Mosaic with Personification of the River Tigris, late 100 - 200 CE

  • Roman

Various stones

  • Overall: 56 3/4 × 56 1/4 × 2 1/2 inches (144.1 × 142.9 × 6.4 cm) Overall (central square): 42 1/2 × 42 1/2 inches (108 × 108 cm) Overall (thickness/depth): 2 1/8 inches (5.4 cm)

Founders Society Purchase, General Membership Fund

40.127

On View

  • Ancient Middle East Gallery

Department

Greco-Roman and Ancient European

  • Allegory
  • Mythology
  • Personification
  • Borders (ornament areas)
  • Stone
  • Leaves (plant materials)
  • Mosaic
  • Man
  • Medallion (ornament area)
  • Figure (representation)
  • Turkey
  • Seleucia pieria
  • Tigris
  • Tigris

This wonderfully naturalistic representation of the river Tigris as a bearded man wearing a wreath of river grasses formed one corner of the floor of a room in a house in Seleucia Pieria, the port of the city of Antioch. The decorative scheme of the floor was apparently the personification of the four eastern provinces of the Roman Empire surrounded by the personifications of their four principal rivers, each identified by name in Greek. The elaborate metaphor in mosaic was set in what was probably the dining room of the house.

Inscribed, Greek capitals, across center of circle, either side of head: TIGRIS [Tau, Iota, Gamma, Rho, Iota, Sigma]

(Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey)

1940-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Bulletin of the DIA 20, no. 3 (December 1940): pp. 21-23 (ill.). Stillwell, R., ed. Antioch-on-the-Orontes, vol. 3. Princeton, 1941, p. 214, no. 177, pl. 88. Levi, D. Antioch Mosaic Pavements, vol. 1. Princeton, 1947, p. 58. DIA Handbook. 1971, p. 40 (ill.). Jones, F. F. "Antioch Mosaics in Princeton," Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University, vol. 40, no 2. 1981, p. 19 (ill.). Henshaw, Julia P., ed. A Visitors Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1995, p. 118 (ill.). Cimok, Fatih, ed. Antioch Mosaics. Istanbul, 2000, p. 64-65 (ill.).

Roman, Mosaic with Personification of the River Tigris, late 100 - 200 CE, various stones. Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society Purchase, General Membership Fund, 40.127.