Rome exhibits the mosaics that colored its antiquity

Rome, Apr 26 (EFE) .- Rome exposes from today a large collection of its lesser-known mosaics, masterpieces of this technique with which the ancient Romans decorated their "domus" and their temples, just on the day when a large part Italy begins reopening.

The exhibition "The colors of the Romans" can be seen until September 15 at the Centrale Montemartini, Rome's old power station converted into the second seat of the Capitoline Museums, where archaeological remains are mixed with industrial machinery.

It is a wide selection of mosaics less known to the public with which Rome wants to attract the visitor, just as the country faces a process of openings in sectors such as culture and restaurants after months of closure due to the pandemic.

The exhibition is divided into four sections: the first exposes the history and technique of mosaic; the second deals with luxury in the domestic contexts of ancient Rome; then its sacred function is delved into and finally its use in burials and necropolis.

Among the remains on display, the almost hyper-realistic composition of a mural that reproduces the seabed, with fish, crustaceans and mollusks, dating from the 1st century BC and found in the Roman subsoil in 1888, can be appreciated.

The tiny tesserae that have survived to this day attest to the culture of those Romans, their taste for decoration and also their well-known trickery, since one of the uses of these large mosaics was to ward off bad luck or win the favor of the gods.

One of the most interesting chapters in the exhibition is dedicated to what is known as the Hilarian Basilica in Rome, the college of priests of Cybele and Attis, built in the 1st century AD with the donation of Manius Poblicius Hilarus, a rich pearl merchant.

The building, excavated on the Roman hill of Celio in 1889, had mosaics extraordinarily preserved to the present day, such as one in which it can be read: "May the gods be favorable to those who enter here."

It was a message for the faithful and pilgrims who came to the basilica, whose entrance was also decorated with another large mosaic in which an eye pierced by an arrow appears, a way to scare away bad omens.

Such was the superstition of the ancient Romans, perceptible even in their heirs, the current inhabitants of the city, that two soles of feet were carved at the base of the door of the basilica, one entering and the other leaving the building, as in the that the visitor was wished long life.


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