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Mosaico que representa el mito de Enómao, Pélope e Hipodamia.
Mosaico que representa el mito de Enómao, Pélope e Hipodamia.

In photos: Roman opulence in a Spanish hamlet

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Seventeen centuries ago, a Roman nobleman built an enormous estate in what is today Villar de Domingo García, a tiny municipality in inland Spain. A decade’s worth of digging has uncovered just 5% of the site, which has already yielded the largest figurative mosaic of the Roman Empire and a large collection of marble sculptures

  • A section of the triclinium at the Roman villa of Noheda. This scene depicts Dionysus’ retinue, including centaurs, musicians, satires and Silenus, represented as an old man riding a donkey.
    1A section of the triclinium at the Roman villa of Noheda. This scene depicts Dionysus’ retinue, including centaurs, musicians, satires and Silenus, represented as an old man riding a donkey.
  • Miguel Ángel Valero sprays deionized water on a scene representing a pantomime. A pipe organ can be seen to the right.
    2Miguel Ángel Valero sprays deionized water on a scene representing a pantomime. A pipe organ can be seen to the right.
  • A marble figure found at the Roman villa. This is one of 50 figurines on display at an exhibition titled ‘Noheda, the image of power in Late Antiquity,’ on show in the city of Cuenca.
    3A marble figure found at the Roman villa. This is one of 50 figurines on display at an exhibition titled ‘Noheda, the image of power in Late Antiquity,’ on show in the city of Cuenca.
  • A section of the mosaic inside the triclinium representing the Judgement of Paris and the abduction of Helen of Troy.
    4A section of the mosaic inside the triclinium representing the Judgement of Paris and the abduction of Helen of Troy.
  • A scene showing one of the two pantomimes represented in the mosaic. One of the characters is wearing a long, solid shoe that was used to keep time to the music. This is one of the very few remaining representations of this item in the world.
    5A scene showing one of the two pantomimes represented in the mosaic. One of the characters is wearing a long, solid shoe that was used to keep time to the music. This is one of the very few remaining representations of this item in the world.
  • The decapitated heads of the suitors of Hippodamia, daughter of King Oenomaus. These men lost chariot races against the king, who made them pass this test in order to award his daughter’s hand in marriage.
    6The decapitated heads of the suitors of Hippodamia, daughter of King Oenomaus. These men lost chariot races against the king, who made them pass this test in order to award his daughter’s hand in marriage.
  • A scene representing Helen of Troy when she was abducted by Paris, a move that led to a war.
    7A scene representing Helen of Troy when she was abducted by Paris, a move that led to a war.
  • The southern portion of the mosaic. The center once held a fountain, and the water-supply system has survived all these centuries.
    8The southern portion of the mosaic. The center once held a fountain, and the water-supply system has survived all these centuries.