The Villas of the Exalted

Kato Paphos, Cyprus

Dec 31, 2022

 

On the southwestern tip of the island of Cyprus lies its Archeological treasures, arguably the best in the island.  Kato Paphos or the lower reaches of the city is home to a vast area of 950 thousand square meters, chockful of ruins, most of it is still being excavated.

Within it are remains of villas of a staggering size, smaller houses, temples, an open forum and amphitheater. Thought to have been begun at the end of the 4th century BCE, it was continually lived in and added onto through the Hellenistic and Roman ages.

The House of Dionysus, House of Aion, House of Theseus are so called because of the prominent depictions in the mosaics found in these structures. Some, like the House of Dionysus are vast, consisting of a mind-boggling number of rooms. The floor of each room is covered with an intricate mosaic.

The subjects are recognizable as popular tales. In the best of Greek tradition, love, lust and magical beginnings and endings feature prominently. The birth of Dionysus, The rape of Ganymede, the lovelorn Phaedra and the object of her passion, her stepson, Icarius, Apollo and Daphne all feature in all their glory.

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