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Paphos Mosaics 5 – Thisbe and Pyramos

July 13, 2013

Camera at 01.09.08 533

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

This mosaic represents the myth of Thisbe and Pyramos.

There are two versions of the myth one from the west where both Thisbe and Pyramos are mortal and the other from the east where Pyramos is a river god. In this depiction Pyramos is represented as a river god, identified through the crown of seaweed and the horn of plenty.

In Ovid’s version of the myth in Metamorphoses Pyramos and Thisbe are both mortal and fall in love, much to the displeasure of their parents, and talk to each other through a crack in the wall. They arrange a secret rendezvous at night but Thisbe is startled by a lioness, drops her cloak and flees. Pyramos finds the cloak stained in blood and believing the worst commits suicide.

The intertwining of the myth of Ovid and that of Pyramos as a God demonstrates the influences of Eastern and Western culture within the region. It is possible that an Eastern artist had been given instructions for the mosaic but may not have been sufficiently familiar with the Western tradition which resulted in the depiction of Pyramos as a God and the image of a leopard instead of a lioness.

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From → Art

3 Comments
  1. Reblogged this on Cyprus.Diverse.City and commented:
    The intertwining of the myth of Ovid and that of Pyramos as a God demonstrates the influences of Eastern and Western culture within the region. It is possible that an Eastern artist had been given instructions for the mosaic but may not have been sufficiently familiar with the Western tradition which resulted in the depiction of Pyramos as a God and the image of a leopard instead of a lioness.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Paphos Mosaics 8 – Narcissus | David Allsop Classics
  2. The Paphos Mosaic Series | David Allsop Classics

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