Curator‘s Comments

Ashton Fancy, Smith class of 2014

One of the first pieces I ever saw in the Museum was this floor mosaic–a floor mosaic on the wall.  As part of the ARH 101 class, The Lives of Objects, I learned about the history of this beautiful mosaic personifying an ancient river god, the culture that surrounded the merchant’s home in Antioch from which this piece came, and the masons hired by SCMA to reconstruct it centuries later.


I was intrigued by the many rebirths the work has undergone, most obviously moving it from the floor to its present location high on the wall in the gallery.  This was done for conservation purposes, but also changes how we physically relate to and view it, making physical the change that any object undergoes when taken from its original context to be placed in an institution.


Personification of the River Pyramos makes me think about these issues and is one of the reasons I became an Art History major and involved in the Museums Concentration.  Considering the life of this piece and how it may continue to grow and change makes the most ancient piece relevant to contemporary society, and exciting!

Floor Segment: Personification of the River Pyramos

Unknown artist. Roman, Syria, mid-to-late 2nd century C.E.

Floor Segment: Personification of the River Pyramos, 2nd century

Stone tesserae.

Purchased with the Drayton Hillyer Fund.

ID Number: SC 1938:14