Archaeologists Unearth Ancient Greek Mosaics in Zeugma, Turkey

The Zeugma excavation project conducted by Oxford Archaeology and supported by Packhard Humanities Institute and the Ministry of Culture of Turkey has recently unearthed three ancient Greek mosaics in the Turkish city of Zeugma. Zeugma had received some press and support in 2000 after flooding caused by construction began to bury and damage artifacts in the region.

The mosaics, created in the 2nd century BC, are constructed of boldly colored glass and are being covered for protection until excavation is complete. The head of the project, Professor Kutalmis Görkay, recently gave the Hurriyet Daily News more details about the plan for the future of the excavation.

They are working on restoration and conservation. The excavators plan to establish a temporary roof for long-term protection, it is estimated that the ancient city has 2,000-3,000 houses. Twenty-five of them remain under water, so the excavations will be finished in the Muzalar House next year.

One of the largest mosaics discovered is of the Nine Muses

 

The muse Thalia

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 10.04.58 AMThalia or Muse, means in ancient Greek the joyous, the flourishing”, (from Ancient Greek: “to flourish, to be verdant”).  She was the Muse who presided over comedy and idyllic poetry. In this context her name means “flourishing”, because the praises in her songs flourish through time. She was the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the eighth-born of the nine Muses.

She and Apollo were the parents of the Corybantes.

She was portrayed as a young woman with a joyous air, crowned with ivy, wearing boots and holding a comic mask in her hand. Many of her statues also hold a bugle and a trumpet (both used to support the actors’ voices in ancient comedy), or occasionally a shepherd’s staff or a wreath of ivy.

 

Ocean and Tithys

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 10.05.11 AM

Oceanus (/oʊˈsiːənəs/; Greek: Ὠκεανός Ōkeanós,pronounced [ɔːkeanós]) was a divine figure in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the divine personification of the sea , an enormous river encircling the world.

Strictly speaking, Oceanus was the ocean-stream at the Equator in which floated the habitable hemisphere. In Greek mythology, this world-ocean was personified as a Titan, a son of Uranus and Gaea. In Hellenistic and Roman mosaics, this Titan was often depicted as having the upper body of a muscular man with a long beard and horns (often represented as the claws of a crab) and the lower body of a serpent. On a fragmentary archaic vessel of circa 580 BC, among the gods arriving at the wedding of Peleus and the sea-nymph Thetis, is a fish-tailed Oceanus, with a fish in one hand and a serpent in the other, gifts of bounty and prophecy. In Roman mosaics, such as that from Bardo he might carry a steering-oar and cradle a ship.

Some scholars believe that Oceanus originally represented all bodies of salt water, including the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, the two largest bodies known to the ancient Greeks. However, as geography became more accurate, Oceanus came to represent the stranger, more unknown waters of the Atlantic Ocean (also called the “Ocean Sea”), while the newcomer of a later generation, Poseidon, ruled over the Mediterranean.

Oceanus’ consort is his sister Tethys, and from their union came the ocean nymphs, also known as the three-thousand Oceanids, and all the rivers of the world, fountains, and lakes.[4] From Cronus, of the race of Titans, the Olympian gods have their birth, and Hera mentions twice in Iliad book XIV her intended journey “to the ends of the generous earth on a visit to Oceanus, whence the gods have risen, and Tethys our mother who brought me up kindly in their own house.”

In most variations of the war between the Titans and the Olympians, or Titanomachy, Oceanus, along with Prometheus and Themis, did not take the side of his fellow Titans against the Olympians, but instead withdrew from the conflict. In most variations of this myth, Oceanus also refused to side with Cronus in the latter’s revolt against their father, Uranus.

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