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May 10 @ 19:00 - 21:00
Wednesdays at the Museum – Archaeological lectures
The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, in collaboration with the Association of Friends of the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, continues after three years of absence the popular scientific lecture series “Wednesdays at the Museum – Archaeological Lectures”.
This activity aims to acquaint the public of Thessaloniki with important archaeological sites in Greece, new excavations and interdisciplinary research and their findings.
Lecture by Konstantina Aktypis, archaeologist at the Ephorate of Antiquities of Achaia, entitled “An ancient city at our feet: the mosaic floors of Roman Patras tell the stories of its people”.
Between 1960 and 2012, the rescue excavations of the 6th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in the centre of Patras brought to light more than 200 elaborate mosaic floors of the Roman period, which adorned the rooms and spaces of public buildings and private houses. From 2019 onwards, the effort to systematically record and study the mosaic floors has enriched our knowledge of the workshops of the voters active in the city. In addition, the analysis of the spatial positioning of public and private buildings with mosaic floors, combined with the decorative themes and the study of movable finds, provides us with important information relevant to their function. Our presentation is based on a new mapping of Roman Patras. The mosaic floors will lead our steps on a tour of space and time.
But beyond their purely artistic character, as works of art, the mosaic floors tell us stories of people. It is the personality of the owner or commissioner that ultimately ‘hides’ behind the decorative theme of each mosaic. Is it a coincidence that in Patras three (at least) luxurious villas have been found with the representation of Medusa, the apotropaic symbol par excellence? It is certainly no coincidence that in the temples and buildings located in the harbour area, near the lychnomancy and the temple of Sarapi, marine themes were mainly chosen. There, the gods of the East “travelled” the pilgrims to exotic landscapes. In the centre of the city, the large number of mosaics with performances of sporting, theatrical and musical games and duels, as well as the dozens of relevant movable finds and inscriptions, reflect precisely the close relationship of the inhabitants with the events in the Stadium and the neighbouring Odeon. Even today, we can hear the music played by the guitarist in the mosaic of the games, and the tragedians reciting their lines wearing masks, wigs, and coronets, and see the diligent effort made by the occupants of the house in the early Christian centuries to dress the naked mirrored Aphrodite.
Walking mentally on the mosaic floors of Roman Patras, the ancient city comes alive under our feet. The images blend harmoniously, unfolding before us a journey through the centuries.