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MOSAICS
The term mosaic is usually derived from a post-classical word musivum (Gr. mouseion ?), occurring in Spartianus, Life of Pescenninus 6, pictum de musivo, and Augustine, De Civitate Dei xvi 8, hominum genera musivo picta. It is the art of arranging small cubes or tesserce of marble, coloured stone, terra cotta, glass, or some other artificial substance, so as to produce an ornamental pattern or picture, and to provide a durable form of decoration for walls and pavements. The only mosaic hitherto found in Greece Proper is that discovered in 1829, in the floor of the east portico of the temple of Zeus, at Olympia, possibly little later than the first half of the 4th century B.C. It is formed of rough round pebbles of various colours from the bed of the Alpheus, and it represents Tritons of graceful design surrounded by a tasteful border of palmettes and meandering lines (see Baumeister's Denkmaler, fig. 998). The earliest mosaics mentioned in literature are those made for the ship of Hieron II, about the middle of the 3rd century, with scenes from the Iliad, which took 300 skilled workmen a whole, year to execute (Athenaeus, 206 D). To the same age belongs the only artist in mosaic whose name is recorded in literature, Sosus of Pergamon, famous as the inventor of a kind of mosaic called the asaroton (the "unswept" floor), in which the floor of a room is inlaid with representations of fruits, fishes, and fragments of food that have fallen from the table (Pliny, xxxvi 184; cp. Statius, Silvoe i 3, 36). Mosaics of this type have been found not only at Pompeii, but also at Aquileia and in Algiers. Acccording to Pliny, the original design by Sosus included a remarkable representation of a dove drinking and casting the shadow of its head on the water beneath, while several other doves were to be seen sunning themselves oil the rim of the bowl. The best known copy of this is that called The Capitoline Doves (fig. 1), found at Hadrian's Villa near Tivoli. It is entirely composed of cubes of marble, without any admixture of coloured glass. The art of reproducing paintings is mosaic probably originated in Egypt, and thence found its way to Italy. The largest mosaic picture of Roman workmanship is that executed for the Temple of Fortune at Praeneste, restored by Sulla (Pliny, xxxvi 189). This was discovered in 1640, and is generally supposed to represent a popular fete on the occasion of an inundation of the Nile. It probably belongs to the time of Hadrian. Among the mosaics of Pompeii the most famous is that identified as the Battle of Issus, possibly a copy of the painting of the same subject by a female artist, Helena, "daughter of Timon the Egyptian," which was placed in the temple of Peace in the time of Vespasian (Photius, Bibl., p. 482). It represents the critical moment when Alexander is charging, bare-headed, in the thick of the fray, and has just transfixed with his lance one of the leaders of the Persians; while Darius, with his lofty tiara and red chlamys, is extending his right hand in an attitude of alarm and despair (figs. 2 and 3). In the mosaic itself the lower border represents a river, apparently the Nile, with a crocodile, hippopotamus, ichneumon, ibis, etc., thus confirming the conjecture as to the Egyptian origin of the design. Mosaics bearing the artist's name are seldom found. The two finest of this class are those from Pompeii inscribed with the name of Dioscorides of Samos. One of these represents four masked figures playing on various instruments. The work is composed of very small pieces of glass, of the most beautiful colours and in various shades (cut in Dyer's Pompeii, p. 276). Another of similar construction portrays a rehearsal for a satyric drama. The ground is black, the drapery mainly white, but the robe of the flute-player is bordered with purple, the lips are a bright red, and the flutes and ornaments coloured like gold. (See DRAMA, fig. 2.) The finest mosaic of the early part of the 2nd century A.D. is the highly pictorial centaur-mosaic now at Berlin, found at the Villa of Hadrian (see Baumeister's Denkmaler, fig. 941). The most celebrated works of a later date include that in the Thermoe of Caracalla, with numerous gladiatorial figures of colossal size and ungraceful drawing (ib. fig. 174); and that of the Roman villa at Nennig, near Treves. The dimensions of the latter are 50 feet by 33, and the design includes several groups of figures inclosed in a square or hexagonal framework of tesselated marble (ib. figs. 1001-2343). Among the mosaics in the British Museum are an Amphitrite and Tritons, with Dionysus, Meleager, and Atalanta, all from Halicarnassus, and of Roman times, since figures of Dido and Aeneas were found in the same villa (Newton's Travels and Discoveries, ii 76). As mosaics still in situ in England may be mentioned those at Woodchester, Bignor, and Brading.[1] In the "Gallery of the Architectural Court" of the South Kensington Museum are exhibited 100 coloured plates, with copies of mosaics, collected by Dr. R. Wollaston, including a Greek mosaic of Iphigenia at Aulis, found in the Crimea, and the above-mentioned mosaic of Praeneste (no. 167). Mosaic pavements are known by different names descriptive of certain varieties of structure. (1) A pavimentum sectile is composed of thin plates of coloured marble of various sizes, cut (secta) into slices of regular form and arranged in an ornamental geometrical pattern including triangles, hexagons, etc. (Vitruvius, vii 1, 3, 4; Suetonius, Caesar, 46 at end). (2) The epithet tessellatum describes a pavement of the same general kind, but made up of regular square dies (tesserce, tessellce, tesserulce), forming rectangular designs (ib.). (3) Vermiculatum is applied to a design formed of small pieces of marble in various colours, arranged so as to imitate the object represented with a high degree of pictorial effect. The dies are of different shapes, so as to allow of their following the wavy contours of the outline of the object. The name is derived from the fact that the general effect of such an arrangement resembles the contortions of a cluster of worms (vermes). (Cp. Pliny, xxxv 2: Interraso marmore vermiculatisque ad effigies rerum crustis; and Lucilius, quoted in Cicero's Orator, 149: Quam lepide lexeis compostce ut tesseruloe omnes-arte pavimento atque emblemate vermiculato.) (4)The term lithostrotum (Varro, R. R., iii 2 § 4; 1 § 10; Pliny, xxxvi 189) was probably applied to a pavement made of small pieces of stone or marble of natural colours, and distinguished from those of coloured glass or some other artificial composition. Mosaics of glass were used to decorate ceilings (Pliny, l.c.). The gilt tesserce used in Christian mosaics for the background of the pictures were formed by applying to a cube of earthenware, two thin plates of glass with a film of gold-leaf between them, and vitrifying the whole in a furnace. It was this discovery that led to the extensive application of mosaic for the decoration of the walls, and more particularly the apses, of Christian churches. At Rome, we have mosaics of the 4th century in the churches of S. Constantia and S. Maria Maggiore. At Ravenna, those of the lower part of the Orthodox Baptistery belong to 430 A.D.; those in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, to 440; those in the domes of the Orthodox and Arian Baptisteries to about 553 ; those of San Vitale to 547; of S. Apollinare Nuovo to 549, and of the archiepiscopal palace to about the same, date; and, lastly, those of S. Apollinare in Classe to about 671-677. At Milan, the mosaics of S. Lorenzo and S. Ambrogio belong to the 5th century; those of S. Parenzo in Istria to the 6th; those of S. Sophia at Constantinople. were executed in the time of Justinian (527-565). At Rome, those of SS. Cosmas and Damian are ascribed to 526-530; of S. Lorenzo Outside the Walls to 577-590; of S. Agnese to 625-638; of the oratory of S. Venantius, the churches of S. Praxedes, S. Cecilia in Trastevere, and S. Maria Navicella, to the 7th century. After the 9th century the art of working in mosaic ceased for awhile in Rome and in Italy in general, to be revived at a later date in the church of S. Cyprian at Murano (1109) and the basilica of St. Mark's at Venice (in and after the 11th century), and afterwards at Rome itself. In Sicily, the mosaics of the Cappella Palatina in the royal palace at Palermo were finished in 1143, while those of the cathedral at Monreale were begun in 1172. Authorities. Marquardt, Das Privatleben der Romer, 625-632; Blumner's Technologie, iii 323-343; Von Rohden on Mosaik in Baumeister's Denkmaler; Gerspach, La Mosaique.] [J. E. S.]

Pictures and Media
THE CAPITOLINE DOVES. (Rome, Capitoline Museum.)
BATTLE OF ISSUE. (Mosaic from the Casa del Fauno, Pompeii; Naples Museum.)
DARIUS IN THE BATTLE OF ISSUE. (Detail on fig. 2)
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