Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Big Cat & The Roman

courtesy wikipedia
Rumours have been rife in this corner of the Cotswolds for many years. Tales are told of a large black cat, a 'Puma' lurking in the undergrowth, living in the deep valley and the dense woods.
This has recently reached a crescendo following the discovery of two deer which have been killed and ripped to pieces in the wood. Experts says both maulings had the hallmarks of a big cat. 
The 'cat' affair has now reached the national press and radio, next stop TV cameras and reporters.
DNA evidence has been removed from the carcass of the deer, and plaster castes taken of the paw prints in the mud. However, no conclusive evidence has been found.
Is this just another wild goose chase, or someone's rather well fed black domestic cat, or is it a Loch Ness Monster story? 
courtesy wikipedia
This deep, secluded cat stalked valley, was once home 
to another significant interloper - A Roman, of high status, thought to be a Governor of the province, or the Roman General,Vespasian. He built himself a large villa in a prime spot in the valley, leaving behind one of the most wonderful mosaic pavements to the villa, known as the Orpheus Pavement.
courtesy British Library 
illustrated section of the pavement done in the 18th century 
courtesy Daily Mail
Replica of the Orpheus Pavement 
The pavement is one of the biggest, complex, and intricate mosaic designs found in northern Europe, measuring 2,209 square feet. When complete, it contained one and a half million peices of stone (tesserae). It was made around AD 325 by craftsmen from Corinium (Cirencester) with the main design based around Orpheus and his relationship with nature. This pavement was in the large hall, but the villa included 60 rooms - 20 of which boasted mosaic floors.
Incidentally, I now learn that we also have Wallabies too!

12 comments:

  1. Hello Rosemary:
    Who says that life in the Cotswolds is dull? The Roman remains in your area are certainly very impressive but we are far less keen on seeing the black 'Puma'!!

    Hoping that you are keeping warm in this bitter weather.

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance - Yes, never a dull moment here! The wonderful pavement is buried under the churchyard. It was last revealed and shown to the public in 1973 but attracted thousands of visitors. It caused so much disruption to the village with its narrow lanes that it is unlikely to be shown again.

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  2. I really am not sure about the "puma" as there's supposed to be one round here, too, and everywhere else in UK!

    Your post is very interesting! Have you been to Pompeii? We have a house in Italy, not too far from Pompeii and 15 minutes from Paestum (ancient Greek settlement- to be seen!)

    Pompeii is just fantastic! I've been there several times, as the place is huge. It's a city, with streets, drinking fountains, water pipes (metal- the Romans had hot water, central heating and... double glazing!) and houses you can walk into.

    in Summer, but absolutely breathtaking and weirdly alive!

    If you've not been there, yet, you "MUST" go! You will love it!

    Ciao

    ANNA

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    1. Dear Anna - lucky you having a house near Paestum.
      Yes, I have been to Pompeii, Herculaneum and also Paestum. Love them all. Over the past 25 years we have travelled all over Italy, it is a bit of a love affair with us.
      When I came back from Herculaneum, I thought how wonderful it would be to have a house with a central courtyard open to the elements like I had seen.
      Thanks for your lovely comment. How about you doing a post on Pompeii and Paestum at some time?
      Ciao

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  3. Well I never. Do you have bobcats there?

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    1. We do not have them living here naturally Olive. Most of the cats that people probably see are escapees from zoos and wildlife centres.

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  4. Well of course where there is one puma there are bound to be at least two!

    The little bit of the mosaic that you've shown is really very handsome. Its size and the knowledge that there were many rooms of doubtlessly the same quality boggles the mind. Now I have an urge to try may hand at mosaics!

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    1. The pavement was lost for many centuries after the departure of the Romans, and was not discovered until 1693. Two local men decided to build a replica after it was last uncovered in 1973 which took them 10 years to make. For several years you could see the replica at a local Abbey but recently it was sold to a private owner. However, it did convey its beauty and the enormous size of it.
      I can understand your urge to try your hand at mosaics. Better start making your tesserae now! much better than using shards of pottery which people tend to do these days.

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  5. Hello, Rosemary.

      The coldest winter will be melted by your warm heart.
      The works gently accept all visitors.

      I praise your creative art sense.
      The prayer for all peace.
      
      Have a good weekend.
    From Japan, ruma ❃

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your poetic words Ruma, and may you also enjoy your weekend.

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  6. well, i its true its quite amazing!
    i love the Orpheus mosaic. and i love the way greek mythology has thaveled around Europe through the centuries...

    have a lovely weekend Rosemary : )

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    1. Dear Demie - that is true, we all owe so much to the wonderful art, architecture and culture bestowed on us by your homeland - Greece.

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