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Roman Mosaics with Stunning Greek Scenes Uncovered in Syria

Greek Scenes Mosaic Uncovered in Syria
Greek Scenes from Mosaic uncovered in Syria. Credit: Syrian Directorate of Antiquities

A rare and stunning mosaic panel depicting Greek scenes has been uncovered in the Homs province of Syria. Experts say it dates back to the Roman era.

Syrian state news agency SANA reported that archeologists unearthed the sizeable mosaic panel constructed 1,600 years ago in the city of al-Rastan, adding that “the panel has no parallel in the world”.

The Syrian directorate of antiquities made the announcement on Wednesday, noting that it was found in an area previously held by the opposition forces of Syria.

Dr. Humam Saad, director of excavation studies and the archaeological mission in al-Rastan, said that the discovery actually took place in 2018. But the Syrian opposition forces full control of the Homs province meant that archeologists could not uncover them earlier.

However, with the return of Bashar Assad’s regime forces, archaeologists finally received access. This allowed them to reveal the mosaic identified with a length of 20 meters and a width of 6 meters.

Archaeologists still believe there is a possibility of finding more remains under the mosaic.

Unearthed Mosaic depicts two main Greek Scenes

The uncovered Mosaic features two main scenes. One depicts soldiers carrying swords with shields seen with the names of Greek leaders who took part in the Trojan War. The war was a legendary conflict between the ancient Greeks and the people of Troy more than 2,000 years ago.

The second is a portrayal of Neptune(Greek Poseidon), the Ancient Roman/Greek god of the sea, and 40 of his mistresses.

Around the 12th century BC when the rift between the ancient Greeks and the people of  Troy began, the Trojan prince Paris abducted Helen, wife of king Menelaus of Sparta.

When Menelaus demanded her return, the Trojans refused. In turn, Menelaus persuaded his brother Agamemnon to lead an army against Troy.

The Greeks ravaged Troy’s surrounding cities and countryside for nine years. The city held out nonetheless, being well-fortified and commanded by Hector and other sons of the royal household.

On the 10th and final year of war, Greeks had the brilliant idea to build a large hollow wooden horse and hid a select force of men inside. The Greeks pretended to sail away, and the Trojans pulled the horse into their city as a victory trophy. In this manner they entered the city of Troy and won the war

A long-held argument about whether the battle actually took place is still raging. Nevertheless, there is enough evidence indicating its truth. Unfortunately however, no one has ever found the giant wooden horse.

The reality of the battle now justifies all the stories spread about the war. This includes the tale of Achilles. The great ancient Greek warrior was invulnerable because his mother dipped him in the River Styx while a child. Yet according to ancient Greek mythology, he was left vulnerable at the part of the body by which she held him; his left heel.

Greek Scenes Mosaic Uncovered in Syria
Excavation of the mosaics. Credit: Syrian Directorate of Antiquities

Mosaic in Syria, most complete and Rearrest of its kind

Dr. Saad said “It is not the oldest of its kind, but it’s the most complete and the rarest,”

“We have no similar mosaic,” referring to the significance and uniqueness of the unearthed mosaic.

He also told the press that “What is in front of us is a discovery that is rare on a global scale.”

Furthermore, he stated, the images are “rich in details, and includes scenes from the Trojan War between the Greeks and Trojans”.

In Ancient Greek and Roman mythology, the Greek demigod hero Hercules slayed Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, in one of his 12 labours. That findings apparently connects with history.

Saad further added, “We can’t identify the type of the building, whether it’s a public bathhouse or something else, because we have not finished excavating yet.”

Prior to the armed conflict in Syria, there had not been significant excavation efforts in the city of al-Rastan, despite its historical significance in the country, Saad said.

He added that “Unfortunately, there were armed groups that tried to sell the mosaic at one point in 2017 and listed it on social media platforms.”

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