THE ROMANS - galleries

  • Religion of the Roman people
  • 01.livia_ceres
    Life-size statue of Livia with the attributes of Ceres: floral crown, wheat sheaves, cornucopia. (VRoma: Louvre, Paris: Barbara McManus)
  • 02.magna_mater
    The religion of the state: sacrificial procession before the temple of Cybele, known as Magna Mater, the mother of nature and of all the gods. (VRoma: Ara Pacis, Rome: M. Grunow)
  • 03.cult_statues
    Republican denarius (43 BC) of three archaic female cult statues in Aricia, the home town of the moneyer. (VRoma: British Museum: Barbara McManus)
  • 04.artemis
    Artemis, probably a copy of a statue of Praxiteles of 346 - 5 BC (VRoma: Louvre, Paris: Barbara McManus)
  • 05.haruspex
    Sixth- or fifth-century BC Etruscan bronze plaque of a haruspex at work; his function was to examine the entrails of sacrificed animals and foretell the future from what he saw. (C. M. Dixon)
  • 06.avernus
    Lake Avernus, Campania, which lies in the crater of an extinct volcano. Only one metre above sea level, it is 70 metres deep. A nearby cave was one of the traditional entrances to the underworld of Dis. (A M Wilson)
  • 07a.temples_large
    Roman temples were not places of public worship, rather symbols of the state religion, and statements of power. As the empire grew richer, the spoils from campaigns were deposited in temples, which became state treasuries. Ordinary citizens could leave their valuables for safe keeping, too. (From Helen and Richard Leacroft, The Buildings of Ancient Rome, Brockhampton Press 1969)
  • 08.mercury
    Bronze statuette of Mercury, first century AD. Mercury was god of merchants and business transactions, and was identified with the Greek god Hermes, herald and messenger of the gods and guide of travellers. He is thus often represented as wearing winged shoes and a petasus, the wide-brimmed hat worn by travellers to protect them from the rain and sun. (VRoma: British Museum: Barbara McManus)
  • 09.domitian_dictating
    Domitian dictating to Roman matrons a prayer to Juno. (VRoma: British Museum: Barbara McManus)
  • 10a.captoline_large
    Reconstruction of Capitoline Hill. Tabularium is the state archives. (After Professor A. Gnauth, from Hermann Bender, Rom und Romisches Leben im Altertum 1893: VRoma: Barbara McManus)
  • 11.apollo
    Statue of Apollo, god of healing and prophecy, with a lizard. Copy of bronze original of Praxiteles of c. 350 BC. (VRoma: Louvre, Paris: Barbara McManus)
  • 12.spirit
    This household spirit is holding a drinking horn and a patera, a dish used for offerings. (VRoma: British Museum: Barbara McManus)

  • 13a.triple_sacrifice_large
    Triple sacrifice on a first-century AD relief. (VRoma: Louvre, Paris: Barbara McManus)
  • 14a.chariot_large
  • 15.sacrifice_of_bull
    Sacrifice of a bull. (VRoma: Temple of Vespasian, Pompeii: Susan Bonvallet)
  • 16.marcus_aurelius
  • 17.jupiter
    Seated bronze statuette of Jupiter, with thunderbolt. (VRoma: Louvre, Paris: Barbara McManus)
  • 18.juno
    Statue of Juno, consort of Jupiter, with sceptre. (VRoma: Vatican Museums, Rome: Lisanne Marshall)
  • 19.dionysus
    Rites of Dionysus. (Illustration by John Pittaway from Picture Reference Ancient Romans, Brockhampton Press 1970)
  • 20.mars
    Mars, painted by Velasquez (1599-1660). (VRoma: Prado Museum, Madrid: Susan Bonvallet)
  • 21.priapus
    Painting of Priapus, symbolizing abundance, over door of vestibule of House of the Vettii, Pompeii. (VRoma: Barbara McManus)
  • 22.venus
    “Venus of Urbino”, painting by Titian (d. 1576). (VRoma: Uffizi Museum, Florence: Barbara McManus)
  • 23.cave
    Entrance to the cave of the Cumaean sibyl. (VRoma: Susan Bonvallet)
  • 24.apollo
    Apollo with lyre, copy of a cult statue in the Palatine temple of Apollo. The androgynous rendering is typical of this type of statue, associating the god with poetry and the muses. (VRoma: Glyptothek Museum, Munich: Barbara McManus)
  • 25.augustus_augur
    Denarius of Augustus, showing him in his priestly role as an augur with crooked staff of office. (VRoma: British Museum: Barbara McManus)
  • 26.birds
    Birds on a bowl, detail of a mosaic. (VRoma: Capitoline Museums, Rome: Susan Bonvallet)
  • 27.lightning
    Lightning which appeared while auspices were being taken was good news: not so when it came unbidden. (Illustration by Jennifer Campbell from Antony Kamm, Scotland in Roman Times, Scottish Children’s Press 1998)
  • 28.vesta
    Statue of goddess with torches, probably Vesta (VRoma: Vatican Museums, Rome: Lisanne Marshall)
  • 29.janus
    Janus on a silver coin of 225 - 214 BC. (VRoma:Fine Arts Museum, Chicago: Ann Raia)
  • 30.lar
    Statuette of a lar. (VRoma: British Museum: Barbara McManus)
  • 31.penates
    Silver figurine of one of a set of penates, wearing a crown and holding a libation bowl and cornucopia. (VRoma: British Museum: Barbara McManus)
  • 32.aeneas
    Aeneas sacrificing to the penates in their cupboard, from the Ara Pacis 13 - 9 BC. (VRoma: AICT)
  • 33.lares
    Painting from the shrine of the lares. The genius of the family is flanked by two lares, with below the snake image at the altar. From the House of the Vettii, Pompeii. (VRoma: AICT)
  • 34.infant
    An infant at the breast, watched by his father, who later is carrying him. Scenes from sarcophagus relief of M. Cornelius Statius (second century AD). (VRoma: Louvre, Paris: Barbara McManus)
  • 35.nero_with_amulet
    Statue with child, possibly Nero, wearing the amulet (bulla) round his neck. (VRoma: Capitoline Museums, Rome: Barbara McManus)
  • 36.ring
    Gold betrothal ring (second or third century AD) showing a couple clasping right hands. (VRoma: British Museum: Barbara McManus)
  • 37.funerary
    Drawing of a funerary procession into a columbarium (a vaulted crypt for the ashes of a Roman family or of a guild). (From Albert Kuhn, Roma 1913: Barbara McManus)
  • 38.matron
    Sarcophagus lid, with reclining Roman matron with Flavian hairstyle. (VRoma: Vatican Museum, Rome: Lisanne Marshall)
  • 39.silvanus
    Head of Silvanus, crowned with pine. (VRoma: Museo Montemartini: Ann Raia)
  • 40.tellus
    Tellus, with the four seasons as her children. Detail from mosaic in a Roman villa in Sentinum, AD 200--50. (VRoma: Barbara McManus)
  • 41.ceres
    Statue of Ceres, goddess of agriculture and especially of corn, with robe of coloured marble. At her festival 19 April, the farmer led a procession of workers three times round the new-grown crops.(VRoma: Uffizi Museum, Florence: Barbara McManus)
  • 42.flora
    Wall painting of Flora, after whom the Floralia was named. (Museo Archaeologico Nazionale, Naples: René Seindal)
  • 43.garden_fresco
    Fresco of a garden from the House of the Fruit Orchard, Pompeii. (VRoma: Susan Bonvallet)
  • 44.granary
    Major granary at the port of Ostia. (VRoma: Barbara McManus)
  • 45.saturn
    Saturn, god of sowing. (Illustration by John Pittaway from Picture Reference Ancient Romans, Brockhampton Press 1970)
  • 46.priests
    Procession of priests, from the Ara Pacis, Rome 13 - 9 BC. (VRoma: Ann Raia)
  • 47.flamines
    Flamines, with distinctive ceremonial headgear. From the Ara Pacis, Rome 13 - 9 BC. (VRoma: Paula Chabot)
  • 48._Caesar
    enarius of Julius Caesar, with the pointed cap of the flamen dialis (priest of Jupiter), and the words, “Father of the country”. Though it was intended that he should be flamen dialis, while in his teens, there is some doubt as to whether he actually took up the appointment. (Suzanne Cross)
  • 49.vestal_virgin
    Statue of a vestal virgin, with a flame. Punishment for any lapse in ritual or conduct was rigorous: whipping for letting the sacred fire go out, whipping and being walled up underground, with a few provisions, for a breach of the vow of chastity. (VRoma: Uffizi Museum, Florence: Barbara McManus)
  • 50.chief_vestal
    Bust of chief vestal virgin. (VRoma: Terme Museum Rome: Barbara McManus)
  • 51.cybele_high_priest
    Priest of Cybele, with ritual symbols and vestments. (Illustration by John Pittaway from Picture Reference Ancient Romans, Brockhampton Press 1970)
  • 52.cybele
    Statue of Roman matron depicted as Cybele, mid-first century AD. (VRoma: Getty Museum, Santa Monica: Barbara McManus)
  • 53.chariot
    Relief of charioteer in four-horse chariot preparing to round the turning post, at the foot of which is the body of a fallen driver. (VRoma: British Museum: Barbara McManus)
  • 54.lupercal
    Relief sculpture, found nearby, of she-wolf and twins in the grotto named Lupercal on the Palatine Hill. (VRoma: Museum of Roman Civilization, EUR (Rome): Ann Raia)
  • 55.temple_of_vesta
    Reconstruction of the Temple of Vesta. (From Helen and Richard Leacroft, The Buildings of Ancient Rome, Brockhampton Press 1969)
  • 56.portunus
    Temple of Portunus. (VRoma: Jeremy Walker)
  • 57.temple_of_janus
    Bronze coin of Nero, AD 54 - 68, showing the Temple of Janus with its doors closed, signifying peace. (VRoma: British Museum: Barbara McManus)
  • 58.mithras
    Mithras slays the bull from whose blood sprang corn and other life. (VRoma: Vatican Museums, Rome: Lisanne Marshall)
  • 59a.temple_of_mithras_large
    Cutaway reconstruction of the temple of Mithras, Carrawburgh, Northumberland, Britain, third or fourth century AD. (From Helen and Richard Leacroft, The Buildings of Ancient Rome, Brockhampton Press 1969)
  • 60.isis
    Marble statue of Isis holding the sistrum, the sacred rattle used in rituals (second century AD). (VRoma)
  • 61.villa_mysteries
    The “Villa of the Mysteries” at Pompeii. Click on illustration for enlarged version and descriptive caption. (René Seindal)
  • 63.antoninus
    Portrait bust of Antoninus (known as Antoninus Pius), c. AD 150. (VRoma: Glyoptothek, Munich: AICT)
  • 64.apollo
    Silver denarius of Augustus, depicting Apollo, with lyre, as the victor of the naval battle of Actium. (VRoma: British Museum: Barbara McManus)
  • 65.temple_of_claudius
    Model of the temple of Divine Claudius in Rome. (VRoma: EUR (Rome), Museum of Civilization: Barbara McManus)
  • 66.judaean_coin
    Roman insensitivity! This bronze coin of Judaea under the administration of Pontius Pilate depicts the crooked staff of the augur, a Roman religious symbol which was bound to cause offence to Jews. (Hunterian Museum)
  • 67.christian_symbols
    Fourth-century sarcophagus with Christian symbols. The sign within the wreath is made up of the upright stroke ? (first letter of Jesus, written in Greek) and the x-like symbol, standing for the Greek Chi, the first letter of Christos, Greek for Christ. (Illustration by John Pittaway from Picture Reference Ancient Romans, Brockhampton Press 1970)
  • Fig 03
    First-century AD cameo of Augustus wearing the rayed crown of the sun god, signifying his deification. (VRoma: Romisch-Germanisches Museum, Cologne: Barbara McManus)