Roman mosaic from Antiochia, House of the Evil Eye.

Rearview Mirror


Some of the most popular subjects for mosaics in ancient Greece and Rome were mythological scenes, daily life, the four seasons and the sea, the circus and gladiatorial games. But one of the more curious mosaics that I find amusing from ancient Rome involves the evil eye.

During antiquity, Greeks and Romans strongly believed that there were certain types of people who possessed the ability to cast horrible curses upon individuals by simply looking at them. This ungrateful envious or ill wishing look is called the ‘evil eye’. It is thought that some people deliberately went out of there way to bestow a curse on someone believing that their evil eye has magical properties that will do harm. Interestingly, the evil eye was not feared equally, for example, in every corner of the Roman empire but it was definitely felt the strongest in the East. (It is assumed that the…

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