Built in the 4th century AD for a prominent Roman resident. It is from its living room we get the beautiful mosaics found in the museum. The villa had three bedrooms, cisterns, kitchen, dining room and a room for collection water, its own frigidarium (cold room) in the north-eastern corner. as well as a semicircular courtyard where the florr was covered with mosaics. The shops along the street would have belonged to the owner.
Just at the entrance to the site is this beautifully carved sarcophagus (coffin) dating from the 2nd century.
Looking over the site from the entrance, there appeared to be nothing of interest there whatsoever, and my heart sank at the thought of wandering around barely excavated ruins. How wrong can you be?
The partly restpred Arch of Constantine dates from the year AD311. The arch stood with four columns each, and would have marked the crossroads of the cardo (north-south street) and the decumanus (east-west street). This would have been the most important crossroad in the city and stood at the heart of Ptolemais.
This Greek Odeon or Music Hall was once covered with a roof and could seat up to 500 people. Performances of Greek music would be accompanied by dancing. The statues of Claudius, Marcus Aurelius Antonius and Archimedes which were once found here are now in the museum.
It is from this colonnaded 2nd century BC private palace that the famous mosaic depicting the head of Medusa (now in the museum) was found. Next door was the dining room where mosaic fragments can still be seen. The centre of the villa contains a sunken swimming pool, surrounded by gardens complete with fountains.
The original structure was destroyed during the Jewish Revolution in AD 115-117. Later the villa belonged to a wealthy Roman merchant.
The mosaic of Medusa was found in the Villa of Columns.
Medusa was once a beautiful maiden with glorious hair, but Athena turns her into a monster in a rage of jealousy, turning her beautiful locks into hissing serpents. She became such a cruel monster that everyone who looked at her where immideately turned to stone in sheer fear. Athena leant her shield to Perseus, who also wore Hermes' winged shoes, and he approached Medusa while she slept, making sure he did not to look directly at her, but using her image reflected in the bright shield, he cut off her head and gave it to Athena, who fixed it in the middle of her Aegis.
Although best known as a Greek goddess, Medusa was actually imported into Greece from Libya where she was worshipped by the Libyan Amazons as their Serpent-Goddess. In her images, her hair sometimes resembles dread locks, showing her origins in Africa.
This second century statue of venus shows the goddess of love and beauty . She is
also known as Aphrodite in Greek Mythology.
Venus was born of the Sea and the Sky and is also associated with the rites of Spring and Fertility.
The city of Venice was named after this goddess, and also the planet Venus. Spiritual healing and astology charts are also affiliated to the goddess.
This 2nd century marble statue shows the gladiator Epomedum.
Usually, gladiators were condemned criminals, prisoners of war, or slaves bought for the sole purpose of gladiator fights. There were also mercenaries in those days - professional gladiators who volunteered to participate in the games.
This marble fountain with bas relief depicts the Dancing Maenades.
The Maenades were the priestesses of Bacchus. They were known as the 'bad girls' from legends that they would drink wine, entice innocent young men to join them in their celebrations, and kill them while they slept off their excesses. They were in fact enthusiastic to the extreme, showing frenzied frivolities as if they were under the spell of some demonic power.
Underneath the Forum are Africa's largest cisterns, a big complex of 15 cisterns, six metres deep, with six million cubic metres of water arriving through an aquduct from springs some 25 km away from the city.
Steps lead down into the cisterns, but I would not recommend entring if you suffer from claustrofobia.
The central room in the msuem is dominated by the fabulous Four Seasons mosaic which was found in a villa on the site.
Starting from the top left and going in a clockwise direction, you can see Summer, Spring, Winter and Autumn.
The original gates to the city, also known as Tocra Gate, are located some 300m to the south-west from the main bulk of the ruins.
During the 3rd and the 4th century, the theatre was used as a bathing pool, and you cans till see the ducts leading the water to the pool.
The Greek agora (marketplace) later served as the Roman Forum. Along the northern side were three temples, each with four Doric columns, some of which retain their bases to this day.
The monumental Street (decumanus maximus) was once lined with colonnaded arcged porticos along the whole length of the street, both sides. It must have abeen quite a sight.