Mosaic of Hercules (The Lernaean Hydra)

170-180 ap. J.-C.
Marbre, terre cuite, pâte de verre
Saint-Paul-Les-Romans, Villa des Mingauds, Drôme
980.1.1
Don Bady, 1980
Classée Monument historique, 1978 ©Paul Veysseyre.

Mosaïque d'Hercule (L'Hydre de Lerne) ©Paul Veysseyre.

Information

The mosaic of Hercules shows the twelve classic labours and two secondary trials (the giant Antaeus and a centaur) surrounding a mysterious aged and bearded figure at the centre.  The iconography is particularly dynamic, choosing in the majority of the scenes the most violent moment of each combat.  The model and attitudes are similar to sarcophagi sculpted in high relief in the late 2nd century CE.  The figure in the centre gives the mosaic its meaning, with the identification as Pluto preferred; it harks back to Hercules’ victory over death, his return from Hades and accession to immortality. 

Mosaïque d'Hercule (L'Hydre de Lerne) ©Paul Veysseyre.