Mosaics were used in a variety of private and public buildings across the Roman Empire. They were influenced by earlier and contemporary Hellenistic mosaics, and often included famous figures from history and mythology.
They also give the viewer an insight into everyday life in the Roman Empire; the activities they partook in, the food they ate, the clothes they wore and also a glimpse of the natural world around them.
Mosaics, also known as opus tessellatum, were made from small squares of cut marble, tile, glass, pottery, stone and shells, called tesserae.
A popular style in Roman Italy was to use just black and white tesserae, especially in marine motifs designed for Roman bath complexes, such as at Ostia and the Baths of Caracalla in Rome.