Friday, March 05, 2021

A Syriac mosaic with an Homeric scene

DECORATIVE ART AND SYRIAC WATCH: Nouvelles mosaïques d’Osrhoène découvertes in situ en Syrie du nord (Komait ABDALLAH, Alain DESREUMAUX, Mohamad AL-KAİD, Journal of Mosaic Research, Year 2020, Volume , Issue 13, Pages 1 - 34).

New Osrhoene Mosaics Discovered In Situ in Northern Syria

In 2017, a mosaic was discovered in a plain near Tell Shioukh Tehtani, located 60 km northeast of Aleppo in the Euphrates Valley and is known for remains from the Bronze Age found by an Italian-Syrian archaeological mission. The mosaic was found during a clandestine excavation carried out before 2017. The Directorate of Antiquity in Damascus which was informed by the local society sent a team of restorers who excavated and documented all the floor mosaic before removing it to the service of antiquity at Al-Hassake province. The work of the restorers has shown that this mosaic is the remains of the pavements of a private villa. The drawing plan done by the restorers shows a part of this building composed of several rooms and a corridor. All these parts are paved with mosaics, some of them was in situ, others were looted. The apse main room is paved with a mosaic around a basin in the center; there remains only one carpet figured by the Achilles scene in Skyros; the figures are identified by inscriptions in Syriac. In another room, there is a mosaic around a basin in the center representing a foliage of vine coming out of the vases with four Eros. The mosaic of the corridor is decorated with geometric patterns. The stylistic study shows that these mosaics are very close to those found at Edessa (Urfa) and dated to the 3rd century AD. This mosaic has an exceptional importance because, on the one hand, it attests the diffusion of the Edessa mosaics workshops outside the city and its region, and on the other hand, it gives an idea on the decoration of the mosaics in the public buildings in this region in Roman times.

HT David Taylor on Facebook.

This is a lovely mosaic, bearing a Homeric scene, although not necessarily one out of Homer. The Syriac captions name Odysseus, Achilles, Déidamie, and one other fragmentary name that could be either Circe or Briseis.

The article is in French. It appears to be open access. At least I had no trouble downloading it.

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