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Amazing fresco of woman and swan discovered in ruins in Pompeii

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 20/11/2018 Katy Clifton

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Archaeologists have found a fresco in an ancient Pompeii bedroom that depicts a sensual scene of the Roman god Jupiter, disguised as a swan, and a legendary queen of Sparta from Greek mythology.

Pompeii archaeological park director Massimo Osanna said that the figure of Leda being impregnated by a swan representing Roman god Jupiter is a fairly common theme in Pompeii home decoration.

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But he praised this fresco as exceptional since the queen appears to look at whoever's looking at the fresco.

Speaking to Italian news agency Ansa, Mr Osanna said: "Leda watches the spectator with a sensuality that's absolutely pronounced."

Pompeii1911c.jpg © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Pompeii1911c.jpg

The fresco was discovered on Friday during ongoing work to consolidate the ancient city's structures after rains and wear-and-tear in past years caused some ruins to collapse.

The flourishing ancient Roman city was buried by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

Leda is an important figure in Greek mythology.

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She was said to have borne children fathered by the god Zeus, the Greek version of Jupiter, and by a mortal king of Sparta.

According to myth, her children included the beautiful Helen of Troy and the twins Castor and Pollux.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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