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Mythological Background of the Mosaics During the Roman Empire

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Overview

During the Roman Empire, mosaics were built in large rooms to make those rooms look more admirable and exciting. There was an architect that wrote a book about mosaics and how they were designed but this book did not include how the check (a pattern of small squares) was harvested or how they were set out this man’s name is Vitruvius. He is the reason why there are so many mosaics post Roman Empire. They can tell stories of normal life or mythology or be portraits but the style of these mosaics varies from Rome to Northern Africa to Syria and many more. The style also reflects what decade or so years it is from. Take a mosaic from Syria of a griffin it would be different to a mosaic from Rome as you can see. This also proves my other point, that if they aren’t in the same decade they will not be very similar as well as if they aren’t in the same region of the Roman Empire. Furthermore the main deciphering factors between Roman Mosaics is the place, decade and/or the culture of the city or region is.

Region Guide

Mosaics have been found all across the Mediterranean peninsula, the ones I will be presenting are from Rome and Syria (pictures of these are shown above) the one from Rome which has a different style to Syria because of the different culture the culture in Rome at the time, the culture revolved around how rich you were while in Syria the mosaic was from well past the peak and on the fall of the Roman Empire. The details of the mosaics are: the one from Rome; Roman, from Rome, Italy 115-150 AD Syria; Roman, from Syria, 400-600 AD.

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The mosaic from Rome is a decorative mosaic that doesn’t show story whatsoever but there is the face of medusa (a snake-haired gorgon) that is surrounded by a pattern of growing (in size) triangles to form a circular shape. That circle is surrounded by some shapes that look like they are wrapping around something these leave room for some more bigger triangles which have what looks like a bell in them. These bells are facing the center of the mosaic.

The mosaic from Syria is also more decorative and has the addition of depicting a Roman mythological character too, a griffin but this mosaic doesn’t have a decorative circle of growing triangles around it. This one is on a plain bit of stone, even though it has no backdrop it is holding what looks to me like a decorative wheel. The spokes of the wheel look to be in a sun like design, it might be symbolistic I don’t know.

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