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Mythical sea creatures on Roman mosaic

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Mythical sea creatures on Roman mosaic
Mythical sea creatures on Roman mosaic

A beautiful mosaic floor showing mythical sea creatures and characters from Greek mythology; the work adorned the frigidarium in the baths of the Roman luxury estate Villa Romana del Casale in Sicily.

In the centre is Arion, a Greek semi-mythical singer who plays the lyre on the back of a dolphin. According to ancient sources, Arion was to be saved while escaping from pirates by a group of dolphins who fell in love with his singing and music.

On the mosaic, you can also see (in the lower-left corner) an ichthyocentaur with a human torso, two hooves and a fishtail. On the left are the Nereids, beautiful daughters of the sea god Nereus. On the mosaic, you can also see Triton, as well as animals: fish, dragons, deer and panthers.

The head of the Oceanus god, who symbolically supplies water to the earth, air and rivers, is only partially preserved in the apse. Some researchers believe that the figure could actually symbolize the emperor giving good to citizens.

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