Píramo y Tisbe at Villa of Maternus – Carranque, Spain on Flickr – by stavlokratz

This mosaic is found in the sleeping room of the 4th century Roman Villa of Maternus – Carranque, Spain

Mosaic Art Source Archives – more mosaics from the Villa Maternus – Carranque, Spain

Pyramus and Thisbe?

The love story of Pyramus and Thisbe, not really apart of Roman mythology, is actually a sentimental romance. It is recounted by Hyginus (Fabulae 242) but is better told by Ovid(Metamorphoses 4). Pyramus and Thisbe – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thisbe and Pyramus with Typo paphos, cyprus on Flickr – by Ken and Nyetta

This mosaic at Paphos, Cyprus is particularly interesting because it depicts a rare (and enormous) “typo.” This is supposed to be a mosaic of the story of Thisbe and Pyramos — the story written down by Ovid from which Shakespeare adapted Romeo and Juliet and the story that appears as a sub-plot in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

In the legend, Thisbe and Pyramos are youths in Babylon whose parents dislike each other but who fall in love by talking through a crack in the wall between their homes. This mosaic is supposed to depict their fateful meeting that results in their double-suicide.

The problem with this mosaic is that rather than showing the Pyramos who committed suicide when he thought Thisbe had been eaten by a great cat (a leopard in this mosaic), the artist put in the river god Pyramos with his seaweed hair and horn of plenty. The mosaic artist probably did not know the story and was just working from a book of standard themes — and chose the wrong Pyramos to draw!

For a bit of fun check this out – Pyramus and Thisbe performed by The Beatles