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The largest panel of the carpet is dominated by Aphrodite seated on a throne next to Adonis who holds a lance.
A Grace presents to Aphrodite a Cupid whom she threatens with a sandal. A second Cupid supports Aphrodite’s bare foot, while a third watches, and a fourth has his head in a basket from which flowers fall; the basket and flowers allude to a poem in which a honeycomb with bees flying away is used to symbolize both the sweetness and sting of love.
A second Grace grasps the foot of yet another Cupid who attempts to take refuge among the branches of a tree, and a third Grace chases a sixth Cupid.
The emphasis given to Aphrodite punishing Eros is, in Michele Piccirillo’s view, intentional and is derived from the Euripidean version which also mentions the three Graces, Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Talia, who are present in this scene.
In order to show that this scene takes place in the open countryside, the artist added a bare-footed peasant girl carrying a basket with fruit on her shoulder and a partridge in her right hand.
(From: Michele Piccirillo)
© Photo: Haupt & Binder
The elaborate figurative design of the floor of a private villa from the 6th century is unique among Jordan's mosaics. It depicts the ancient myth of Hippolytus.
By Michele Piccirillo
A large format, cloth-bound volume with 383 pages, 874 illustrations, including aerial views of many of the sites and plans of most of the structures which have mosaics.
American Center of Oriental Research, Amman, Jordan. First edition in 1993.
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