Mosaico di Kaulon
The mosaic of the dragon, currently at the Archaeological Museum of Monasterace and exposed for a long time at the National Museum of Reggio Calabria, was found in one of the most luxurious residences of ancient Kaulon, the so-called House of the Dragon.
It is a polychrome mosaic depicting a sea dragon and it is placed on the threshold of a large dining room, its floor decorated with a mosaic framed by a pattern formed by sea waves, still in situ.
The subject was chosen for its apotropaic value and depicted in attack position, as a defense against evil forces that could disturb the joyful atmosphere of the banquet. It has recently been proposed the identification with a ketos, which in literary sources is described as a sea monster with crested canine head, proud and terrible look, saw-toothed mouth and crested serpentiform body.
The mosaic of the dragon is made up of small colored limestone and clay tesseras. The scanning of the details, with the exception of some parts surrounded by a row of black tiles, is entrusted to the skillful use of colors, the gradation of which is also used to give volume to the figure. The use of lead foil sheets to scan details which would have been almost undistinguishable allows the experts to date the mosaic back to the second half of the third century.
The dragon has been a source of inspiration for the mural by artist Luigi Gallo realized in 2012 on a wall of the port of Bahia Blanca, Argentina.