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Detail from mosaic showing myth of Hippodamia

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Mosaic detail showing the myth of Hippodameya
Detail from mosaic showing myth of Hippodamia

Detail from a Roman mosaic in a villa in Spain (villa de Noheda) showing three beheaded heads. The object is dated to the 4th century CE.

Hippodamia’s father was Oenomaus, king of Pisa, who fearing the prophecy that he would be killed by his son-in-law one day, prevented his daughter from getting married. When eighteen suitors appeared in the palace, the king announced that his daughter’s hand would be given to one who would defeat him in the chariot race. In the event of his victory, the defeated will be killed.

As a result of eighteen consecutive races, each of the suitors was beheaded, and the king’s head hung on the walls of the palace.

Interestingly, the villa itself is one of the largest Roman houses in Spain (the banquet hall had 291 sq m). On-site excavations have been going on for 10 years and only 5% of the area has been discovered so far.

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