Text: Danae Makri
A few months from now and almost two years since the great discovery of a splendid mosaic was announced to the public, a unique work of art dating back to the Roman period will become accessible to art lovers and archaeology buffs.
The rarity and almost pristine condition of the find have enthralled the international archaeological community, and managed to convince even those who do not consider themselves as culture geeks, to include in their holiday plans a detour to Piathkia in order to admire it.
The mosaic floor, dating from the 4th century B.C., is 26 meters long and 4 meters wide and depicts a chariot race scene at the hippodrome, presenting the racecourse in full detail and bearing a Greek inscription with names that apparently are attributed to the jockeys, as well as one of the horses.
Column pillars abutting in three copper dolphins that serve to signify the numbers of laps remaining are featured on the mosaic, as well as a man on a horse and two other men on foot, one holding a whip and the other carrying a vase with water, along with the Nine Muses of Greek mythology.
Dr Fryni Hadjichristofi, archaeologist and head of the excavation and research team, noted that “The theme is extremely rare, as most mosaics tend to depict horses or charioteers, but not actual races in the hippodrome, thus making the Cypriot mosaic only the 10th of its kind in the whole Roman world”.
Until it was excavated, nine other similarly themed mosaics had only been discovered, making the Piathkia mosaic the most recent and possibly greatest of all.