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Translated Circular Roman Mosaic - Household Dedication

Roman, the Levant, late Imperial Period, ca. 3rd to 5th century CE. A very special stone mosaic panel of a circular form with a household dedication composed of 12 lines of meticulously delineated Greek text surrounded by a decorative border featuring (from the top and clockwise): a passage of meander, a rainbow-like band, another passage of meander, and an interweaving meander - all in a beautiful palette of rose pink, russet red, sage green, beige, black, and white tesserae. The Greek inscription generally translates, "___ for prayer/vow and memory of Galasios ___ Mion (or "the younger") and Marthana with his son ___ of the holy ___ placement/dedication of the house ___ in fulfillment of a vow with their own (money) they went for ten years wherever ___ for the Lord (or master - not necessarily God) ___" Size: 52.25" W x 49.5" H (132.7 cm x 125.7 cm)

Scholars have noted that most of the recorded names of mosaic workers are Greek; in addition, Greek figural mosaics were adapted by the Romans; and many Roman mosaic inscriptions are written in Greek.

Mosaics (opus tesellatum) are some of our most enduring images from the Roman world, exciting not only for their aesthetic beauty, but also because they reveal what Romans chose to depict and see every day decorating their private and public spaces. This piece features a household dedication and may have been placed in the grand entryway known as the vestibulum or in the atrium where guests were greeted by their hosts.

In the Roman province of Syria, which encompassed most of the ancient Near East/Levant, mosaics developed as a popular art form relatively late, with most finds coming from the 3rd century CE or later. Syria was one of Rome's wealthiest provinces, but it was also far removed from Rome itself and Roman culture was overlaid on enduring cultural traditions from Hellenistic Greece and the great civilizations that came before it. Antioch-on-the-Orontes (modern day Antakya, Turkey), was the capital of northern Roman Syria, and its excavations in the 1930s revealed more than three hundred mosaic pavements - of which many embellished public baths. Popular mosaic themes from this region were often mythological or religious scenes, depicting gods and goddesses; however, sometimes mosaics were created to fit the theme of an edifice or room. This piece, given its household dedication, likely resided in a more public area of the home such as the vestibulum or atrium.

Condition: Expected wear to tesserae with some loss, chips, cracks, and recessed pieces commensurate with age. Set in a modern plaster matrix with a metal frame.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-private New Jersey, USA collection, 1980's

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