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CivilizationCivilization in AntiquityArt in AntiquityMosaics in Antiquity

Mosaics in Antiquity

The Olynthos mosaics
The Vergina mosaics
The Pella mosaics
The mosaics of Thessalonike and Dion

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Deer hunt
A deer hunt, detail from the mosaic floor signed Gnosis in the 'House of the Abduction of Helen' at Pella, late 4th century BC, Pella, Archaeological Museum.

Dionysos riding a panther, mosaic floor in the 'House of Dionysos' at Pella, late 4th century BC, Pella, Archaeological Museum.

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Deer hunt
Late 4th century BC

Late 4th century BC

The most important group of mosaics in Macedonia was found at Pella, capital of the kingdom from the beginning of the 4th century BC. The mosaics date to the end of the 4th century BC, and were found mainly in two houses of the city, the "House of Dionysos" and the "House of the Abduction of Helen" where they adorned the floors of the formal rooms.

Their depictions belong to two categories: those with simply a geometric decoration covering the entire surface of the floor, and those with representative subjects, such as hunts, Amazonomachy (battle of Amazons) and others.

The efforts to indicate volume by the use of shading is noteworthy. The color scale is limited, with most figures being in pale shades against a neutral background. In some cases there is an attempt to suggest the natural space in which the figures move. One mosaic floor bears the artist's signature: "Gnosis epoesen" (Gnosis made this).

Novel elements are evident in the technique for laying these floors: for the first time use is made of the size of the pebbles and new materials are also used, such as semi-precious stones or glass tesserae for the detail. Strips of lead and bands of baked clay emphasize the outlines.

See Also
Travelling - Aigai (Vergina)
Ancient Thessalonike

Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.