Roman bear mosaic

The symbol of Madrid represented by the bear and the strawberry tree is well known, but here’s a much earlier image showing Iberian bears liking for these arbutus cherries. The bear forms part of a C4th AD mosaic found at Villa Fortunatus in Fraga, Zaragoza, and is part of an agricultural calendar, representing the month of November. It can be seen at the Museo Provincial de Zaragoza. Sadly today, bears in Spain no longer gorge on these fruits in autumn to the extent as they did as they are largely absent from the range of the strawberry tree.

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