In many societies, ancient and modern, religion has performed a major role in their development, and the Roman Empire was no different. From the beginning Roman religion was polytheistic. From an initial array of gods and spirits, Rome added to this collection to include both Greek gods as well as a number of foreign cults. As the empire expanded... [continue reading]
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The Ara Pacis Augustae or Altar of the Augustan Peace in Rome was built to celebrate the return of Augustus in 13 BCE from his campaigns in Spain and Gaul. The marble structure, which once stood on the Campus Martius, is a masterpiece of Roman sculpture and, in particular, of portraiture. Senators, officials and the Imperial family are depicted on the... [continue reading]
published on 29 May 2012
Statue of Artemis (Greek) or Diana (Roman), known as Diane de Versailles, France. Roman copy, 1st or 2nd century CE, of lost Greek bronze attributed to Leochares, c. 325 BCE. Musee du Louvre, Paris.
The remains of the Augusteum at Narona (modern Vid, Croatia) with its fifteen marble sculptures exhibited on a platform. An Augusteum was a site of imperial cult, named after the imperial title of Augustus. The Augusteum at Narona seems to have been built in about 10 BCE and was later dedicated by Publius Cornelius Dolabella, the governor of the province of Dalmatia.
Carved and guilded wood representation of Bacchus (ca. 1677 CE). Attributed to Filippo Parodi. (Museo Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
Burial of the dead is the act of placing the corpse of a dead person in a tomb constructed for that purpose or in a grave dug into the earth. In cultures such as Mesopotamia, tombs and graves were cut into the ground in the expectation that the soul of the individual so buried would more easily reach the afterlife which was thought to exist underground. Graves... [continue reading]
A silver plate bust of Jupiter Graius with lightning engraved on the armour. 2nd-3rd century CE, La Thuile, North Italy. (Archaeological Museum, Aosta).
published on 18 January 2012
The temple was an important physical and ceremonial structure in any Roman city. Originally a gathering place (a templum), the temple evolved into a place for people to gather, to worship gods and deified emperors, and to perform ceremonial sacrifices and rites. The temples of the Forum Romanum, particularly from the period of the Roman Republic (509 &ndash... [continue reading]
The temples built in the Forum Romanum during the Imperial era (27 B.C. – A.D. 476) were largely built to commemorate mortal men who had been deified after death. These were usually Emperors of Rome who had been particularly influential and popular. Temple of Caesar – Built in honor of Julius Caesar by Augustus in 29 B.C., this temple stood... [continue reading]
This marble head (1st century CE) comes from a statue of the Roman God, probably copying the cult statue of Zeus from Olympia in pose i.e.: seated on a throne. The head was found in Milan near the Castle Sforzesco in the quarter known since antiquity as the 'Porta Giovia'. (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
Among the many gods of the Romans, Jupiter, the son of Saturn, was the supreme god, associated with thunder, lightning, and storms. The first citizens of what would become Rome believed they were watched over by the spirits of their ancestors, and they added a triad of gods to these spirits. These new gods included Mars, the god of war; Quirinus, the deified Romulus... [continue reading]