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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst


Culture:Graeco-Roman; Syrian
Title:Floor Segment: Personification of the River Pyramos
Date Made:2nd century CE
Type:Architectural Element
Materials:stone tesserae
Place Made:Turkey; Antioch region
Measurements:overall: 56 x 57 x 4 in.; 142.24 x 144.78 x 10.16 cm
Accession Number:  SC 1938:14
Credit Line:Purchased with the Drayton Hillyer Fund

Label Text:
Antioch, the capital of the Roman province of Syria, was one of the four great cities of the ancient world. In the 1930s excavations were undertaken to uncover the city's ruins; this mosaic was discovered in August 1937 in Seleucia Pieria, Antioch's seaport. It was one section of a floor panel of a "triclinium," or dining room, of a private house. More than half of the floor was lost to erosion, but other surviving fragments are now in museums in Detroit and Norman, Oklahoma. From the fragments we can determine that the center of the floor contained figures personifying Roman provinces, next to corresponding river figures in the four corners. This, one of the corners, can be identified by the inscription as Pyramos, a river located in the province of Cilicia. Antioch became part of the Roman Empire in the first century A.D. Although its inhabitants adopted Roman ways of life, their language continued to be that of their Hellenistic ancestors, as evidenced by the Greek inscription.

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