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"Marvellous Mosaics 2 - The House of Theseus" Top 5 Page for this destination Mosaics - Kato Paphos Tip by TheWanderingCamel

Mosaics - Kato Paphos, Paphos: 13 reviews and 48 photos

  Slaying the monster
by TheWanderingCamel
  • Slaying the monster - Paphos
      Slaying the monster
    by TheWanderingCamel
  • Practise your Greek - Paphos
      Practise your Greek
    by TheWanderingCamel
  • Anew-born babe - Paphos
      Anew-born babe
    by TheWanderingCamel
  • Not so clear - Paphos
      Not so clear
    by TheWanderingCamel
  • Patterns within patterns - Paphos
      Patterns within patterns
    by TheWanderingCamel

The only way to gain any idea of how brilliant the colours in most ancient mosaics were is to wet them - and that is one BIG no-no, don't even think of it! If, on the other hand, the site is open to the skies and it happens to rain .... Well - that's just how lucky we were when we visited Paphos' mosaics where the House of Theseus is, as yet, unroofed. It had poured with rain the night before our visit, and we arrived there sufficiently early for the sun and the wind not to have dried the tesserae out and the effect was stunning - the colours as bold and as bright as they must have been when the floor was first laid back in the 2nd century AD.

This house takes its name from the large circular mosaic of Theseus slaying the Minotaur in a small room on the west side of this large villa, much of which has been excavated. Whilst not the finest work in the Archaeological Park and, sadly, the Minotaur has not survived, the mosaic is very lively, showing Theseus, club raised to slay the monster, while a worried-looking Ariadne waits in the background. The other figures are the embodiments of the island of Crete, in female form, while the labrynth is depicted as a bearded man and the whole thing is surrounded by a remarkably intact wide border (photo 1).

How do we know who is who? The characters in the story are all named on the mosaic. Why are the names in Greek when these are Roman mosaics? Greek was the language of both the eastern Roman Empire and its continuum, Byzantium. Familiarize yourself with the Greek alphabet and it's actually quite easy to work the names out for yourself. (photo 2)

Two other pictorial mosaics survive , one - the Birth of Achilles - in very good condition (photo 3); the other, showing Neptune and Galatea, is much less so, though the border has fared better than the figurative section (photo 4). There are also some very fine geometric patterned floors to be seen in the bath and the atrium (photo 5)

With its depiction of a reclining mother, a watching father and the infant Achilles being presented to the Three Fates, the imagery in the Birth of Achilles mosaic is considered by many scholars to be a pagan precursor of illustrations of the Nativity of Christ.

Address: By the harbour

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Apr 3, 2011
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