Syrian Mosaic

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jeidsath
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Syrian Mosaic

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Syrian mosaic depicting the Trojan War

Beautiful images in the linked article. (But imagine how garishly modern graduate students would have "reconstructed" the colors here if they had washed off.) Despite the title, the central area seems to feature Hercules, Penthesilea, Hippolyta, Achilles, and Pothos. So not exactly Trojan War, and not very Homeric (in the center).

The article does note that the Trojan Horse has never been found.
"Here stuck the great stupid boys, who for the life of them could never master the accidence..."

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Re: Syrian Mosaic

Post by mwh »

Two scenes in the central circle: Penthesilia & Achilleus w/ ποθος flitting between them; and Hippolyte & Herakles

Why the dig against grad students? (and do mosaic colors wash off?)

In the outer circle, Trojan war Greeks: Αγαμεμνων Τυδευς Μενελαος, others (Diomedes, Thoas, Idomeneus, Phoinix, …), incl. Αιας Ταλαμωνιος(sic) and Αιας Λοκρος; plus Φιλιππα (?), also Ζωπυρα (?).
In the corners, ?the 4 winds? (Νοτος | Ζεφυρος …)
This very preliminary, and I've only looked at some of it.
Separately pictured, Amymone, Galatia.—and the article says the mosaic also portrays Neptune and forty of his mistresses (i.e. Poseidon and [40 not 50?] nereids?)

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jeidsath
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Re: Syrian Mosaic

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The dig against grad students is a critique of the popular, but highly garish color reconstructions that are in vogue now for classical statues and museum exhibits where the colors have washed off. They are sold to the public as scientific reconstructions, but there is in fact substantial (and wrong) guesswork. Their color palette seems almost guided by the defaults in their computer tools (perhaps I exaggerate a little) and so they look like what you see in early 2000s CGI. [Ex. the Nymphaeum I posted yesterday.] Wherever the colors do not wash off, the ancient palette seems far less Disneyfied and far more tasteful. So the color reconstructions become, intended or not, yet another way to ruin young impressionable people's appreciation of the classics. And while I'm the only one who seems to notice this, I'll make a dig here and there.

If any would-be reconstructors want to fix this, may I suggest creating and publishing a "recommended palette for classical reconstructions"? One mostly inspired from colors that have not washed off, rather than the default HTML palette or whatever they're using now?

It's an amazing mosaic.
"Here stuck the great stupid boys, who for the life of them could never master the accidence..."

Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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Re: Syrian Mosaic

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Sorry I asked! And it’s not as if grad students are responsible. The colorizations are simply a consequence of the belated recognition that all those pure-white marble statues were originally painted. And your rant is irrelevant to the mosaic.
Do you have anything to say about the singling out of the main two couples, or any of the problematic IDs?

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Re: Syrian Mosaic

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They are central because they are more important to the artist than they are to us, being simple Homer-readers as we are. In my ignorance, it seems like Epic Cycle territory to me. I looked for Πόθος references in TLG, and this form of his seems like an Hellenic idea? Reminds me of little Anacreontic Eros. It's terribly interesting. Like finding a movie poster for the 2012 Avengers movie with all the expanded universe characters, when all we have is 2008 Iron Man.
"Here stuck the great stupid boys, who for the life of them could never master the accidence..."

Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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Re: Syrian Mosaic

Post by Villanelle »

jeidsath wrote: Thu Oct 13, 2022 8:06 pm Syrian mosaic depicting the Trojan War

Beautiful images in the linked article. (But imagine how garishly modern graduate students would have "reconstructed" the colors here if they had washed off.) Despite the title, the central area seems to feature Hercules, Penthesilea, Hippolyta, Achilles, and Pothos. So not exactly Trojan War, and not very Homeric (in the center).

The article does note that the Trojan Horse has never been found.

Great article Joel and fascinating reading. Thank you for posting,
Villanelle

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