Titiana Spector

Mythological marvels, depicted in four mosaic panels, greet visitors at the entrance to the villa’s 14- by 16-foot triclinium (formal dining room). The panels lie immediately adjacent to, and facing, the room’s entrance. (An orange tint covers areas in the drawing depicted in photos in this article.) The central panel at the bottom features the sea goddess Tethys surrounded by various fish.

Flanking the Tethys panel are two Medusas, both exhibiting a typically round, ugly face.

Above the Tethys panel lies another mosaic, in the center of which once stood a fountain on a blue marble slab. The author found the lead pipe that formerly carried water to this fountain, but the basin itself has disappeared. The mosaic border surrounding the fountain slab encloses a marine scene that includes scantily clad Nereids—daughters of the old, wise, sea god Nereus—seated on the tails of ichthyocentaurs— creatures with the head, trunk and arms of a man, the forelegs of a horse and the tail of a fish. Fish and ducks also appear within the border, and, at top, two cupids (one mostly destroyed) ride on dolphins.