Four mosaics dating back to the 3rd century A.D. have been found in Antioch, Turkey. They depict scenes from plays written by Menander, the Athenian comic poet.
When Ömer Çelik, a staff archaeologist at the Hatay Archaeological Museum in Antakya, Turkey, discovered four mosaics during an expedition, he asked friend and University of Cincinnati geography graduate student Ezgi Akpinar-Ferrand to help identify their subjects. She immediately contacted the Department of Classics, knowing Gutzwiller’s background in ancient literature.
“The new material gives us significant information,” Gutzwiller says. “Of the four scenes depicted, three of them are from plays that are more or less completely lost. One is from a play that has been substantially recovered, but not the scene represented in the mosaic.”
The mosaics, which were found in ancient Antioch and date to the third century AD, represent scenes in “Women at Lunch,” “Girl Whose Hair is Shorn,” “Sisters Who Love Brothers” and “Possessed Girl.”
“The importance of these mosaics is two-fold. One, they help us to reconstruct each of the four plays. Two, they illuminate significantly the tradition of illustrating Menander and reveal variations in the illustrations of the plays.”
Akpinar-Ferrand adds, “The findings are further valuable to gather more information about mosaics done in and around the city of Antioch during the Roman period.”