Bellerophon Slaying the Chimera Lion

Bellerophon and the Chimera Lion | Image: Bellerophon riding Pegasus and slaying the Chimera, central medallion of a Roman mosaic from Autun, Musée Rolin, 2nd to 3rd century AD

The central medallion of a Roman mosaic from Autun, 2nd to 3rd century AD, depicts the Greek hero Bellerophon riding Pegasus and slaying the Chimera lion. The mosaic is now housed in the Musée Rolin in Autun, Burgundy, France.

Bellerophon was a hero in Greek mythology known for slaying the Chimera, a monstrous creature with the body of a lion, the head of a goat, and the tail of a serpent. According to the myth, the Greek hero was able to tame the winged horse Pegasus, which aided him in his battle against the Chimera.

The mosaic is an example of the widespread influence of Greek mythology and art in the Roman Empire. Many Roman artists and craftsmen were heavily influenced by the Greek artistic tradition, and frequently depicted Greek myths and heroes in their works.

This particular mosaic is a striking example of the skill and artistry of Roman mosaicists, who were able to create intricate and detailed images using small pieces of colored stone or glass. The mosaic would have originally decorated the floor of a wealthy Roman villa or public building, and served as a testament to the owner’s education, wealth, and appreciation for classical art and mythology.