Lecture 10

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Classics 456  Dr. Soren

Greek and Roman Painting and Mosaics


            Lecture 10: Genre Scenes in Ancient Mosaics


A. Relationship of Man and Gods- The Thysdrus Ganymede Mosaic


     l. Domus Sollertiana ca. 225 A.D.

     2. Filled double peltae border-- tapestry effect

     3. Vegetal Rinceau

     4. Cross pattern of laurel-- crowning device

     5. Four Seasons- order in the universe

        a. Spring- flowers, hare, basket, light clothes

        b. Summer- wheat sheaves and sickle

        c. Fall- grapes

        d. Winter- heavy clothes, sprig of millet, duck

     6. Combat of serpent and griffin- latter wins and is ally of Nemesis

     7. Scenes galantes- courtship episodes

        a. Leda and the Swan, satyr and sleeping woman

        b. Satyr and Bacchante, Satyr with snake scares Bacchante

     8. Overall idea- sexual union blessed by gods, universe in harmony


        In Greek mythology, Ganymede was a divine hero whose homeland was Troy. Homer describes Ganymede as the most beautiful of mortals. He was the son of Tros of Dardania, from whose name "Troy" was supposed to derive, and of Callirrhoe. In one version of the myth, he is abducted by Zeus, in the form of an eagle, to serve as cup-bearer in Olympus. The myth was a model for the Greek social custom of paiderastía, the socially acceptable erotic relationship between a man and a youth.


B. Silenus and the Ass- Thysdrus, early 3rd century


   l. Psuedo-emblema

   2. Tress border

   3. Dionysus and Silenus- symbolic of bounty of fields and the good life     

   4. Thyrsus- ivy and vine leaves

   5. Silenus- tutor and attendant, sage and philosopher


C. Amphitheater Scenes- Thysdrus, early third century comic book predecessor?

   l. The Fancy Dress Banquet

   2. Extreme right- Telegenii insignia

   3. Leontii millet- Avocemur (Let us amuse ourselves)

   4. Pentasii- gold crown with fish

   5. Sinematii- S on bar crown

   6. Taurisci- sprig of ivy and numeral II, if number is III it is Crescentii            

   7. Zebus or Indian oxen


For the PowerPoint for this lecture click here