Córdoba: mosaics in the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos

The Roman mosaics in the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos in Córdoba are worth remarking on. In particular there is an impressive mosaic of Polyphemus (with three eyes, it seems!) and Galatea.


The accompanying text with this mosaic explains some details about it:

Roman mosaic found in 1959, in the basement of the Plaza de la Corredera. It comes from a rich mansion with numerous mosaics whose decorative schemes are repeated in the whole. The motif of the pavement located in the triclinium is the scene of love between Polyphemus and Galatea. The giant Polyphemus was one of the Cyclopes of Sicily, son of Poseidon (Neptune) and known in mythology for devouring several companions of Odysseus, who ended up blinding him. He loved Galatea and killed her lover, the shepherd Acis, crushing him with a rock. The nymph Galatea, one of the Nereids, appears naked, adorned with rich jewels, a necklace, and three bracelets. She covers her legs with a mantle and behind her appears a marine monster with wolf head, serpentine body and whale’s tail, habitual companion of the nereidas. The Cyclops Polyphemus wields a sceptre, a long pine from which hangs a musical instrument. He appears naked, covering his thighs with a leopard skin; his head is adorned with a beard and wavy hair, and on the forehead is the third eye. The landscape is represented with great realism and schematisation. The mosaicist has used a multitude of multicolored tiles that give a great chromatic representation, using glass paste for the green-black tones. On both sides, the scene is framed with a braided design. The theme of the mosaic is inspired by the Hellenistic literature, in the poem of Philoxemus of Citherea, “The Cyclops”.

Here are some of the other mosaics displayed:

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