Merry Summer Solstice to you’all

To celebrate Summer Solstice I curated a few mosaic personifications of Summer !

Because agriculture was the main source of wealth in Rome, the 4 seasons were a favourite theme of Roman mosaics.

Four Horae (Seasons) usually decorated the corners of a main mosaic

  • Winter (Latin Hiems – Greek Cheimon) surrounded by fronds of winter berries.
  • Spring (Latin Fons – Greek Eiar) by blossoms,
  • Autumn (Latin Autumna – Greek Phthinoporon) by grapes,
  • Summer (Latin Aestas – Greek Theros) by ripened wheat.
mosaic portrait of the Summer season from Complutum, Spain
House of Bacchus, Complutum, Spain

 

Seasonality was critical to the farming process in the Ancient world. This is expressed by Roman scholar Varro, in his book on Agriculture:

“…For the spring plantings the untilled ground should be broken up so that the weeds which have sprung from it may be rooted up before any seed falls from them…. In summer the grain should be gathered, and in autumn, when the weather is dry, the grapes; and this is the best time for the woods to be cleared…In winter trees should be pruned, provided it is done when the bark is free from the chill of rain and ice…”

Summer then is generally represented holding a sickle to harvest wheatStyria Sickle No. 1 20

Haidra, Tunisia

10,923 Ear Of Wheat Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

splendid mosaic portrait of Summer from the Palacio Lebrija in Sevilla, Spain
Palacio Lebrija, Sevilla, Spain

 

Sometimes she wears a crown of ear wheat

Ostia Antica, Italy

 

In the West, her latin name is Aestas

I could not figure out where this mosaic is from, please contact me if you know !

 

mosaic portrait of Summer at the Yorkshire mussum in UK
Yorkshire Museum, UK

Note the distinctly different style, of this portrait dated from the late 3rd century. It looks like 200 years after the conquest, the old Celtic spirit was resurging to influence the artistic sensibility of those times.

(I love this style !)

mosaic portrait of Summer from Zliten in Libya
Zlitten, Libya

In Jordan and most of the near East Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine… where most of the population spoke Greek, she was known as Theros

mosaic portrait of Summer from Jerash in Jordan
Jerash – Gerasa – Jordan

While in Hispania her name turned from Aestas to Hestas

Villa Romana de las Tiendas_Museo de Merida, Spain

 

See you before the Equinox !

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