SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Roman memento mori mosaic. Mosaics consist of small pieces of coloured glass or stone, used to form an image or pattern on a floor or wall. This mosaic, a memento mori ('remember you will die'), uses symbols to covey its message. The builder's level (libella) supports a plumb-bob symbolising death (a skull), below which is a butterfly (the soul) balanced on a wheel (fortune). Balanced from the level are symbols of poverty (right) and wealth (left). This mosaic is displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Naples, Italy.
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