SPARTA — Two exceptional Roman mosaics in Sparta are now on display for the public to enjoy. The House of the Mosaics, constructed through an initiative spearheaded by former Minister Ioannis Varvitsiotis and supported in full by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), is now welcoming visitors.
Researchers believe that the two mosaics, The Abduction of Europa and Orpheus with the Animals, were part of the decoration of a bath complex. It is also possible that the bath infrastructure and mosaics were part of a rich Roman house, or two neighboring ones. Uncovered in 1872 and 1877, they date to around 300 AD and are distinguished for their composition, rich colors, and craftsmanship.
The 2.05 x 1.98 m. mosaic with the representation of the Abduction of Europa is the central theme of a larger mosaic floor. The woman is depicted sitting on the back of a bull, the form taken by Zeus, in motion towards the right, while two winged cupids frame the figure. With the introduction of the euro as the common European currency on January 1, 2002, Greece chose the representation of the Abduction of Europa in the Sparta mosaic as the motif for the 2 euro coin, designed by Giorgos Stamatopoulos.
The House of the Mosaics will be accessible to the public from Monday, May 17, 2021. The new space was constructed through a project entitled “Protecting, promoting, and making available to the public the site referred to as the ‘House of Europa in the Municipality of Sparta.’”
SNF’s support for the project is part of its Laconia Initiative.