Alexandria, Egypt – Ahram Online reports that a team of Egyptian and Polish archaeologists discovered a well-preserved Roman mosaic floor in a house at the site of Kom El-Dikka, which features a small theater, an imperial bath, and a group of 22 lecture halls that may have been part of a university. Grzegorz Majcherek of the Polish Center of Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Warsaw said the mosaic floor, which includes six hexagonal panels decorated with images of lotus buds and flowers, showcases a distinctive Alexandrian style.
“Overall, the design of the mosaic, additionally equipped with a transversal field in front decorated with astragals and rosettes, is typical for the triclinia—the most imposing of the dining rooms in a Roman house,” Majcherek explained.
A triclinium is a U-shaped dining room equipped with low to the ground couches and cushions on which wealthy free men reclined during the formal meals. People often forget how much Greco-Roman culture influenced the ancient Mediterranean. In fact, in the first century, senators in Rome, Pilate and Herod in Jerusalem, Pharisees in Galilee, noblemen in Turkey, craftsmen in Cyprus and philosophers in Alexandria Egypt all followed the custom of eating in triclinium arrangements. Some may have been elaborate and had mosaics like this one, others may have been much simpler. Only rich people had dedicated spaces for dining rooms in antiquity. The houses were on the small side. But most of the time people brought in low tables and couches, arranged them in a semi-circle in a large room, and a triclinium worthy of a feast was ready for use.