Ostia Antica was a harbour city in the Roman times, located at the mouth of the river Tiber, around 19 miles to the West of Rome. The oldest settlements found date of Early Iron Age (1000-700 BC).
There was a center place in Ostia that was like a mall, with shops on both sides of a main alley where all the traders would sell their goods.
At the entrance of each shop, there was a mosaic design related to what they sell; you will find a lot of mosaics with water themes. All of those mosaic figures are bi-dimensional with somewhat rustic designs.
Discovery of the Ostie Design
Right at one of the boundaries of the city, in the Caseggiato di Bacco e Arianna, believed to be the house a priest, you will find 2 main mosaics: one of them depicting Roman Gods and the other one in the center of a bedroom surrounded by a mosaic field. This last one is nothing else than the most exquisitely crafted mosaic of Ostia Antica. We extracted the center piece and called it the “Ostie” mosaic.
The original mosaic has a winged Medusa in its center, and is made in a monochromatic palette of black and white marbles, which situates it around Early Roman 1st AD where this kind of mosaics were very popular. It is a pretty large piece, crafted using the on-site direct method; if you observe carefully you can see some irregularities from one set of pattern as it repeats into the next.
It is one of the most delicate mosaics of the site, but it still has large tesserae cuts of around 1.2 cm and the finer tesserae are half of that.
This mosaic has a higher level of intricacy than any other mosaic in that city. It is harmonically ornated without being invasive. You can tell because of the way the shapes are done, that the original Ostie is a very early Roman mosaic, but it’s still very delicate: The acanthus accents in the design are very stylized, which was uncommonin these times. The wing figures and birds add some freshness to the mosaic.
Gnosis perfected the design and refined the lines and tessellation. Its 2-color, bi-dimensional (no 3D effect) design, makes it perfect for today’s decor when an ornate accent is needed. Our favorite combination today is grey and white, tone on tone: It gives it a very peaceful feel!