I always notice the Stenopos Kollytos mosaic when I go on every Athenian’s favorite walk along Areopageitou and Apostolou Pavlou, a.k.a. the Acropolis pedestrian zone. It’s dated from the 2nd century AD, i.e. between 100 and 199. At the time, Athens was part of the Roman empire and had already been so for more than 300 years.
The sign next to the mosaic, on the pedestrian zone itself, notes that it used to be part of a Roman house, where the men would reside or hang out. Today this house’s ruins are creatively designated “House of the Roman Mosaic”, though I cannot see the parrots drinking water out of the vase mentioned in the sign. Perhaps it’s referring to a different mosaic?
The area of Stenopos Kollytos was a very central part of ancient Athens. Τhere was a lot of commercial traffic here, and it’s where the hetairai used to live (ancient equivalents of modern-day escorts, only with whom you could also engage in intellectual discourse/intercourse and have long-term relationships — parallel with a lot of other men of course). Due to this increased traffic, Tertullian, who more or less lived during the same time period, noted that children who grew up there learned how to speak one month earlier than other children. Thanks, Wikipedia.
I like this mosaic because it’s an always-visible, constant reminder of this city’s branching, millennia-long history. What will people remember of us in the 40th century AD? Would they even recognize the words “Roman”, “AD” or even “Athens”?