Anybody who has ever studied Latin using the famous Wheelock textbooks will be familiar with the Virgil and Muse mosaic that’s featured on its cover. I have spent many hours using this book to learn my verb conjugations and noun declensions (which I have mostly forgotten).
Imagine my surprise when I suddenly came face to face with the actual original mosaic at Bardo museum! I hadn’t known that the mosaic was found near the city of Sousse (in Tunisia). This mosaic is thought to be one of the oldest depictions of Virgil who was one of Rome’s most iconic poet. Even people who haven’t read the work will at least recognise ‘Aeneid’. I haven’t read it either but I know the first three words that open the work “Arma virumque cano” (Of arms and the man I sing). This also happens to be the title of one of the plays written by Bernard Shaw.
Virgil’s mosaic depicts the poet sitting with a parchment on his lap (which contains an excerpt from Aeneid). He is flanked by two muses- Cleo, muse of history on the left and Melpomene, muse of tragedy on his right. Virgil is wearing the toga in the mosaic.
Musa, mihi causas memora, (Muses, remind me..)