Mosaics decorated domestic and public buildings across the broad expanse of the Roman Empire. Scenes drawn from mythology, daily life, nature, and spectacles in the arena enlivened interior spaces and reflected the cultural ambitions of wealthy patrons. Dating from the second through the sixth centuries AD, the mosaics in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum exemplify Roman mosaic production from its center in Italy to major workshops in North Africa, southern Gaul (present-day France), and ancient Syria. In addition to its comprehensive catalogue entries, this publication provides a detailed examination of the contexts in which the mosaics were discovered and excavated. This volume documents all twenty-one mosaics in the J. Paul Getty Museum’s collection, presenting their artistry in new color photography.

This optimized online catalogue enables the reader to explore these ancient objects using zoomable high-resolution photography, embedded glossary terms, comparative images linked to sites on the web, and interactive maps drawn from the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire. The complete catalogue, as well as object data and main images, can be downloaded for free in multiple formats. For readers who wish to have a bound reference copy, a paperback version is available for sale.

Citation Information


Belis, Alexis. Roman Mosaics in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2016.


Belis, Alexis. Roman Mosaics in the J. Paul Getty Museum. J. Paul Getty Museum, 2016, DD MMMM YYYY,

Permanent URL

Revision History

Any revisions or corrections made to this publication after the first edition date will be listed here and in the project repository at, where a more detailed version history is available. The revisions branch of the project repository, when present, will also show any changes currently under consideration but not yet published here.

March 30, 2016

  • First edition

May 4, 2016

  • Minor text corrections
  • Index added to all formats

September 19, 2017

  • Project team corrected
  • MLA citation formatting updated


Complete Catalogue

Each of these alternative formats includes the complete catalogue text, all plates and figures, and the regional maps.

Catalogue Main Images

Each download includes the main image and caption for each of the catalogue objects, free for unrestricted use. JPGs are 1440px on their longest side. Alternate views and larger sizes are available through the Getty’s Open Content program at

Object Data

The object data, available in two formats, includes key information from each of the catalogue objects.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Map tiles courtesy Pelagios and the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire (DARE). Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

The following figures are excluded from the CC BY license: figs. 2–5: Su concessione del Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo—Soprintendenza per I Beni Archeologici di Napoli; fig. 8: Cliché Musées de Vienne; fig. 10: © The Trustees of the British Museum / Art Resource, NY; fig. 11: © Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo; figs. 15, 16: Inrap (Institut national de recherches archéologiques preventives); figs. 17, 19, 20: Antioch Expedition Archives, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • Published by the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Getty Publications
  • 1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500
  • Los Angeles, California 90049-1682
  • Nola Butler, Project Editor
  • Rachel Barth and Nola Butler, Copy Editors
  • Elizabeth Chapin Kahn, Production
  • Stephanie Grimes, Digital Researcher
  • Eric Gardner, Designer and Developer
  • Greg Albers, Project Manager

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  • Names: Belis, Alexis, author. | J. Paul Getty Museum, issuing body.
  • Title: Roman mosaics in the J. Paul Getty Museum / Alexis Belis ; with contributions by Nicole Budrovich, Christine Kondoleon, Kenneth Lapatin, and Sean Leatherbury.
  • Description: Los Angeles : J. Paul Getty Museum, [2016] | ©2016 | Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • Identifiers: LCCN 2016003875 (print) | LCCN 2016011119 (ebook) | ISBN 9781606064979 (pbk.) | ISBN 9781606064986 (epub) | ISBN 9781606064993 (online)
  • Subjects: LCSH: Mosaics, Roman—Catalogs. | Pavements, Mosaic—Catalogs. | J. Paul Getty Museum—Catalogs. | Mosaics—California—Los Angeles—Catalogs. | Pavements, Mosaic—California—Los Angeles—Catalogs.
  • Classification: LCC NA3770 .J2 2016 (print) | LCC NA3770 (ebook) | DDC 738.50937/07479494—dc23
  • LC record available at

  • Cover: Top, detail of Mosaic Floor with Head of Medusa (cat. 1); bottom left, excavation of Mosaic Floor with Animals (fig. 17); bottom right, installation of Roman Mosaics across the Empire, Getty Villa, 2016, photo by Eric Gardner
  • Foreword frontispiece: Detail of Mosaic Floor with Achilles and Briseis (cat. 6)
  • Introduction frontispiece: Detail of Mosaic of a Lion Attacking an Onager (cat. 5)
  • Catalogue landing page: Top to bottom, detail of Mosaic Floor with Bear Hunt (cat. 2); detail of Mosaic Floor with Orpheus and Animals (cat. 3); detail of Mosaic of a Lion Attacking an Onager (cat. 5); detail of Mosaic Floor with Achilles and Briseis (cat. 6)