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News: Turkey
These mosaics would have covered the floor of a second-century latrine in the city of Antiochia ad Cragum in what is now Turkey. Photo Credit: Antiochia ad Cragum Excavations / Live Science.
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by Archaeology Newsroom

Latrine mosaic floor with dirty jokes is found in Turkey

At the ancient coastal city of Antiochia ad Cragum

A Roman mosaic with ribald jokes has been discovered in a latrine in Turkey, dating from the 2nd century AD. The mosaic was discovered inside a Roman latrine at the ancient coastal city of Antiochia ad Cragum.

The mosaic features two scenes which depict common myths in Greek and Roman art but with a twist: Narcissus falls in love with his penis rather than his reflection on water. Ganymede, the adolescent from Troy who was kidnapped by Zeus disguised as an eagle, because he was so beautiful the god wanted him to be his cup-bearer, is depicted having his genitalia sponge cleaned by a bird, a heron rather than an eagle.

The latrine was located next to the bouleuterion, so it probably served large crowds of men.

This mosaic is the first researchers find in the area with figurative representations. Although another mosaic had been also discovered in the past it depicted geometric and floral patterns.

This season’s excavations have also yielded other findings, such as a stash with 3,000 mostly silver early 17th-century coins, originating from a range of places covering Europe and the Ottoman Empire. Below the coins, at a greater depth, archaeologists found a skeleton, perhaps the victim of murder according to the physical anthropologist in the team.

Antiochia ad Cragum was established in the time of Emperor Nero and was abandoned by the 11th century. In the centuries that ensued the Roman ruins were deserted and were probably thought to have been a good place to hide loot or a body.

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