Mosaic Fragment with Leopard, Byzantine, northern Syria, 450/500

Mosaic Fragment with Leopard, Byzantine, northern Syria, 450/500

The powerful figure of a striding leopard fills this fragment of a floor stone in mortar mosaic. It is said to come from what is now modern Homs, Syria. Images of hunting or striding figures on the prowl were popular in this region as decoration for civic buildings, as well as for wealthy homes. Interest in hunting scenes in mid-fifth-century Syria was sparked by art influences from the nearby Persian Empire.

Before Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, he didn’t first form a focus group, take a poll or hold an offsite to discuss his decision. He just did it. He overthrew the Roman Republic and installed himself as dictator. Later he paid the ultimate price for his actions, “Et tu, Brute?”, but his kind went on to rule Rome for hundreds of years afterwards. Now, I would not advocate or even condone such a threat to American democracy, but still like most Americans I daily subject myself to someone else’s dictatorial whims, when I go to work. In the workplace the boss dictates and unless you are self-employed, you obey, such is the lot of a modern wage slave. In his think piece, Slaves or wage slaves – Incentives, rewards, bonuses and bonding experiences – Roman slave owners were the first management theorists, Jerry Toner wrote for Aeon comparing and contrasting the ancient Roman master / slave relationship with today’s manager / worker.

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