered me his arms, which I accepted with delight, and we walked toward the place where the chariots pulled by fast horses had competed. This was a great Sunday and the tessellae are the perfect inspiration for a new, elegant, and comfortable shoe line for women.