Culture: Roman
Date: 2nd century A.D.
Medium: Tesserae
Condition: Intact, mounted on a lite weight background fit for wall mounting
Provenance: Ex- Early European private collection, 1980s, with import documents to the U.S.
Dimensions: 39 1/2 x 42 1/2 in. (100 x 108 cm.)
Ref No. RO1176
SKU: 5e28a87297aa Category: Tags: , , , , ,


The fine mosaic depicting the god Apollo and Cassandra, he is shown crowned with a shining aureole.

cf: For related mosaic of similar composition, inv. Z5.1, Antakya Museum, Antakya, Turkey, Antioch, House of Menander. Another mosaic of similar theme in Pafos Archeological Park, Pafos, Cyprus.

Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto. Hera was Zeus’ wife at the time, so Apollo was conceived during an act of infidelity. Cassandra was one of the princesses of Troy, daughter of Priam and Hecuba. According to the Myth, Cassandra was shockingly beautiful. As fate would have it, when Apollo saw Cassandra, he fell madly in love with her. When Apollo made sexual advances toward her, she shunned him. Finally, she gave in to his advances on one condition: he would grant her the gift of prophecy.It sounded like a good deal to Apollo, he would grant her the gift of second sight and then make love to her. According to the Myth, he did not hesitate, he gave her the rare gift she desired. After she received it, she refused to make love to him. Apollo did not take kindly to Cassandra’s refusal, so he decreed that no one would ever believe her words of wisdom regardless of the situation. Cassandra foresaw the destruction of Troy by the Greeks; when the Trojans found the big wooden horse outside the gates of their city, Cassandra told them that Greeks will destroy them if they bring the horse into the city. The saying “Beware of Danaos (Greeks) bearing gifts” belongs to her. No one in Troy believed her, and the horse was wheeled into the city.
When Troy fell to the Greeks, Cassandra tried to find a shelter in Athena’s Temple, but she was brutally abducted by Ajax and was brought to Agamemnon (King of the Greeks) as a concubine. Cassandra tells Agamemnon that he will be slain when he returns to Mycenae but he ignores her seemingly disturbed prophecies. He thought her words were nothing more than ravings of a hysterical princess prisoner. Agamemnon did not know that his wife Clytemnestra had taken a lover in his absence, and his wife and her lover plotted to kill him when Agamemnon arrived home. And they murdered him while he was taking a bath after his return. Cassandra was also murdered at the same time.