The mosaics of Roman Africa drew upon themes from mythology as well as daily life. Even "mythological" scenes can lend insight into real-life activities like food production. One such activity, fishing, is especially prominent in Roman African mosaics. Two mosaics from the so-called "House of Ulysses" in Dougga combine mythological themes with fishing scenes. One mosaic depicts Ulysses' encounter with the Sirens, while the second represents the god Bacchus transforming his would-be kidnappers into dolphins. The fishing scenes are incorporated into the mythological scenes and show fishermen harvesting the adjacent waters. The details of these fishing scenes are striking considering the inland location of Dougga, some 60 miles (100 km) from the sea, in the middle of Roman Africa's agricultural heartland. The inclusion of these fishing scenes in the "House of Ulysses" mosaics suggests that the house's owner had a close connection with the sea, and perhaps alludes to the Roman infrastructure that would have brought marine products to the interior.
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chris knutson; Fishing with Ulysses and Bacchus: Two Roman Mosaics from Tunisia. Gastronomica 1 November 2007; 7 (4): 7–9. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2007.7.4.7
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