The muses, inventors of the art of music

Mosaico de la villa romana de las Musas Pulse para ampliar Mosaico de la villa romana de las Musas. Sala 23

Mosaic of The Muses. Arellano, Navarra

This mosaic made out of differently colored tiles or tesserae decorated the floor of a room in a late Roman villa in the region of Navarra toward the end of the 3rd century. Its octagonal floorplan is divided into nine irregular spaces surrounding a central medallion. The medallion displays Pegasus, the winged horse, and a male figure that must be Apollo, the god of music and leader of the Muses who appear around him in the remaining spaces of the mosaic. Each of these spaces is occupied by one of the nine muses with their respective iconographic attributes and by a relevant historical figure from each of the arts the muses represent. Although some scenes have been lost, among those muses preserved, we are able to identify six, some of whom are carrying musical instruments. Such is the case of Erato, the muse of geometry, who is represented plucking a lyre that is leaning upon a column. Euterpe, the muse of music, gazes upon her companion and mentor who, in turn, is playing an aulos.