Floor mosaic “The Punishment of Dirce”

After the bombing of World War II remains of Roman houses with mosaics were found under the block of houses around the Chapel of St. Maria Formosa. The most impressive one is surely the floor mosaic with the central field presenting the mythological scene of the “Punishment of Dirce”(Amphion and Zethus are tying Dirce to an enraged bull, since out of envy Dirce had been cruel to their mother Antiope.) This figural scene presents the central field of a large floor mosaic composition (12 m x 6 m). The entire mosaic composition is divided into two equal sections with altogether 40 decorated areas dominated by geometrical patterns with animal details (fish and bird). The mosaic covered the floor of a central room of a Roman house, probably from the 3rd century. It has been preserved at the site where it was found, so that the level of house floors in the Roman times, which is 2 m below today’s level, is clearly visible.

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