Sweeties for Helen

My recent eye-kandy mosaic post has proved popular with the Good Lady Wife of one of my volunteering partners-in-crime. She really likes mosaics and getting to see images of some examples that she hasn’t (yet?) seen in person. So, with an eye to crowd-pleasing, here’s some more honey for your eyes all the way from the beautiful land of Tunisia.

El Djem is, rightly famous for it’s stonking great amphitheatre,

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but down the road, there’s also a museum. On the surface it looks like a small local museum.

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Enter the building though, and it quickly becomes apparent that you’re looking at a world-class collection of high quality, often complete Roman mosaics.

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These have all been found in El Djem, in the smart suburban villas that surrounded the urban centre of the Roman city of Thysdrus. In fact, the museum itself is surrounded by the remains of some of these villas.

So, to the mosaics. Here is a gorgeous and beautifully detailed mosaic of the Muses, with their attributes.

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And no respectable Roman household would be quite complete without a few deities.

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And many many fantastical and mythological scenes.

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Including the revels of everyone’s favourite god, Bacchus.

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This fragmentary scene is of the fun and games in the nearby amphitheatre.

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Although gladiatorial combat is the first thing that many people associate with Roman amphitheatres, an important element of the action, usually held in the morning, was the execution of prisoners. With the gladiators there was, and still is, a certain glamour in amongst all the gore, but with the executions there was no glamour at all, only horror, pain and degradation.

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On a less brutal note, I love this beautifully intricate mosaic carpet, with vines, animals, fruits and putti.

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Here are some of the details from among the vines. Elephant, goat, sexy lady, and the eternal struggle between angry fat baby and camel.

The non-representational mosaics are just as lovely.

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It’s no secret that North African mosaics set the bar pretty high, but I leave you with this famous stunner.

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This carpet shows the personification of several Roman provinces, including Africa.

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So, mosaic-fans, if you are looking for a pleasant holiday destination with sun, beaches, lovely welcoming people, good transport links and awesome Roman mosaics, you need look no further than Tunisia*.

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*This post is not sponsored by the Tunisian Tourist Board.

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