Ancient Frescoes of Mythological Refugee Siblings Discovered at Pompeii

Artnews_ A fresco depicting two Greek mythological siblings Phrixus and Helle has been found in the ancient Roman city Pompeii.

“History has repeated itself,” the director of Pompeii Archaeological Park Gabriel Zuchtriegel said, according to theGuardian, in an update on the excavation and restoration work. “It is a beautiful fresco in an excellent state of conservation. The myth of Phrixus and Helle is widespread at Pompeii but it is topical too. They are two refugees at sea, a brother and sister, forced to flee because their stepmother wants rid of them and she does so with deception and corruption. She [Helle] fell into the water and drowned.”

In the fresco, Helle is shown the moment before she is overcome by the waves, her face obscured as she reaches for her brother, who is fleeing on the ram of the golden fleece.

The fresco was found in the House of Leda, which has been undergoing construction since 2018. There, along with the discovery of this fresco, archaeologists have uncovered two new domus and rooms.

Experts are working to open these homes to the public in the near future.

Pompeii was preserved in ash following the 79 CE eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which killed more than 2,000 people. Attracting more than four million visitors each year, the city has been undergoing extensive conservation since 2013, when UNESCO threatened to place the site on its list of endangered world heritage sites.

There have been a number of finds at Pompeii, especially in recent years, including most recently a prison bakery.