ROME – The Pompeii archaeological park near Naples in south-west Italy continued to unveil wonders of the great Roman Empire when on Monday a well-preserved fresco depicting the Greek myth of “Leda and the Swan” was unearthed.
The stunning fresco was discovered in a bedroom on the Regio V excavation site and depicts the myth of Leda and the swan who, according to Greek mythology, was the wife of King Tyndareus, and was seduced or raped – depending on the version of the myth – by a swan who in fact was a disguised Zeus, the King of Gods.
“The scene – full of sensuality – depicts the union of Jupiter (Zeus in Greek mythology), transformed into a swan, and Leda, wife of King Tyndareus,” a statement on the Pompeii archaeological site said.
“From her embraces, first with Jupiter and then Tyndareus, would be born the twins Castor and Pollux from an egg (the Dioscuri), Helen – the future wife of King Menelaus of Sparta and cause of the Trojan War – and Clytemnestra, later bride (and assassin) of King Agamemnon of Argos and brother to Menelaus, “ the statement added.
According to the archaeologists, the relationship between Jupiter (Zeus) and Leda are depicted recurrently across the site indicating the Romans during this period were fascinated with the legend.
The fresco is the latest in a series of important findings made during recent excavations of the Regio V section of Pompeii.
The Regio V section spans around 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) and is the epicenter of impressive new discoveries including several buildings with large balconies, skeletons and more recently a house with multi-colored frescoes and a lararium – a shrine dedicated to Roman deities-.
Pompeii was an ancient Roman city near the modern city of Naples in south-west Italy.
It was obliterated and shrouded in a cloud of deadly gases, ash and molten rock following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which to this day is considered one of the most deadly eruptions in European history.