Archaeologists discovered an ancient tomb depicting Cerberus, likely from around two thousand years ago during the Republican and Imperial Roman eras. The tomb, aptly named the Tomb of Cerberus due to its stunning frescoes, was unearthed near Naples.
The tomb was discovered during an archaeological survey ahead of water supply system updates in the municipality of Giugliano in Campania.
This ancient chamber tomb was well-preserved and sealed with a tuff slab. It has managed to guard its secrets for centuries. Upon gaining entry, archaeologists found remarkable frescoes adorning the tomb’s walls.
A sealed tomb featuring a fresco of Cerberus – the three-headed dog from Greek mythology who guarded the Gates of Hell – uncovered in Giugliano, Naples, Italy.😲
Friezes date to Roman Republic of 510-31 BC & also scenes of Ichthyosaurs, a centaurine-type sea god & so amazing.😍 pic.twitter.com/SQclq30L1L
— Mr Pål Christiansen (@TheNorskaPaul) October 11, 2023
Ancient tomb in Italy includes Frescoes of Cerberus
One of the most striking features of the ancient tomb found in Italy is a vivid representation of Cerberus, the three-headed dog from Greek mythology. Cerberus, often referred to as the “hound of Hades,” is famous for guarding the gates of the Underworld to prevent the souls of the departed from escaping. The fresco inside the tomb portrays a pivotal moment in the myth of Heracles during which he successfully captures Cerberus as part of his twelve labors.
Apart from the Cerberus fresco, the tomb’s walls also feature depictions of ichthyocentaurs. These beings had the upper body of a human, the lower anterior half and fore-legs of a horse, and the tailed half of a fish.
Archaeologists are presently conducting the excavation of this chamber tomb. According to Euronews, they aim to explore the wider necropolis surrounding the tomb, shedding light on the individuals interred there.
Archaeological Discoveries in Italy Related to Greek Mythology
This is one of many remarkable discoveries in Italy related to Greek mythology. In 2018, an archaeological team discovered a remarkable fresco in Pompeii depicting the mythological meeting of Zeus (Roman Jupiter), disguised as a swan, and Leda, queen of Sparta.
Similar depictions of Queen Leda with the divine swan were common in Pompeii and Herculaneum. These ancient cities were destroyed by Vesuvius‘ eruption in 79 AD. It looks like Leda is looking directly at the viewer as she enters the bedroom.
One plausible theory for the creation of this fresco is that the homeowner was likely a successful merchant. According to archaeologists, he aimed to display cultural sophistication with myth-inspired artwork in the house.
In August, other excavations in Pompeii unearthed two houses decorated with frescoes. Those depict Greek gods and human remains. Archaeologists are currently examining the valuable artifacts found in the houses, one of which contains a bakery with a large oven.
At the entrance to one of the houses, researchers discovered two booths decorated with intricate mythological frescoes. They featured frescoes with mythological scenes. Crews also found remains of charred furniture, possibly from the fire that broke out, potentially from a large oven.