Discovered at a book launch: the curious case of Caligula’s coffee table

Posted On March 22, 2021
Categories Uncategorized

Nemi: A looted mosaic that once decorated Roman emperor Caligula’s ship and ended up as a coffee table in New York City finally returned home Thursday, as details emerged about the lucky break in the investigation that got it there.

Officials unveiled the mosaic at the Museum of Roman Ships, which was built in the 1930s specifically to house the treasures of two huge ceremonial ships Caligula commissioned in around AD 40. The ships eventually sank and were excavated from the depths of Lake Nemi, in the Alban hills south of Rome.

The mosaic, a 1.5 square-metre geometric print in rich green, reddish-purple and white stone, was part of an inlaid floor on one of the ships, which were designed and decorated essentially as floating palazzi in a testament to Caligula’s greatness.

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