Shahba Museum Embraces Masterpieces Belonging to Roman Era

The Archaeological Museum of Shahba in Sweida  province , which is  located about 90 kilometers south of Damascus, contains mosaic paintings of great beauty and accuracy that tell the ancient Greek myths presented by the Romans in the middle of the third century AD.

Shahba Museum showcases a lot of archeological antiquities that date back to different historical eras , the most prominent of which is one that depicts the time of  the reign of the Roman Emperor Philip the Arab , who wanted to make Shahba a city competing with the greatest Roman cities , especially Rome.

The paintings , which  decorate the museum's floor reflect, according to  Head  of the  Antiquities Department of  Sweida , Dr. Nasha’at  Kiwan, the Greek myths that were performed  on stage , which  aim to stabilize the virtues in man and call for the reform of the human soul such as the painting of Aphrodite and Aires , which shows that beauty turns into an "epidemic" if its owner loses  virtue, wisdom and justice.

Dr. Kiwan points out that in 1963 four paintings were discovered near the ancient monumental baths within a Roman basalt circuit , which is  kept as it  is in its place and  color, in addition to two paintings transferred from one of the houses adjacent to the museum.

The first panel represents, as Kiwan mentions the goddess of the sea, “Tets”, which is “The Mermaid of Poseidon”, the sea god of the Greeks, whereas the second painting showcases

 the Greek singer, musician and poet Orpheus standing  on a rock playing tunes and singing songs.

He added The third panel presents the weddings of Dionysus , the fertile god, and Ariadna  the goddess of the plant, and between them there is a small god of love with a hand holding a torch to show that marriage is not completed only with love.  Dr.Kiwan indicated Hercules , who represents strength  on the ground, rejoicing at the marriage of his friend,  “Dionysus Bacchus “, while the four corners  of the panel are facing human faces symbolizing the seasons of the year and the continuation of life and fertility throughout its days.

 “The fourth panel represents the love between "Aphrodite", the goddess of beauty and "Aires", the god of war, four human 

 faces representing the four seasons are shown on the corners of the fifth panel, As for the sixth  painting it was transferred to Sweida Museum and represents Artemis the hunting gods of the Greeks”, as Dr . Kiwan described.

It is note worthy that  Shahba Museum was opened in 1968 and embraces , in addition to the paintings, masterpieces of stone mosaic,  basalt,  statues, and pottery jars dating back to the Roman era and a statue  of Philip’s head that is made   from the white  marble


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