Alexander Mosaic

Roman mosaic of Pompeii

The Alexander Mosaic is a Roman floor mosaic from the House of the Faun in Pompeii. It was made in 100 BC. It shows a battle between the armies of Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia. It measures 2.72 x 5.13m (8 ft 11in x 16 ft 9in).[1] The original is at the Naples National Archaeological Museum. The mosaic is based on a 3rd-century BC Hellenistic painting,[2] by Philoxenos of Eretria.[3]

The Alexander Mosaic
Battle of Issus mosaic - Museo Archeologico Nazionale - Naples.jpg
ArtistMosaicist unknown
Yearc. 100 BC
Dimensions272 cm × 513 cm (8 ft 11 in × 16 ft 9 in)
LocationNational Archaeological Museum, Naples

The mosaic shows the Battle of Issus, between Alexander and Darius. Alexander won the Battle of Issus. Alexander won again two years later at the Battle of Gaugamela.

Alexander and DariusEdit

Detail showing Alexander
1893 Reconstruction of the mosaic depiction.

The two main figures are easy to see. Darius has a worried expression on his face. The Persian soldiers have a stern look.

Modern historyEdit

The mosaic was found again on October 24, 1831 in Pompeii. It was moved to Naples in September 1843. It is in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

Modern copyEdit

Modern reconstruction of the Alexander Mosaic.

In 2003 the International Center for the Study and Teaching of Mosaic (CISIM) in Ravenna, Italy, wanted to make a copy of the mosaic.[4] The mosaic master Severo Bignami and his eight-person team took a large photograph of the mosaic. It took them 22 months to make a copy of the mosaic. The copy was put in the House of the Faun in 2005.



  1. Honour, H. and J. Fleming, (2009) A World History of Art. 7th edn. London: Laurence King Publishing, p. 178. ISBN 9781856695848
  2. Woodford, Susan. (1982) The Art of Greece and Rome. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 67. ISBN 0521298733
  3. Alexander Mosaic by Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker, Smarthistory, 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  4. Alexander, Piece by Piece. by Marco Merola, Archaeology, Abstracts Vol. 59, No. 1, Jan/Feb 2006. Retrieved 27 September 2014. Archived here.

Other websitesEdit