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Mosaic

(3,403 words)

Author(s): Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Panayides, Aliki Maria (Berne)
[German version] I. Phoenician-Punic A fundamental technical innovation in the creation of floors first occurred in the 5th cent. BC in the region of Carthage (Kerkouane) [1]: the surface was designed with the help of small, rectangular or almost square cubes ( tessellae) made of terracotta ( opus figlinum, see below II.B.), limestone or marble, which were set into a bed of mortar with the tightest possible fit and were then polished for walking upon. It appears to have developed in this important metropolis of the central Mediterranean (Pavi…

Pavimentum

(813 words)

Author(s): Panayides, Aliki Maria (Berne) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg)
[German version] I. Introduction Although only a small part of the pavimenta (floor coverings) in ancient buildings was decorated, scholars have paid a great deal of attention to them, esp. to those decorated with mosaics (other floor coverings generally only appear in scholarly literature in relation to the identification of their ancient terminology). In Pompeii only 2.5% of floors were decorated with mosaics, a further 7% were decorated with cement floors and the rest of the buildings are floored with undecorated stone or cement pavimenta or even stamped earth. Pavimenta were alw…

Piazza Armerina

(912 words)

Author(s): Panayides, Aliki Maria (Berne)
[German version] I. General Extensive Late Antique villa complex in Sicily in the so-called Casale, a valley between Monte Casale, Monte Mangone and the Colle di Piazza Vecchia. The complex is named after the modern locality situated nearby. On the basis of the ceramics finds, it is assumed that the villa was built between AD 305 and 325. The ancient restorations of the mosaics suggest that the complex was inhabited in this form right through to the Byzantine Period [6. 54, 376f.]. After that it was…

Sosus

(217 words)

Author(s): Panayides, Aliki Maria (Berne)
[German version] (Σῶσος/ Sôsos). The only Greek mosaicist to be both known from written sources (Plin. HN 36,184) and from extant Roman copies of the Imperial Period. S. was active in the 2nd cent. BC in Pergamum. There he created i.a. a pavimentum in opus tessellatum (Mosaic II.B.), recorded in literature and in copies, depicting doves surrounded by what is known as  asárōtos oîkos (unswept floor littered with the remains of a meal). According to Pliny, S. came particularly close to nature in this work. Earlier studies [4] interpreted dove mosaics and the asárōtos oîkos as symbolical…

Nile Mosaic

(445 words)

Author(s): Panayides, Aliki Maria (Berne)
[German version] A. General The NM comes from the sanctuary of Fortuna in Praeneste. With a second large pavimentum from the same building complex, the so-called Fish Mosaic [1. Cat. no. 15], it is housed in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Palestrina. It was assembled and reconstructed from several parts; its reconstructed total size is 6.55×5.25 m. The present reconstruction has been challenged by [8. 60ff.]. The mosaic shows an Egyptian coastal landscape with groups of hunters, soldiers and priests as well as…