New archeological discoveries at Pompeii

leda and the swan in Pompeii

Naples and its treasures at the feet of Vesuvio Mount

One more extraordinary female image re-emerges at Pompeii during some new excavations. The myth of Leda and the swan has been discovered in a cubicle (bedroom) of a house along Via del Vesuvio. The painting, a triumph of sensuality, represents the physical union between Zeus, transformed into a swan, and Leda, the daughter of Thestios, the King of Pleuron, and wife of Tyndareus, the king of Sparta.

According to the Greek myth, Zeus, in love with Leda, turned into a swan to mate with her on the banks of the Eurota river. In the same night she also made love with her husband Tyndareus. After those unions, the Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux) and Helen (the future wife of Menelaus, the king of Sparta) and Clytemnestra (the bride and murderer of Agamemnon, the king of Argos and Menelaus’s brother, were born from two giant eggs).
This Greek myth had never been found, moreover the licentious portrait is really explicit, rich in colours and shades. The high quality of that work of art is incredible, with Leda’s oblique glance that seems to meet the eyes of the visitors entering the room. The house, where that incredible fresco has been found, is the same where the painting of Priapus, weighing his really big phallus in his hands, had already been uncovered. It belonged probably to a rich merchant, perhaps a former freedman, anxious to elevate his status with reference to the myths of the highest culture of those times.

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