Turkish archaeologists recently discovered some ancient and wise advice in the form of a beautifully unique Greek mosaic. The mosaic floor is composed of various colored tiles, and it reads ‘Be cheerful, enjoy your life.’
Archaeologists have referred to the discovery of the reckless skeleton, and many believe that it was once part of an elegant and upper-class home. Demet Kara, who works with the Hatay Archaeology Museum explained that the artifact was from the ancient Greek-Roman city known as Antioch.However, it was discovered in the Hatay province found on the Turkish-Syrian border during an excavation.
Archaeologists believe the artifact was from the 3rd century BC. In the photograph below, two figures are depicted wearing togas and sandals while they reach towards a crescent-shaped symbol. On the far right of the scene, you can see another dark figure that has been worn away from the shoulders down. However, the skeleton in the mosaic is surrounded by bread and an amphora, which would make it the perfect scene for a dining room.
Kara stated that the three scenes show something that the Roman elite considered to be of the utmost importance, which was baths and dinnertime. She explained that,
“In the middle scene, there is a sundial and a young clothed man running towards it with a bare-headed butler behind. The sundial is between 9 pm and 10 pm – 9 pm is the bath time in the Roman period. He has to arrive at supper at 10 pm. Unless he can, it is not well received. There is writing on the scene that reads he is late for supper and writing about time on the other.
In the last scene, there is a reckless skeleton with a drinking pot in his hand along with bread and a wine pot. The writing on it reads ‘Be cheerful and live your life.’”
The skeleton was actually a very popular presence in artifacts from that time period. In another, a skeleton is seen holding two large pitchers and one shows a more sinister scene in which the thought provoking motto ‘know thyself’ is also depicted. Romans from that time period enjoyed implementing motto’s and phrases in their elaborate floor decorations.
Be Apparently, long before the Facebook and Twitter memes overtook society, ancient Roman’s began the original and ultimate meme in the form of decor. Kara, along with other colleagues continue to investigate the uniquely macabre mosaic. In the meantime, maybe we should contemplate its wise advice and take heed.