Following the inclusion of Egypt into to the Roman Empire, African music and culture in general have spread to Rome and other Italian centers. Sources document African music and dance in Rome and mostly concerned with their role in the ritual context, particularly those devoted to divinities such as Isis and Bes. A series of mosaics and wall paintings, dating from the early imperial age, portrays people coming from Africa—such as blacks, pigmys and dwarfs—dancing both in religious contexts and more often, in scenes showing Nilotic landscapes and/or comic and licentious performances. These performances were considered exotic or Other. Here, the dancers mark rhythm, for their movement using different kinds of clappers: crotals, scabilla, and mostly, sticks. The sticks were used as clappers also for apotropaic purposes.
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