Woof! A picture is worth a thousand words, and a Roman mosaic is composed of a thousand teeny tiny tiles. Ninety per cent of the mosaics from the ancient Pompeii that are now on the walls of the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy, used to decorate floors. They cleverly and sophisticatedly told visitors to a home how rich or erudite the owner was. The mosaics tell stories. A simple example: “Cave Canem,” the one at the top, installed at the threshold of an entry most likely means Beware of the Dog. The one below, “Scena di commedia: la consultazione della fattucchiera” meaning “Advice of the Sorceress” from the Villa of Cicero shows how the micro tiles each about 1/8-inch square were handy for turning the form. The artists knew how to turn the form with darks and lights! This is a scene of male actors on stage wearing face masks to portray old women. The bottom photo shows the brilliance of the micro mosaic art of old.

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