All of the header photos on this site relate in some way to the historical setting of The Confessions of X. Here are some short explanations, in order, of the photos below.
The double portrait of a man and a woman is a fresco from Pompeii, circa 75 A.D. They are shown holding a stylus, wax tablets, and papyrus, all writing-related tools. Though this painting is from well before the novel’s time period, it makes me think of Augustine and X.
The street corner is from the ancient site of Carthage in modern-day Tunisia. I walked through the ruins of Carthage on a trip I took with my husband in 2008 as part of my research for The Confessions of X. It’s not hard to imagine Augustine and X living in a neighborhood like this.
The ancient ruined temple is a photograph my husband took on the 2008 trip. It’s of the remarkably well-preserved Roman town of Dougga in Tunisia, southwest of ancient Carthage, but very much in St. Augustine’s “territory” when he was bishop of Hippo Regius.
The courtyard is another photo from our trip to Tunisia, from one of the well-preserved villas on the hill overlooking the ancient port of Carthage, one of the main settings in the novel. This is the sort of villa that I envisioned in the novel as belonging to the character of Nebridius.
In the book, X’s father is an itinerant mosaic artist. North Africa was famous for the quality and quantity of mosaic work, which the desert climate has preserved to a remarkable extent.