Apollo and his Muses in Rome

Some fantastic mosaics found under later Trajanic baths (dated to AD 109) have just been announced in Rome. The excavations have been going for several years, and lots of photos are worth posting as not only are these spectacular but they are also unusual.

We're used to thinking of trompe l'oeuil architecture painted on walls, as at Pompeii - but frescoes mostly were for those who could not afford marble (a similar analogy can be drawn to the Tomb of John Hawkwood which was painted by Uccello in the Florence Duomo as that was cheaper than a stone tomb). Here the architectural framework was created in mosaic on the walls.

Extensive restoration work was undertaken after excavations. The mosaics seem to depict Apollo and the Muses.

The section with these mosaics post-dates the Domus Aurea whose construction was abandonned with the death of Nero in AD 64.

And this is Apollo, the god himself:

This is the head of a centaur, and the full figure can be seen below in the post:

The 1998 excavations found a figure of a philosopher. In all the mosaics are over six feet high, and up to 33 feet long.

A ground plan super-imposed on an aerial photo of Rome showing the structure where the mosaics were found circled in red:

In the same complex this view of Rome was found in 1997. It's important as although we have the Severan plan of Rome from the Templum Pacis, this is a very unusual perspectival view showing the elevations of buildings:

I also love this mosaic of grapes being stomped (more views here):

Photos courtesy of the Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Roma

Update - this video shows the site nicely

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