- Name of the subject: A tragic mask of Heracles, an unknown author
- Period/dating: 2nd century A.D.
- Origin: Heraclea Lyncestis
- Material/technique: Marble
- Dimensions: height 48 cm
Short story (description):
Every Roman theatre has exposed its symbols inside its composition – such as a tragic and comic mask. The tragic mask displays a sad look, and the comic mask laughs. Also, there is a third type of mask, which is a pantomime mask that has a closed mouth.
The theater mask is a faithful companion of the actors and originates from cult festivities in honor of the god Dionysus. With the breakthrough of the theater, it gets a stage content. The culmination is experienced in Greek ancient theaters, while in the Roman period it began to be used in the 1st century BC. The Roman Theatrical Mask is made by a Greek example, but it has its own features. The dimensions are more pronounced, the eyes and lips are larger, and the eyebrows are significantly strengthened. Hair is stylized.
The tragic mask in Heraclea is found in the crash of the fountain water tank from the Early Byzantine period and it is difficult to determine where it exactly stood before. It was probably placed on the front of the skena, and it was added to the wall. The head of Hercules is covered by a lion’s skin, whereby the nostrils, teeth of the upper and lower jaws and the two incizors from the upper jaw are shown above the forehead, and the two lower incizors are at the height of the chin to where the rest of the skin touches. A wide open mouth with an expression of pain and big eye cavities are depicted on the face. The beard is dense, the eyebrows are downward and accented while the forehead is pulled.
The tragic theater mask is exhibited in the Antique Department of the permanent museum exhibition at the NI Institute and Museum – Bitola where the archaic, classical, Macedonian and Roman periods of life are represented and it is an important element of understanding the culture of our ancestors.