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Matara and the Goddess of Love
Kingscote lies in an area which is dotted with Roman remains. In 1691 the remains
of a Roman villa were found in a field called the "Chestles”, less than a mile from
Matara. In 1977 a small portion of the same Roman settlement was excavated in
the same “Chessalls” field. Within the villa were found hypocausts, wall-plaster
frescoes and a beautiful mosaic of Venus, now on display in Cirencester’s Corinium
Museum. The site of the villa and its grounds covered 30 hectares and appears to
have been occupied from the late 1st century AD through to the 4th century.
The building where the Venus mosaic was found did not resemble a traditional
Roman villa because of its substantial size, and one theory is that it belonged to an
imperial estate or an important person.
In the mosaic, Venus is shown in the centre, wearing a
head dress and beaded necklace. Her long hair falls down
over her shoulders. Across her left shoulder is a mirror,
an attribute frequently found with this goddess and
referring to her beauty.
The Venus medallion is
contained within a pair of interlaced squares, an
acanthus decorated one corner which was probably
matched by another in the diagonally opposite corner.
The other two surviving corners contain an attractive and unusual pattern of
overlapping petals.
Venus was born from the sea, because of which she is often
accompanied by images alluding to water. In this mosaic, the
central medallion has an inner border of leaves perhaps intending
to depict the lotus (an aquatic plant), while the outer border is a
wavy pattern.
In Greece, Aphrodite was the goddess of love. The Romans originally worshipped
Venus as goddess of fertility and gardens; her fertility powers spread from the
garden to humans. The Greek aspects of the love and beauty goddess, Aphrodite,
were added to Venus’ attributes and so Venus became synonymous with Aphrodite.
In Roman mythology she was made the divine mother of Aeneas, the Trojan
ancestor of Rome’s founder, Romulus.
How lucky we are at Matara to have a connection with the goddess of love so close
to a place where many people choose to celebrate their love.
Telephone: +44 (0)1453 861050