Clarke, Joseph Thacher ; Bacon, Francis H. ; Koldewey, Robert
Investigations at Assos: expedition of the Archaeological Institute of America ; drawings and photographs of the buildings and objects discovered during the excavations of 1881, 1882, 1883 (Part I - V) — London, 1902-1921

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MOSAICS BELOW THE AGORA

I 21

THE GRIFFIN AND NIKE MOSAICS

DIRECTLY south of the large retaining wall of the
Agora, above the Theatre (see plan on page 23), were
found the two mosaic pavements shown on page 1 1 9.
The one called the Nike Mosaic is a finespecimen of late Greek
work. The other, called the Griffin Mosaic, is of earlier date
and must have been made during the best period of Greek art.
The Nike Mosaic was taken up by the expedition and the in-
tention was to bring it to America, but at the last moment the
Turkish authorities would not allow it to be removed, and it
remained with the other architectural fragments at the Port.
The Editor, during his recent visit to Assos, could find no trace
of it; but as several cases had been forwarded to the Museum
at Constantinople, it may some day be displayed there. The
ground is of dark gray-green marble pieces, the figures and
ornaments standing out in lighter colors. The centre shows a
sale of Cupids, while in the end panels are winged Victories
bearing offerings, with a tripod between them. The stones com-
posing this mosaic vary greatly in size; some of the borders
are of fragments over a centimeter square, while the Cupids
are made up of tiny white river pebbles about the size of
a pea.
The Griffin Mosaic was in a building consisting of two
rooms, directly below the Bouleuterion. The walls were of
dressed stone laid in the best manner without mortar. The south
wall was completely destroyed. On the north wall of the build-
ing there still remained a coating of stucco three layers thick.
The middle one was painted in bright colors, with stripes and
panels, similar to some walls at Pompeii, and probably dates
from Roman times. Judging by its substantial character, this
must have been a public building, and the design of the

mosaic recalls the device on the coins of Assos, and of the
Sphinxes on the Temple front. It had evidently been occu-
pied as a dwelling in mediaeval times. The mosaic was cov-
ered in later times with a coarse cement which was removed
with difficulty. The mosaic was badly injured, with here and
there a patch of color discernible, but luckily the stones of the
dark green background held better than those in the pat-
tern, and the figures were plainly seen in the imprint left on
the cement bed. The outside border is of mixed light-gray
and olive-green pebbles. The band containing the griffins has
a background of dark-green stones. The griffins are most
graceful in outline : one has the beak and head of a bird, the
other a head of a leopard with curious horns and beard. The
tail, long and thin, is flung into the air in a graceful curve.
The bodies of the griffins are of round whitish pebbles of
two distinct shades. The wings are of light bluish gray edged
on the front line with bright yellow. The same yellow appears
upon the beards, as well as upon the crest of the eagle-headed
and the horns of the leopard-headed figure. The beak of the
former and the tongue of the latter are of brilliant red jas-
per. Fragments of this mosaic are preserved in the Museum
of Fine Arts, Boston. The wave ornament on the inner band
is of unusual vigor and interest. The pattern in the central
field was broken away, but traces of ornament were still visi-
ble on a dark-green background. The foundation of the mo-
saic was very solid : first a bed of small stones rammed, then
a thick layer of coarse cement, and then a thin layer of fine
cement into which the stones of the mosaic were pressed. The
lime of this cement had been mixed with pounded tile, so as
to diminish the whiteness of the joints between the pebbles.

THE THEATRE

J.T-C .


SECTION THROUGH THE

THEATRE
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