Mosaic with Alexander the Great as a boy



Mosaic, 4th century B.C.
From Baalbek, Lebanon
National Museum of Beirut
Alexander the Great as a boy with a Nymph

This mosaic from Baalbek-Soueidie shows the newborn Alexander the Great being bathed in a circular fluted basin by a female figure labelled ‘Nymphe’, while his mother Olympias reclines on a bed watched by an attendant. All the figures in the mosaic have name-labels, a common characteristic of mosaics of the Greek East of the third to fifth centuries. In this case the name-labels seem to serve an obvious and important purpose: how otherwise is the viewer to recognize the scene as the birth of Alexander rather than Achilles or Dionysus. At the same time the borrowing of the iconographic schema hints at analogies between Alexander, Achilles and Dionysus.

Explore posts in the same categories: Alexander the Great, Macedonian Culture

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