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Friday, December 19, 2014

A Roman Lions Club

One fascinating aspects of graphic arts is that it helps us realize how things were done at time it was produced.

Often it allows us to realize how things have deeply changed with time, Sometimes it also allows us to realize how things have NOT changed...

So here is one of the gorgeous mosaics hosted by the National Bardo Museum in Tunis (Tunisia) :

A Lion with what appears to be some sort of piercings through its nose, framed by 4 stalks of millet. 

Above him an inscription reads :


Which  can be translated into

"O Leo, you planned, you prepared, you dedicated (this)."

This particular mosaic was originally part of the Thermae in the city of Uzitta a city of high antiquity, famous for certain episodes of Caesar's campaign in Africa.

In Rome, the thermae were facilities for bathing, public or private.
Most Roman cities had at least one, if not many, Thermae. These were centres not only for bathing, but more importantly also for socializing.

So what it first appears to be is that a guy named Leo designed, built and dedicated these thermae for the city of Uzitta.

But actually, things are a little more complicated.

Because the Lion framed by 4 Millet stalks actually was a symbol used by the Leontii - The Lions Sodality - a group of local prominent citizens, archaeologists believe these bath were actually built either by Leo, member of the Lions Sodality, or by the sodality itself for the benefit of the whole town.

A sort of Roman Lion's Club...

So, this is why the study of mosaics is fascinating: they show us that while some things have enormously evolved in the course of 1800 years, the men and women of these times had motivations, concerns and organizations similar to ours. 

If anything, this points to the importance of studying History if we want to try to avoid past mistakes and improve our societies. But this, my little friends, is an other story...

Mosaics are Classy. They have been for the past 2500 years... Emulate this beautiful Roman Patrician. Add colour and style to your life with one  of mosaicblues' mosaics.

Wether an existing mosaic or a special project: Commission a portrait, decorative panel for your kitchen or bathroom, a shower wall, an entrance hall floor... Together we will design the perfect piece fitted to your home's or business' unique style. Or if you simply would like to discuss the wonderful art of modern and ancient mosaics, please contact me by email at or by phone at (334) 798 1639.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi there, I’ve spotted that you’ve used my photograph of the lion mosaic in the Bardo. While that I’m honoured that you have could you please visibly credit me for it. Thank you! Best wishes Dr Sophie Hay.