Time robbed Narcissus of his good looks, but through a volcanic eruption, nearly 2,000 years and many tons of ashes, his lover – his own reflection – looked back unflinchingly.
On Thursday, the mythological figure of Narcissus re The public came from his seat on a wall in Pompeii, where archaeologists announced they had found a remarkably well-preserved fresco depicting his story: The Hunter Reflecting His Reflection fell in love with a pool.
The fresco was unearthed In a house where archaeologists unearthed a bedroom fresco of Greek mythology last November, the rape of Leda by the god Zeus in the form of a swan. Both works survived the eruption of the mountain. Vesuvius in 79 AD, in which the Roman city of Pompeii was buried in fire, pumice and ashes.
The fresco probably dated to "The Last Years of the Colony", Massimo Osanna, The local director-general cited the "extraordinary preservation" of the colors of the image.
In the fresco Narcissus leans against a pool, his face is damaged, but he looks down towards the water, where his greenish reflection looks back. A winged figure, who may be the Greek god of love, Eros, stands nearby, as well as a dog who pulls Narcissus' clothes in vain and can not pull him off.
Mr. Osanna said the decorations around the room were "full of the theme of joie de vivre, beauty and vanity". Other mythological figures, such as cupids, martens and satyrs, also appeared in the public part of the house "as if part of a Dionysian entourage," he said, referring to the Greek god of wine and worship.
In the atrium, where the narcissi fresco is located, the archaeologists also found a staircase that led to an upper floor and the remains of glass containers, a bronze funnel and eight amphorae, the old containers for olive oil, wine or other goods. Ms. Russo said the team hopes to "make at least part of the house accessible to the public.
The opulence of the house indicated that it was "a large residence with a wealthy owner," said Sophie Hay, an archeologist at the University of Cambridge who studied Pompeii and was not involved in the excavation.
At the beginning of the millennium, Dr. Hay, Greek myths were popularized by the poet Ovid. "In Pompeii it became fashionable to depict the myths in frescoes," she said.
In Ovid's story of Narcissus is an exceedingly natively handsome young man who is expected to lead a long life as long as he never gets sight of himself. A nymph named Echo falls in love with him – and Narcissus rejects her from. She withdraws into a cave and finally disappears into a single voice.
Narcissus & # 39; rejecting Echo and other lairers upset the goddess Nemesis, who arranges her to recognize her own reflection in a pool. He, too, falls hopelessly in love, unable to touch his reflection in the water, and disappears like an echo. Only Narcissus appears in the newly found fresco.
The excavations are located in a part of Pompeii on the edge of the site and are prone to collapse, which endangers the archaeological artifacts below, said Dr. Hay. The uncovered fresco follows several other recent finds in Pompeii, including a horse covered in pumice and ash, an ornate shrine set into a wall, and the skeleton of a man who appeared to be depressed by a flying boulder, but probably not ,