Ancient Roman Mosaic of Lycurgus & Ambrosia

Ancient Roman Mosaic of Lycurgus & Ambrosia

Item Number: 10709


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Period: Circa 3rd – 4th c. CE, Imperial Roman
Dimensions: 76.77” (195 cm) x 64.57” (164 cm)
Condition: Amazing given its age, size, and quality
Region: Syria, Region near the ancient grand city of Antioch.
Provenance: Formerly the property of a European gentleman who acquired it between 1970 and 1980 from a licensed dealer in Lebanon. Documentation available from import of his collection to the United States in 1988
The nymph Ambrosia's metamorphosis as King Lycurgus slays her. In ancient art, Ambrosia was the nourishment of the Greek gods conferring longevity or immortality upon whomever consumed it. Ambrosia was often depicted as a nymph. In this myth of the impious King Lycurgus of Thrace, he is an opponent of the wine god Dionysus whom he drove from Thrace. In return, he is driven mad by the vengeful god. Lycurgus kills his own son whom he mistakes for a stalk of mature ivy then attacks Ambrosia and kills her with an axe. She is metamorphosed into a fruiting grapevine by the god Dionysus. A cautionary tale but one with a happy ending when wine is preserved in perpetuity!

Running wave border. Complete and all original with no repair or restoration. Mounted on honeycomb which removes more than two thirds of the weight of a mosaic mounted in cement and allows greater ease for display.

A rare opportunity to acquire an important complete original Roman mosaic of excellent quality depicting a famous Greek myth.

A mosaic with the same theme may be found at the Archaeological Museum of Delos. Also a similar themed mosaic from Herculaneum resides in the Staatliche Museum in Munich. A more static version can be viewed at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.