Mosaic of Eros


Conjunto Arqueológico de Cástulo

Conjunto Arqueológico de Cástulo

The archaeological interventions since 2011 by the Forvm MMX Project have documented in the center of the city of Castulo a luxurious building, intentionally demolished at the end of the first century A.D.

Archaeological evidences shows an unfinished work, a building that was under construction when it demolishes, after removing all reusable materials. Hypothesis pose a destrucction due damnatio memoriae, could be a building that would be destined for the imperial cult, the cult of Domitian, who was murdered after a conspiracy in 96 A.D.

The destruction of this building and the fact that it wasn´t built over it until several centuries later, has allowed this is preserved in an exceptional state.

In the north of this building exist a large room of 70 square meters approximately paved with a mosaic. Over him the walls of adobe bricks and mud walls were demolished with the decorated stucco, allowing know many details of the decorative composition and structure.

The walls 3.8 meters high were decorated with red stucco panels and false pilasters with decoration composed of cups and flowers.

Access to the room is done through two doors in the southwest corner, and although there is no archaeological elements to make an approach to the functionality of the room, the mosaic composition allows us to suggest that it could be a space in which they were to perform some ceremonies, having a main north area composed of a rectangular panel with octagons in black and white; a central area with the emblems; and a wider carpet composed of rhombus and boxes on south.

The floor covering of this great room, studied and interpreted by Dra. Guadalupe López Monteagudo, it is framed by a border of black and white moving birds and aquatic plants.

The central emblem of the room consists of two central circles, surrounded by six lunettes and four quarter-circle angles, spaces decorated with representations of human figures with mythological and symbolic nature and wildlife.

In the corners of the emblem is the representation of the four seasons, and it is representing the cycle of life too, beginning with the child representing spring, the teenager who represents the summer, a mature person who represents autumn and finally a old woman who represents winter.

Lunettes surrounding the central circles are decorated with six erotes depicting scenes of hunting of partridges, pheasants and hares.

It also found six spaces are generated between the circular figures that are decorated with animals like a wild boar, a lion, a horse, a tiger, a deer and a lioness.

In one of the two central circles the Judgment of Paris is represented, the legend that tells how Eris, the goddess of discord, angry at not being invited to the wedding of Thetis and Peleus, threw among the gods a golden apple for it to be given to the most beautiful of three goddesses, Aphrodite, Hera and Athena. Zeus instructed Hermes that lead to Mount Ida to Paris, son of Priam and Hecuba, to judge the contest for one of the three goddess. Hera promised to give Asia to Paris; Athena, the victory in the fighting; and Aphrodite, the love of the most beautiful woman on earth. Paris ruled in favor of the latter and, after the trial, went to Sparta in the company of Eneas, where he fell in love with Helena, thus giving rise to the Trojan War.

In the other circle it has the myth of Selene and Endymion, which is shown to the goddess, which has lowered the chariot drawn by two horses, discovering and approaching the beautiful asleep shepherd.

The mythical story tells about loves of moon goddess with the handsome shepherd, whose beauty had aroused passion and exuberance for the goddess, and the tragic end of the legend, when Zeus fulfills the promise he had made to Endymion, at the request of Selene, to grant a wish. The pastor chose the gift of an eternal sleep, forever falling asleep and staying forever young, moment at which some mythographers say is discovered by the goddess who falls in love with him.

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  • Title: Mosaic of Eros
  • Date Created: 82/96
  • Location: Archaeological Site of Cástulo, Linares (Jaén) - España
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 11,5 m Width: 6,2 m
  • Provenance: Monumental area of Cástulo
  • Medium: Stone and glass paste