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Mosaic with Street Musicians, Museo Archeologico Nazionale (Photo Archive)

Mosaic with Street Musicians

Mosaic found in the Villa of Cicero outside Pompeii Museo Archeologico Nazionale / Naples / Campania / Italy

Take me to the pictures! (6 photos in photo gallery)

Mosaic with Street Musicians

This Mosaic with Street Musicians, signed by Dioskourides of Samos was found in the so-called Villa of Cicero near the ancient city of Pompeii.

The mosaic depicts an episode from a comedy, since the figures are wearing theatrical masks. The figures are playing musical instruments often connected with the cult of Cybele: the tambourine, small cymbals and the double flute.

This particular mosaic dates from the first century BCE, but the scene is known from the 3rd century BCE onward. It is found in paintings and mosaics until the 3rd century CE. The play is not immediately identifiable from this mosaic.

The mosaic is one of the finest surviving works from the ancient Roman world. It measures c. 41×43 cm and is made with minute tesserae, in a technique called opus vermiculatum. None of the stones are larger than 2.5mm and many of the finer details are made with tesserae smaller than 1 mm2. The mortar between the stones are painted to give better detail to the image.

Literature on Ancient Mosaics

Katherine M. D. Dunbabin: Mosaics of the Greek and Roman World, Cambridge University Press, 2001. Order from or

Roger Ling: Ancient Mosaics, Princeton University Press, 1998. Order from or

Recommendations for "Ancient Mosaics" from or
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Photo gallery of 6 pictures for "Mosaic with Street Musicians"

Prints of the photographs are available — read more here.

The pictures above are taken in the following locations:

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