Mosaic depicting god Hermes leading chariot revealed in Amphipolis Tomb
The Greek Ministry of Culture has announced the discovery of a stunning mosaic depicting a chariot in motion in the burial mound at Amphipolis in northern Greece.
The exciting finding was made as archaeologists removed layers of soil behind the two caryatid statues in the second chamber of the world famous tomb.
The enormous mosaic, which covers the entire floor of the second chamber and measures 14.7-foot wide (4.5m) by 9.8-foot long (3m), is made with white, black, grey, blue, red, and yellow pebbles. It depicts a chariot in motion, bordered by a decorative border made of squares and spirals.
The mosaic covers the entire floor space in the second chamber of the Amphipolis tomb. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture
“The central theme is a chariot in motion, pulled by two white horses and driven by a bearded man, crowned with a laurel wreath,” the Ministry said in a statement. Experts are not sure who the driver is, but it is possible that it is showing the occupant of the tomb, who has not yet been found.
The driver of the chariot is a bearded man wearing a laurel wreath but his identify is unknown. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture
According to the Culture Ministry, the chariot is led by Hermes, messenger of the gods, identified by his characteristic insignia, including winged sandals and a caduceaus (a winged staff with two snakes wrapped around it). He appears to be acting as a conductor of souls to the afterlife. In ancient Greek mythology, Hermes served as a psychopomp, or an escort for the dead to help them find their way to the Underworld.
The god Hermes leads the chariot and its occupant into the afterlife. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture
The mosaic has been dated to the last quarter of the 4 th century BC (325 – 300 BC), which supports theories that the occupant of the tomb is associated in some way with Alexander the Great, although not believed to be Alexander himself.
A section of the mosaic is damaged. However, archaeologists have recovered numerous pebbles and mosaic fragments during the excavation and hope to be able to restore the mosaic to its full majesty.
Featured image: Mosaic depicting a chariot and two horses led by Hermes, Amphipolis Tomb, Greece. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture