The rare mosaic was excavated in the city of Rastan. The complexity makes it one of the rarest mosaics in the world.
Even though Syria is a war-torn country, it is one of the wealthiest countries on Earth in terms of history. One of the oldest cities on Earth, Damascus, is in Syria. This ancient city was inhabited as early as 10,000 BC. Now, archaeologists excavating a site in Syria have come across a unique ancient mosaic. Built 1,600 years ago, the impressive work of art measures 120 square meters and features soldiers holding swords and shields.
Moreover, the arts depict fierce Amazonians who fought with the Trojans in fierce battles. Additionally, Syria’s General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums discovered the mosaic as it excavated an ancient building in Rastan. According to archaeologists, this is the most significant archeological discovery since the conflict began in the region 11 years ago. Rastan was reclaimed from rebels in 2018. Businessmen from Lebanon and Syria bought the property from the Nabu Museum and donated it to the state.
According to Dr. Humam Saad, head of the Syrian General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums, “We have not finished excavating yet, so we cannot identify the building type. However, its complexity makes it one of the rarest mosaics in the world. Small square stones cover the panels, about half an inch on each side,” the expert explained. “The images mainly depict scenes from the Trojan War and ancient Amazon warrior women, depicted in Roman mythology based on Greek sources.”
Fierce Amazonian warriors
The Amazons are always portrayed as antagonists in Greek culture. Moreover, it is recounted, for instance, in the lost poem Aethiopida that the Amazons took part in the Trojan War for a short time. Achilles, the Achaeans’ leading warrior, had killed the Trojan hero Hector ten years into the siege of the city by the Achaeans. The Amazons challenge the Achaeans under the leadership of their “Thracian-born” queen Penthesilea. The Amazons retreat in defeat after Achilles kills Penthesilea in combat. Additionally, later Latin writers also mention the episode, including Virgil and Marcus Junianus Justinus. The mosaic also depicts 40 mistresses for Neptune, the ancient Roman sea god.
Nabu Museum board member Sulaf Fawakherji, a renowned Syrian actress, said she hopes to buy other buildings in Rastan. Fawakherji noted that these buildings are full of heritage sites and artifacts awaiting discovery. As Fawkherji pointed out, the mosaic extends far beyond the existing buildings. The city of Ratan has a rich history and may prove to be a key tourism hub in the future. However, Dr. Saad acknowledged that Rastan had hardly been excavated prior to the armed conflict in the country.