Lecture 5



Classics 456  Dr. Soren

Roman Mosaics and Painting


               Lecture 5: The Alexander Mosaic


A. House of the Faun at Pompeii- Publius Sulla?


B. Alexander in the Fury of Battle- found October 24, 1831

   and measure 5.82 by 3.13 meters


   l. Synechdoche- part for a whole

   2. Order versus Confusion

   3. High Sky

   4. Bũhnartig approach- like narrow stage action

   5. Darius

   6. Daring horse view           

   7. Thirty cubes per square centimeter- vermiculatum

   8. How good is it really and how original?

      a. Schemenhaft – shadowy, unreal quality

      b. Auseinanderziehen- made in 2 parts which pull away

          from one another

      c. Verwirrend- tangled up

      d. Ausführung- precise detail and order

      e. Tafgemälde – slab or easel painting, like tabula or pinake

      f. Setzkarton – specially prepared drawing of original


   9. Where was the detailing lost?  Cartoon? Preliminary

      sketch? Actual laying out?


  10. Who did it? Or who did original it is taken from?

      a. Aristeides- circa 350 B.C.

      b. Helena of Egypt

      c. Philoxenos of Eretria


C. Sosos of Pergamon

     1. Most famous mosaicist

     2. Asarotos Oikos-  The Unswept Floor

        a. Still life type

        b. Purgamenta Cenae

        c. Quaeque everri solvent

        d. Trompe l'oeil

         e. E.G. Gobert “La magie des restes” Revue Tunisienne


        f. Diogenes Laertius- 150CE Greek author of Lives of

            Greek Philosophers

        g. Cites Aristotle on Pythagoreans- danger to pick up

            fallen food

        h. Athenaeus- Deipnosophistae- Sthenebea loves

            Bellerophon, believes he is dead (in Euripides)

            and dedicates fallen food to his shades

     i.Pliny- bad luck to sweep floor when someone gets up

          from dinner—the danger of the Manes


     3. The Drinking Doves

        a. Pliny the Elder- mirabilis columba bibens

        b. Aquam umbra capiti infuscans

        c. Apricantur aliae scabentes sese in canthari labro

        d. But Romans change Greek originals- add own ideas


D. Dioscourides of Samos

   l. Second century B.C.

   2. Villa of Cicero in Pompeii

   3. Influence of New Attic Greek Comedy

   4. Synaristosai of Menander

   5. Color strip recession

   6. Originally a votive offering for a sanctuary?


For my lecture images click here.