Last year’s excavations found a well-preserved photo of Leda and swan
A fresco depicting an erotic scene from the Greek myth Leda and the Swan has been unveiled to the public for the first time in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii.
The well-preserved fresco of the figure of Leda being impregnated by the Roman god Jupiter, disguised as a swan, was found last year during excavations of Regio V, an area of the archaeological park that has yielded several surprises.
Via del Vesuvio, on the road which is the upper-class townhouse, or domus, containing the fresco, is also being reopened. Archaeologists believe that the domus belonged to a rich merchant who wanted to reflect the high level of culture.
The image was fairly common in homes in Pompeii and the nearby Herculaneum, which were both destroyed when Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD79.
Leda is an important figure in Greek mythology. She was said to have borne children by Zeus, the Greek version of Jupiter, and by a mortal king of Sparta. According to myth, each children dodo included the beautiful Helen of Troy and the twins Castor and Pollux.
The restored Central Baths and House of the Golden Cupids are also being opened on Monday.
It is not clear that Regio V, an area of 22 hectares (54 acres) to the north of the archaeological park excavated under the EU-funded Greater Pompeii Project, is fully accessible to the public. The excavation, which began at the beginning of last year, has been the busiest place since the 1959s.
One of the last discoveries was a fresco depicting the gladiators who fought. The fresco was found on a wall under the stairwell, probably a gladiator’s tavern and providing accommodation on a higher floor for sleeping with sex workers.
The remains of two women and three children gathered in a villa, including the remains of harnesses and saddles, were found.