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Roman Mosaics - History, Materials and Examples

Roman Mosaics - History, Materials and Examples


Origin of Roman mosaics

When the Romans conquered Ancient Greece territories (approximately 2nd century BC), the mosaic was already a very common art form. The Romans adopted and transformed the Greek mosaic making into an art genre of big scale. In a very short period of time there was no 'domus' or villa that would not hold a mosaic inside. This explains the reason why Roman mosaics can be found in every corner of the Empire - from Roman Great Britain to the Red Sea, though they are very costly to uncover, preserve and appropriately display.

Materials

Ancient Roman mosaic makers used different sizes of cubic tiles of limestones, marbles, glass, ceramic or even precious stones to finish the finest mosaic creations. As gluing material, mortar was used before or after tiling depending on the technique used. Read the following article to know more about how to make a roman mosaic.

mosaic materials

Interesting facts

Oddly enough, due to the popularity of the Roman mosaics during the 3rd century AC, emperor Diocletian had to standardize mosaic price levels according to the qualification of the mosaic maker.

Luxurious paved floors with fine Roman mosaics was the equivalent of high quality Persian rugs at the present time. In contrast, the motifs and depictions Roman mosaic makers were representing on the floor were of exquisite details: mythological creatures such as the popular medusa mosaics, everyday scenes, Greek adornments and meanders, and geometrical 2D and 3D mosaic patterns. Also, peculiar examples just as guardian dog mosaics (with the warning 'cave canem', beware of the dog) can be found in the city of Ancient Pompeii.

Integration with modern interiors

The Ancient Home has a great collection of picture ideas on how to integrate Roman mosaics in a modern interior. Read the following article to understand why Roman mosaics are a fantastic interior accent and find inspiration for your next project. Another great source to get inspired is our collection of Roman mosaics.

Most famous Roman mosaics

Alexander the Great - Battle of Issus mosaic in Pompeii

Alexander the Great - Battle of Issus mosaic in Pompeii

Cave Canem mosaics in Pompeii

Cave Canem mosaic in Pompeii

The Gypsy girl in Turkey

Cave Canem mosaic in Pompeii

Cat mosaic in Pompeii

Cat mosaic in Pompeii

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