Floor Mosaic The Punishment of Dirce, Pula

Floor Mosaic The Punishment of Dirce, Pula

Cleaning up after a bombing of World War II, one never knows what one will find. No one expected the Punishment of Dirce. But there it was, a floor mosaic, perfectly preserved. It had been buried for more than a thousand years. It measured 20 by 40 feet. It had been part of a Roman villa, a choice property in its day.

The mosaic tells the story of Dirce. It's not complicated. Dirce was the second wife of King Likos. Dirce was obsessively jealous of the king's first wife, Antiope. Whether Likos divorced Antiope or he just liked having two wives is not clear. At any rate, Dirce tried to jail Antiope. Along came Atiope's twin sons Amfion and Zetos.

It happened that the twins were sired by Zeus. Likos was unaware of this. Amfion and Zetos killed Likos and they really came down hard on Dirce. They arranged to have a bull trample her on the rocks. The story is told in panels. Most of the panels are geometric designs of creatures and leaves. The crucial panel shows the full bull story.

Illustrations of the death of Dirce are rarely happened upon. The mosaic is beautifully crafted. There is a similar story of Dirce in the Vatican Museum. It is a painting of the same bull, the same girl and the same nasty twins.

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Floor Mosaic The Punishment of Dirce on Map

Sight Name: Floor Mosaic The Punishment of Dirce
Sight Location: Pula, Croatia (See walking tours in Pula)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Pula, Croatia

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