Advice of the sorceress
Mosaic from Pompeii (so-called Villa of Cicero).
Signature above: Dioskourides of Samos.
150—125 BCE.
Naples, National Archaeological MuseumInv. No. 9987.Photo by Sergey Sosnovskiy

Advice of the sorceress.

Mosaic from Pompeii (so-called Villa of Cicero).
Signature above: Dioskourides of Samos.
150—125 BCE.
Inv. No. 9987.

Naples, National Archaeological Museum
(Napoli, Museo archeologico nazionale di Napoli)

From Pompeii (so-called Villa of Cicero).
This exceptional mosaic bears the signature, like another small scene from the same villa, of Dioskourides of Samos. It exemplifies the Hellenistic tradition at its best, and a recent hypothesis dates it to the third rather than the latter part of the second century B.C. The scene portrayed is either from Aristophanes’s comedy Synaristoi or from a play of the New Comedy. Three women carrying masks are seated round a circular table, two of them youthful and the other an old hag.

The presence of vases on the table suggests that the sorceress might be preparing love potions, assisted by a serving girl seen on the right. The mosaic reproduces a painting characterised by pastel hues with colours that blend into one another and by a remarkable sense of volume, well embodied at the bottom by the steps and overhead by the perspective created by the wings in graded colours.

(сс) 2006. Photo: Sergey Sosnovskiy (CC BY-SA 4.0).
© 1996 Text: Stefano De Caro, “The National Archaeological Museum of Naples”.
Soprintendenza Archeologica di Napoli e Caserta. Electa, Napoli, 2001, p. 141.
Keywords: μωσαϊκό mosaic mosaics mosaica mosaici mosaik mosaïque ρώμη rome roman roma romano rom römisches rome romaine mosaic mosaico from pompeii so-called villa of cicero advice of the sorceress signature by dioskourides of samos dioscurides of samos witch sorceress woman women girl girlie round table chair seat furniture mask masks in goblet bocal facer rummer herb love-philtre love-potion philtre drug medicament potion female feminine garment garments clothes clothing inv no 9987
History of Ancient Rome