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Nilotic Mosaic Detail

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Nilotic Mosaic Detail
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This mosaic is found on the floor of one of the rooms of the House of Menander.  [for a general view of the mosaic, see the previous image]

It depicts "the world of pygmies."  In it, the pygmies appear to be deformed, grotesque, short-legged with prominent buttocks and enlarged heads.  They are navigating two boats on the Nile River among animals and plants.

There are four pygmies in the largest boat (made of reeds)—one steering and the other three propelling the boat by pushing on poles.  There is a "cabin" on the boat in which the elite traveler would have had shelter while traveling.

Beyond the boat, at the top, is a series of buildings and porticos that are situated on the bank of the Nile.


The House of Menander is located to the southeast of the Roman Forum of Pompeii.  It is one of the largest and most opulent houses of Pompeii (19,000 sq ft.).  A personal seal and graffiti indicate that Quintus Poppaeus Sabinus was its owner.  He was a relative of the Empress Poppea Sabina, Nero's second wife.  Its name comes from a fresco of a famous Greek dramatist, Menander found on one of the walls.

Regio I, Insula X.4 (= Region 1, Block 10, Doorway 4 [plus others])