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Mosaic of Silvanus from Ostia

This unusual mosaic representation of the god Silvanus was found in the Mithreaum of the so-called Imperial Palace in Ostia.
Detail of the niche with the depiction of Silvanus.

Detail of the niche with the depiction of Silvanus. 

The New Mithraeum
3 Feb 2022
Updated on Sep 2023

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Polychrome mosaic (H. 1.58 Br. 0.92 D. 0.30) found in a niche in the pronaos: 'trovato nel ripiano superiore che mette al vestibolo della scala' (Visconti). Before the niche a little lamp was found. Lateran-museum, Room XV No. 914.

Against a blue background the representation of Silvanus in a white tunica with red borders and dark-yellow cloak. Around his brown curly hair a blue nimbus. Brown foot-wear. In his I.h. a branch; in the r.h. a falx with yellow handle. Beside him sits a brown dog, which is looking at him. On the I. side a burning altar. The landscape is indicated by three trees

Related monuments

Mitreo del Palazzo Imperiale

A mosaic of Silvanus, dated to the time of Commodus, was found in a niche in a nearby room of the Mithraeum in the Imperial Palace at Ostia.

Cautes and Cautópates of Palazzo Imperiale

The sculptures of Cautes and Cautopates from the Mitreo del Palazzo Imperiale may have been reused from an older mithraeum in Ostia.

Altar with inscription of Mitreo del Palazzo Imperiale

This is one of several marble inscriptions made by a certain Caelius Ermeros, who was the antistes of the Mithraeum of the Imperial Palace.

Floor mosaic of Mitreo del Palazzo Imperiale

It bears an inscription repeated on each side of the podia.