The marine mosaics room

In the entrance of the museum, a triumphant carriage sculptured in a grey marble draws the attention. It was found not far from the big mosque of Sousse. Of the scene, there is only a bottom representing in life-size a horse, a driver of a cart and a captive in the excessive proportions based and chained. On the round side of the tank, is sculptured a Triton unwinding towards the back the folds of one of its tails of fishes. Hands hold marine motives, conch and rudder; the group doubtless constitutes a reference to the god Neptune, genius of Hadrumète. This relief had to decorate a triumphal arch set up in honor of the Emperor Trajan.

Char triomphal

The Triumphal chariot

By lowering one of the two stairs to the landing, the visitor will discover a pond in mosaic decorated with a head of Ageing Ocean. The tank in apse is from a Roman house of the mid-2nd century. The hair of the god lets escape from legs of crabs. The beard washed by streams, is tint of various marine colors, with a preference for the green. Around the head, the aquatic fauna representing scorpion fish, torpedo, sea bream, moray eel, crab, sea urchin, squid, octopus and cuttlefish. Walls, today restored, were decorated with two dolphins, with rocks and with a boat.

Océan vieillissant

Ageing Ocean

On the other side, there are three thresholds of prophylactic nature inspired by Greek and Roman mythology. A chubby cupid is riding a dolphin and blowing trumpets. Another young winged Cupid riding a dolphin, is holding in its left hand a fishing line (late 2nd century.); Finally, a Nereid is lying on a sea tiger (End 2ndc.).

 Un Amour joufflu, Amour ailé et une Néréide

Chubby / Cupid winged cupid / Nereid

In front of the staircase, the attention of the visitor is attracted by the beautiful mosaic of the Triumph of Neptune / Poseidon). Completely naked, the sea god is standing on a chariot, drawn by two galloping seahorses. Neptune holds the reins with the left hand and the trident with the right hand. The dolphin that swims between the legs of sea horses would evoke the one who found Amphitrite (in Latin Salacia) who refused himself at first in Neptune by hiding. This beautiful mosaic evokes maybe the god in search of his future wife. But a link with the taming of the overflowing of the lake Albin and the annual party said neptunalia of July 23rd is very possible.

 

Triomphe de Neptune/Poseidon,

Triumph of Neptune/Poseidon,

the left, a large pavement with a plant composition the bottom of which is occupied by six braided medallions depicting sea monsters ridden by Nereids.

A little further, on the same side, a fishing scene showing two naked young and blond fishermen.

At the corners, waterleaf bouquets from which stick out millet stalks interrupted by tied vegetable crowns and topped with four ears of millet also.

On the opposite wall, from left to right and from top to bottom, there are eight panels. Two marine centaurs (Ichthyocentaures) are holding in one hand a rudder and in the other a basket of marine plants.

Behind the mosaic of Neptune, on the floor, there are three marine figures .Venus is rising from the waves and twisting her hair.The corners are lined with female portraits representing the four seasons (Thysdrus, end of the 3rd c.).

There is another Marine Venus / Aphrodite Anadyomene, i.e. “Rising from the waves.” Found in a Roman house of the end of the 3rd century, the mosaic the goddess represents in a shell, her place of birth, an evocation of her marine character. Less complete today than during its discovery, the mosaic makes represent loves being astride each dolphin; below, four gone up boats each by two fishermen using nets and lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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