ANIMAL ART OF THE DAY for International Dog Day: CAVE CANEM (“Beware of the Dog”)

CAVE CANEM (“Beware of the Dog”)
mosaic floor in the vestibule of The House of the Tragic Poet, Pompeii, c. 2nd century BCE

This is but one of several similar ancient Roman mosaics. It has been suggested that the signs were not to warn trespassers about a guard dog, but rather to warn visitors to not accidentally step on the wee house dog! (These were probably small Italian Greyhounds.)

Here’s another cute example:

“Cave Canem” (beware of the dog) mosaic
from Casa di Orfeo (House of Orpheus), Pompeii, VI.14.20
[now on display at the National Archaeological Museum]

For more about animals in ancient Roman animals, check out the book Animals in Roman Life & Art:

I also have a curated list of books about dogs in art from around the world available as an Amazon Idea List here.

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