The new Archaeological Museum of Mytilene is housed in a building which is a sample of the modern museum architecture,
located in the Kioski area, where excavations have brought to light a sanctuary of Aphrodite. Its construction was completed in 1995, with
the co-financing of the Greek State and the European Community, and the permanent exhibition "Lesbos from Hellenistic to Roman Times"
opened on 23 March 1999.
The purpose of the exhibition is to provide the visitor with a view of the Hellenistic and Roman Lesbos from the 3rd century BC
to the 4th century AD, by displaying ancient Roman villas with mosaic floors, everyday objects and statues, that either had a religious character
or were symbols of power and wealth. The display is completed with captions, explanatory texts, maps and models that contribute to a better
understanding of the material on display.
The Museum contains:
• Mosaic floors and wall-paintings from the villas on Agia Kyriaki hill; an incontestable evidence of the significant economic blooming of
Mytilene from the 2nd century AD onwards.
• Sculpture of the Hellenistic and Roman period, which is represented in Lesbos by funerary reliefs, statues and portraits of important
persons of this period.
The most important exhibits of the museum are:
- Marble funerary relief with representation of a Dinner of the dead in a naiskos. Thermi. End of 4th century BC. An important type of dedicatory and, later, funerary
reliefs, with distribution through the entire Greek world, from the 5th century BC onwards, are the Dinners of the dead. These scenes represent the dinners for the
worship of the dead after their burial.
- Marble reliefs representing a heroized dead man on horseback in a naiskos (miniature of a temple). 2nd century BC. Because of their wide distribution mainly in
Thrace, the funerary reliefs with representations of horsemen are known as reliefs of the Thracian horseman
. They represent the heroized dead man on
horseback or standing and holding the reins of the horse. Most of them date to the Hellenistic and Roman times.
- Portrait of a young girl with elaborate hairstyle. Period of the emperor Claudius. Middle of 1st century AD. Portraiture is one of the most significant creations of the
Roman art. Emperors, empresses and other members of the royal family, as well as important public men and rich civilians are usually depicted.
- Portrait of a young man. Mytilene. Second half of the 1st century AD.
- Marble statue of a man wearing the Roman pallium. The type is known as palliatus and the figure is believed to be a high official or philosopher. Mytilene. 2nd century
AD. Donated by the children of the Orphanage. The statues of the Late Hellenistic and Roman period in Lesbos are usually copies of important Classical and Early Hellenistic
originals, or represent intellectuals, philosophers, and high official Romans.
- Mosaic floors of the so-called "Telephus' house", which dates to the 1st-2nd century AD. The arrival of prince Telephus, son of Herakles, at the Asia Minor shore,
directly opposite Mytilene, is depicted in the central medallion on the mosaic floor of the principal room. In the less elaborate room there was a mosaic with geometric
patterns and very fine wall paintings with meanders, and bees on blossoms.
- Mosaic floor from the atrium of the so-called "Euripus' house". The mosaic has as central theme the figure of a beardless young sea divinity in a medallion created inside
a rhombus. The character and type of the representation permit him to be interpreted as personification of the Euripus (the Channel - an important area of the city) or as
the Pyrrhaeus Euripus (the present Gulf of Kalloni) with its rich fisheries. The central theme is completed by the four seasons (male and female winged figures), which are
represented with their special characteristics. Mytilene. 2nd-3rd century AD.
- Mosaic floors of the so-called "Menander's house", with a portrait of Menander
a protome of the Muse Thaleia and scenes from the poet's comedies. The theatrical masks, the representation of fishing and the scene of Orpheus taming the wild animals
complete the image of the richly decorated house, which dates to the second half of the 3rd century AD.