Anaximander, Patrokles, oder vielleicht Eudoxos? Resümee einer Deutungsgeschichte des sogenannten Trierer Anaximander-Mosaiks vor dem Hintergrund der biographischen, doxographischen und archäologischen Zeugnisse

A fragment of mosaic dating to the second century CE, the shard of a larger composition,  discovered in 1898 on an excavation site of a Roman domus in Trier, and currently part of  the collection of Rheinisches Landesmuseum, is well preserved, meticulously executed and  not untouched by genius. A bald philosopher with a full grey beard rimming his face is seated  holding in his lap what is very likely to be a sundial. He is turned halfway to the front, aiming  his gaze up over his right shoulder. It is an easy guess, and on initial publication the then director  of Landesmuseum Emil Krüger tentatively identified the figure as Anaximander. Over  a hundred years on, the opinion has not changed much. Sceptical minds have been spurred by  the lack of evidence on Anaximander to go on to identify the figure with a certain sculptor Patrocles,  the inventor, according to Vitruvius, of a kind of sundial called pelecinum. It is unlikely  that an artist would draw inspiration from such an obscure person. Better still, a philosopher  a cut above Anaximander, Eudoxus, could have served as a prototype, especially since he had  also built a sundial called arachne. As we know from Vitruvius, it was of a different shape, but  one would not expect an artist to be true to hard fact. However long we strain our eyes to grasp  the features of Eudoxus and Anaximander in the ‘mosaics of philosophers’ from Pompeii, the  Roman Anaximander in an inscribed relief, or other works of similar type, any secure attribution  will still be out of our reach. The reception of Anaximander in the classical culture will  not have been much different: it was he who came down to late Roman art as the inventor of  sundial. Had we possessed the yet lacking parts of the mosaic, we would probably have seen  other inventors. A shadow of doubt is cast over the idea of K. Schefold that Anaximander gazes  skywards comprehending „the coming to being and destruction of heavenly bodies”. Clearly,  an inventor of sundial would rather be watching the sun.

 Wöhrle G. Anaximander, Patrokles oder vielleicht Eudoxos