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 Theseus - The 9th of November 2016


We then moved onto the area where a building of palacial character, whose construction is said to have taken place in the 2nd century A.D. and been the official seat of the preconsul, the Roman governor of Cyprus.  It expanded horizontaly around a large atrium with rooms adorned with figural and geometric mosaic floors.

Upon walking to one of the rooms we came across a mosaic floor of rare beauty because of its medallion shape, depicting the mythical duel between Theseus and the Minotaur in the Labyrinth of Crete. In its centre Theseus is depicted holding a club in his right hand, whilst grabbing the horn of the Minotaur who has fallen on his knees with his left hand. The scene is further enhanced by the successive decorative zones symbolising the labyrinth and the chain of diamonds and colourful tresses symbolizing the thread of Ariadne.
I once more tried to photograph it from several slightly different angles because not only was I impressed with the details and the impression it had (had) on me but also because of wanting to share such a moment later with those who haven't had the chance to see and admire it the way we had.

We soon came upon another room, believed to be probably the main hall of the house, used as a reception room. Of the former four panels with representations of several episodes of the life and accomplishments of Achiles, only one is said to have survived - the first bath of the newborn Achiles - a rather beautiful panel surrounded by a zone of repeated lozenges and a band of chain tresses.

The scene depicts Achiles in the arms of his mother Thetis, shown in the centre lying on a bed. Achiles is also shown sitting on the knees of his nurse Anatrophe, who is preparing to dip him in a cylindrical basin. Behind her the personification of Ambrosia holding a jug of water. At the other end of the bed, King Peleus is seen sitting on his throne and holding a rod, whilst behind him stand the three fates - Clotho with her spindle, Lachesis with her diptych and Atropos holding an open parchment.

I was utterly mesmerised ... and though Michel told us to yet prepare for more I didn't believe I could possibly see anything more astounding than what we had already seen. As the sun started to go down I felt this was possibly one of the most magical moments so far.

(to be continued)

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