Roman mosaic of Vichten
Archaeological research undertaken in 1995 on the site of a new agricultural operation in Vichten showed that the terrain in question covered the foundations of one of the most remarkable Roman villas ever discovered in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
The excellent state of preservation of the buried remnants is explained by the topographical location of the building built on a slight natural terrace of a hill, facing due south, which rises more than 50 m above the site. From late antiquity, the ruins of the villa were progressively covered by material eroded from the nearby plateau causing the remainder of the villa to be hidden under large mounds of earth (between 0.5 and 3.5 meters).
Mosaics with muses
Dating from around 240 AD, the mosaic of Vichten shows in its main area the mythological and literary subject of the nine Muses, daughters of the supreme God, Zeus, and of the goddess of memory, Mnemosyne. The Muses are reproduced following the order defined around 700 BC by the Greek author Hésiode: Clio, muse of history; Euterpe, muse of music and lyric poetry; Thalie, muse of comedy; Melpomene, muse of tragedy; Terpsichore, muse of dance and dramatic choirs; Erato, muse of love poetry; Polymnie, muse choir singing and harmony; Uranie, muse of astronomy and lastly, in the large central medallion, Calliope, muse of epic elegiac poetry, in the company of the prince of poets, Homer.
The eight exterior mosaics with muses are oriented on an axis towards the middle of the central medallion. The depiction of the clothing and other attributes of the different personalities, identified by Latin inscriptions included above each medallion, is very detailed.
Excellent state of preservation
The overall composition and the purely decorative elements (intertwining, crosses, scroll patterns, etc.), indicates the uncovered mosaic was created in the tradition of the workshops of the town of Trèves, about 50 kilometers away. It is the work of a specialized workshop, which in the course of the 3rd century created several other similar masterpieces, in particular in Trèves (Mosaic of Monnus) and at Bad Kreuznach (Mosaic of the Gladiators).
After its dismantling in Vichten in July 1995, the mosaic was transferred to the Museum in Trèves for the first step in restoration. After its return to Luxembourg in March 1997, the final restoration, notably including the filling in of various gaps, took place until 1999 in special workshops of the National Museum of History and Art in Luxembourg where it is exhibited today.
Postage stamps in detail
Souvenir sheet of 5 stamps: 4 octagonal stamps of 50 cent and 1 square stamp at 1 Euro
Printing: High-resolution offset by Cartor Security Print, La Loupe (F)
Dimensions of the sheet: 110 x 110 mm
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