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The Alexander Mosaic
Battle of Issus mosaic - Museo Archeologico Nazionale - Naples.jpg
Artist Mosaicist unknown
Year c. 100 BC
Type Mosaic
Dimensions 272 cm × 513 cm (8 ft 11 in × 16 ft 9 in)
Location National Archaeological Museum, Naples

The Alexander Mosaic is a Roman floor mosaic from the House of the Faun in Pompeii. It was made in 100 BC. It shows a battle between the armies of Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia. It measures 2.72 x 5.13m (8 ft 11in x 16 ft 9in). The original is at the Naples National Archaeological Museum. The mosaic is based on a 3rd-century BC Hellenistic painting, by Philoxenos of Eretria.

The mosaic shows the Battle of Issus, between Alexander and Darius. Alexander won the Battle of Issus. Alexander won again two years later at the Battle of Gaugamela.

Alexander and Darius

Alexander the Great mosaic
Detail showing Alexander
Reconstruction of the mosaic depiction of the Battle of Issus after a painting by Apelles found in the House of the Faun at Pompeii (published 1893)
1893 Reconstruction of the mosaic depiction.

The two main figures are easy to see. Darius has a worried expression on his face. The Persian soldiers have a stern look.

Modern history

The mosaic was found again on October 24, 1831 in Pompeii. It was moved to Naples in September 1843. It is in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

Modern copy

Battle of Issus
Modern reconstruction of the Alexander Mosaic.

In 2003 the International Center for the Study and Teaching of Mosaic (CISIM) in Ravenna, Italy, wanted to make a copy of the mosaic. The mosaic master Severo Bignami and his eight-person team took a large photograph of the mosaic. It took them 22 months to make a copy of the mosaic. The copy was put in the House of the Faun in 2005.


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