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Paphos Mosaics 4 – Poseidon & Amymone

July 6, 2013

Camera at 01.09.08 530

This is the fourth in my series of posts on the Paphos Mosaics (links to the previous posts are found below).

This mosaic represents the seduction of Amymone by Poseidon, signified by the presence of a winged Eros. Poseidon is clearly identified by the trident he possesses and Amymone the water jug.

Amymone received the unwelcome attention of a group of satyrs whilst out searching for water. Poseidon rescued Amymone but decided that he must posses her himself and seduced her by revealing the water that she had been searching for. Amymone had one child by Poseidon, the navigator Nauplius, and went onto marry Lynceus.

The mosaic is extremely suggestive, Poseidon’s clothing is falling away, Amymone appears to be beckoning him forth and their eyes are locked upon each other suggesting a spark of attraction. Poseidon’s advances appear to be wanted, even desired, in this representation but not all seductions of mortals by Gods were depicted like this. I am unable to provide a broad discussion on this subject within this post but I would suggest Mary Lefkowitz’s chapter on Seduction and Rape in Women in Greek Myth which considers the representation of scenes such as this.

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