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Baalbek (Heliopolis)


Mosaic from the villa of Suweydie, near Baalbek. Now in the National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering.
Baalbek or Heliopolis (Ἡλιούπολις, "sun city"): town in the northern Bekaa valley, site of the largest sanctuary in the Roman world.

History Photos

Villa of Suweydie

The mosaic shown on this page, was discovered in the Roman villa of Suweydie, not far from Baalbek. It dates back to the third century CE and is now on display in Lebanon's National Museum in Beyrut.
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Mosaic from the villa of Suweydie, near Baalbek. Now in the National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering.
Calliope

It represents the Seven Sages, together with Socrates, and Calliope, the Muse of epic poetry. The combination is not unusual, and neither is the selection of the seven, with their apopthegms:
  1. Thales of Miletus ("a guarantor ruins himself"),
  2. Pittacus of Mytilene ("know your opportunity"),
  3. Solon of Athens ("nothing in exess"),
  4. Bias of Priene ("most people are bad")
were more or less canonical, while the remaining three were on a list of seven sages by Demetrius of Phaleron, a well-known author:
  1. Cleobulus of Lindos ("moderation is best"),
  2. Chilon of Sparta ("know thyself"), and
  3. Periander of Corinth ("practice makes perfect").

Mosaic from the villa of Suweydie, near Baalbek. Now in the National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering. Mosaic from the villa of Suweydie, near Baalbek. Now in the National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering. Mosaic from the villa of Suweydie, near Baalbek. Now in the National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering. Mosaic from the villa of Suweydie, near Baalbek. Now in the National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering.
Periander
Solon
Cleobulus
Chilon
Mosaic from the villa of Suweydie, near Baalbek. Now in the National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering. Mosaic from the villa of Suweydie, near Baalbek. Now in the National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering. Mosaic from the villa of Suweydie, near Baalbek. Now in the National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering. Mosaic from the villa of Suweydie, near Baalbek. Now in the National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering.
Bias
Pittacus
Thales
Socrates
Mosaic from the villa of Suweydie, near Baalbek. Now in the National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering. On the opposite end of the mosaic is this picture of Mother Earth (Gaia, Ge), who is offered several ears of wheat from Theros, the personification of Summer. A part of the mosaic is lost, but it is a fitting picture to represent the fertile Bekaa valley. Again, there is nothing special about this representation, but it is well-preserved.

History Photos
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2012
Revision: 29 July 2012
Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other