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September 2019



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brutti_ma_buoni in photo_scavenger


Honestly, I've been looking for a reason to post this one. The little mosaic blocks, sure, but look at the trudging parakeets towing the... chariot of pitchforks?




That's certainly intriguing!
There's another one with herons pulling a chariot of grapes (it's a mosaic to Dionysos), but I think these parakeets got a very raw deal.
Ah, here is part of my answer. It could have some symbolic meaning related to the family that commissioned the mosaic or paid for it, or even to their name, that happens quite often. Or, as you say below, simply a love for birds...

Edit: I was lucky, some quick googling got me some answers. I found a German book in google books about "The Sheperds of Dionysos: The Dionysos mysteries of the time of the Roman Emperors and the bucolic novel (?) of Longus". There, it says that rare, exotic and before all colourful animals and birds were used to symbolise paradise, and quite common in Dionysos art. From what I remember from my Uni days, harvesting implements are used to symbolise an abundance of food and quality of life or so.

Edited at 2014-10-21 10:36 pm (UTC)
Brilliant response, and what a strange image.
I understand the harvest tools part (it's a mosaic to Dionysos), but I do not understand the parakeets. One of the other panels is just a duck. It's a nice duck, but it's just a duck. I'm betting the person paying for it liked birds.
I just keep thinking about it. I mean, either they're giant parakeets or those are really tiny tools.
I know. The whole thing is troubling. How big a rake can a parakeet carry? And how many grapes can he/she harvest with it? Do you even harvest grapes with rakes?

These are questions which can only be answered by a mosaic artist who died in about 250CE. So... um.
We need Doctor Who and a quick jaunt in the TARDIS to solve this one.
That is wonderful! I can come up with no good reason for it at all!
Well, there's harvest tools (it's a mosaic to Dionysos). But the parakeet factor is... odd. I didn't even know there were parakeets then, though I'm obviously way wrong. Do you think they're any good at pulling carts?
*giggles* That is priceless! Where did you come across them? I had to do a paper once in Byzantine archaeology about Jewish mosaic floors in the 3rd to 5th century A.C., and I've seen some pretty odd examples. But never one as delightful as this!
In Cologne - the Roemisch-Germanisches museum is literally built on top of it, so it's still in situ. It's the Dionysos mosaic, but it was these side bits that charmed me especially.
*laughs* That's great. What happens when the parakeets fly, I wonder.
...I think we all know that won't be pretty.
It's part of an ancient messaging system that pre-dates Twitter by several hundred years. It was called 'Keet'. Farmers bred and trained giant parakeets capable of pulling wagons loaded with farm tools and messages. You can't see it in this tile, but there was probably a stack of scrolls underneath the pitch forks. Sadly, the breed of giant parakeets died out during an early form of bird flu that only killed birds.
Or not...
Oh, instant headcanon. I love this explanation!

Poor giant extinct parakeets.