Suweydie: place in modern Lebanon where a Roman villa has been excavated with well-preserved mosaics.

The Suweydie Mosaic

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 currently on display in Lebanon's National Museum in Beirut.

It represents the Seven Sages, together with the philosopher Socrates. In the center is Calliope, the Muse of epic poetry. The combination is not unusual, and neither is the selection of the seven, with their apopthegms. The first four

  1. Thales of Miletus ("a guarantor ruins himself"),
  2. Calliope
    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 could be found on a list of the seven sages that was made 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").
Summer and Earth

On the opposite end of the mosaic is a picture of Mother Earth (Gaia, Ge), who is offered several ears of wheat from Theros, the personification of Summer. The right-hand part of this section of the Suweydie mosaic is lost. From Mother Earth's look we can deduce that she was looking at someone. However, the representation of Mother Earth and Summer is a fitting to represent the fertile Bekaa Valley. Again, there is nothing special about this representation, but it is well-preserved.

This page was created in 2012; last modified on 27 April 2019.