Plato’s academy.

Mosaic from Pompeii (Villa of T. Siminius Stephanus).
Second style. Early 1st century BCE.
Inv. No. 124545.

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

From Pompeii (Villa of T. Siminius Stephanus).
Plato’s academy, mosaic from Pompeii, House of T. Siminius Stephanus.

Many mosaics of this period (II style, early first century B. C.) have a fine frame with an ornate festoon of leaves and fruit and comic masks.

Another good example from Pompeii is the doves mosaic (inv. 114281), but there are also specimens from elsewhere (Teramo). The chosen theme for this mosaic, possibly to underline the literary pretensions of the villa owner who commissioned it, is a group of philosophers characterised by the typical garments associated with Greek orators and philosophers of the classical period. The second and third figures from the left are thought to represent Lysias and Plato respectively, and in the background there is a view of the acropolis of Athens.

The elements surrounding the philosophers, the sacred gateway with vases, the tree and the votive column, are all typical of a mythological landscape.

(ńń) 2006. Photo: Sergey Sosnovskiy (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Text: museum inscription to the mosaic.
© 1996. Text of description: Stefano De Caro, The National Archaeological Museum of Naples.
Soprintendenza Archeologica di Napoli e Caserta. Electa, Napoli, 2001, p. 187.
Keywords: Academy of Plato mosaic from Pompeii Villa of T Siminius Stephanus Second style II style Lysias Plato dé cor decor leaves leaf fruit fruits comic mask orator orators philosopher philosophers Athenian acropolis of Athens the sacred gateway with vases vase tree votive column sundial roll scroll seat sella male clothes garments outerwear globe terrestial globe Inv No 124545