Next week we’ll remain in the Ephesus area, but moving on to nearby sights. On Monday we’ll visit St. John Basilica and the House of Mary. Until then, here are some Ephesus favorites:
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Many of the mosaics here mimic a decorative carpet when seen from a distance.
It is only as you get closer that their true composition becomes evident.
The floors are not, however, the only exquisite examples of mosaic art found here in the terrace houses of Ephesus. The fresco-laden walls often contain very intricate mosaic designs. Sometimes animals are depicted, as in this image of a lion standing guard over the head of a bull:
Mosaics were also used as apotroaic images to ward away evil, and one of the more common images in both ancient Greek and Roman cultures is that of a Gorgon. In Greek mythology, the Gorgons were three sisters with hair consisting of writhing, venomous vipers. So hideous where the Gorgons that one glance would turn a man to stone.
Much of Roman mythology can be traced back to the Greek religion that preceded it. The names were often changed, but the underlying myths remained similar, or even identical. For instance, the Greek god Poseidon was given the Roman name Neptune. Poseidon’s wife Amphitrite became Salacia. Here is a mosaic depicting both; along with Neptune’s steed, a sea-horse with a fish tail (hippocampus):
For a look at how the rich lived in Ephesus, all you need do is visit one of several terrace houses that have been undergoing excavation and restoration since 1960. Two are complete, and others are undergoing active restoration.
These structures are quite impressive, with peristyle courtyards and grand arched ceilings.
A translucent structure protects the terrace house below as it undergoes restoration.
Inside these terrace houses you’ll find artifacts, such as pottery.
Bu the most fascinating details are found on the fresco-covered walls and intricate mosaic-tiled floors.
Wednesday I’ll present a closer look at some really outstanding examples of the mosaic floors in these terrace homes.