Face off

Galla PlacidiaWhile Malcolm was in the former American colony of Noo Joisey and in absentia, WordPress would seem to have re-arranged how photographs are inserted into posts. That Malcolm was somewhat jet-lagged after an eventful ride with Mustang Sally was a further confusion.

That means the two protagonists of that anecdote in the previous post went un-illustrated. While Malcolm works out what he is doing wrong, let’s hear it for Aelia Galla Placidia (above).

There’s a decent Wikipedia mini-biog of the lady, well worth a quite viewing — for she was a figure of considerable consequence. She is also mother  to millions — try the account on rootsweb for a taster. One way or another, she figures in the ancestry of many Europeans — and probably all of their hereditary rulers. She was, for example, Elizabeth II’s something-like forty-six-times-back great-grandmother.


The source of that image is the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia at Ravenna, which deserves to qualify as one of the wonder of early European art, recognised by UNESCO as:

the earliest and best preserved of all mosaic monuments, and at the same time one of the most artistically perfect.


Slide out of the Mausoleum, take a swift left past the Information Bureau into the Via Cavour, then right into Via di Roma, and there is the Basilica of San Apollinare Nuovo. [Aha! See! Malcolm is getting the knack of this insertion business!]

San Apollinare Nuovo was where W.B.Yeats was confronted by his:

sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,

— another poem Malcolm was made to learn at Dublin’s High School for his Leaving Cert., and which has fertilised brain-cells ever since.

A note of dubiety

gallafamDespite that image of Galla Placidia having a prominent position in her eponymous Mausoleum (as part of the family group with her two children, Valentinian and Honoria), there are certain snippy critics who question whether it does in fact represent the lady.

Malcolm will have none of that. That is she, majestically, imperially, imperiously so, and no-one else.

Oh, and a further footnote …

One modern legend has it that Cole Porter visited the Mausoleum, came outside, looked up at the Italian sky, and had the notion for Night and Day. And if that’s not a good enough excuse …


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Filed under air travel., blogging, culture, Dublin., films, High School, History, Music, travel, WB Yeats

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