Monday, 28 November 2016

Cyprus - My 7 day circuit across the country - Day 5 afternoon (cont.) - West Cyprus - Kato Pafos' UNESCO World Heritage site - The House of Aion - The 9th of November 2016


We finally gained access to Kato (Lower) Pafos which is considered the most inspiring archaeological park of the whole island. Unearthed in 1962 it shed light into what Cyprus was like under the Roman Empire and in this particular UNESCO designated site the remains span over 2,000 years.

We started by "exploring" one of the villas we were supposed to visit because of their lavishing mosaic floors - the House of Aion, whose name is intimately connected to the image of the God that is believed to have once stood to the left of its entrance.
I was utterly mesmerised by the huge 5-panel mosaic framed by a colourful tress. I didn't know where to start photographing, which wasn't particularly easy, as well as looking while I listened to the Michel's explanation.
On the upper right row baby Dionysios is presented on Hermes' lap, who in turn is about to hand him over to Tropheus, his future teacher and to the Nymphs of Mount Nysa, who are preparing his bath. Near the bath  we could see the personifications of Mount Nysa and Anatrophe, who is accompanied by three personifications: Theogonia, Nectar and Ambrosia.
The panel on the upper left shows Leda, queen of Sparta ready to enter the river Europas for the bath, with Zeus transformed in swan approaching.

The central panel has two scenes, with one taking place on land and the other one in the sea. In the centre of the panel Aion, God of eternal time, presents Cassiopeia, winner of the beauty contest, who in turn reveals her beautiful body to the judges, while being crowned by the winged Godess Krisis. In the scene of the sea, three of the King of the sea Nereus' daughters (Thetis, Doris and Galatea) are depicted in a dissatisfied mood because of the outcome result of the competition.
The lower right panel depicts a music competition between the flute player Marsyas (piper) and Apollo, God of the Arts, patron of the Muses and a lyre-player. After being defeated by Apollo, Marsyas is sentenced to death for daring to challenge the God. Apollo is seated on a rock next to a female figure bearing the inscription Plane (standing for delusion) and as two Scythians carry out Apollos's order Olympus, his young student begs him to show mercy.
The lower left panel depicts the triumphal procession of Dionysios through the world riding on his chariot drawn by two centaurs, whist holding a flute and a lyre. A half-naked Maenad leads the procession wih a young satyr. The chariot is followed by Tropheus, the God's tutor and a girl with a basket on her head.

Upper right panel

Upper left panel

The central panels

Lower right panel

Lower left panel

 (To be continued)

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