Paphos, Archaeological Park.
The scene represented on the mosaic is the moment just before the tragedy. In the centre, Icarios is holding the reins of an ox-driven cart loaded with animal-skins containing wine. Further to the right we see two men designated by an inscription as “the first wine drinkers”. One of them, overcome by wine is on the ground leaning against a wineskin. The other is still managing to hold himself up and drink out of a cup.
On the left-hand side, the god of wine himself, Dionysos, is seated on a stool, holding a bunch of grapes. He appears to be offering it to the nymph Akme who is seated opposite him drinking wine out of a bowl. Both figures are crowned with vine leaves and grapes. Akme is by no means a well known figure in Greek mythology but her identification is made certain by the inscription above her head. The name in Greek means culmination or perfection (usually of age) and one cannot avoid interpreting her presence here as symbolic. If this is the case, she would stand for the state of mind brought about by the proper and moderate use of wine. In fact Icarios seems to be pointing towards her in quite a meaningful manner. The two drunk shepherds on the other side would then symbolize the evils that improper use of wine leads to. This is of course only a hypothesis, but one cannot resist giving this interpretation to a mosaic that had to be crossed before one entered into the dining room.