Arma virumque cano

Arma virumque cano

One of the best museums I’ve ever been to, the Bardo National Museum in Tunis showcases the world’s greatest collection of Roman mosaics.

Perhaps its most intriguing mosaic is the one illustrated above, purported to be the only known quality picture of Virgil.

Created some three hundred years after his death, this idealised portrait depicts the poet seated between two muses. On his knee is a papyrus scroll with a verse from his immortal epic, The Aeneid.

This mosaic was found in 1896 a few centimetres below the ground, in the ruins of a third-century mansion, in Hadrumetum, site of the modern-day city of Sousse, Tunisia’s third largest city after Tunis and Sfax.

(Photo taken in September 2014)

Comments 2

  1. Anonymous

    A fascinating image, Stephen, which I have forwarded to a colleague who teaches Ancient History / Classics.

  2. Anonymous

    An impressive image, Stephen: I had not associated Tunis with having such impressive souvenirs of the Roman occupation. Do you still have your Winnie the Pooh book in Latin?