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Dear Friend Deponerus

Ostia was quite delightful I have never seen such a lively market. Think of this: The walkway is not merely of marble but inlaid with thoughtfully designed mosaic. All of the guilds have their own mosaic images next to where they trade; fishmongers, grain merchants--you always know with whom you are dealing. But the mosaics would be a marvel all on their own if Ostia were to become a ruin tomorrow because they are everywhere and because of the variety of their designs. There are gods and sea monsters represented, as if you could touch them and they would spring forth in three dimensions (Dunbabin 29). There are purely geometrical designs. At the Bath of the Seven Wise Men you can see mosaics of brightly colored vines and scrolls of leaves, and images of dolphins sporting about with their tails all interlaced (Dunbabin 247). Even the religious cults have their mosaic patterns. One Mithraic shrine, made up entirely of black and white tiles, but shows seven gates, presumably of life, that devotees must pass through. Another represents seven circles or spheres (Dunbabin 64; 246). There are so many cults; one hears of Christians everywhere these days, and your friend Porphyry, with whom I attended games at the Coliseum in Rome--delightful man, but he has an odd opinion of art (Edwards 485ff)--despises them. What will Diocletian do about them, I wonder.

The better people in Ostia are also enamored of mosaics for their floors and courtyards. The Domus dei Dioscuri (where I dined one evening) has mosaics of goddesses and their animals--horses, leopards, etc. (Dunbabin 65). Ostians decorate the interiors of their homes, too--the walls, I mean--with painted scenes from mythology (more about that later!). I went twice to the theatre there. Seating for the whole town, and everybody was there! But enough about that. What you first notice is the attention to detail. The scaena frons is itself a work of art--massive imperial marble statues set in n...

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Dear Friend Deponerus. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:50, August 20, 2017, from
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