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Monday, January 19, 2015

Glass Floor mosaic discovered in Northeastern Greece

An impressive mosaic - the floor of a Roman bath – has been discovered by Greek archaeologists near the city of Didymoteicho in northeastern Greece.

Ichtyocentaur & Dolphin

The town, called Plotinopolis in Roman times,was founded by Emperor Trajan who named it after his wife Plotinus.

who named it after his wife Plotinus
who named it after his wife Plo
An area of 90 square metres has so far be discovered, it is covered with mosaics depicting mythical sea creatures : ichthyocentaurs, dolphins, the Nereids (sea nymphs in Greek mythology). Such design is considered as very unusual for this region. 

Similar themes have been discovered in compositions in the region of Ostia in Italy and in the house with red pillars in Tunisia.

The western part of the mosaic depicts geometric patterns – meanders and entrelacs of different kinds, whereas the two separate parts at the bottom are decorated with birds and natural motifs.

Gorgeous meanders

The whole mosaic is laid with glass pieces. Now, this is interesting ! It is  quite unusual to find glass floor mosaics. Glass tesserae were generally used on walls rather than floors. I suspect the main reason for this is the brittleness of glass which breaks much more readily than stone. To my knowledge, we found no glass mosaics in Pompeii (All the walls of the houses collapsed during the eruption in 79 AD) but we found lots of them on the walls of Herculanum (buried by the ashes before the houses had the time to collapse)

The mosaic dates back to the second half of the 2nd century and the beginning of the 3rd century AD and belongs to the triclinium-type baths consisting of a banqueting room with three beds. The course of the excavations has convinced archaeologists that the bath was public rather than part of a rich house. 

The fact that these were public bath means that people did not likely engage in heavy activities and probably were walking barefoot probably explain why the builders decided to use these more fragile and colourful glass tesserae, for the greatest enjoyment of their patrons, and ours ! 


I am a modern mosaic artist. My work is mostly inspired by the Arts of Classical Rome and French and Italian Renaissance. 

I blog about mosaics, modern and antic. Being greatly inspired by the gorgeous pieces created by our ancestors, mostly Greek and Romans, i enjoy sharing them here.

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