According to Anacleto D'Agostino of the University of Pisa, the earliest-known mosaic in the world is a rough tiled floor put down in geometric patterns discovered in a preclassical Hittite settlement in central Turkey. The floor dates from about 300 B.C. It is made up of small, square pieces of stone or marble with holes drilled through them that were then tied together with string. The strings are visible on the surface of the mosaic.
Other ancient mosaics have been found throughout Europe but none as old as the Turkish example. A Roman-era mosaic has been uncovered in a village in Bulgaria and dated by its context to around 70 A.D., while another found in a German town dating to about 500 AD shows evidence of coloration. The most extensive set of ancient mosaics yet discovered was built between 535 and 550 AD by Byzantine artists working in Sicily. The pictures they created reveal a sophisticated style that influenced medieval art across Europe.
The oldest known mosaic in North America was found in 2001 in a house in Burlington, Ontario. Radiocarbon tests show that it came from a ship wrecked in 1616 near what is now Fort William on Lake Ontario. The ships captain was seeking shelter from a storm when his vessel ran aground. He returned home six months later with many gifts for his king and queen, including glass beads used in trade routes across the Atlantic.
Mosaics have a lengthy history, dating back to the third millennium BC in Mesopotamia. Pebble mosaics were created in Tiryns, Mycenaean Greece; mosaics with patterns and images became popular in both Greece and Rome throughout the classical period. In the fifth century AD, a Greek artist named Amasis made several mosaics for the temple of Zeus at Olympia.
Amasis was a great artist who is considered one of the founders of modern mosaic art. His work showed an improvement on the designs used by his predecessors and inspired other artists to create new ideas. He also managed to get rid of many of the poorly fitted pebbles that had been used before him. Amasis designed each piece of his work individually from drawings or models and then had them crafted by professional craftsmen. Some scenes included in his work show animals being hunted down by dogs as early as 400 BC!
He was born around 628 BC and died in about 562 BC. During his lifetime, Athens was ruled by five kings and Egypt by pharaohs. Amasis is said to have opened up trade relations between Greece and Asia. He also restored peace between Athens and Sparta, which had been broken off after a long war.
His son and successor was also called Amasis, but he only lasted a few years before being killed by one of his servants.
The earliest mosaic work may be dated back to a Mesopotamian temple from the third millennium B.C. This work of art was created with stones, seashells, and ivory. Mosaics were created by ancient Greek painters using tiny stones. These stones were arranged into shapes using mortar and pestle before being painted with colors obtained from minerals or vegetables.
Mosaics are works of art created from dyed materials placed over a background fabric. The word comes from Latin meaning "rock" or "stone". Mosaic artists used various materials to create their works including, but not limited to, glass, ceramic, stone, and even metal. Ancient Roman architects used marble mosaics as flooring in public buildings such as theaters and basilicas. In the 9th century A.D., Byzantine artists added wood to their paintings to create an effect similar to a mosaic.
In Europe, mosaics appeared around A.D. 400 for use in church buildings. They were expensive and only available to the rich. In the 5th century A.D., Roman soldiers brought the technology of making mosaics home with them. By the end of the 6th century A.D., mosaics were being made in Italy. From there, they spread throughout Europe.
In the Middle East, mosaics have been found dating back 3,000 years.