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The Ceremonial Sculptures of the Roman Gods

Monumenta Graeca
et Romana

John M. Fossey FRSC
(McGill University & Montreal Museum of Fine Arts)

Associate Editor
Angelo Geissen (University of Cologne)


The titles published in this series are listed at

The Ceremonial Sculptures
of the Roman Gods

Brian Madigan Ph.D.
Wayne State University

Leiden • boston
Cover illustrations: details of Arch of Galerius, Thessaloniki, pier B, Northeast side. Photos (front and
back) Brian Madigan. See also pages 27–28, and figs. 10–11, this volume.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Madigan, Brian Christopher.

 The ceremonial sculptures of the Roman gods / by Brian Madigan.
  pages cm.—(Monumenta Graeca et Romana ; 20)
 Includes bibliographical references and index.
 ISBN 978-90-04-22723-1 (hardback : alk. paper)—ISBN 978-90-04-24226-5 (e-book) 1. Sculpture,
Roman. 2. Gods, Roman, in art. 3. Idols and images—Rome. 4. Rome—Religious life and customs.
I. Title.
 NB115.M25 2012

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for Cressida
figlia mai fu

Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................................................ ix

List of Illustrations .............................................................................................................................................. xi

Bibliography of Ancient Sources .................................................................................................................... xiii

Bibliography of Modern Works ...................................................................................................................... xvii

Preface .................................................................................................................................................................... xxvii

Chapter 1 Processional Statuettes .............................................................................................................. 1

Chapter 2 Litter Statues ................................................................................................................................ 39

Chapter 3 Capita Deorum ............................................................................................................................. 67

Chapter 4 Exuviae ........................................................................................................................................... 83

Epilogue ................................................................................................................................................................. 103

Appendix Inscriptional and Papyrological Texts .................................................................................. 107

A.  Ancient Texts ........................................................................................................................................... 111
B.  Place Names .............................................................................................................................................. 113
C. Personal Names ........................................................................................................................................ 114
D. Greek & Latin Words ............................................................................................................................. 117
E.  General Subjects ...................................................................................................................................... 119

This book began somewhat by chance on a seminar funded by the National Endowment for the
Humanities and sponsored by the American Academy in Rome. Both institutions, as well as the
directors of the seminar, Bettina Bergmann and Christine Kondoleon therefore were instrumental at
its beginning and in its progress. I also owe a substantial debt of gratitude to the members of that
seminar. And I am pleased to be able to acknowledge the support of a Faculty Fellowship from the
Humanities Center at Wayne State University along the way. I also wish to thank those who have
graciously allowed me access to objects for examination during the research process: Mette Mol-
tesen, Carlsberg Glyptotek; Claudio Parisi Presicce, Musei Capitolini; and Cecile Giroire, Museé du
Louvre. John Fossey (Editor-in-chief of the MGR series) and Caroline van Erp (Brill) have significantly
improved the text with their judicious editing. A number of individuals have lent their support to this
project at various points, and it is a pleasure to have the chance to acknowledge their contributions:
Barbara Barletta (University of Florida), Ada Cohen (Dartmouth College), Agnes Scherer (Louvre),
Elena di Acciate (Uffizi) and Daria Lanzuolo (DAI Rome).
The completion of the text coincided with the decision of Cressida, the dedicatee of this book, and
Frank to set off on their expedition together. Those not inclined to supernatural explanations of such
alignments will admire the portentous symmetry of this; all good luck to them. Above all else, the
finishing of this project allows me the opportunity to thank, for all affection, intellectual challenge
and resource, ocular critiques, expeditions to visual spectacles (human wrought and natural), and
music, Sarah Bassett.
List of Illustrations

 1. Altar of the Vicomagistri, detail, Vatican Museums. Photo: author ........................................... 4

 2. Procession relief, Villa Medici, Rome. Photo: DAI Rome .............................................................. 5
 3. Belvedere altar, Vatican Museums. Photo: DAI Rome .................................................................... 7
 4. Procession relief with Lares, Vatican Museums. Photo: author ................................................... 9
 5. Altar of the collegium fabrum tignariorum, Museo Capitolino. Photo: Ryberg 1955 ............. 11
 6. Altar of the collegium fabrum tignariorum, Museo Capitolino. Photo: author ....................... 13
 7. Minerva workshop relief, Museo Capitolino. Photo: author ........................................................ 14
 8. Volta Dorata, Domus Aurea. Photo: Weege 1913 .............................................................................. 17
 9. Circus relief, Palazzo Trinci, Foligno. Photo: DAI Rome ............................................................... 25
10. Arch of Galerius, Thessaloniki. Photo: author ................................................................................... 27
11. Arch of Galerius, Thessaloniki. Photo: author ................................................................................... 28
12. Barberini diptych, Musée du Louvre. Photo: author ....................................................................... 30
13. Domus Faustae, Museo Nazionale delle Terme. Photo: author ................................................... 31
14. Domus Faustae detail, Museo Nazionale delle Terme. Photo: author ....................................... 32
15. Emperor Gallus, Calendar of 354. Photo: Stern 1953 ....................................................................... 34
16. Iphigeneia and Orestes, Museo Capitolino 4948. Photo: author ................................................. 37
17. Arch of Titus, detail. Photo: author ...................................................................................................... 41
18. Sarcophagus lid from Puteoli, Museo Nazionale, Napoli. Photo: DAI Rome ........................... 43
19. Sarcophagus lid from Puteoli, Museo Nazionale, Napoli. Photo: DAI Rome ........................... 44
20. Terracotta relief, Musée du Louvre. Photo: Réunion des Musées Nationaux/
Art Resource, NY ......................................................................................................................................... 46
21. Sarcophagus lid, San Lorenzo, Rome. Photo: author ...................................................................... 48
22. Sarcophagus lid, detail, San Lorenzo, Rome. Photo: author ......................................................... 48
23. Sarcophagus lid, detail, San Lorenzo, Rome. Photo: author ......................................................... 48
24. Sarcophagus lid, Museo Archeologico di Aquileia. Photo: DAI Rome ...................................... 51
25. Funeral relief from Amiternum. Museo Nazionale di Chieti. Photo: DAI Rome ................... 52
26. Gladiatorial relief, Museo Nazionale, Napoli. Photo: Ryberg 1955 .............................................. 54
27. Procession, Bottega del Profumiere, Pompeii, Museo Nazionali, Napoli.
Photo: Caratelli 1990–95 ........................................................................................................................... 55
28. Procession, Via del Abbondanza, Pompeii. Photo: AA 1913 ........................................................... 56
29. Fortunae statuette, Museo Archeologico Prenestino, Palestrina. Photo: author .................... 68
30. Fortunae coin, American Numismatic Society, NY. Photo: Brendel 1960 ................................. 68
31. Coin of Caldus, British Museum. Photo: Grueber 1970 ................................................................... 69
32. Lamp with banquet. Photo: DarSag, fig. 4381 .................................................................................... 70
33. Lamp with banquet. Photo: DarSag, fig. 4382 .................................................................................... 70
34. Money box, once Antiken Kleinkunst, München. Photo: Lederer 1936 .................................... 72
35. Money box, once Antiquarium, Berlin. Photo: Lederer 1936 ........................................................ 72
36. Money box, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest. Photo: Lederer 1936 ............................................ 73
37. Money box, once Lederer Collection, Berlin/Lugano. Photo: Lederer 1936 ............................. 73
38. Banquet relief, once Lederer Collection, Berlin/Lugano. Photo: Lederer 1936 ....................... 74
xii list of illustrations

39. Banquet relief, Egyptian Archaeological Museum, Cairo. Photo: Dunand 1979 ..................... 74

40. Lamp with banquet couch, British Museum Q2044. Photo: Bailey 1988 .................................. 77
41. Lamp with banquet couch, British Museum Q2046. Photo: Bailey 1988 .................................. 77
42. Cup from Caesarea Maritima, Musée du Louvre. Photo: Réunion des Musées
Nationaux/Art Resource, NY ................................................................................................................... 80
43. Sarcophagus lid, Museo Capitolino. Photo: DAI Rome .................................................................. 85
44. Coin with chair of Jupiter. Photo: Mattingly 1923–50 ..................................................................... 87
45. Coin with chair of Minerva. Photo: Mattingly 1923–50 .................................................................. 87
46. Throne of Jupiter, Palazzo Ducale, Mantova. Photo: author ........................................................ 89
47. Throne of Minerva, Casa dei Cervi. Herculaneum. Photo: DAI Rome ...................................... 91
48. Throne of Minerva, Casa dei Cervi. Herculaneum. Photo: Tran tam Tinh 1988 ..................... 92
49. Throne of Venus, Casa dei Cervi, Museo Archeologico, Napoli.
Photo: Tran tam Tinh 1988 ...................................................................................................................... 93
50. Throne of Mars, Casa dei Cervi, Museo Archeologico, Napoli.
Photo: Roux Ainé 1839 .............................................................................................................................. 93
51. Throne of Neptunus, San Vitale, Ravenna. Photo: author ............................................................. 95
52. Throne of Neptunus, San Vitale, Ravenna. Photo: author ............................................................. 95
53. Throne of Saturnus, Musée du Louvre. Photo: Réunion des Musées Nationaux/
Art Resource, NY ......................................................................................................................................... 96
54. Throne of Saturnus, Museo Archeologico, Venezia. Photo: author ............................................ 96
55. Throne of Saturnus, Museo Archeologico, Venezia. Photo: author ............................................ 97
56. Circus relief, Vatican Museums. Photo: author ................................................................................. 97
57. After painting of procession, Casa di Nozze di Hercules, Pompeii.
Photo: Caratelli 1990–95 ........................................................................................................................... 98
58. Altar of Cybele, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Photo: Tillyard 1917 ................................... 100
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Statuary stays put. Despite its general conformity It cannot be assumed that all the statuary used
with much of a later Western tradition in sculp- for ceremonial functions was designed for these
ture, this simple assertion rapidly falls apart from purposes exclusively, although much of it prob-
the perspective of sculpture in antiquity. Liter- ably was, in order to address the peculiar needs
ary texts occasionally report of statues moving of the individual ceremony. The requirement to
of their own volition: rotating or spitting blood. be mobile, either for the images to be brought to
But more common, yet distinct from such exer- one locale or another, or for the manner of the
cises in religious imagination, are statues of gods, transportation itself, imposed special conditions.
which genuinely move, although requiring human The choices of size, weight and materials all
agency to do so, in fulfillment of their ceremonial would have turned on the demands and nature of
function. Divine sculptures were transported in the ceremony for which the statue was intended.
processions large or small, either carried by hand And the very act of being handled, with the inevi-
or carted in vehicles, and presented for view or table wear and accidental damage, resulted in a
temporarily installed in special venues where the body of material which could not achieve the
presence of the gods was ceremonially required. same levels of permanency as was normal and
Such sculptures designed for ceremonial purpose, indeed carefully nurtured in cult statues.
how they were handled and by whom constitute A necessary condition for ceremonial statuary
the subject matter of this study. is the human agency. This statuary does not func-
These ceremonial statues are distinct from tion in a distinct space defined as sacred, as in
the more familiar images of gods which function a temple precinct, and sanctity must be defined
in Roman religion. The cult statues of Roman instead by rules of decorum accorded the divine
temples, like those of Greek, are a familiar genre images as they are handled. The moving of the
in art history. But as Roman religious practice is statuary in processions, but also their instal-
external, in a sanctuary focused on the temple’s lation or presentation at the appointed venue
altar, the temple interior is not primarily con- involved at each step the handling by mortals.
figured to accommodate the principal religious And a correlative element in this performance is
practice. A temple’s cult statue, therefore, could the spectators, who had their own part to play.
only function to present the god in visual form Either by regulation, or by tradition, all the play-
to fairly small groups, under specific conditions ers, those handling the images and those viewing
of the temple interior and when the temple was them, would have an expectation of behaviour,
open to the public, or from the doorway for and of course there would be the reality of how
somewhat larger groups. However, neither the they actually behaved, the two not at all times
sanctuary with its altar, nor the sacrifice which coinciding.
took place there encompasses the full range of Several distinct types of Roman divine statu-
ceremony where the Romans could expect to ary are attested in textual sources (literature or
encounter their gods. All sorts of processions, as inscriptions) for use in ceremonies. It is possible,
well as banquets and throne ceremonies required then, to refine the focus of the study to these
the presence of the gods, or their visual stand- specific types, as distinct from simply any repre-
ins. A complete understanding of the practices sentation of a divinity which might appear in the
of Roman religion entails the divine apparatus context of some ceremony (i.e., textiles, jewellery,
which is an essential element of those practices. standards, etc.). The textual evidence identifies
xxviii preface

statuettes to be carried, large statues on litters, divine banquet. Two essays (Lederer, 1936 and
capita deorum (heads of gods), and exuviae (sym- Castiglione, 1961) drew attention to the impor-
bols). However, by themselves the texts provide tance of a body of material from Egypt, terracotta
only a very fragmentary and limited view of these moneyboxes, reliefs and lamps, modest in work-
statuary types; a more complete understanding manship but important in understanding the
requires the correlation with the visual evidence, iconography of the divine banquet. These essays
consisting of a broad range of representations dealt with material then in private collections
which correspond to the types described in the which no longer exist, one, the Lederer Collec-
textual sources. As each of these types is distinct tion, apparently being destroyed in the Second
in form and ceremonial application, each needs World War. These contributions and the objects
to be considered independently and will there- they feature have dropped below the scholarly
fore be the subject of an individual chapter. radar, but deserve greater attention. Accordingly,
While the texts and the religious practices they although the quality of the photographs accom-
correspond to have had a substantial presence in panying these essays is not of the best, some are
scholarship, the first protracted attempt to bring reproduced here from the original publications.
the visual evidence to bear was that by Lily Ross No certain example of any of the types of cer-
Taylor in collaboration with A.L. Abaecherli in emonial sculpture discussed here survives. It is
the 1930’s, followed by I.B. Ryberg’s work in the possible that among the large number of pre-
1950’s on images of religious practice in Roman served statuettes there lurk examples which were
art. Each of these broadened the body of visual in fact carried in processions, but identification is
evidence to be considered, but neither effort was now beyond proof. The requirement of handling
intended to address thoroughly the phenomenon and moving inevitably would limit the expected
of the ceremonial sculptures themselves, and the lifetime of all sculptures with a ceremonial func-
potential evidence to be considered has since tion. Additionally, the choice of materials for the
expanded greatly. construction of such sculptures would not have
A second element in the historiography of cer- promoted survival. Without running ahead of
emonial sculpture is the imperial cult, which has the presentation of evidence, one might assume
attracted a great deal of attention in the scholar- that the priority in construction was on consid-
ship. D. Fishwick and T. Pekáry in particular have erations of weight and visual spectacle rather
addressed the mobile, imperial images employed than durability. Finally, there is the constraint of
for ceremonies. The results of their work are evidence for the ceremonial occasions in which
important evidence for the practice and conven- these divine images appeared. The ceremonies,
tions of images of this type and, not surprisingly, including processions, discussed here are lim-
images of gods were also employed in the opera- ited to those for which there is evidence of the
tion of the imperial cult. However, the evidence employment of these types of statuary. While it
for each of the types of ceremonial images of is possible that other ceremonies also employed
gods pre-dates the establishment of the imperial them, this remains in the arena of speculation
cult. It is inevitable, then, that an understanding and cannot add to a knowledge of what these for-
of these divine images should be a prerequisite mats of sculpture were and how they were used.
for a better understanding of how imperial cult But despite these caveats, the understanding of
images functioned. ceremonial sculptures constitutes an essential
One additional contribution to the historiog- element in a more complete picture of Roman
raphy of this topic requires acknowledgement, visual culture.
although confined to the specific subject of the
Chapter One

Processional Statuettes

Romans used no specialized vocabulary to finally during the Late Empire the evidence is
describe statues meant to meet the mobility again exclusively in the form of visual representa-
requirements of processions. In the absence of a tions. The pattern of survival of visual and textual
formal terminology, the visual depictions of such evidence seems fortuitous, but it does allow for
statuary, in conjunction with the evidence from groups of each type of evidence to be evaluated
texts and inscriptions, are critical for identifying against each other. Moreover, as the early visual
the characteristics of the statues themselves and evidence is all from the city of Roma, it estab-
how they were handled. For the sake of this dis- lishes a pattern for Roman practice against which
cussion, a statue light and small enough, which is the later evidence can be assessed with respect
borne along by a single person in any procession to foreign influence. An addendum provides a
where such objects are used will be described consideration of Roman depictions of myths in
as a hand-held statue. On the basis of inscrip- which a protagonist carries a small, divine image
tional evidence discussed below involving funds as part of the story line. As fictional accounts
to pay for silver used to construct such statues it these should be kept distinct from depictions
has been estimated that such hand-held statues of Roman ceremony, even fictive ones, but the
would be under a meter in height. In addition mythological depictions provide some perspec-
to the precious metal in this instance, plaster is tive on how a Roman audience would have
also attested, but there is no reason to assume imaged a small, divine image to be transported
the exclusion of any material as long as the limit and treated.
on weight was observed. The visual evidence Precedents for hand-held statues are attested
indicates that they also could be substantially from Greek sites. In particular, statues of high
smaller than that, although such visual evidence antiquity, small or of lighter material might be
is inherently susceptible to distortion. The term removable from their temples to serve in proces-
is intended to define them and examine them by sions. Perhaps the best-known case is unfortu-
their ceremonial function; a statuette could well nately a false one: the famous olivewood statue
fit the function, but might in other cases or on of Athena Polias at Athenai, the clothing of
other occasions be used fixed in place. Among which was removed, taken in procession to the
surviving statuettes, therefore, hand-held stat- sea and there washed in the ritual of the Plyn-
ues constructed for processional use cannot be teria. It has sometimes been assumed that the
securely distinguished from those which func- statue itself was carried in this procession to the
tioned for private devotion. sea, but more recent scholarship has re-asserted
The evidence, both textual and visual, will be that only the clothing made the trip (Deubner,
discussed chronologically. Within such a frame- 1956: 17–32; Herington, 1955: 29–30; Romano,
work the evidence falls broadly into three groups. 1980: 42–52; Robertson, 2004: 136–137). But also
The early imperial evidence is entirely visual rep- attested for Athenai and more certainly with the
resentations of hand-held statues. The second processional function is the statue of Dionysos of
and third centuries are represented by textual Eleutherai, carried to the Akademeia at Athenai
evidence, but no visual comparanda survive. And (Pausanias i.29.2; Philostratos, bioi sophiston 2.1).
2 chapter one

Other, less well-known examples existed, as the in the sea was an annual ritual, but only a limited
wood Dionysos (agalma [ἄγαλμα]) at Delos (Val- part of the statue’s ritual life. As the architectural
lois, 1922). Archaeology occasionally confirms frame for protecting and displaying the statue at
such accounts, as for Ephesos where the evi- Ephesos suggests, the processional use there was
dence for the early architecture in Artemis’ sanc- but one specialized presentation of the divine
tuary suggests that the early statue of the goddess image to the public. At both Athenai and Ephe-
was small and configured to be removed from its sos the display of the statue in a shrine or temple
base, presumably to be carried in processions was a prominent part of its religious history. The
or to appear at different places in the sanctuary procession may have been an early and critical
(Bammer, 1988; Bammer, 1993). There is even the element in these specific images’ functions, but
case from mythic history of the Palladium, the it is not known to have been an element for all
statuette of Athena that was believed saved from cults; and it runs counter to the general devel-
the sack of Troia and carried to a new home at opment of increasingly larger temple statues in
Roma, though there is nothing in the story to heavier materials, culminating in the colossal
connect the statue before or after its arrival at chryselephantine statues of the fifth century BCE.
Roma with processional use. But in general, and Moreover, Roman hand-held statues seem never
in contrast to the Greek evidence, the Romans, to have been temple or cult statues, but statues
despite their belief in the antiquity of some of configured specifically and exclusively for pro-
their state rituals, record no traditions of temple cessional use.
statues being carried about. The absence of visual or textual evidence for
The sanctuary of Diana on the Aventine the early existence of hand-held statues in Roman
according to legend was modeled after the sanc- ceremonies leaves open the question of their first
tuary at Ephesos, and its statue after the Ephe- appearance, but there is negative evidence in
sian Artemis by way of the Artemis temple at the tradition espoused by some Roman sources
Massilia (Strabon iv.1.4–5). The transference of (Ploutarkhos, Nomas 8.8; Varro in Augustinus, de
the cult was achieved through the vehicle of a civitate Dei iv.31) that early Roman religious prac-
transported statue, described as an aphidruma tice did not employ anthropomorphic images
(ἀφίδρυμα), a term whose meaning has been the (Taylor, 1931). This tradition suggests an entirely
subject of debate, but which recent analysis has different context than the Greek, where an early
established as referring to an object not necessar- statue could function as the image in a shrine or
ily of sculptural format, but with the ritual func- temple, while also being small and light enough
tion of transferring a cult (Brunel, 1953; Robert, to be carried in procession.
1965; Gras, 1987: 55–56; Charneux, 1992: 340–341; The earliest evidence for a Roman, hand-held
Malkin, 1991; Nick, 2002: 24–25). In any case, no statue is provided by Dio Cassius (xlvii.40.8) in
evidence survives to indicate if the processional his descriptions of the events following on the
function of the Ephesian statue was duplicated assassination of Caesar. Among the evil portents
in its Roman counterpart (Gros, 1987; Liou-Gille, that precede the confrontations between the
1992). Moreover, there are important distinctions armies of Antonius, Octavianus, Cassius and Bru-
which suggest that Roman hand-held statues are tus is that in the purification ceremony for Cas-
not directly connected with these Greek ante- sius’ camp in Makedonia, when a boy carrying
cedents. The Greek statues do not exist only, nor an image of Victoria falls down (42 BCE). That
perhaps even primarily, to be carried in proces- the setting here is Makedonia, would appear to
sion; rather, the procession is but a part of the be simply coincidence, as Dio’s comment that
statue’s religious operation. In the case of the the Victoria in procession is one “such as sol-
Athena Polias, the procession to wash its clothing diers hold” indicates that such a statuette was a
processional statuettes 3

familiar feature of ceremonies in a military camp. response to Augustus’ reorganization of the cult
Dio gives no details as to why a boy has the task of these gods into the imperial cult.
of carrier in this case, and what his qualifications Among the best known of this group are those
were. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to assume appearing on the reliefs attributed to an altar of
that the carrying of the Victoria was a job of some the Vicomagistri (fig. 1), although some doubt
prestige, but performed by someone of second- has been voiced as to whether these do in fact
ary rather than preeminent importance within belong to an altar (Ryberg, 1955: 75–80; Bonanno,
the celebrating group. In a lustration for a mili- 1976: 48; Anderson, 1984). In a procession mov-
tary camp held in a foreign posting, one can see ing across two preserved slabs from left to right
a vestige of domestic, mobile images from which is a group of four figures comprised of two who
the hand-held statue may have originated, but hold statuettes of Lares, one who holds a statu-
with the distinction that by this time such images ette of the emperor, and another who holds
have been promoted to public ceremonies involv- some object which has now been broken away,
ing larger groups. The concern for the visibility of perhaps a scroll. These four are not the Vicom-
the small statue cannot then have been an abso- agistri for whom the reliefs are named today, the
lute, but only a consideration dynamically inter- magistri of the local cult of the Lares. These mag-
related to the spatial or architectural context istri follow on after this group of four, and are
and the nature and disposition of the audience. dressed in togas. The statuette carriers are con-
It should not be assumed, therefore, that hand- trasted with these by their garb, a simple tunic
held statues must necessarily have been confined in combination with a ricinium drawn up over
to small gatherings, and excluded from state cer- the head (Ryberg, 1955: 79–80.; Sebesta, 1994: 50
emonies. The date of the event Dio describes is and n. 43). The identity of these statue carriers
also significant, as it demonstrates that some use has been of some interest to scholarship. Their
of the hand-held statue pre-dates the establish- adolescent growth of beard along with their gen-
ment of the imperial cult, which, as will be seen, eralized Julio-Claudian coiffures caused Ryberg
also made use of this kind of divine imagery. to conclude that they are portraits of members
The circumstances around the definitive appear- of that clan; but in a more recent consideration
ance of hand-held statues in Roman art sug- Bonnano has argued more convincingly that the
gest that, unlike their Greek antecedents, they conventionalized facial renderings indicate that
develop not in conjunction with the larger, state- no such specific interpretation is possible. In
controlled rituals, but in local and even domes- either case it is clear from the beards and the
tic religious observances, where smaller statuary absence of the adult togas that these are youths
would be a natural reflection of a smaller audi- who have not formally taken on the rôle of adult
ence and more limited financial resources. Hand- citizens.
held statues as objects for specific ceremonial The holders of the statuettes are further distin-
function, rather than small statues designed for guished from the rest of the processional company
shrines, first definitively appear in the art of the by their poses, which, despite their participation
Augustan period and continue through the Julio- in the general processional movement from left
Claudian dynasty, with notable emphasis on stat- to right, are frontal. While these poses subvert
uettes of Lares, protective divinities of the house the processional action, they allow the three car-
and wayfares (Niebling, 1956 1956: 303–31; Zanker, riers of statuettes to present their charges with
1969: 205–18; Hano, 1986). As most examples are sufficient deference to the visibility of the gods
in the context of or linked to the imperial cult, for the viewer. Each statuette is held near the
it is apparent that this abrupt appearance of torso of its carrier, from underneath in the left
Lares being employed as hand-held statues is in hand. The right hand is raised near the side of
4 chapter one

Fig. 1. Altar of the Vicomagistri, detail, Vatican Museums. Photo: author

the statuette in a gesture which seems part pro- ple tunic with a ricinium, this time draped over
tecting and part reverentially drawing attention both shoulders rather than over the head. Again
to the divine presence. It is particularly reveal- he is posed frontally, holding the Lar before his
ing that the one figure in the group of four who body from the underside in the left hand. And
does not carry a statuette is the one who does again the empty right hand is raised along the
not share these gestures, and in fact turns slightly side of the statuette. The carrier for the second
away from the frontal pose shared by the others, Lar would have preceeded this one in the pro-
back to the processional direction, thereby func- cession, in the lost section to the right, as paired
tioning as a visual intermediary between the pro- Lares tend to appear in reliefs and in painted ren-
cession and the static group. derings, and indeed even in surviving examples,
Many of these same elements repeat in another with bilateral symmetry, the raised arms of the
example from the Julio-Claudian period, a frag- gods normally falling on the outside of the set.
ment belonging to a monument often, though not The Villa Medici fragment belongs with a series of
without dissent, identified with the Ara Pietatis others as part of a monument depicting a proces-
Augusti (Torelli, 1982: 71; Koeppel, 1983: 106–07). sion whose specific occasion is disputed; but as in
On the fragment in the Villa Medici (fig. 2) a sin- the Vicomagistri reliefs, the Lares seem to occur
gle Lar carrier is preserved, a boy again in a sim- here in the broader context of the imperial cult.
processional statuettes 5

Fig. 2. Procession relief, Villa Medici, Rome. Photo: DAI Rome

6 chapter one

The monument to which the Villa Medici relief by a single large-scale figure that holds his right
belongs is usually dated to the reign of Claudius, arm, now broken away below the elbow, out
so that along with the Vicomagistri reliefs they towards a group of three smaller figures who face
represent the concern for the imperial cult in the him from the other side of an altar. For Ryberg,
sculptural subjects of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. this large figure is the emperor Augustus. She
Both reflect Augustus’ reorganization of the cult points to the similarity in dress between the
of the Lares, and his linking of these protective three smaller figures with the statue carriers of
divinities with the emperor’s genius. the Vicomagistri relief, ungirt tunic, ricinium over
As the Lares were normally rendered in stat- the head, and barefoot, to support her identifi-
uette form it is not unlikely that the statues in cation of these three with the boys or camilli in
processions, at least for local processions like that procession. Two of the boys here hold up in
that depicted on the Vicomagistri reliefs, were front of them in their extended right hands statu-
simply statuettes of the gods pressed into pro- ettes of the Lares. Her identification of the three
cessional service. On both reliefs the pose and here with the three carriers of the Vicomagistri
relative scale of the depicted statuettes are what relief supports her interpretation of the action as
one would expect of actual Lares statues (Car- a presentation by the emperor of the Lares statu-
ratelli, 1990–95: VIII.5.37). However, the Lares ettes to those camilli who will be responsible for
in the Vicomagistri procession stand on bases handling them in processions. The third ­camillus,
which seem exceptionally tall and lack promi- to the far left, would then be the one to carry
nent crown and base moldings. The Lar pre- the statuette of the genius of the emperor; and
served on the Villa Medici relief, on the other Ryberg proposes, not implausibly, that the statu-
hand, has a base which appears more normative ette of the genius was held in the emperor’s now
in height, with clearly rendered moldings. As a lost left hand, waiting to be presented.
tall base would aid visibility away from the hand, In his reconsideration of the scene, Zanker
and conventional decorative moldings would be asks the very reasonable question whether minor
inconvenient for carrying, the base as it appears officiants like the carriers of the Lares would
on the Lares of the Vicomagistri relief may reflect likely be at the centre of the action on a state
the design for statues specifically intended for sponsored monument. Zanker’s posing of the
carrying in procession. question is of course rhetorical; he assumes the
The association of the Lares in these examples negative answer in order to pursue his differing
with the imperial cult links them with a larger interpretation. Rather than focusing on their age,
group of reliefs, mostly altars, which appear in as Ryberg does, Zanker describes them by their
response to Augustus’ reorganization of the cult office. Thus the smaller scale of the holders of the
of the Lares and configuration of the imperial Lares indicates their subordinate status rather
cult. Some of these altars depict statuettes of than their younger age. They are, then, ministri,
the Lares and provide additional evidence for the assistants to the magistri who are responsible
the conventions of the appearance and handling for the operation of the cult. Zanker therefore
of such statuettes. The Belvedere altar (fig. 3), identifies the large figure not as the emperor, but
dedicated by the Senate and the people of Roma, as one of these magistri. As a magister, the large
may commemorate the establishment of the new figure must be engaged in some cult operation
cult. The scene on one of the short sides, involv- rather than presenting the Lares to their han-
ing statuettes of the Lares, has been the subject dlers. He proposes that instead of the recipro-
of somewhat divergent interpretations by Ryberg cal actions of presentation and reception, which
and Zanker (Ryberg, 1955: 57; Zanker, 1969; Hano, unify the ministri and the large figure in Ryberg’s
1986: 2344–45, 2364–65). The scene is dominated interpretation, the scene should be understood
processional statuettes 7

Fig. 3. Belvedere altar, Vatican Museums. Photo: DAI Rome

8 chapter one

as two separate actions: the ministri holding their Belvedere altar, on the other hand, has the carri-
Lares and the magister pouring a libation. ers holding the statues raised to shoulder height,
Accepting Zanker’s interpretation poses some away from the body, and in the right hand. The
problems. The broken right arm of the large gestures may have the flavour of the inevitable, a
figure is held horizontally, lacking the declina- natural and straightforward result of the actions,
tion normally found in one pouring a liquid offer- but the regularity in the appearance of these
ing onto an altar. And restoring the arm with a gestures argues for their following a ceremonial
libation plate seems to result inevitably in a col- decorum. The distinction among the examples
lision of overlapping and confusingly unrelated thus far is determined by the nature of the action:
forms at the centre of the scene. The confluence processions on the Vicomagistri and Villa Medici
of gestures above the altar only makes narrative reliefs, a presentation on the Belvedere altar. The
sense if the statuette of the foremost Lar is being pattern is repeated on two further examples. On
passed from one side of the altar to the other. a fragment in the Lateran (fig. 4), two youths,
Finally, the positions of the hands of the two again dressed in the simple tunic with the ricin-
receiving ministri plead for the participation of ium cast over the shoulders, are in profile to
the large-scale figure. The base of the left Lar is the right in front of a farther row of adult males
held from underneath, just as in the Vicomagistri dressed in togas (LIMC VI, s.v. “Lar, Lares” no. 91;
and Villa Medici reliefs, except that it is held here Ryberg, 1955: 80). The Lar of one of these youths
by the right hand rather than the left. The Lar is preserved on the fragment, but in contrast to
to the right is also handled by the right hand of the processions already seen, here it is held in
its minister, but he seizes the base from the side, the right hand, away from the torso, and raised to
rather than holding it in the palm from below. shoulder height, that is, similar to the manner in
This would be an entirely unnatural and unstable which the Lares are held on the Belvedere altar.
way to hold such a statuette; but it would be rea- The subject of the fragment would be described
sonable for the minister to receive the Lar from properly as the end of a procession, where the
the emperor by seizing the base from the side Lares carriers now present their charges. The
before shifting it to the palm of the hand, as his specific moment at the procession’s end finds its
companion has already done. The same arrange- expression in the mood of hushed expectancy,
ment of hands for presenting and receiving a as well as the gesture of the togate figure at the
statuette can be seen on a medallion issued in left edge who gently urges the Lar carrier forward
celebration of Lucilla’s marriage to Lucius Verus, with a nudge to the upper arm of the camillus.
where a standing female figure hands a statuette The object of this presentation may be an altar,
of the three Graces to a seated female (Toynbee, or a statue, either of a divinity or the emperor,
1944: 97; Grueber, 1874: 17). following the example of the Vicomagistri reliefs,
If Ryberg’s interpretation of the action depicted where the traces of a large throne appear as the
is the more convincing, it still leaves open Zank- goal of the procession just where the preserved
er’s unaddressed issue of the status and respon- section breaks off. The shared imagery of the Lat-
sibility of those who carried the images of the eran fragment and the Belvedere altar accords
gods. The question requires further evidence for with their being reciprocal aspects of the same
satisfactory consideration, but the reliefs thus ceremonial: presenting and receiving of the stat-
far considered can suggest a pattern for the han- ues, respectively.
dling of carrying statues. The Vicomagistri and All these examples involve the function of the
Villa Medici reliefs illustrate carrying statues held Lares in the imperial cult. The revival by Augus-
near the torso, supported underneath in the left tus of the old Lares cult and its grafting onto
hand with the right raised near the statue. The the new imperial cult clouds the source of the
processional statuettes 9

Fig. 4. Procession relief with Lares, Vatican Museums. Photo: author

ceremonial patterns seen in the reliefs. As the divinity, the same situation toward which the car-
earliest evidence for hand-held statues, these riers of the Vicomagistri reliefs move, and which
reliefs by themselves do not make clear what can be inferred for the scene of the Lateran pro-
elements of their handling continue established cession relief, provides a consistent picture of
traditions, and what are the products of the new how these statuettes were handled in presenta-
imperial cult. An altar, now in the Lateran col- tion ceremonies. Torelli’s explanation (1982: 18)
lection, dedicated to the censor C. Manlius by of the event depicted by the three women as
his clients and again dated to the Julio-Claudian the applicatio in clientelam, in which the Lar of
period is of value for addressing this problem the new client is transferred to the household
because its reliefs concern themselves with the of the patron, emphasizes the domestic nature of
domestic cult of the Lares, independent of the the act, where the statuette is presented by those
imperial cult (Ryberg, 1955: 84–87; Torelli, 1982: of secondary status within the family group, its
16–20; Hano, 1986: 2345–56). On one side of the female representatives.
altar an enthroned female divinity perches atop As the altar of Manlius is not dated before
a rocky outcrop, separating two groups of figures, Augustus’s grafting of the cult of the Lares onto
three males at right and three females at left. At the imperial cult, there is the possibility that the
the left margin one of the women holds out a Lar handling of the Lar depicted here is in fact a
in the same manner as on the Belvedere altar and contamination from the newly established con-
the Lateran procession relief, in the right hand, ventions of the imperial cult. In addition, the
away from the body, and at shoulder height. That high quality of the workmanship of the altar has
the statuette is so presented before an enthroned fostered the judgment that, although discovered
10 chapter one

at Caere, it was manufactured in Roma (Torelli, panels, one of which illustrates a sacrifice at an
1982: 16), making it hypothetically susceptible to altar placed in front of a tall pedestal on which
such contamination. Nevertheless, the focus on stands a life-size statue of Minerva. Despite the
the purely domestic manifestation of the cult on damage to the relief, which has obliterated the
the altar makes in balance the more likely expla- lower half of the goddess’ image, the traces of her
nation that the manner depicted here of present- helmet’s plume and her aegis are still visible. Her
ing a hand-held statue represents the conventions left arm is raised in the manner that indicates she
already existent for the domestic Lares cult, and held her spear in this hand. The right arm is low-
possibly for hand-held statues generally, which ered, and drops diagonally away from the body
was subsequently adopted for the imperial cult. at the elbow to an oval object held descended
No example comparable with the altar of Man- from the right hand. The contours of that object
lius exists to confirm that the conventions for and the position of the arm suggest that the god-
hand-held statues in procession as seen in the dess pours a libation, an act whose piety would
Vicomagistri and Villa Medici reliefs antedate account for her holding her spear peacefully in
the introduction of the imperial cult. Indeed the the left hand. The pouring of a libation would
evidence for the fictive rendering of Roman pro- also serve to emphasize the piety of the officiant
cessions from the Republican and early Imperial on the right side of the scene who performs this
periods is so dominated by those Julio-Claudian same act above the altar in front of Minerva’s
examples connected with the imperial cult as to statue. The image of Minerva is also notewor-
make it particularly difficult to see through this thy for her dress. Sleeves seem to cover the arms
lens with confidence to what in these proces- down to the elbows. These sleeves could corre-
sions has been borrowed from existing conven- spond to a khiton worn underneath Minerva’s
tions, and what is newly invented. However, two usual peplos, or simply the lateral extensions of
of the identified features of a hand-held statue in an ample peplos alone (Ridgway, 1977: 90–91).
procession, the placement of it in the left hand The details of the statue of Minerva are
and near the body, are not uncommon for the repeated on the other figural panel of the altar
carrying of ritual paraphernalia generally, as, for (fig. 5) which depicts a large-scale figure in a toga
example, among the women on the inner altar handing to a group of figures a small image of
frieze of the Ara Pacis. This may then be the the goddess. The scene might be read either as
accepted manner for carrying all such objects, commemorating specifically the presentation
with which hand-held statues would be kin. of a hand-held statue of Minerva to the group
An altar found in Rome and dedicated by a depicted, or more generally the providing by the
group of named ministri of the collegium fabrum togate figure to the group, for its sacrificial duties,
tignariorum (figs. 5 and 6) is decorated with reliefs the large cult statue of Minerva which dominates
which provide important further evidence for the the scene on the other side. In either case, the
appearance of, and decorum towards hand-held scale of the statue is adjusted for the context,
statues (Stuart Jones, 1912: 120–21; Ryberg, 1955: enlarged if actually a hand-held statue, dimin-
87–88; Pearse, 1975: 100–23). On the basis of the ished if standing for the life-size cult statue. But
dedicatory inscription the altar has been dated the subject matter of the presentation of a cult
to the reign of Augustus or the Julio-Claudian statue is without parallel, and it is questionable
period generally, making it contemporary with whether this could be satisfactorily expressed by a
the various Lares reliefs. But unlike those, this group of figures literally taking hold of the statue.
altar involves neither the Lares nor the impe- On the other hand, the evidence, both visual and
rial cult, being dedicated rather to a cult of Min- textual, for the treatment of hand-held statues,
erva. The altar’s decoration includes two figural as well as the internal evidence of the altar for
processional statuettes 11

Fig. 5. Altar of the collegium fabrum tignariorum, Museo Capitolino. Photo: Ryberg 1955
12 chapter one

the identity of the figures depicted, supports the That the altar seems to identify this guild with
reading of this as another hand-held statue. The a specific type of Minerva has interested scholars
consistency between the handling of the statu- with identifying that type. Ryberg had thought
ette of Minerva and the handling of Lares, real she resembled Minerva as she appears on coins
statues of which exist only in this small format, of the emperor Claudius (Ryberg, 1955: 88; Mat-
is a part of the visual evidence. The scene closely tingly, 1923–50: I, pl. 35, 4). However, the Minerva
parallels the presentation on the Belvedere altar on those coins brandishes her spear, making her
(fig. 3). Allowing for the difference that the Bel- a distinct departure from the more pacific type
vedere altar involves the presentation of two on the altar. Ryberg’s identification was driven by
statues, where the altar of the ministri involves her dating of the altar on the basis of formal evi-
only one, the gestures of presenting and receiv- dence to the later Julio-Claudian period, and she
ing are quite close. And as there is on the altar of therefore focused her search in that area. A more
the ministri no depicted altar between the large promising comparison is made by Schürmann
togate figure presenting the statuette and the to a relief, thought to come from a large altar,
group of smaller figures receiving it, there is no illustrating a carpentry workshop (fig. 7). Here,
possibility here of misinterpreting the action of among the workmen, appears their patron god-
exchange for some action of sacrifice. dess. Damage to the relief has resulted in the loss
The side panels of the altar of the ministri of her head and both lower arms, but the remain-
depict a selection of priestly accoutrements and der of the figure conforms to the Minerva on the
woodworking tools, so that the altar has long altar of the ministri: left arm held out at shoulder
been thought to be the dedication by members of height as if supported on a spear, the right arm
a guild of woodworkers, the collegium fabrum tig- lowered apparently holding some object away
nariorum. The inference has been strengthened from the body. The same type would seem to be
by the discovery that four magistri, those whose repeated in a fragmentary statuette in Dresden,
names survive of the six in the altar’s inscription which sports a double hemmed garment much
as being the masters of those slaves who func- like the Minerva of the workshop altar, and has
tioned as ministri and who dedicated the altar been judged an eclectic creation of the Augustan
during the college’s second lustrum, are also period (Schürmann, 1985: 60). A further exam-
named in other surviving records of that guild as ple which should be considered in the context
serving as magistri in that same lustrum (Pearse, of images of Minerva connected with a carpen-
1975). The selection of the goddess Minerva, as try workshop is the depiction of a shipwright’s
the patroness of craft workers, is a natural choice shop depicted on a gold-glass medallion, Vatican
for such a professional association (Pearse, 1975: Museo Sacro 345 (Morey, 1959: 23).
114), especially as she appears here with her mili- Schürmann has further compared the Minerva
tary aspect subdued, her spear moved to the left of the workshop altar relief to the statue in the
hand, and her shield (apparently) omitted. On temple of Minerva on the Aventine. The statue of
the sacrificial scene (fig. 6) there is the trace of a that temple, if correctly identified on coins, did
horizontal form projecting from behind Minerva’s hold the spear peaceably in the left hand. But
right thigh. Conceivably this might be the edge of the right hand held an owl, so that the right arm
Minerva’s shield, but the damage precludes a cer- is best held directly away from the body, with
tain determination. The remaining contour does an object which sits atop the hand. The altar of
not match the curve of a shield, and seems to be the ministri, preserving the best evidence for the
in too high a position. In any case, the statuette position of the right arm of the college’s god-
being presented on the other side of the altar dess, shows the right arm as held in a distinctly
clearly has no shield. declined position, with the object descending
processional statuettes 13

Fig. 6. Altar of the collegium fabrum tignariorum, Museo Capitolino. Photo: author
14 chapter one

Fig. 7. Minerva workshop relief, Museo Capitolino. Photo: author

from the hand. Moreover, the temple of Minerva mann, 1985: 59), in contrast with the more modest
on the Aventine seems to have been closely asso- altar dedicated by the six ministri. The exact prov-
ciated with playwrights and poets, perhaps even enance of the altar of the ministri is not known; but
the collegium poetarum itself, rather than with its earliest recorded location is in a church in this
craft workers. The textual evidence is not clear- same area, strengthening its association with the
cut, but the craft workers would seem to have guild and the workshop relief (Colini, 1947: 26).
worshipped their patroness instead at the temple The workshop relief has been dated to the
of Minerva Capta near the Caelian (Richardson, Flavian period (Colini, 1947: 21–28); the altar
1992: s.v. “Minerva”, “Aedes” and “Minerva Capta”; of the ministri is dated by its inscription to the
Waltzing, 1895: I, 199). More importantly, it is not second lustrum of the guild, placing it between
necessary to seek the type of Minerva on the 2 BCE and 3 CE, subsequent to Augustus’ general
reliefs in question among those of some major reorganization of the colleges in 7 BCE (Pearse,
state cult. There was a multitude of more modest 1975; Royden, 1988: 130–34). The appearance of
cults around the city about which little detailed the same statue of Minerva on the workshop
information has survived, either of the image or relief and as the object of worship by the guild
the special worshippers. The small gatherings of on the ministri altar demonstrates that the hand-
participants in both the presentation and sacri- held statue which appears in the presentation
fice scenes on the altar of the ministri accord well scene on the ministri altar in that it duplicates
with a modest, localized cult. the Minerva statue is the Roman equivalent of
The workshop relief discussed by Schürmann what is known from Greek inscriptions as an
was recovered from the same area in Rome apeikonisma (ἀπεικόνισμα), or type-statue, one
between the Capitoline and the Tiber in which which reproduces the iconography of the prin-
other material connected with the collegium fab- cipal, fixed image of the divinity, but serves to
rum tignariorum has been found, suggesting that stand in for it on other ceremonial occasions, like
the headquarters of the association was located processions. The image on the altar would con-
somewhere in this area. The scale of the altar to stitute a rare illustration of a type-statue, while
which this relief belonged is sufficient to indicate the text of the Salutaris endowment at Ephesos,
that it represented some guild dedication (Schür- discussed below, demonstrates that the Romans
processional statuettes 15

were familiar with this kind of image. As the term Ryberg identified the large togate figure on
only requires the visual reproduction of the prin- the right of the scene as Augustus because she
cipal statue, all type-statues are not necessarily could see in the broken profile of the head no
hand-held statues, and conversely, all hand-held indication of a beard. Stuart Jones had detected
statues are not necessarily type-statues. Thus the such a beard and therefore concluded that the
statue of Hephaistos carried on a litter by four figure must be King Numa. In fact the traces of
men appearing on coins of Magnesia-on-the- the broken head seem indecisive on this point,
Maiandros, which duplicates the principal image and allow for either interpretation. But while Stu-
of Hephaistos on other coins of the city, may also art Jones’s identification of the scene as the pre-
be called a type-statue, although it is clearly of sentation of the Palladium to a group of vestals
a much larger format than a small, hand-held no longer seems compelling, the identification
statue (Malten, 1912: 240–42). For type-statues, of King Numa deserves serious consideration.
the iconographic duplication of the principal Neither the presentation scene nor the sacrifice
statue and the mobility are the defining charac- scene matches the contemporary structure of the
teristics; for the hand-held statue the limitation guild. The condition of the reliefs is simply too
of scale small enough for one person to carry is poor to count up in the officiants in the sacrifice
the defining characteristic. scene the six magistri, who presumably carried
As the appearance of the type-statue on the out sacrifices on behalf of the guild in the imperial
ministri altar presupposes the prior existence of period, and likewise six ministri seems too many
the principal image of Minerva, the presentation for the group who receive the statuette.1 But if the
scene must therefore follow after the establish- events depicted are understood as occurring in
ment of the cult and its image, seen in operation the past, these variations are of no consequence.
on the opposite side. For Ryberg the act of hand- Both Ploutarkhos in his Life of Numa and Plinius
ing over the hand-held statue was an inaugura- (naturalis historia xxxiv.1 and xxxv.159) record a
tion of the six ministri by the pontifex maximus, tradition that it was Numa who first set up the
who at the probable date of the altar would be workers of Rome in collegia for the social benefit
Augustus. But the epigraphic evidence for the of the city (Gabba, 1984: 81–86; Richard, 1978).
guild indicates that the ministri who dedicated Thus the scene of Numa presenting a carrying
the altar were slaves of the six magistri of that statue of Minerva to the ministri of the carpen-
guild, and it seems doubtful that the emperor in try guild would assert the antiquity of that guild,
actuality or in representation would be shown both appealing to Augustan policy on allowing
concerning himself with the affairs of slaves. only long established guilds to continue, as well
Moreover, Augustus, like Julius Caesar before him, as underscoring the guild’s association with the
was deeply mistrustful of trade guilds, which he revered king who was a model for Augustan pre-
regarded as often little more than criminal orga- occupation with religious and social reform.
nizations, and took steps to abolish all of them The conspicuous rôle of ministri in the presen-
which were not of high antiquity and pursuing tation scene is particularly valuable for indicat-
legitimate business (Suetonius, Augustus 32). In ing the social status of those who carry the divine
this context, the scene of sacrifice on the altar statuettes. That the altar is dedicated by the min-
should be seen as a demonstration of the guild’s istri of the guild rather than the magistri seems
pious concern with the needs of their goddess, a
quality sure to appeal to Augustus. Similarly, the
presentation of the hand-held statue should also 1 I am indebted to the Museo Capitolino for permis-
be seen as an appeal for the guild’s value, in this sion to examine the altar at firsthand, although I cannot
case based on age and legitimacy. account for more than four figures.
16 chapter one

a departure from the usual practice revealed in statue carriers on the Vicomagistri altar, their
epigraphical evidence. Inscriptions from Min­ charges. The critical defining feature is that it is
turnae, Capua and Delos provide a picture of the the imperial cult which is the focus. Emperors
magistri of a cult being responsible for, among did take a direct interest in the statuary of the
other duties, the business of making such dedi- imperial cult, as a letter from Claudius to the citi-
cations (Johnson, 1933: 118, n.23; Royden, 1988: zens of Alexandreia indicates (Bell, 1924: 5–8, 32;
128–34; van Nijf, 1997: 73–128; Münzen, 1935; Smallwood, 1967: 99–102). And Augustus himself
Flambard 1982). As dedicators of the altar in took pride in his providing of statuary for local
Roma, the ministri are featured in the unusual cults (Suetonius, Augustus 57).
presentation scene on one of the altar’s princi- From the end of the Julio-Claudian period,
pal faces. Since these ministri are shown receiv- another visual example of a hand-held statue
ing the statuette it seems reasonable to conclude survives, but in somewhat mitigated form. The
that it is also their responsibility to handle the paintings adorning the room called the Volta
statuette in its ceremonial appearance during Dorata in the Domus Aurea of Nero are known
procession. The absence of the statuette from through various descriptions and in drawings
the actual scene of sacrifice on the opposite side masterfully gathered by F. Weege (Weege, 1913),
of the altar indicates that such hand-held statues but the almost complete loss of the originals
played no rôle during the culminating act, being raises the possibility that some details may have
rendered superfluous by the presence of the full- been misunderstood in the descriptions or the
scale image of the goddess. copies. A painting, apparently from one of the
These ministri clearly take pride in their cer- walls, is known from a rendering in the sketch-
emonial responsibility, in choosing their rôle as book of the sixteenth-century Dutch artist, Fran-
tenders of the hand-held statue to decorate their ceso d’Olanda (fig. 8), with corroboration by
dedication. The altar thus defines by its imagery eighteenth-century descriptions. It cannot be
those who tend to the hand-held statue as sub- certain that the painting in question was copied
ordinate officiants in the operation of the cult. by Franceso in its entirety. Weege (1913: 179–80)
In this case, the divinity involved is a major one, identified the subject as the Eleusinian mysteries,
even if in the context of a local cult, but the same but without substantial comment.
hierarchy for those who carry the statues seem The painting presents an evenly distributed
to hold elsewhere. In the images from Roma of assortment of figures across the foreground
those carrying the Lares in conjunction with space, the scene pervaded with a sense of expec-
the imperial cult, the carriers are boys as their tancy. Few figures interact with others, and then
scale and dress indicates, though of aristocratic only in pairs; the remainder, in their spatial and
rank, perhaps of the imperial household itself. emotional isolation, seem unaware of anyone
The altar of Manlius suggests a commensurate else around them. Two figures are rendered on
situation for domestic cults of the Lares; here it smaller scales than those in the foreground, as
is the wife of the client who holds the Lar. The if in deeper space approaching the gathering.
consistency of this relationship answers Zanker’s At the right side of the painting the ground line
concern with the identification of characters in drops and two figures are only half emerged from
the presentation scene on the Belvedere altar the ground, as if climbing up to join the figures
(fig. 3). Ryberg would be correct here in her inter- in the foreground from some lower level.
pretation of the large togate figure as Augustus, The preserved elements are consistent with
accompanied by the magistri of the cult, as he a gathering for the mountaintop thiasos of
presents to the ministri, dressed exactly as the Dionysos (Wrede, 1991: 180). Wrede has pointed
processional statuettes 17

Fig. 8. Volta Dorata, Domus Aurea. Photo: Weege 1913

to the dress of some women as consistent with the participants arriving to some high ground
a Dionysian subject. But details may have been corresponds to the localization of such revels in
misinterpreted by the copyist: the male at right the mountains.
with the long pole originally may have carried a The presence of Dionysian imagery in a scene
thyrsos, and the cone-shaped object in the liknon of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the subject sug-
held by two women nearby may have been the gested by Weege, would not be surprising; but
veiled phallus. Nevertheless, there are sufficient the absence of any clearly Eleusinian visual ref-
iconographic points to make the identification erence (unless one assumes that the figure on
with a Dionysian thiasos persuasive: the shallow the right holding a long pole in Franceso’s copy
liknon, the basket carried by a woman on her is actually holding a torch) and the presence of a
head, the high boots worn by the figure muffled statue of Dionysos, while no other, more clearly
in a heavy cloak, and the two figures with their Eleusinian divinity is present, makes identifica-
heads veiled. And finally there is, held aloft by tion of the scene as a Dionysian thiasos the bet-
one of the woman, a statuette of a bearded male ter choice. Similarly, the presence of the winged
god wearing a mantle and an ivy crown, and figure of Victoria is consistent with the triumphal
holding a staff which may well be a thyrsos, in motif of the Dionysian thiasos, but seemingly
short, a statue of the god Liber or Dionysos. The out of place in the celebration of the Eleusin-
god’s statuette is on a larger scale than is typi- ian Mysteries. Consideration of the selection of
cal for Lares, but similar in scale to the Minerva subject for its site, Nero’s new palace, also gives
on the altar of the ministri. The gathering is set the nod to the Dionysian identification. Mae-
against an intensely dark background, suggesting nadic rites were performed by some in the impe-
a nocturnal event. However, the figures also cast rial household, though perhaps not to its better
long shadows from a light source to the right. external repute (Tacitus, Annales. ix.31). On the
The likely explanation of these conditions is that other hand Nero himself, when visiting Athenai,
the time is sunrise or sunset, consistent with an avoided the Eleusinian Mysteries because fearful
eighteenth-century report that the background that his culpability in the murder of Agrippina
was red (Weege, 1913: 179). As the identifiable would cause him to be turned away from initia-
actions of the characters indicate a time of prep- tion (Suetonius, Nero 34). Clinton has argued that
aration, sunset is the better choice as the adher- Suetonius here is indulging in rumour monger-
ents of the god gather for their nighttime revels ing, and the real reason for Nero’s decision not
(Livius xxxix.13.8–14). The suggestion of some of to attend is unknown (Clinton, 1989: 1514). But
18 chapter one

whether Nero’s attitude toward the Eleusinian holds the statue away from the body and ele-
Mysteries was fear, antipathy or apathy, the sub- vated in her right hand, matching the previously
ject does not present itself as the most likely one discussed visual examples for displaying or pre-
for decorating his palace. senting the hand-held statue, rather than walking
The collection of participants depicted in the with it. The darker tone given the statue in the
painting is consistent with a contemporary thia- copy suggests that in the original painting it was
sos rather than a mythological one: none of those depicted as of bronze or gold. If the copy is accu-
present can be identified as a mythological figure. rate, the original painting may exaggerate the
There is a winged figure, dressed in a peplos and statuette for visibility: it is shown as if just under
holding a staff, but the scale and proportions of half life-size, but attached to a tiny base, and is
the figure make clear that this is a child dressed supported on the fingertips by the bearer. The
as Victoria rather than the goddess herself, and prevailing isolation of the figures in the painting
Victoria apparently could be personified by a boy makes it unclear if the woman is presenting the
(Obsequens, de prodigiis 70). The participation statuette to one of her companions, or holding it
of both women and men is also characteristic of aloft for the benefit of the viewer. But clearly a
the Dionysian thiasos as performed during the procession has not yet begun.
Roman period (Henrichs, 1978: 155–60). A similar In its catalogue of the members of the com-
mixture of female and male worshippers of Dio- munity, the Torre Nova inscription lists two men
nysos is cataloged in an inscription on a statue described as theophoroi (θεοφόροι). Cumont argues
base of the middle of the second century from that in this context the term should be understood
Torre Nova (Cumont, 1933). While the inscrip- as meaning carriers of the god, and he concludes
tion and the painting are not simply textual and that these two must have carried the image of the
visual correlates of each other, the inscription god on a litter during the thiasos (Cumont, 1933:
does underscore the Dionysian character of the 244). The visual evidence for statues on litters,
painting. It catalogues the members of the Dio- to be discussed below, raises problems with this
nysian community according to their responsibil- interpretation. No representation of a statue on a
ities. Individuals are specified as responsible for litter is rendered with two carriers, and the prac-
carrying the basket, and the liknon, tasks which tical problems of such an arrangement indicate
also appear in the painting. And the text helps that this is not the chance of preservation. The
explain aspects of the painting that might oth- lifting and carrying of a litter by only two people
erwise perplex. For example, at the extreme left seems like an awkward proposition for the small
of the painting a figure with a mantle drawn up advantage of a somewhat larger statue than what
over his (?) head sits with a child on his lap. Two an individual could carry alone by hand. A litter
names are given in the Torre Nova inscription carried by two people could only be as wide as
described as amphithaleis (ἀμφιθαλεῖς). Cumont an individual’s shoulders. A litter of such narrow
identifies these two as the ministers of the chil- dimension would not be able to accommodate
dren used by the college for prophesy (Cumont, very substantial statues. It is for this reason that
1933: 230). The visual evidence of the Domus statues carried on litters in paintings and relief
Aurea painting for such child prophets is of sculptures regularly involve four carriers or more.
importance as it corroborates their presence in And each of the hypothetical two litter bearers
Dionysian worship, a presence not known before would have had the awkward task of raising
Cumont’s publication of the Torre Nova inscrip- two poles up over his head and onto his shoul-
tion. Also of particular interest in the painting is der simultaneously, while his comrade did the
the manner of the woman holding the statuette same. Symbols, rather than statues, of gods are
of the god. She stands still, with legs together and sometimes carried by two figures on litters held
processional statuettes 19

on lowered arms, as on the arch of Traianus in ancillary element in the new imperial cult, but
Benevento and the Casa delle Nozze d’Ercole in also appearing in ceremonial activity of various
Pompeii, discussed below in Chapter 4. societal groups, like trade guilds (altar of the
A more compelling explanation for the theo- collegium fabrum tignariorum), religious guilds
phoroi of the Torre Nova inscription which is also (Domus Aurea) and the army (Dio). The final
consistent with the substantial visual evidence examples of representations of statues carried by
is that these two individuals are responsible for single individuals are also from Roma, but reflect
hand-held statues rather than a litter, much as the adoption there of Egyptian cults, and there-
the figure in the Domus Aurea painting. That the fore raise the issue of the importation of Egyptian
inscription names two theophoroi might indicate religious practices and paraphernalia.
that these two alternately fulfilled the responsi- The influence of Egyptian ceremonial tradi-
bility, or it could indicate the carrying of two stat- tions on Roma is a function of the import of Egyp-
ues, a phenomenon paralleled by the nine statues tian cults, a practice seen throughout Italy (Tram
of Artemis for carrying in procession specified by tan Tinh, 1964), but in Roma linked particularly
endowment of Gaius Vibius Salutaris at Ephesos to the promotion of the sanctuary of Isis and
in 103/04 CE (Rogers, 1991, and Gebhard, 1996: Sarapis under the Flavians (Tram tan Tinh, 1996).
121–23; see Appendix, no. 2). Further consistent The columns from the Iseum, in their monolithic,
with the identification of the theophoroi at Torre unfluted design and granite fabric being recol-
Nova as carriers of hand-held statues is their rela- lections of Egyptian architecture, are decorated
tive status within the community. They are listed with figures standing on small pedestals, and
immediately after the highest officials of that carrying a variety of ceremonial paraphernalia.
community, the first among the various carriers Two figures among them hold statuettes of Har-
of things. They occupy, then, a position similar pokrates (Lembke, 1994: 43–44, 186–8). Also from
to that of the carriers of hand-held statues in the Iseum is a votive of a kneeling figure hold-
the visual depictions, a position of prestige, but ing a shrine with an image of a goddess inside
beneath that of those of the highest status within (Lembke, 1994: pl. 38.1).
the group. Similarly, the carriers of the hand-held The situation for understanding the Egyptian
statues of Artemis at Ephesos are ephebes, chil- influence is complicated by the Hellenisation of
dren of an important segment of society, but not that state prior to the arrival of the Romans, and
yet themselves fully of that high echelon. It is the policy of the Ptolemies of preserving and pro-
significant that Salutaris’ endowment specifies moting the indigenous traditions, while featuring
that the ephebes are only released from their their own participation. For Egyptian religion,
responsibility for the processional statues after the peripatetic temple statue is the rule. Reliefs
the procession finishes and the assemblies have depicting the bringing forth of the divine image
been dismissed (ll.207–09; Rogers, 1991: 162–63; on a bark, carried along on a litter by a contingent
see Appendix, no. 2). As will become apparent of priests are familiar from temple decoration
with the discussion of litters, those who carry lit- (Helck, 1980; Lorton, 1999). But there also appear
ters have a much different status. on temple reliefs what seem to be statues carried
The representations of hand-held statues from by hand. The difficulty with interpreting these
the Early Empire discussed thus far are of par- images is to determine whether the depiction is
ticular importance in that they are all from the to be taken literally, or as a visual expression for
city of Roma, confirming that whatever were the the offering of a statue. A written description of a
influences on the development of this genre, by procession involving a statue of Senwosret III in
the first century CE it was fully integrated into a ivory and one of Senwosret II in ebony suggests
number of ceremonies, not limited to being an by virtue of the materials of which the statues are
20 chapter one

constructed that they were small enough to be Roman practice discussed most strikingly in the
held by single carriers, providing some evidence status of the individual on whom is conferred
for the existence of this type of statue (Quirke, the honour of carrying the god’s image. Even in
1997: 31). A room in the Festival Temple of Thut- Roma, this continues to fall in the Egyptian man-
mose III at Karnak is decorated with a register ner to a priest.
of priests holding statues of the king shown as After the Julio-Claudian period there is a
small figures on bases. The accompanying texts dearth of surviving visual examples of hand-held
identify the subject as a procession of statues of statues until the Late Empire. For the interven-
the king. It is just possible to maintain that in ing time there survives a body of texts bearing on
this and other similar scenes, the statues corre- Roman ceremony, which may provide evidence
spond to much larger statues brought in proces- for hand-held statues if it were possible to deter-
sion accompanied by priests, rather than carried mine the specific kinds of objects to which these
by them. But the transport of such larger statues texts refer. Towards this end, it is useful at this
does appear in more descriptive fashion in Egyp- point to consider the general patterns of devel-
tian art (Vandier, 1964: 620–24). Moreover, the opment that the visual evidence seems to reveal.
register below the procession of statue-bearing The general observation that the large category
priests depicts temple staff carrying vases, so that of hand-held statue includes the more familiar
reading a consistent scale between the carrier Lares is reinforced both by the identical notions
and the object carried is the simplest interpreta- of decorum in their handling in visual depic-
tion of the procession (Fisher, 1956: 34–35; Fisher, tions, and by the contemporary occurrence of
1957: 36–38; Porter and Moss, 1972: 123). While for representations of the Lares and hand-held stat-
Egyptian art there has not been a comprehensive ues of other divinities during the Julio-Claudian
study of temple and processional statuary, the period. For the Lares, this visual interest is linked
prevailing scholarly opinion is that priests might to Augustus’ reorganization of the Lares cult, and
carry in procession, in addition to the god’s image the development of the cult of the emperor. Simi-
in a bark on a litter, smaller statues comparable larly, the depiction of a statuette in the hands of
to their Roman and Greek counterparts. ministri of the collegium fabrum tignariorum may
For the examples from the Iseum in Roma, the well reflect Augustus’ reorganization of the col-
figures responsible for carrying the small images leges, as well as his concern for urban cults, at
of gods are identifiable as priests, thus in marked least those in Roma.
contrast to the examples of figures with hand- Due to the relatively late date of the evidence
held statues in depictions of Roman ceremonies. for hand-held statues in Roman ceremony, expla-
By their dress and shaved heads, the figures on nation of their origin can only be hypothetical.
the columns of the Iseum holding Harpokrates The small scale would seem to make them espe-
are identifiable as priests. From the kneeling cially well-suited to more intimate ceremonies
votive figure, the head is missing, but the hiero- where that scale would not be a disadvantage for
glyphic text identifies him with an Egyptian visibility. And it is easy to imagine that the inti-
name, Wahibre, and describes his office as priest mate relationship between the divinity and the
of the goddess, Neith. And like Wahibre’s name, bearer make statues of this type a natural expres-
the iconography of a votive statue of a priest hold- sion of personal or household divinities. The car-
ing a shrine is entirely Egyptian. These examples rying of images in procession adds a larger and
suggest that Egyptian practice, even imported more public element, for which there are the
to Roma, continues to adhere to its idiosyn- parallel cases of two venerable Roman ceremo-
cratic form (Dunand, 1979: 93–94, 260–63). With nies, the funeral and the triumphal processions;
respect to hand-held statues, this departs from and the carrying of funeral masks by members of
processional statuettes 21

the deceased’s family in both funeral processions 58–60; Price, 1984: 170–206; see Appendix, no. 2).
and at public sacrifices (Polybios vi.53) even pro- The procession began at the Artemision, where
vides examples of group status being connected the statues would be stored, and wound through
with those allowed to bear single images, similar the city along a route featuring various important
to the pattern in representations of hand-held architectural spaces culminating at the theatre,
statues. However, there is no evidence to con- where the statuettes were installed on provided
firm that hand-held statues were ever a part of bases. Subsequently, the statuettes would have
either of these ceremonies. The use of multiple continued in procession through the city, return-
hand-held statues of the same divinity in large ing finally to the Artemision (Rogers, 1991: 80–135;
scale, public processions, as that established in Gebhard, 1996: 121–23). Some of the bases for the
the Salutaris endowment at Ephesos, hints at a statuettes have been recovered from excavations
device originally of domestic or local orientation of the theatre (Wankel, 1979: nos. 28–37). Bases
being adapted to a much larger context. Alter- for statues were also part of a sacrarium for the
natively, the tradition of hand-held statues may imperial cult in the theatre at Mérida (Trillmich,
have been a borrowing from Greek ceremony, but 1989–90). As no larger visual elements are indi-
in the absence of a full study of Greek ceremonial cated as participating in the Ephesos procession,
paraphernalia no conclusion on this point is pos- the visual impact would be achieved by the num-
sible. However, the extravagant range of carried ber and splendour of the statuettes, specified in
objects in the procession of Ptolemaios Philadel- silver or gilded silver, and likewise the splendour
phos is sufficient warning against assuming non- of their carriers.
existence from the absence of physical evidence In addition to the route, the identity of the car-
(Rice, 1983). One of the striking features of the riers, and the material of the statuettes at Ephe-
body of texts bearing on hand-held statues from sos, the shear abundance of the statuettes (and
the second, third and fourth centuries CE is that their carriers) must have contributed to the visual
many are from the Greek East, involve large state effect, the endowment here calling for the man-
ceremonies blending Greek and Roman content, ufacture of nine statues of Artemis alone. The
and often use specialized Greek terminology. specific form of the statuettes also played a rôle
Apparently by that time, such images were a in shaping the community’s sense of itself, both
familiar feature, at least of these hybrid ceremo- those represented in the procession and those in
nies; but the link to the East does suggest a strong the audience. The nine statuettes of Artemis, as
Greek element in the adoption of the hand-held distinct from the other statuettes provided for
statue among the Romans. in the endowment, are specified as apeikonis-
The Salutaris endowment of 103/04 CE at mata, “type-statues.” That such statues are repro-
Ephesos, already referred to, adds to the infor- ductions of some other, well-known statue, is a
mation from the visual evidence of the Julio- point emphasized in the endowment where it
Claudian period a substantive picture of the specifies that one of the type-statues should fol-
functioning of the hand-held statue within speci- low the design of the statue of Artemis the torch-
fied social, architectural and sculptural contexts. bearer in the exedra of the ephebes (ll.168–69),
In this case, the statuettes are set firmly within an apt visual allusion, as the honour of carrying
state ceremony, as the endowment calls for the the statuettes would fall to these ephebes. So
inclusion of statuettes of the emperor Traianus, far as the preserved text reveals, the other type-
and various institutions of the community, as statues included an Artemis with a torch and a
well as the nine representations of the city’s libation bowl (ll.173–74), and two more torch-
patron goddess. To the city’s ephebes went the bearers (ll.186–87). It is possible that all these
responsibility of carrying the statues (Rogers, 1991: statues copy the same original, and specifying
22 chapter one

the sculptural allusion obvious to a local audi- statuettes are not to fix a specific size, since
ence was regarded as an unnecessary detail in weight will only approximately determine size.
such a text. In any case the iconography is a stan- Rather, the weights in precious metals are for the
dard one for a figure of Artemis (Rogers, 1991: 111). more important function in a financial document
For both the privileged boys in the procession, as of fixing their value. Here the term used for the
well as the spectators, these type-statues would Athena is, as for the imperial protraits, eikon. This
serve to recall not simply the individual statue(s) statuette is to be installed in the regular assem-
copied, but a rich weave of their architectural blies, but did not form a part of Salutaris’ proces-
settings throughout the city, the events typically sion. No indication is given as to the design of
localized to those spaces, by whom, and perhaps the statuette. If the use or avoidance of the term
even their history (Rogers, 1991: 80–115). And for apeikonisma in the Salutaris document has a pre-
many of the spectators, these type-statues must cise implication, it would seem to be for a divine
have been the best view they would ever get of statue designed after some well-known model,
the image of the goddess, if the copied statue was and intended to be carried in procession.
one that was held in the controlled space on the Unlike apeikonisma, aphidruma is defined and
inside of a temple. often used as a term comparable to xoanon (ξόανον)
The apeikonisma is identified in glossaries or agalma, that is, a statue in a temple or shrine
with aphidruma as terms for a reproduction of a and the focus of ritual (Donohue, 1988: 81–82,
statue (Charneux, 1992; Robert, 1965; Malkin, 1991; 101). That it shares with apeikonisma the sense
Nick, 2002: 24–25). The words may simply be syn- of being a reproduction of some other statue is
onyms, and neither the frequency of their occur- reflected in its use by Strabon several times to
rences, nor the details makes a hard distinction describe cults that have been transferred from
certain. Nevertheless, there is a consistency to some earlier one: that of Askelpios at Gerenia in
the evidence which makes it possible to propose Messenia (viii.4.4), that of Apollon at Dastarcum
some difference between the ordinary usages of (xii.2.6), and that of the Ephesian Artemis at Mas-
the two terms. The apeikonismata in the Salutaris salia (iv.1.4). It also occurs in inscriptions with
endowment are specified by weight, the heaviest this sense of a reproduction, but at times with
being over seven pounds. The other statues for the clear implications of some reduced size from
the endowment’s procession, imperial portraits the original, not because of the requirements
and personifications, are of similar weights, but of ceremonial use, as with the apeikonisma, but
these are referred to as eikones (εἰκόνες), even because of the practice of transferring a cult with
though they, too, must have been copied from the aphidruma, where some measure of mobility
models, or at least followed some standardized is advantageous. Ironically this reduced scale is
types. Gebhard estimates the largest statue as not a characteristic which at times resulted in such
over a meter high (Gebhard, 1996: 122), and the modestly-sized statues being stolen. But as with
statues for the imperial cult at Mérida are esti- the transferring of cults, the mobility here is an
mated to have been 0.80–0.90 m. tall (Trillmich, occasional rather than the principal defining
1989–90: 99), even if a bit awkward for carrying. function of the statue.
The visual evidence, like the Capitoline altar of The details provided by the Salutaris endow-
the ministri, suggests that carrying statues could ment are helpful in identifying other cases of car-
have been well under that. An addendum to the rying statues. At Oinoanda in Lykia, Gaius Iulius
endowment further arranges for a statuette of Demosthenes established a quadrennial festival
Athena Pammousos, specifying a similar weight in 124 CE, with a procession that features again
and material (ll.465–69; Rogers, 1991: 180–81). It imperial images, and specifies that along with
would seem the weight specifications with these them be carried an image of Apollon Patroos,
processional statuettes 23

and a sliver altar to be dedicated by Demosthenes of imperial protomai, there does not seem to be
(Wörrle, 1988: 187–90; Mitchell, 1990; Gebhard, enough to accommodate a large statue of Apollon
1996: 123–25, see Appendix, no. 5). The images of on a litter. Finally, those responsible for the car-
the emperors, presumably including at least Had- rying, the sebastophoroi, fit the expected model
rianus, Sabina, Traianus and Plotina (and Augus- of those with this task, a group accorded a dis-
tus?), are described as eikones, with no additional tinct mark of status, but subordinate, in this case
term provided to describe the statue of Apollon. to the agnothetes, who is charged with the power
The bearers of the imperial images, the statue of to appoint them (Wörrle, 1988: 183–209). While
Apollon and the altar are the sebastophoroi, ten none of these points individually is conclusive,
in number. Several elements in the provisions for together they make it more likely than not that
this procession indicate that the image of Apol- the statue of Apollon Patroos in Demosthenes’
lon here was probably a hand-held statue. First, procession was a hand-held statue.
the title of sebastophoroi given to the bearers of Wörrle compared the Apollon Patroos in the
the images and the altar is that applied to those Demosthenes procession to a silver statue of
who carry imperial busts (Robert, 1960; Wörrle, Eleutheria recorded in an inscription from Ter-
1988: 216–19; Fishwick, 1981; Pekáry, 1985: 38). It messos Maior (Wörrle, 1988: 216, n.189; Robert,
seems likely that if the imperial images in the 1928; see Appendix, no. 6). The object there is
procession are protomai, that the Apollon would described as a processional statue (ἀγάλματος
be a statue of about the same scale, a large statue πομπικοῡ), and if the use of agalma rather than
carried on a litter being the only alternative. The apeikonisma is judicious, then it can be concluded
Salutaris endowment comparatively specifies that this was not a type-statue, but whether it is a
divine and imperial statues of about the same hand-held rather than a litter-borne statue is less
size. The visual effect of images of equal scale is clear from the terminology. The specification of
also preferred by Marcus Aurelius and Commo- the statue as being of silver is consistent with the
dus in a letter to the Athenian gerousia, where use of precious materials for the objects in both
they direct that the protomai of themselves and the Salutaris and Demosthenes endowments.
their consorts should all be of equal size (Oliver, And indeed the glittering visual effect which
1964: 116). Second, as with the procession estab- seems a common feature of these processional
lished by Salutaris, the theatre is a principal locus sculptures could plausibly have been achieved
for the display of the images carried in the pro- even by bronze. But it is not possible to conclude
cession, and probably for the silver altar as well from extant evidence that a processional statue
(Gebhard, 1996: 123–25; Wörrle, 1988: 191–92; see in precious metal must therefore have been on
Appendix, no. 2). And, as with the Salutaris pro- the small scale of a hand-held statue rather than
cession, the constrained space for installing the the larger litter-borne statues, which will be dis-
statues and the altar in the theatre seems more cussed below in Chapter 2. There is no informa-
suited to a hand-held statue rather than a large tion provided by the Termessos inscription (see
statue on a litter. Third, the number of appointed Appendix, no. 6) about the nature of the proces-
sebastophoroi (10) does not seem sufficient to sion for which the statue is intended, or what
allow for a statue of Apollon carried on a litter. other statuary or processional paraphernalia the
As will be discussed below, litters require at min- statue may have been linked to. However, it is
imum four, often more, bearers. If the silver altar striking that in this marginally Hellenised city
dedicated by Demosthenes was treated like exu- there is again a Roman element to the statue of
viae, or symbols, of gods carried in procession at Eleutheria in that the priest providing the funds
least two, perhaps four, sebastophoroi would have is one Tiberios Klaudios Phloros, and it is not
been needed, and with the (uncertain) number unreasonable to suppose that onto the procession
24 chapter one

for which it was intended was again grafted the The dream places these statues in the context
imperial cult. of the ludi circensis. The games and the proces-
That these divine images carried in procession sion leading up to them are popular subjects
are not simply a phenomenon of the Greek East in Roman pictorial art and also are frequently
is demonstrated by a dream of Septimius Severus mentioned in texts, but most of the elements
of his approaching death, and its consequences that make up the pompa for the ludi circensis are
(scriptores historiae augustae, Severus 22): omitted from the visual examples, which focus
. . . on the day of the circus-games, when three plas-
instead on the line of litter-borne statues of gods.
ter Victoriae were set up in the customary way, with Septimius’ dream constitutes the sole evidence
palms in their hands, the one in the middle, which that hand-held statues probably formed a part of
held a sphere inscribed with his name, struck by a that procession. Tertullianus (de spectaculis 7.93),
gust of wind, fell down from the balcony in an upright
position, and remained on the ground in this posture; in his scoffing list of the ingredients of the pompa
while the one on which Geta’s name was inscribed circensis, refers in sequence to “the long line of
was dashed down and completely shattered, and the images, the succession of statues”. By itself, his
one which bore Bassianus’ name lost its palm and text may seem a tautology rather than a distinc-
barely managed to keep its place, such was the whirl-
ing of the wind. tion between types of statues, but he does use
two different terms here, simulacrum and imago.
The Severan Victoriae are lightweight and tem- Conceivably the distinction is between divine
porary installations. Their plaster construction, statues and portraits, as portraits of honoured
even assuming that they were painted or gilded, individuals are evidenced by textual references.
is of no advantage for architectural installation, as But the point of these texts is that the inclusion
Septimius’ dream clearly shows, and can only be of such portraits was exceptional, rather than an
accounted for by the need for each to be carried ordinary and regular element of the procession
by a single individual (Abaecherli, 1935–36: 3). The (Abaecherli 1935–36; Eitrem 1932: 44; Suetonius,
material would render them necessarily ephem- Iulius 76 & Titus 2; Dio xliii.45.2–3; xlvii.18.4;
eral, conceivably intended for one occasion only, scriptores historiae augustae, Marcus Antonius 21).
but the handling that is the defining character- Moreover, when portraits of individuals are
istic of such objects inevitably meant that even included, the clear implication is that they took
statues of metal would have to be replaced peri- their place among the gods, not that such por-
odically because of wear (Fishwick, 1981). Compa- traits formed an element distinct from the gods. In
rable with the hand-held statues of the Salutaris light of Septimius’ dream, Tertullianus’ text might
and Demosthenes inscriptions, which as part of be taken to confirm that, in addition to the bet-
their public presentation were installed in the ter known litter-borne statues, hand-held statues
theatre, these of Septimius’ dream were installed also had their place in the circus procession.
on a podium in the circus. Even assuming that The dream further stipulates the hand-held
there were more images involved than just Victo- statues installed on the podium of the circus. The
riae, giving them some numerical weight, the vast body of reliefs and mosaics depicting the interior
space of the circus would have visually swamped of the Circus Maximus do occasionally indicate
such small objects, and their principal context statues perched atop what might be construed as
for display must have been the procession lead- a parapet or podium, the clearest example being
ing up to the ludi circensis. The conclusion seems a relief from Foligno (fig. 9) dated on style to the
inevitable, then, that the Victoriae which are the third century (Lawrence, 1965). Here above the
subject of Septimius’ dream, while they may carceres sits a group of magistrates under a balda-
have been installed onto a podium, functioned chin, with three small statues to either side fixed
as hand-held statues in procession. to the podium. The shifting scales conventionally
processional statuettes 25

Fig. 9. Circus relief, Palazzo Trinci, Foligno. Photo: DAI Rome

used in these reliefs make the relative sizes of detailing the excesses of Commodus provides a
the statues and magistrates uncertain, but as further insight into the nature of hand-held stat-
rendered, these statues are of an order suitable ues: “when he was carrying the Anubis figure he
for hand-held statues. The workmanship and used to strike the head of the Isis worshippers
the small scale make the identification of the hard with the face of the statue” (Birley, 1976:
depicted figures impossible to determine, except 169–70). Given the way Commodus wielded his
that they appear from various attributes to be charge, one can only envision the size of this
gods, and that a variety of figures is represented. hand-held statue as being roughly that of a baton
The picture of the Egyptian rituals in Roma or club.
gives some focus to the information, provided In Egypt itself, Roman ceremony is the import.
in two places in the scriptores historiae augustae A series of papyrus texts dating from the second
about the behaviour of Commodus in the sacra through the fourth centuries gives some details for
of Isis (scriptores historiae augustae, Commodus the use of hand-held statues in Roman ceremony
9 & Pescenius Niger 6). So devoted was he to the there (Papyri osloenses 3, 94; Oxyrhynchus Papyri
ceremonies, that he shaved his head to carry the 12, 1449; Oxyrhynchus Papyri 10, 1265; see Appen-
image of Anubis. The general point of these texts dix, no. 4). The texts deal with officials identified
is the outrageous behaviour of Commodus, but in as komastai (κωμασταί), which Robert has estab-
normal Roman practice to carry a statue would lished are not simply celebrants carrying statues
be a serious diminishing of status for an emperor. etc. in procession (LSJ9 s.v. “κωμάζω, κωμαστής”),
However, in Egyptian rite, it is not subordinates but those specifically charged with carrying the
who carry the images of the gods, but priests. imperial protomai (Robert, 1960: 320; Fishwick,
Thus the outrageousness of Commodus’ behav- 1981: 91). In this respect, the komastai are equiva-
iour includes his presumption of the status of an lent to the sebastophoroi in the Greek East. How-
Egyptian priest by shaving his head and usurping ever, the texts also specify that these komastai
its privileges. And the interest of the author in carry in front of the designated protomai a Nike.
26 chapter one

By parity of scale with the protomai it leads, and Attikos from exile to Athenai in 175 CE (Oliver,
the status of the officiant assigned to this duty, 1970: 33–35; I.G. II2, 3606). The throng of Athe-
this Nike (Victoria) should be a hand-held statue, nians that come to receive him have along with
rather than a larger litter-borne statue. In contrast them Athena and Aphrodite. There is nothing to
with the processions from the Greek East already indicate in what form these goddesses were pres-
discussed, in which a Roman presence is grafted ent, but in whatever form they were, the example
onto a local identity represented by statuettes of illustrates the custom of a city’s divinities being
divinities of local prominence, the ceremonies present to greet prominent visitors. The subordi-
described in these papyri make no local refer- nation of the Italian delegates to the triumphal
ence, and may be exclusively a matter of impe- Maximus would likewise fit the usual pattern
rial worship. And appropriately for a ceremony of the relative social status of those presenting
which is distinctly Roman rather than Egyptian, hand-held statues to a superior.
the komastai who carry the Nikai (as well as the The most extensive representation of hand-
imperial protomai) are not priests but officials. held statues comes from the late imperial period,
Several examples of hand-held statues employed the arch of Galerius in Thessaloniki (fig. 10). The
in contexts of imperial worship occur in the lowest two registers on the Northeast side of pier
late empire. In 238, after the defeat of Maximi- B depict the tetrarchs, the Augusti enthroned, the
nus, Maximus arrived at Aquileia where he was Caesares standing to each side, in the company
greeted by embassies from various Italian cities. of an assembly of gods. Along the bottom regis-
In Herodianus’ account, his arrival is marked by ter, seven niches hold each a Victoria. The regis-
a reception in which the delegates form a pro- ter is badly abraded, but each Victoria holds in
cession out to him carrying statues of their local the crotch of the left arm what has been thought
divinities (Herodianus viii.7). The hint of sponta- to be a palm or a military standard (Laubscher
neity in Herodianus’ description makes it unlikely 1975: 69–80; Tran tam Tinh, 1996: 229). And in
that the various delegates had traveled to Aquil- the extended right arm each Victory holds a stat-
eia having brought along with them large statues uette, as indicated by the bases apparent under
of city gods to be borne on litters. Statues of a size each of them (fig. 11).
to require a litter could be transported great dis- The statuettes are held out by the Victoriae in
tances, as demonstrated by the many examples of the same gesture seen in all earlier examples to
statues being confiscated from conquered cities indicate a presentation. So while their swaying
to be brought back to Roma in the ceremony of contrapposto poses and the fluttering garments
the evocatio, and to be paraded in triumph. How- suggest movement, the rigid architectural frame
ever, there is no corroborating evidence of stat- and the gestures of the Victoriae suggest an
ues borne on litters for display at one site being immobile moment. This ambivalence between
moved cross-country for display in another. But motion and stasis is best accounted for by taking
it is not implausible that representatives of cit- the register to display a procession of Victoriae
ies as part of their regular ceremonial operations which has just concluded, with the goddesses
would bring with them on official trips statuettes now holding forth their hand-held statues. A sim-
of their city’s patron divinity, in much the same ilar ambivalence exists in the iconography. The
way as Cassius’ army must have brought along a decorum for handling hand-held statues applies
statuette of a Victoria (and probably other gods) to mortals. As a general rule divinities, going back
for the purification ceremony already cited. The to Greek cult statues of the Archaic and Classical
need for there to be a divine presence to hon- periods, may hold other divinities, smaller-scaled,
our the arrival of important individuals is illus- the Apollon at Delos by Tektaios and Angelion
trated by the account of the return of Herodes (Pausanias ii.32.5; Ploutarkhos, peri mousikes 14.),
processional statuettes 27

Fig. 10. Arch of Galerius, Thessaloniki. Photo: author

the Athena Parthenos, and the Zeus Olympios riae as an intermediary between these two levels
being only the most obvious examples. Mortals, of existence. The Victoriae perform as mortals
conversely, may hold statuettes of divinities, but would perform but do so with a divine sanction.
not divinities themselves. In other words, the Along with their presenting statuettes, Victoriae
holding of a divinity is a divine attribute. Even on evoke a sense of a procession culminating here by
Roman coins and medallions, the pattern seems their traditional rôle of leading of processions. In
to hold, and only when members of the imperial a range of Roman processions, including proces-
family appear with the attributes of a divinity, do sions of imperial images, Victoriae lead the way.
they also hold actual divinities, rather than statu- The ill portent of the boy falling down with the
ettes. Thus Julia Domna appears on a medallion Victoria in the purification procession recorded
holding Concordia, but also holding a cornuco- by Dio Cassius (xlvii.40.8) would also seem to be
pia, and Alexander Severus holds Victoria, not a most grave if, as likely, this was at the head of
statuette, but also wears the aegis (Toynbee, 1944: the procession. One of the proposals entertained
148, 158, 155). The Victoriae of Galerius’ arch seem in the Senate for the funeral of Augustus stipu-
to be the only departure from this pattern. This lated that in his procession the statue of Victoria
odd blending of the worlds of the divine and the from the Curia lead the way (Suetonius, Augus-
mortal may reflect the special status of the Victo- tus 100). The pompa circensis, at least in the time
28 chapter one

Fig. 11. Arch of Galerius, Thessaloniki. Photo: author

processional statuettes 29

of Ovidius, was also led by a statue of Victoria the Lateran Palace in Rome. While the full pub-
(amores iii.2.45). The convention continues into lication of the material has not yet appeared, a
the Christian period, at least within the con- series of partially preserved, painted wall sections
fines of imperial ceremony, as exemplified on from a kind of loggia have already attracted atten-
the Barberini dyptich, where, on the emperor’s tion; they depict figures done in a monumental
right side, a subordinate military figure carries style, firmly modeled in light and shadow against
a statuette of Victoria (fig. 12). The bearer’s right a featureless backdrop. Red borders beneath
hand is spatially ambiguous, and might as well the figures carry identifying inscriptions, but a
be understood as being held before, or under the series of superimposed names and titles makes
statuette. But the left hand is clearly supporting for a complicated picture which has not yet been
the Victoria, and in accord with the artful canter fully worked out. It seems that the figures form a
of Justinianus’ steed, the scene should be under- celebration of the Gens Julia Flavia between the
stood as the procession itself, the Victoria leading second and fourth decades of the fourth century
the way before the emperor.2 (Santa Maria Scrinari, 1965; Santa Maria Scrinari,
Damage to the register of Victoriae on the 1970–71; Mielsch, 1978: 175–78; Liverani, 1993).
arch of Galerius is too extensive to secure indi- Last in the line of the preserved figures is a male
vidual identifications for the gods rendered in in tunic and toga (fig. 13), like the others turned
statuette form, but the contours reveal that both very slightly to his proper right toward an arrival,
male and female divinities are present. As their denoted by a pair of galloping hippocamps. An
number does not correspond to the gods gath- inscription identifies the figure as Constantius,
ered with the emperors in the register above, the son of Constantinus. A sceptre is held in the
statuettes must represent some other group of crook of the left arm and in the right, extended
gods, and it has been proposed on the number toward the arrival is a small female figure (fig. 14)
of statuettes that they are the seven planetary who Santa Maria Scrinari (1975: 41) has identified
gods (Laubscher, 1975: 79), complementary to the as Pietas. Despite the condition of the painting,
ruling celestial divinities appearing below the it is possible to discern that this is a hand-held
emperors’ throne. In conjunction with the mili- statue; the figure stands atop a base decorated
tary triumphs depicted in the registers above, the with moldings. The possible identification of the
processional arrival of Victoriae would surely call holder as a youth of the imperial family is con-
to mind the kind of ceremony of Maximus’ recep- sistent with what has been discussed above as
tion by the city delegations at Aquileia (Herodi- the élite, though secondary status of those who
anus viii.7) The message then would be that the carry such statuettes. As to the identification of
divine embodiments of the most distant celestial the divinity represented, she strides forward with
spheres come to acknowledge Galerius’ (and by her dress fluttering about her legs. She holds out
extension the tetrarchy’s) triumphs. a libation plate in her right hand with a metal jug
The use of hand-held statues endures into the in her left. She wears a lilac-coloured, over-girt
Late Empire, as the already cited example of the khiton, on which the rendering of drapery pat-
Barberini diptych indicates. But the Constantin- terns is in a slightly archaizing style. Her hair is
ian period also has its example in the remains of bound off the nape of the neck in a chignon. Her
a building thought to be the Domus Faustae, near lithe proportions are those of a girl rather than a
matron. All this speaks of one divinity, Victoria,
were it not for the absence of any trace of wings.
The iconography and the suitability to the occa-
2 I am indebted to Sarah Bassett for having brought
this example of the survival of imperial ceremony to my sion are sufficiently strong to suggest the hypoth-
attention. esis that the wings of this Victory were supplied
30 chapter one

Fig. 12. Barberini diptych, Musée du Louvre. Photo: author

processional statuettes 31

Fig. 13. Domus Faustae, Museo Nazionale delle Terme. Photo: author

32 chapter one

Fig. 14. Domus Faustae detail, Museo Nazionale delle Terme. Photo: author
processional statuettes 33

a secco in gold (Ling, 1991: 209). Victoriae and in imperial ceremony, some of these same statu-
Nikai of course have a long iconography of being ettes probably served both the static needs of the
golden or gilded (Pausanias v.10.4). shrine and the mobile needs of ceremony. By par-
Victoria occurs again as a hand-held statue in ity, there is little reason to doubt that among the
the Calendar of 354 in the paired imperial por- very large number of preserved Roman statuettes
traits of Constantius II and Gallus (Stern, 1953: of divinities, some number served occasionally or
152–68). The senior emperor sits upon a throne, regularly for the use of ceremonies. Clemens Alex-
while the junior stands holding out in his right andrinus’ (protrepticus 4.44) disparaging remarks
hand a statuette of Victoria complete with its on the bringing of a statuette of Fortuna to the
base (fig. 15). The subordinate rank of the car- privy, inadvertently testifies to the Roman fond-
rier of the statuette, as well as the gesture with ness for punctuating their lives with the presence
which he offers it are consistent with much ear- of divine statuettes. But the Salutaris endowment
lier depictions of such statues. Moreover, Stern also provides evidence that hand-held statues for
has linked the illustrated act of largess by Con- large-scale civic ceremonies could be manufac-
stantius II to the consular games, which would tured for a specific ceremony, and would be kept
have been immediately proceeded by a proces- among the holy objects of temple treasuries. And
sion. The conclusion of that procession, followed the altar of the collegium fabrum tignariorum
by the represented scene of the presentation of (figs. 5 and 6) illustrates not only that smaller
the Victoria to the enthroned emperor are com- groups could also possess such statuettes, but
parable to the enthroned figure which is the goal that the responsibility for such statuettes brought
of the procession on the Vicomagistri altar, as prestige, and that the reception of it from King
well as the presentation seen fragmentarily on Numa was seen as the suitable visual expression
the Lars relief in the Lateran (fig. 4). of the early founding of the guild.
The images and texts which can be connected In public ceremonies the hand-held statue
with hand-held statues share a consistent deco- might also function as an apeikonisma, or type-
rum for handling these statuettes of the gods. The statue, repeating the form of a prominent civic
variations consist in different gestures depending or temple sculpture. As the Salutaris endowment
on the context, the display of the statuette to a illustrates, the parties in the ceremony, the car-
public in procession, or the presentation or recep- riers charged with its handling and the viewing
tion of the statuette. No evidence indicates that public, would achieve a sense of community in
such hand-held statues had any direct rôle in sac- acknowledgement of the distinction brought to
rifice. The scale of the depicted statuettes varies them as a group by the presence of the larger and
considerably, depending on the context and the distinctive statue referred to by the type-statue,
intended emphasis in the visual representations, but also in recollection of the duties and practices
but there is little evidence for the absolute scale of worship, and the sacred spaces which focus on
of these statuettes across the Roman world. And that larger statue. On a smaller, but nevertheless
except in sets intended for group display, as those public scale, the altar of the collegium fabrum
provided for in the Salutaris endowment or those tignariorum exemplifies the use of a hand-held
for state processions in Roma, there would be lit- statue as a type-statue to communicate the col-
tle need for a standardization of scale, as long as lege’s piety towards Minerva Capta, both to the
the requirement of being borne by an individual members of the guild, as well as to the public
was met. Just as surviving Lares statuettes vary in who might witness the procession. While these
scale, so it would seem could hand-held statues. associations could function in entirely domestic
Indeed, just as Lares belonging to domestic Lara- ceremonies, the lack of power to project them
ria are indistinguishable from Lares shown used to a public audience would make the use of a
34 chapter one

Fig. 15. Emperor Gallus, Calendar of 354. Photo: Stern 1953

processional statuettes 35

type-statue less pointed, and therefore probably ary rank. Iphigeneia, by contrast, is the priest-
less compelling. ess of Artemis, a rank which is never seen with
hand-held statues. Iphigeneia holds the statu-
ette in the described fashion when she appears
Addendum to Orestes as the priestess of Artemis and in the
scene of her fleeing with her brother and the
A group of monuments illustrating a statuette statue: Pompeii III.4.4 (Schefold, 1962: 114); Pom-
carried by a single individual deserves mention peii IX.5.14–16 (LIMC V., s.v. “Iphigenia”, no. 62);
separate from those already considered because Pompeii IX.8.3 and 6 (LIMC V, s.v. “Iphigenia”,
unlike the preceding examples, which purport to no. 60); Louvre Ma 1607 (LIMC V, s.v. “Iphigenia”,
deal with actual Roman ceremonies, these are set no. 76); München, Glyptotek GL 363 (LIMC V, s.v.
in the context of Greek myth. A large number of “Iphigenia”, no. 75). Thus the gesture would seem
paintings and sculptures depict the story of Iphi- to correspond to Iphigeneia’s protective respon-
geneia as priestess of Artemis in Taurike (LIMC sibility for the image of Artemis. Euripides’ text
V, s.v. “Iphigenia”; Bielfelt, 2005). The sarcophagi (Iphigeneia he en Taurois, ll.1156–77) specifies
of this group in particular, which lay out a series that Iphigeneia takes the statue from its base to
of episodes, have been understood as epitomiz- protect it from pollution of unclean sacrifice.
ing the story as related by Euripides (Weitzmann, The gesture as an artistic device may have
1970: 23–24), and while the general narratives cer- little to do with a priestess’ handling of a cult
tainly match, the differences between textual and image in religious practice contemporary with
visual narrative inevitably introduce divergences. the Roman paintings and sculpture depicting the
For the issue of hand-held statues, the impor- story. Instead, it may be an artifice to re-create
tance of these visual works is the handling of a how such small cult images were imagined to
statuette of Artemis by Iphigeneia in the story. have been handled in the distant past. Eurip-
The requirements of the narrative, that Orestes ides’ text does require the character to hold the
is to free himself from the Erinyes by bringing to image of Artemis, but gives no specifics that can
Greece the image of Artemis from Taurike, makes account for the regularity with how the statue is
an important distinction with the hand-held held in the painting and sculptured depictions.
statues that have been discussed above. Unlike Nevertheless, the gesture can be shown to be, not
those, the statuette which figures in many of the a Roman invention, but one that dates to at least
visual works is not such a hand-held statue in the the Hellenistic period. In excavations at Messene,
sense of being an image employed for its mobil- a small naos of Artemis Orthia preserved a series
ity. Rather, the statuette is akin to other early cult of statues of priestesses of the goddess, and an
images in Greek texts, which are the principal inscribed base describing the priestess’ responsi-
focus of cult practice, but are of great antiquity bility for holding in her hand the bretas (βρέτας),
and therefore rather small of scale. or wooden image, of the goddess (Themelis, 1994:
The statuette is regularly depicted in these 115–16 & 1962). One of the statues of priestesses
Roman works held in the left hand, leaning preserves the upper left torso and arm, indicating
against the body. It does not therefore repeat the left arm holding a pillar-like figure with base
either of the two conventions for depicting the leaning against the body, in the same manner as
hand-held statue, either for processing, or pre- used in the Roman depictions. As it is unlikely
senting/receiving. The difference in how the stat- that a cult convention from Messene exercised
uette is held is intrinsically bound to the identity a direct influence over painters and sculptors
of who handles it. For Roman hand-held statues, of the Roman imperial period, this convention
the carriers are those of prestige but of second- for priestesses holding a small image must be a
36 chapter one

t­ radition surviving in painting and sculpture, or trast to the prevailing tradition for a priestess of
a tradition in theatrical staging. And the two may Artemis holding the goddess’ image. This pos-
have formed a single tradition. sibility finds support in a mosaic depiction of
The surviving dedicatory inscription at Mess- Iphigeneia and Orestes, Museo Capitolino 4948
ene also stipulates that the priestess held a torch (fig. 16) (Bevilacqua, 1978–79). He sits while she
along with the statue. The evidence of the sur- holds out in her extended right hand the statue
viving statue at Messene showing the left hand of Artemis on a small base, the same configura-
holding the statuette indicates that the torch tion by which a hand-held statue is presented to
would have been held in the right. This arrange- an audience.
ment for priestesses of the cult of Artemis Orthia Finally, a case which may appear similar to the
is adhered to in Roman depictions of the Iphige- Iphigeneia story is that of the theft of the Palla-
neia story when she holds a torch (LIMC V, s.v. dion, again a mythological narrative in which a
“Iphigenia”, no. 61, 83, 84). In each of these cases character carries a primitive cult statue. As rep-
the scene is the appearance of Iphigeneia before resented by the group of Diomedes and Odys-
King Thoas to trick him in order that she and her seus from Sperlonga, the Palladium is indeed
brother escape with the statue, but deviate from carried against the body on the left (Conticello
the version in Euripides in having Orestes and and Andreae, 1974: pls. 37–47). While it is pos-
Pylades present. In two of these cases, the Ber- sible that this recurrence reflects some influence
lin and Weimar sarcophagi, the statuette is held from ceremonial convention, the evidence is seri-
differently than in other depictions as upright ously compromised by the fact that the Sperlonga
in the left hand, rather than leaning against the group may be a version of an earlier, Hellenistic
body. While this may simply be artistic inatten- group, and that the action here is in no sense a
tion, it is striking that the manner of holding procession, that the holding of the statue on the
the statue is that used for hand-held statues in left is dictated by the necessity to carry a sword
procession, and at this point in the story, Iphi- in the right hand, and by the distinct difference
geneia is proposing to the king that she needs to in how the statue is held, grasped firmly around
undertake a procession, bringing the statue to the middle rather than more decorously from the
the sea for a purificatory bathing. It is possible base. Together, these problems render the theft
that the pattern for holding a hand-held statue in of the Palladium group of doubtful help in deter-
procession has influenced how the artist chooses mining how a cult statue, much less a ceremonial
here to depict the statue and its carrier, in con- hand-held statue, is properly carried.
processional statuettes 37

Fig. 16. Iphigeneia and Orestes, Museo Capitolino 4948. Photo: author

Chapter Two

Litter Statues

The ferculum, or litter, functions in Roman cere- spoils of all sorts, including the captive enemy
monies to transport a wide variety of objects, the themselves, are described or depicted as being
range of these applications having been studied carried and displayed on it (Tacitus, annales
by A.L. Abaecherli (1935–36). But the range of ii.41; Senaca, Hercules Oetaeus 107–11; Suetonius,
objects indicates that the natures and applica- Iulius 37; Florus ii.13). And while the absence of
tions are concerns distinct from the vehicle itself. corroborating evidence makes it impossible to
A statue carried on a ferculum in contrast to a determine whether the story of Romulus accu-
hand-held statue is in the simplest sense a deter- rately links the origin of transporting statues
mination of size and weight. But this description on fercula with the triumphal procession, it at
overlooks the peculiar contexts in which such least records the understanding that the fercu­
statues are encountered in Roman ceremony lum was a device with two distinct functions: as
and subsequently might be depicted in Roman a mechanism of transportation, and as a kind of
art. The size and weight are responses to larger offering tray (Abaecherli, 1935–36: 2). The two
ceremonial needs; they imply a level of grandeur functions emphasize that the ferculum serves to
and public display that is in contrast with the address two different audiences, the divine and
limiting qualities of the hand-held statue. Where the human. As the carrying of statues on litters
the hand-held statue seems to grow out of and is common in Egyptian religious ceremony, and
sometimes retains an affiliation with domestic attested for Greek as well, the Roman practice
and small-scaled ceremonies, the ferculum with may be an import. But the Romulus story sug-
its statue is bound in legend and regular usage gests that Romans themselves accounted for the
with large state ceremony. Moreover, the picture practice as an indigenous invention.
of statues of gods constructed to be carried on The fictive age of the ferculum implicit in the
fercula needs to be sifted from the broader body story of Romulus and accounts of the appear-
of evidence for the use of fercula for transporting ance of statuary on fercula in triumphs require
various objects, including other types of statues. that the evidence for statues in this particular
The mythical account of the invention of the rôle be considered first, before the issue of stat-
ferculum credits it to Romulus, who devised ues created specifically for carrying on fercula in
some kind of ferculum for carrying military spoils other ceremonies. Within the general category
in triumph and subsequently offering them on of seized enemy statuary two slightly different
the Capitoline (Livius i.10.5). This association types of statues might be distinguished. The city
between the ferculum and spoils would have of Roma was regularly enriched by statues which
been reiterated and reinforced continually in the formed a part of the spoils seized from defeated
Roman mind in triumphal processions, where the enemy states. The triumphal procession would
ferculum, at some point taking the form of a tray be the natural format for these to be publicly
rather than the armature that seems implied in displayed and then dedicated to Jupiter on the
the story of Romulus came to be used to carry the Capitoline. In addition, though perhaps related
spoils of conquest. But even within the context to these, was the more specialized form of statues
of the triumph, the ferculum is not a vehicle tied of tutelary gods of enemy states who had agreed
exclusively, nor even predominantly, to statuary; to go over to the Roman side in the ritual of the
40 chapter two

evocatio, and were then transported to Roma. not specifically state that this statue was brought
But in contrast to spoils, these were not treated from the Pontus as spoil; hypothetically it could
as booty and dedicated to Jupiter. Instead they have been made at Roma as part of the triumphal
were installed in sanctuaries where they were to celebration. But then the wonder at the opulence
receive appropriate worship (Gustafsson, 2000; would lose its edge, and it seems more reasonable
Basanoff, 1947; Berti, 1990; Köves-Zulauf, 1993; to accept the report at face value as an example
Köves-Zulauf, 1972: 87–94; Le Gall, 1976; Pape, of captured statuary carried in procession.
1975: 36–37; Van Doren, 1954). Both these types Visual depictions of triumphs do include spoils,
of statues have their own special problems of often as prominent elements, but the number of
identification, though both are also distinct from cases of statues which might be understood as
ceremonial statues designed for fercula in that spoils is rare. Only a few relief sculptures have
they are, presumably in most cases, objects not been taken in the modern literature as possible
originally constructed for carrying on fercula. cases where statues appear as part of the spoils.
The textual evidence for statues as spoils is Two of these are in situ as decorations of arches
most prevalent for the Republican period. The and therefore within clear triumphal contexts.
description of the sacking of Taras by Fabius On the outside frieze of Titus’ arch on the Sacra
Maximus in 209 BCE (Livius xxvii.16.7; Ploutark- Via four soldiers in tunics at the end of a tri-
hos, Fabios 22.5; Pape 1975: 8.), and specifically the umphal procession handle a ferculum on which
removal of Lysippos’ colossal Herakles and subse- reclines a river god, identifiable by the conven-
quent dedication of it on the Capitoline (Strabon tional pose, as well as a hydria and reeds (Pfan-
vi.3.1; Plinius, naturalis historia xxxiv.40), and the ner, 1983: 90) (fig. 17). The river god, no doubt the
removal of statuary from Syrakosios by Claudius Jordan, here is rendered at roughly the same scale
Marcellus (Livius xxvi.30.9; Pape 1975: 6–7.) in as its four bearers; and one proposal would inter-
210 BCE after sacking that city make clear the pret the “statue” as actually an actor impersonat-
status of statuary as spoils, but the texts do not ing the god. However, the uniform scale between
provide incontrovertible evidence of how to dis- the bearers and the river god need not be read
tinguish between these and statues removed as a literally in these fictive triumphs. Indeed, even
result of a ritual evocatio (Pape, 1975: 37). Livius’ the number of bearers shown, in this case four,
account (xxvi.34.12) of the contemporary situation is more likely to be an issue of pictorial space and
at Capua, where a college of pontiffs was called emphasis rather than simply descriptive of the
upon to decide which captured statues were to number of bearers needed for the weight. The
be regarded as sacred and which as profane sug- form and iconography of the river god also pose
gests that there is in principle a distinction to be problems. A traditionally rendered Greco-Roman
drawn between these two types of “confiscated” river god seems an implausible statue to have
statuary. More importantly, as the nature of these been genuinely seized from the Jewish rebels.
particular victories places them outside the nor- Thus the simplest and most plausible explanation
mal requirements for a triumph, it compromises is that the river god does not represent spoils, but
their value as evidence for the rôle of statues as is a personification of the topographical features
spoils in sanctioned triumphal processions. The of the conquered land, one of the many elements
case of Pompeius’ triumph celebrating his vic- that might make up a triumph (Tacitus, annales
tory over Mithradates is more simple. Included ii.41; Florus 2.13). There is also a river god on a
among other colossal marvels was a gold statue ferculum on the frieze of the Southwest face
of the defeated king eight cubits high (Appianus of the arch of Traianus at Beneventum (Rotili,
xii.116; Beard, 2007: 168). The textual account does 1972: 111). Again four tunic-clad figures carry the
litter statues 41

Fig. 17. Arch of Titus, detail. Photo: author

statue, but in contrast with Titus’ arch, the statue 75; Andreae; 1995: 43, no. 152). On both the draw-
here is rendered on a much smaller scale than its ing and the surviving sculptural fragment, four
bearers, and accordingly the possibility that the figures dressed in tunics support the front of the
river god is being impersonated by an actor has ferculum. One of the carriers holds in his hand
not been raised. But as with the frieze celebrat- a staff with a crescent top, to support the poles
ing Titus’ triumph, a classicizing statue of a river of the ferculum during pauses. On the drawing,
god captured from the Dacians seems a less likely above and behind the bearers, are indicated the
explanation than that this, again, is a personifica- foreparts of two galloping horses, rendered on a
tion of the defeated topography, in this case the smaller scale than the carriers of the litter. The
Danube. better preserved of the two horses wears the har-
Other possible visual evidence for statues on ness of a chariot, and the perspective relationship
fercula in triumphs is more problematic. A cen- of the two horses best fits a statue of a quadriga.
tury ago A. Frothingham proposed that a sev- Spannagel argued that a number of critical ele-
enteenth-century drawing reproduced a relief ments visible on the relief bore on an identifica-
belonging to a Flavian triumphal arch (Froth- tion of the procession represented. The ferculum
ingham, 1914). He offered a number of possible bearers, originally eight in number, wearing lau-
original locations for the relief, including Titus’ rel wreaths he associated with a triumph. But the
arch in the Circus Maximus, or one of the Domi- presence of a female figure in their midst (surviv-
tianic arches. Others since have argued for dif- ing only on the drawing), plausibly a personifica-
ferent datings using the stylistic evidence of the tion, seems inconsistent with this. And he pointed
drawing. More recently Spannagel, in an impor- out that a statue of a charioteer is paralleled in
tant essay bearing on the problems in identifying other examples which depict a god carried in the
specific processions depicted in relief sculpture, circus procession, rather than spoils taken from
identified a surviving fragment of the original an enemy displayed in a triumphal procession.
relief in the Museo Chiaramonti and used the He suggested as a solution to these several con-
evidence of physical dimensions, style and ico- flicting elements that the relief might belong to
nography to disassociate the relief from the arch a monument celebrating Nero’s triumph held to
in the Circus Maximus specifically, and from the celebrate his return from the games in Greece in
Flavian period in general (Spannagel, 1979: 360– 68 CE, in which his artistic and chariot victories
42 chapter two

were blended with traditional triumphal iconog- In his description of that for Vespasianus and
raphy (Suetonius, Nero 25; Dio Cassius lxii.14 & Domitianus he numbers the images of gods (θεῶν
lxii.20–21; Spannagel, 1979: 369–75). ἀγάλματα). His admiration for the size of these
The problem of identifying the event depicted statues indicates they must be of the type carried
on the relief underscores the limitations on the on fercula, rather than hand-held images. And
surviving picture of specific Roman processions. his comment about the costly materials for these
Even for those processions about which the statues, presumably in contrast to the bronze
most is known (triumph, circus procession, con- or marble usual for statuary, indicates that they
sular procession) relatively few details are pre- are purpose-built for such processional display.
served. And it can reasonably be expected that While it cannot be certain from Josephus’ account
since the numerous games (ludi) put on by the whether these images of gods borne on fercula
Romans were dedicated to gods, there would be comprised a standard element in all triumphs, or
processions connected with these as well. Tex- an innovation of the Flavians, in the absence of
tual accounts rarely indicate at what point in any contradictory evidence his account should
its course, spatially or chronologically, a proces- be taken at face value (Merten, 1968: 21). The lack
sion is being described, and none describes them of interest in such divine images on fercula on
exhaustively. There is no accounting of what Roman reliefs depicting triumphs might better
pauses occurred, where and why, or what changes be explained as reflecting the peculiar character
in order or appearance may have occurred over of this type of procession and the monuments
a procession’s length. Tertullianus’ reference memorializing it, focusing on the particulars of
(de spectaculis 7) to rituals and sacrifices at the the victory and the triumphator. Divine images
beginning, middle and end cautions against an on fercula may indeed have been a regular part
assumption of a rigid continuity from start to of triumphs, but these were not the ceremonies
finish (scriptores historiae augustae, Antoninus in which such images were the focus of atten-
Caracallus 9.11). Likewise there is little evidence tion. This distinction is suggested by Dio Cassius’
for how any of these processions may have been account of the institution of a ferculum statue of
modified over time. And although the ultimate the divinized Julius Caesar which is described as
goals of these three particular processions are being placed among those of the gods in the cir-
known, the Capitoline for the triumphal and the cus procession (pompa circensis), with no men-
consular, the Circus Maximus for the circus pro- tion of triumphs (Dio Cassius xliii.45.2–3). In
cession, nothing is known of what form a reces- similar fashion, his golden chair joined those of
sional from any of these sites might have taken. the gods in the procession into the theatre (Dio
Caution is therefore needed not to claim more Cassius xliv.6.3). These were the ceremonies in
for the sources than is warranted in identifying a which the honouring and witness of the gods
visual rendering. were the particular emphases.
The representations of statues borne on fer­ Spannegel observed that representations fea-
cula from triumphal contexts, then, are most turing statues with chariots on fercula all seem
likely to be a part of the paraphernalia helping to belong to the procession inaugurating the cir-
the audience to identify a specific triumph rather cus games. Because of the prominence of chariot
than visual representatives of the statuary taken racing in those games this argument bears some
as spoils, or images of gods built to appear in weight, but the ludi Romani were only one of the
processions. However, Josephus (historia Iouda­ games which featured chariot racing, and the Cir-
ïkou polemou pros Romaious vii.136) provides the cus Maximus was not the venue for all of these.
one bit of clear evidence for the participation of Furthermore, what specific moments these rep-
the images of divinities in triumphal processions. resented statues and their bearers correspond to
litter statues 43

is less clear and, given the nature of the textual A relief from Puteoli (figs. 18 and 19), of dimen-
evidence, needs to be wrung from the visual evi- sions not inconsistent with a sarcophagus lid
dence itself. In contrast to the images of triumph, (0.45 m. long × 0.26 m. high), shows at the break
renderings of statues on litters in the circus pro- along its right side atop a litter a wheel, part of
cession tend to be from private monuments, often the chariot box, the right arm of the charioteer
found outside Rome, celebrating the individual and the complement of four horses (Mingazzini,
magistrate responsible for, or perhaps the partici- 1934; Himmelmann, 1973: 39; Spannagel, 1979:
pant in the games held, and therefore of smaller nn. 84–85; Ronke, 1987: 236 and 729, no. 185). The
formats. What specifics they might demand a front four of the litter’s eight bearers also survive
viewer to know and recognize may differ from and are preceded by a figure in Roman chario-
those of a triumphal monument as well. teer costume, holding a banner (vexillum) while

Fig. 18. Sarcophagus lid from Puteoli, Museo Nazionale, Napoli. Photo: DAI Rome
44 chapter two

Fig. 19. Sarcophagus lid from Puteoli, Museo Nazionale, Napoli. Photo: DAI Rome

looking back towards the litter as he enters a extended arm holding the reigns requires the
vaulted passageway. In front of the column which charioteer to be aggressively hunched forward.
supports the side of the arch stands a kouros-type Such a pose is inconsistent with the well-estab-
figure on a base. On the surviving portion of the lished depiction of a victorious charioteer in
adjacent side another figure, on the same scale other media, who often holds a wreath or palm
as the charioteer, moves to the left while looking (Dunbabin, 1982). And the pose suggests a god
back, seemingly at the group on the front face. who races his chariot, rather than simply riding
Surface damage obscures much of his costume, in it. Mingazzini’s proposal of Sol is therefore the
however it is apparent that he wears a short tunic best. Sol also fits best as the divine counterpart to
with a wide belt. He therefore could be a chari- the charioteer, both occupationally and because
oteer and Mingazzini in his original publication of the metaphorical links of the chariot race in
of the relief took him to be the same charioteer the Circus Maximus with the solar cycle (Tertu-
as on the front now leaving the vaulted passage. lianus, de spectaculis 8–9; Dunbabin, 1978: 88–89).
His dress does differ in one clear element, the The place of arrival is keyed by the kouros statue.
pointed hat the second figure wears. Mingazzini took it to be an ephebic victor statue,
As Spannagel rightly points out, there is no evi- holding a palm leaf at the entrance to the Cir-
dence, visual or textual, to suggest that a statue of cus Maximus. Himmelman preferred a statue of
a mortal charioteer was carried in any procession. Apollon with a bow before a palaistra. Again the
The statue on the litter therefore is more likely condition of the relief creates problems: while it
a divine one. Additionally, the figure’s surviving is clear that something is held in the left hand,
litter statues 45

certainty about what that thing is goes beyond at the Circus Maximus, either for the ludi Romani
the visual evidence. A kouros victor statue seems or the ludi Apollinares, both held at that venue.
an inefficient way to cue the viewer that the place Although the associations with Apollon might
is the Circus Maximus, and a kouros statue with be sufficient, if a specific topographical allusion
both arms bent forward contemporary with the was intended, a statue of that god is known to
relief is difficult to parallel. But similarly there have stood outside the circus (Ploutarkhos, Titos
seems little reason for a charioteer or a statue to 1; Hill, 1962: 137; Coarelli, 1992: 156–64).
process to a palaistra. Another illustration of a charioteer on a litter
With perhaps half the relief missing, the event is more explicit in describing a statue, as a strut is
depicted on the Puteoli relief does not clearly cor- indicated under the bellies of the horses, carried
respond with any known part of the circus pro- by a group of four men. The example is one of the
cession, but not of any other procession either. so-called Campana terracottas (fig. 20), but seem-
Dionysios of Halikarnassos (vii.72) provides the ingly unique among the surviving examples in its
most detailed description of the circus proces- subject matter (von Rohden and Winnefeld, 1911:
sion in general, and he places the participants of 134–35; Abaecherli, 1935–36: 1–2 and n. 10 and 23;
the games in the procession well ahead of and Spannagel, 1979: 370, n. 84–85). Two of the bear-
separated by a good number of others (dancers, ers here have the staves which appear with some
musicians, and carriers of various ritual and dis- regularity as equipment of litter carriers. While
play objects) from the statues of the gods, which in part these may have aided as walking staves,
come at the very end. But the strategy of seeking some, as on the Chiaramonti relief, are shown
a literal equation for a visual image like the Pute- with crescent-shaped tops which Abaecherli is
oli relief may be a mistaken one. More probably surely correct in interpreting as slots to hold the
it operates by visual cues, guiding the audience’s litter during pauses (Abaecherli, 1935–36: 2 and
understanding of the event as necessary. n. 12), which Tertullianus’ description (de spec­
While there may be considerable compression taculis 7) of the circus procession corroborates.
of space, and the use of a kind of visual ellipsis Such supports can only work, of course, if there
or distillation in selecting only elements needed, is a distribution of them in the front and rear of
the combination of a charioteer and a litter-borne the litter. In the present case there are only two,
image of Sol points to an occasion where these without the slotted tops and both held by the
were elements of particular import. If the relief lead carriers. The lead carrier on the far side is
does refer to the city of Roma, a plausible turned half to the rear and holding his staff at the
hypothesis given Puteoli’s close connection with top, against the middle of the litter. The arrange-
Roma as a port, one of a series of processions to ment, which can hardly have occurred naturally
the circus might fill that requirement: the pompa in the action of carrying the litter along, suggests
circensis, as well as the processus consualaris or a pause during which these staves are propped
the various other ludi (Kübler, RE IV: 1126–27 s.v. under the body of the litter to take its weight.
“consul”; Mulhouse, 2006: s.v. “ludi”, Brill’s new What the Campana charioteer illustrates, then,
Pauly: 866–75). The problematic figure of the is the moment following this pause, when the
kouros, with both the arms bent forward to hold procession begins to move forward again.
some identifying objects, is likely to correspond Interpretations of the identity of the depicted
to the god Apollon, as Himmelmann suggests. charioteer have varied according to the icono-
His appearance here may reflect his general asso- graphic elements paid the greatest heed. The
ciation with the physical perfection of athletic palm branch held by the charioteer has suggested
competition, as well as his conflation with the to some Victoria or a victorious charioteer (van
sun god and by extension the sun god’s temple Rohden and Winnefeld, 1911: 134–35). However,
46 chapter two

Fig. 20. Terracotta relief, Musée du Louvre. Photo: Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Art Resource, NY

the figure has no wings, and has male coiffure at centre, flanked by two sea monsters, probably
and anatomy, eliminating Victoria, and the dress indicating the distant seas from and into which
is that of a Greek rather than Roman charioteer, the sun rises and sinks.
so hardly a participant in Roman games. Sol is The depiction of an episode in the games and
consistent with all aspects of the iconography, as their associated ceremonies, and indeed the
the relief of Sol on the arch of Constantinus illus- suggestion of a specific moment in the proces-
trates, and might reasonably carry the palm as a sion, after the victory and starting up from some
general indication of victory in the games now pause, connects the charioteer relief with only
completed in his honour at the circus. Further, one other subject represented among the Cam-
the face of the litter is decorated with a sun disk pana reliefs, those illustrating a range of events
litter statues 47

from the circus games. The series shares with the there. The only additional physical evidence for
charioteer relief the same crowning palmettes, the identification of the figure on the wagon is
and a similar proportional relationship between the decoration along its side, a marine thiasos
the figures and the figural space (Tortorella, 1981: (Himmelman, 1973: 37–39).
figs. 28–29; Humphrey, 1986: 180–86). Tortorella The lid has been regularly identified as corre-
thought that the events depicted might be from sponding to the circus games, without address-
one of the ludi sevirales, or the ludus Troiae spe- ing whether the procession for the various games
cifically, while Humphrey concluded that a more differed in any ways (Abaecherli, 1935–36: 3;
generalized rather than specific array of circus Himmelmann, 1973: 37–39; Ronke, 1987: 111–13).
events is represented. A frieze so put together, Alternatively, and relying on the prominent lead-
to decorate a public or private building, would ing position of Cybele, the relief has been taken
apparently arrange in spatial proximity a num- to reflect the procession of the ludi Megalenses
ber of discrete moments in the games. Surviving held in honour of that goddess, and thereby used
examples illustrate the quadriga race, the biga as the principal evidence for what the procession
race, the crash of a chariot, the hunts (vena­ of her games looked like, an exercise with consid-
tiones) against different types of animals, and the erable danger of begging the question (Turcan,
acrobatic riders (desultores). The charioteer relief 1996: 47). Central to this difference of opinion is
would be one additional (and final?) moment in the distinct functioning of visual as opposed to
the festivities. textual formulations of such processions. Diony-
One further relief has a claim to providing sios of Halikarnassos (vii.72) cites the order of the
visual evidence for divine statues carried on fer­ divine images in the circus procession as the three
cula in the procession of the circus, the lid of a sar- Capitoline gods, followed by Neptunus and then
cophagus now in the cloister of San Lorenzo fuori the remainder of the Olympians. In the amores
la mura in Roma (Ronke, 1987: 111–13, 292, 728–29, (iii.2.43–57), Ovidius describes a procession in
no. 183; Himmelmann, 1973: 37–39) (figs. 21–23). which he places Victoria first, followed by Neptu-
Two relief sections extend on either side of the nus (Le Bonniec, 1958: 318). The Capitoline triad
panel intended for an inscription, never exe- gets no mention in Ovidius’ account, although
cuted. On the right side are two litters with their Minerva is individually identified later in the list
bearers; on the left a pair of large-scale figures in of gods, indicating that the triad did not appear
togas preceed an elephant-drawn wagon (tensa). as such. Even if one assumes that these two texts
While the lid has been broken at both ends, the are describing the same procession, it is possible
amount of lost length at either side seems not that they correspond to it at different points in
enough to accommodate additional litters or its transit. Ovidius’ description is specified as set
wagons. Of the two litters, the first carries an inside the Circus Maximus; Dionysios gives no
image of Cybele enthroned with rampant lions, point of perspective. More glaringly, Dionysios’
the second one of Victoria striding forward. The text does not mention a statue of Victoria at all.
identity of the goddesses depicted in these two In the fasti (iv.389–92), Ovidius records that the
statues has generated little dispute (Andreae, ludi Megalenses included a procession of the gods
et al., 1991: fig. 374). On the other side, however, at the circus, without further details.
the significance of the elephant quadriga and The prominent position of Cybele on this com-
what figure once occupied the wagon have been paratively late relief could reflect changes in
matters of less accord. The figure itself is lost, processional conventions, corresponding to the
although the stumps atop the wagon indicate increasing attention paid the statue of that goddess
that some image, or being, once sat enthroned on the spina of the Circus Maximus, or changes
48 chapter two

Fig. 21. Sarcophagus lid, San Lorenzo, Rome. Photo: author

Fig. 22. Sarcophagus lid, detail, San Lorenzo, Rome. Photo: author

Fig. 23. Sarcophagus lid, detail, San Lorenzo, Rome. Photo: author

in the cult of Cybele, that is, all developments regularly transported in this way. Only Cybele is
which begin in the middle of the first century CE, described by two authors (Ovidius, fasti iv.345;
postdating the descriptions of Dionysios and Prudentius, peri stephanon x.154–61) as being
Ovidius (Humphrey, 1986: 273–75; Lambrechts, transported in a wagon (Abaecherli, 1935–36:
1952; Fishwick, 1966). And as important as is the 5–7); but since Cybele is already present on the
date in establishing the context of the relief is relief in human form she is out of consideration.
understanding the significance of the elephant There is, however, a well-established visual tradi-
quadriga as a platform for carrying the statue of tion on coins and medallions that deified emper-
an enthroned figure. In fact no evidence, textual ors, or members of the imperial family elevated
or visual, supports the assumption operating in to divine status, had their images paraded in pub-
considerations of this lid that divine statues were lic on an elephant car (Plinius, naturalis historia
litter statues 49

xxxiv.5; xxxiv.10; Abaecherli, 1935–1936: 10; Grant, (­ historia Ioudaïkou polemou pros Romaious vii.152)
1950: 44, 79 and 94; Scullard, 1974: 255–56; Swin- describes multiple statues (probably of the hand-
dler, 1923: 306–11; Spinazzola, 1953, I: 195–207). held variety) of Victoria in gold and ivory carried
While the dating of the San Lorenzo lid, most before Vespasianus and Titus in their triumph.
recently to the end of the third into the middle One of the proposals for the funeral of Augustus
of the fourth century (Ronke, 1987: 729; Goette, would have the procession proceeded by the Vic-
1998: 167), has relied exclusively on stylistic fac- toria which stood in the Curia (Suetonius, Augus­
tors, the presence of the elephant quadriga cre- tus 100). And papyri bearing on the office of the
ates a somewhat narrower range of possibilities. komastes (κωμαστής) in Egypt, those who were
Coin types of deified emperors appear late in responsible for the imperial busts used in proces-
the first decade of the fourth century (Constan- sions, catalogue along with those imperial images
tius, Romulus, Galerius) and are also popular “the Victory that leads the way” (Papyri osloenses
under Constantinus (Constantius, Claudius II, 3, 94; Oxyrhynchus Papyri 12, 1449 and 10, 1265;
Maximianus), culminating in his own deification Fishwick, 1989: 346; see Appendix, no. 4).
(337–40 CE) (Robertson, 1982: 47, 70, 115, 219–21, It is possible that the litter-borne statue of
283–84; Bruun, 1966: 108, 310, 394–95, 429–30, Cybele on the San Lorenzo sarcophagus may
502–03; Amici, 2000). A pagan magistrate in Roma reflect Cybele’s status in late Roman circus
might well wish to recall his work in organizing processions at the head of that line of gods, or
a procession which included the image of any of that the procession referred to here is for the
these deified imperial figures. Additionally, the ludi Megalenses in Cybele’s honour, though the
marine thiasos which was deemed appropriate relief fits neither alternative precisely as they are
to decorate the side of the wagon carrying this accounted for in the textual evidence. The sta-
image is a striking and peculiar feature. It recalls tus of Cybele at the head of the procession for
the marine thiasos greeted by members of family circus games is a hypothesis based only on a lit-
of Constantinus in the monumental paintings in eral reading of the sarcophagus lid itself, opening
the Domus Faustae, making a case for Constanti- the door for circular reasoning in applying this
nus himself, perhaps with reference to the naval conclusion back to explaining the sarcophagus.
victory against Licinius in 324 (Santa Maria Scri- Likewise, in the procession of the Megalenses,
nari, 1965: fig. 73). If the elephant quadriga is that it was Cybele’s black stone which was carried
of the deified Constantinus, the sarcophagus lid rather than her anthropomorphic form and by a
of this magistrate in Roma would likely fall in the corps comprised of her orgiastic Galli, while the
330’s or 340’s. sarcophagus in no way distinguishes her carriers
The significance of the elephant quadriga in from those of Victoria (Ovidius, fasti iv.179–87;
the procession alters the perception of the relief as Budde and Nicholls, 1964: 77–78; Vanmasseren,
a description comparable to surviving texts. The 1977: 97–98 and 124; Turcan, 1996: 38–39). Rather,
Victoria which is the divine image immediately the San Lorenzo sarcophagus could be better
in advance of the imperial car and its escorts is interpreted as operating elliptically. The Victoria
present because of its traditional association with leads the way for what was probably a distinct
imperial images and indeed the emperor himself and separate element of the actual procession, as
in Roman processions, not because of its sequen- the appropriate escort of the image of the dei-
tial position with respect to the leading statue of fied emperor in the elephant wagon which fol-
Cybele. Not only does Victoria appear associated lows, while at the same time she invokes the line
with triumphal emperors in fictive renderings, of divine images by her proximity to the Cybele.
as on the arch of Titus, but emperors did appear Victoria’s proximity to Cybele also calls to mind
in the company of statues of Victoria. Josephus the proximity of their temples on the Palatine,
50 chapter two

and the former even hosting of the black stone trayed lies with the deviations between the tex-
of Cybele when it arrived in Roma, until Cybele tual accounts of Cybele’s stone image and the
had a temple of her own (Livius xxix.14.14; Gruen, visual context here. The object on the Aquileia
1990: 5–33). Cybele’s statue stands in for the lid is the conical black stone by which the god-
entire procession of divine images not because dess was brought from Phrygia to Roma, and
this specific procession was for her or because processed there during the ludi Megalenses, and
her statue came first in line, but by virtue of the during a ritual purification (lavatio) for which the
prominence of her statue with her lion escort on stone was taken from Roma to Almo. Missing on
the spina of the circus, thereby communicating the Aquileia sarcophagus are the goddess’ orgi-
that the goal of the procession is that circus. And astic eunuchs who carry the image in the games
as she is the mother of the gods having her stand to the accompaniment of drums, cymbals and
in for all the gods is an easy conflation. flutes. And in the procession to the Almo river
In addition to the triumphal procession and the stone is transported in a wagon, not car-
the processions to inaugurate the various circus ried on a litter. Even if these deviations are laid
games, other processions held as part of religious aside, the stone of the goddess on the sarcopha-
festivals, gladiatorial games and governmental gus might suggest that the setting of the event is
ceremonies employed divine images on litters. Roma. However, the cult of Cybele is known from
Much of the visual evidence for these comes from a number of sites outside Rome, including Aquil-
sculptures or paintings discovered outside Roma, eia itself, so there is no requirement to assume
which has complicated the problem of identify- that the action takes place in Roma (CIL v.795a;
ing the specific subjects, since there is often dis- CIL v.796; Graillot, 1912: 430; Levi, 1935: 69; Tur-
agreement in interpretation over whether the can, 1996: 57 and 64–65). At least one copy, in
subject depicted is set in Roma or locally. Apart silver, of the stone image is recorded, donated
from the divine images, elements of these pro- by a patroness of the Cybele cult at Ostia (CIL
cessions seem difficult to distinguish, or in some xiv.36), though this could be a votive, rather than
cases directly borrow from other processions. a cult object. Thus the stone of the goddess could
Thus the procession to celebrate the inaugura- have been copied in the process of establishing
tion of a consul (processus consularis) because the cult of Cybele at Aquileia in the same way
it led up to games held in the Circus Maximus that the cult of Diana was brought to Roma by
shares some elements with the circus proces- means of a copy of the cult image of Artemis at
sion, and is known to have borrowed imagery Ephesos (Strabon iv.1.4–5). If the setting of the
of the triumphal procession as well (Claudianus, event on the sarcophagus is Aquileia, one cannot
panegyricus de quatro consulatu Honorii Augusti; rely strictly on textual evidence about Roma to
Göll, 1859; Jullian, 1883; Kübler, RE 4.1: 1125–26 s.v. understand the subject. Thus in the procession
“consul”; Stern, 1983: 158–64). as shown, the litter is borne not by the orgiastic
The fragmentary lid of a sarcophagus from eunuchs of the goddess, but by a corps, probably
Aquileia (fig. 24) preserves a magistrate, holding a slaves, dressed in tunics and mantels (paenulae)
baton (scipio) and riding in a mule-drawn wagon, (Kolb, 1973: 109–10; Ronke 1987: 188).
preceeding a litter-borne baldachin (Ronke 1987: Further, a magistrate escorting the stone of
188–89 & 736; Himmelmann 1973: 38–39). The Cybele is not an element documented for the lav­
front portion of the baldachin has been broken atio. The emperor Julian did carry out rituals for
away revealing inside the conical stone image Cybele at Callinicum on the occasion of the lava­
identified with Cybele. As with the San Lorenzo tio (Ammianus Marcellinus xxiii.3.7), suggesting
sarcophagus, the difficulty with understanding if that a magisterial presence in that ritual is pos-
or to what extent a specific event is being por- sible, but not that it is a requirement. The lack
litter statues 51

Fig. 24. Sarcophagus lid, Museo Archeologico di Aquileia. Photo: DAI Rome

of evidence for such a requirement has resulted treated as a visual synecdoche, with Cybele at the
in associating the Aquileia lid instead with circus lead. To the extent that the San Lorenzo lid may
processions, including the processus consularis encapsulate a procession in Roma for the circus,
in Roma (Goette, 1998: 92–93). A further point the same might be true for the Aquileia lid.
of evidence on the Aquileia lid, which is rarely Either of the two hypotheses on the subject
acknowledged and whose full implications have matter of the lid, a highly distilled rendering of
not been appreciated, is the wing faintly visible a circus procession in Roma or a variation of the
along the right break, denoting the presence lavatio at Aquileia accepts points of deviation
there of Victoria (Himmelmann, 1973: 38). This from the textual evidence. For the larger issue
figure of Victoria would appear in the same rela- of divine statues on fercula being used outside
tive position with respect to the magistrate as that Roma there is other visual evidence. However,
goddess does on the San Lorenzo sarcophagus the Aquileia example does provide additional
lid (fig. 21) with respect to the imperial image, so information on the nature of divine images in
that her function here must be the same, to lead processions by the position and scale of the wing
the way before the magistrate and his lictors. And of Victoria. These indicate that the goddess could
again like the San Lorenzo example, the proces- not have appeared here held aloft on a litter.
sion of divine images is configured, and perhaps Clarification of the situation for Victoria figure
52 chapter two

Fig. 25. Funeral relief from Amiternum. Museo Nazionale di Chieti. Photo: DAI Rome

is found on a relief from Amiternum (La Regina, struct the Victoria on the Aquileia sarcophagus
2001: 358; LIMC VIII, s.v. “Zeus/Iuppiter”, no. 237; as similarly riding in a chariot. And as on the
Diebner, 1988; La Regina, 1966) (fig. 25), one of Aquileia sarcophagus, additional gods appear on
the group, to which the Aquileia sarcophagus lid the Amiternum frieze carried on litters. On the
may belong, depicting the use of statues on litters second block are carried two litters with stand-
in processions outside of Roma itself. In the pro- ing, frontal images, the first of Jupiter, the second
cession which is the subject of the Amiternum of Juno. These two indicate the presence of the
relief, reconstructed as the frieze of a funerary Capitoline triad in the form of statues, with Min-
monument, at the right margin of what originally erva appearing on the now lost continuation of
would have been the second block of the frieze, the procession (La Regina, 1966: 47).
Victoria rides in a chariot. Although a substantial The striking feature of these two examples is
amount of time separates these two reliefs, the that in each god(s) appear both in the form of
Aquileia sarcophagus from the fourth century, a statue, and fictively incarnate (Victoria). The
and the Amiternum frieze from the first half of dilemma of two orders of existence in the same
the first century CE (La Regina, 1966: 52–53), the place and time can be accounted for, particularly
scale and position of the wing on the former is with respect to Victoria, by the convention of
nevertheless a close match for the wing of Victo- having gods, presumably those required to play
ria on the latter, making it reasonable to recon- some more active part in the processional drama,
litter statues 53

impersonated by mortals. Thus Julius Obsequens Regina’s interpretation accounts more directly
understood a boy to impersonate Victoria (de for the attributes of the figure. To the evidence
prodigiis 70), priests are described as the embodi- might be added Claudianus’ description (panegy­
ment of the god they serve (Ploutarkhos, aitia ricus de quatro consulatu Honorii Augusti 1–17) of
Romaïka 290C), and more broadly flamines or tri­ the inaugural procession (processus consularis)
umphatores are impersonators of the god (Scheid, for Honorius’ fourth consulship, where immedi-
1986). The very act of riding in a chariot is itself a ately after describing the preparations of sena-
more active rôle than the statues on litters play, tors, lictors and soldiers he describes Bellona
but there is no reason to think the performance and Mars as if they were participating in the
was limited to that. Indeed, La Regina (1966: 46) procession. While it is an open question whether
in her reconstruction of the Amiternum frieze in a procession of a Christian emperor statues
plausibly describes the extended right arm of the of these pagan divinities would have taken part,
Victoria as holding a crown, and a palm branch the metaphorical invocation of these war gods at
held on her left shoulder is still visible. this initial point in that procession underscores
On the Amiternum frieze there is a figure in the appropriateness of their appearance, and the
a second chariot following Victoria and sepa- general imitation of the triumphal procession by
rated from her by a group consisting of two men the consular procession.
with two boys. The second rider is badly dam- The survival of a frieze block among those
aged, with only the contour and its implements from Amiternum illustrating gladiators has led
preserved. But since for the Victoria only the to reading these as part of the same procession
chariot box is preserved, this second rider clari- which includes the statues on litters and the
fies that the two chariots are bigae and are not chariots (Ryberg, 1955: 99; Diebner, 1988: 135–36;
controlled by the occupant, but handled by a La Regina, 2001: 358). However, La Regina’s recon-
groom who appears on the far side of the second struction of the frieze (1966: 41–43) shows that
chariot’s horses, on a scale which is intermediate the block with gladiators (block d) belongs to
between the togate men and boys. The use of an the frieze on the other side of the interior space
escort compares closely with the same rôle per- of the monument and is not contiguous with
formed with respect to divine wagons (tensae) the frieze of the procession. It is not necessary,
for carrying the symbols of the gods (exuviae) therefore, to combine the two as a single subject
in processions, as to be discussed in Chapter 4. (Schäfer, 1989: 397), and as will be shown below,
The presence of the grooms to handle the chari- the emphasis on statues and impersonators of
ots illustrates that the attributes carried by the gods on the Amiternum frieze is distinct from
impersonators of the gods are more important the usual representations of processions for local
than these impersonators being seen as in direct gladiatorial games. Considered only by the heavy
control of their chariots. presence of gods and its triumphal character,
The second rider holds a spear in the right the procession is most consistent with a proces­
hand, a trophy over the left shoulder, and wears sus consularis. This character lends some sup-
a helmet. Ryberg identified the figure as the mag- port to Ryberg’s reading of the trophy carrier as
istrate for the procession, as no other figure on the magistrate, here impersonating Mars. If this
the preserved blocks would seem to fit the rôle hypothesis is valid, the Amiternum frieze would
(Ryberg, 1955: 99–100). La Regina on the other be consistent with other examples in its use of
hand identified the figure as Mars (La Regina, Victoria as the escort of the magisterial power.
1966: 47; Pekáry, 1985: 122). Ryberg’s interpreta- Processions which can with greater certainty
tion has the advantage of providing an expected, be ascribed to local gladiatorial games are pre-
distinctive treatment for the magistrate. But La served on a grave relief from outside Pompeii,
54 chapter two

Fig. 26. Gladiatorial relief, Museo Nazionale, Napoli. Photo: Ryberg 1955

and on reliefs decorating the amphitheatre at The often-discussed grave relief (fig. 26), now
Capua. Several fragments of sculptured parapets, in Napoli (Mus. Naz. 6704), illustrates in several
protecting the entrances to the amphitheatre at registers, a procession, gladiatorial games and a
Capua and dating to the middle of the second hunt (venatio) (Abaecherli, 1935–36: 2; Ryberg,
century, illustrate the familiar hunched figures 1955: 101; Felletti Maj, 1977: 341–42; Diebner, 1988:
in tunics carrying litters. Only one subject that 131; Junkelmann, 2000: fig. 206; Köhne and Ewigle-
survives on a complete parapet section can be ben, 2000: 72; La Regina, 2001: 359). At the head
associated with these as it represents a civic pro- of the procession in the top register, two lictors
cession. Here a magistrate arrives in the amphi- carrying fasces lead several musicians and then
theatre, mounting the stairs to his seat (Pesce, four figures in tunics at smaller scale who carry
1941: 22–24; Schäfer, 1989: 385). This arrival was a litter directly on their shoulders (i.e., without
positioned over the centre of the amphitheatre poles). The figures atop the litter are on the small-
entrance, and the panels of processions with est scale, but additionally have distinctly doll-like
litter-bearers would flank it on one side or the proportions, with rather large heads for their bod-
other, depicting the procession proceeding to the ies. As there follow the litter several figures carry-
amphitheatre. As the surviving sections preserve ing elements of gladiatorial armour, the litter has
only the bearers, their staves and in one case the been interpreted as being linked to an armourer’s
poles of the litters, it is not possible to deter- guild (Tertullianus, de spectaculis 7), with two
mine if they carried the images of the gods, or metal smiths depicted at their labour. The figures
images connected with guilds (Pesce, 1941: 18–19; sit facing each other intent on their work on the
Spinazzola, 1953: 231). However, these fragments block between them, the figure on the right hold-
do speak to the visual sense that the statues(?) ing his hammer aloft in the right hand.
on litters comprise a quintessential element of It has become standard to describe these fig-
such processions, even outside the imperial capi- ures on the litter as simply exemplars of the
tal. Moreover, as one of the fragments preserves metalworkers’ guild, but this may be to miss
parts of two litter-bearing teams in succession, the significance of objects transported on litters.
it emphasizes the tendency among other depic- Both the legend of Romulus inventing the lit-
tions to distill from large and complicated pro- ter for the triumph, and the function of the lit-
cessions, an essential element to draw on the ter as a tray, whether for an image or offering,
viewer’s memory of the original. imbue the device with divine significance. Even
litter statues 55

Fig. 27. Procession, Bottega del Profumiere, Pompeii, Museo Nazionali, Napoli. Photo: Caratelli 1990–95

the booty and prisoners in the triumph, to the fig. 4; Abaecherli, 1935–36: –20; Felletti Maj, 1977:
extent they are being dedicated to the gods, are 334–35; Fröhlich, 1991: 319–20; van Nijf, 1997: 200;
divine property; a generalized and pedestrian Clarke, 2003: 86–87; LIMC VII, s.v. “Perdix”, no. 4;
illustration of a guild’s work would not seem to ThesCRA, s.v. “cult images”, no. 591.) (fig. 27). Even
rise to this required level of divine significance. in its fragmentary condition, and removed from
More convincing would be some illustration of its context, the painting does offer ample testi-
the divine connections of the guild’s work. For mony on how complex such guild litters could be,
the metal smiths’ guild the appropriate figures and as it once decorated a shop, it speaks to the
are those divine progenitors: Telkhines, Daktu- sense of prestige which the processional display
loi, Korybantes, or Kabeiroi. These are frequently of such litters must have had. While depictions of
conceived as small and multiple daimons, and litters do not ordinarily provide evidence for such
often conflated with one another (Strabon x.3.7; elaborate decorations, this may be in the interests
Nonnos, Dionysiaka xxx.68; Diodoros Sikeliotes of clearly illustrating the carried god. An impe-
v.55; Strabon x.3.19–22 & xiv.2.7; Statius Thebais rial period inscription, for example, records the
ii.269–75). The Kabeiroi were identified with the fact that the donor paid for the litter of a fercu­
Megaloi Theoi of Samothrake, and thought to lum statue of Bellona and its trappings (ILS 3804;
have been brought to Troia and subsequently to Fishwick, 1967: 153; Wissowa, 1912: 350).
Roma as the dual Penates (Dionysios of Halikar- The litter carried here is rendered as both
nassos i.61 & 68; Macrobius, Saturnalia iii.4.). Of larger and more elaborate than is the norm for
particular importance for the current context is depictions of litters. The litter is covered in part
that they are connected with metallurgy and the with a baldachin, itself decked out in vegetation
god Volcanus or Hephaistos. Indeed, the strength and sacral vessels. At the back of the baldachin
of the identification lies in the pose of the ham- three figures, to judge from their bodily propor-
mer-wielding daimon on the right, which is iden- tions either children or again daimons, busy
tical to the statue for the cult of Hephaistos at themselves with sawing lumber. At the front end
Magnesia-on-the-Maiandros, itself shown on of the litter, beneath the pediment of the balda-
imperial coins as being carried on a litter (Malten, chin, a figure in an exomis ponders a prone fig-
1912: 240–41). ure at his feet. The prone figure is described as
The guild litter on this grave relief finds its having a spike through his head, although in the
best parallel on a painting also from Pompeii, VI current condition of the painting it is not possible
7.8, Napoli, Mus. Naz. 8991 (Malten, 1912: 242 and to confirm this. The exomis worn by the standing
56 chapter two

Fig. 28. Procession, Via del Abbondanza, Pompeii. Photo: AA 1913

figure identifies a worker, and Daidalos has been This defiance of spatial recession allows each of the
recognized here having jealously murdered Talos bearers’ faces to be clearly visible. A nineteenth-
or Perdix, inventor of the saw (Schürmann, 1985: century publication of the painting described
56–57; LIMC III, s.v. “Daidalos”, I). The mytho- them as being “of vulgar facial types” (Helbig,
logical identification has been doubted in favour 1868: 359–60). It seems odd that the guild, as the
of anonymous workers (LIMC VII, s.v. “Perdix”, patrons of the painting, would wish themselves to
no. 4). But apart from the evidence above that be presented in quite this unflattering light. Nev-
litters more likely support a scene of divine or ertheless, it does suggest something more indi-
heroic antecedents for a guild, it is not clear that vidualized than the generic types provided in the
carpenters suffered death by spikes through the nineteenth-century watercolour (Carratelli, et al.
head at such a rate as to make this an effective 1990–95, 5: 390–91). And while the condition of
depiction of anonymous workers. More likely, this the painting does not reveal if these are any more
tableau does present the heroic forbearers of the than types, the arrangement does suggest that the
carpenters’ guild whose shop the painting deco- painting is as much a presentation of the guild
rated. At the preserved left edge of the painting, members as the litter they carry.
and apparently standing outside the extent of the A second painting from Pompeii, IX 7.1, (fig. 28),
baldachin are visible the spear, shield and lower on the Via dell’Abbondanza, provides the most
edge of the peplos of Minerva, here as the patron extensive visual description of the use of a litter
goddess of craftsmen. in local ceremony (Spano, 1912; Delbrueck 1913;
It is not clear that the litter was ever part of Della Corte, 1921; Spinazzola, 1953 I: 223–42; Ver-
a larger processional context, and therefore pro- maseren, 1977: 108–09, 124; Fröhlich, 1991: 332–
vides no information on what ceremony it may 33; Clarke, 2003: 87–93; LIMC VIII, s.v. “Kybele”,
have participated in. The painting’s intention no. 73; ThesCRA, s.v. “cult images”, no. 592). The
may have been to focus exclusively on the deco- painting is one of a group decorating the entrance
ration of the guild’s litter and on its carriers. Four to a taverna. The architrave carried a set of five
tunic-clad litter bearers are in evidence, although bust-length images of gods. At the tops of the
as the last pair in order seem to be positioned at supporting piers is a pair of pendant images, both
about the middle of the litter, an additional pair set against a white ground, each with a painted
is possible. They carry the litter in a distinctive garland hanging above. In contrast to the images
manner, on poles apparently extending across of the gods in their celestial realm on the archi-
the depth of the litter. Despite this, none of the trave, these pier images present the gods in their
preserved bearers is overlapped by the litter itself, earthly manifestations, in the form of the images
so that the group is arranged as if in a single file. through which they are worshipped. Thus on
litter statues 57

the left Venus Pompeiana and the Eros with her, they have been interpreted as wearing the reli-
though depicted in terms of colour and texture gious habit of a foreign cult (Spinazzola, 1953: I:
as animate beings, are indicated as statues. Eros 232–33). However, the shape of their mantels is
stands on a tall, cylindrical base, while the larger consistent with the paenula, and the wearing of
figure of Venus stands on a low rectangular one. brightly coloured or opulent dress is characteris-
On the right pier is the painting of a procession. tic of litter carriers (Seneca, de beneficiis iii.28.5,
An enthroned goddess, uniformly identified as and Martialis, epigrammata 9.22.9–10). They still
Cybele, has been carried on a litter, now set on hold in their hands the staves intended to hold
the ground. She, along with the procession which the litter during processional pauses. Here, how-
has accompanied her, has arrived in the presence ever, the litter has been placed on the ground.
of Dionysos/Liber, who, though part of the same The significance is unmistakable: this is the end
composition, is rendered in sculptural form as a of the procession. Moreover, the focus is Liber
bust in a niche. in his aedicula, to whom even Cybele directs her
All the paintings are now badly faded, so that attention.
only general compositional patterns and larger Like Venus on the opposite pier, the goddess
forms are apparent. But earlier photographs appears not as a rigid piece of statuary, but as
and meticulous descriptions of details and attri- an animate being who turns off the axis of the
butes made shortly after the excavation provide litter towards Liber. Her sceptre has been moved
the essential evidence to assess the subject. The to the crux of the left arm in order that she hold
entire composition on the right pier is framed on a bough in her left hand and more importantly
both sides by vertical forms which stand slightly a patera in her right, pouring a libation. In this
removed from the cohesive, central grouping: on she repeats the action of the priest at the centre
the left two musicians on the smallest scale of all of the group, who also is turned in three-quarter
the figures, on the right two tall, thin candelabras view towards Liber in his aedicula. Her actions,
flank an altar on which incense burns. Between therefore, should be understood not as reflecting
these the mortal and divine figures coalesce into necessarily her cult image or the image carried
an unbroken block of overlapping forms. And on the litter, but as intrinsic to the procession’s
despite this compact arrangement, each head arrival at the aedicula of Liber. The connection
is allotted an unobstructed, frontal presentation Ovidius ( fasti iii.733–34) draws between the
as if they are all posing for a group portrait. This name of Liber and the word for libations (liba­
mass is pinned at either end by the two larger mina) may also function here to emphasize the
divine forms, each of which is further set off by attention paid to the god.
its fastigium frame, Liber in his niche, Cybele The ceremonial acts, liquid offering and the
enthroned on her litter backed by a large cloth burning of incense as distinct from sacrifice, are
spangled with stars. appropriate to several possible rituals of thanks-
Of these two gods, it is Cybele who has arrived giving and prayer: supplicatio, obsecratio and
with her processional escort comprised of a gratulatio (Wissowa, 1912: 424–25). The form of
priest and assistant, a body of women who vari- the object of these ritual acts, Liber as a bust in
ously carry ceremonial paraphernalia (Summers, his aedicula, is suggestive. He appears here as
1996: 341) and musical instruments, and a crew of one of the heads of gods (capita deorum). This
four litter bearers. These bearers are on a slightly particular form will the subject of a dedicated
smaller scale than the other mortals. They wear chapter, but here it can be observed that Livius
tunics and over them paenulae, the same garb as (xl.59) identifies the head of a god as a format
the litter bearers of Cybele’s stone image on the of a divine image used for ritual banquets (lec­
sarcophagus in Aquileia (fig. 24). Accordingly, tisternia) (Nouilhan, 1989: 35 and Milani, 1976).
58 chapter two

As both the supplicatio and the obsecratio occur in the area of the upper thighs. That the figures
as part of a lectisternium, the action depicted in end where their bodies meet the couch beneath
the painting, directed toward the head of Liber, is them, rather than being figures who kneel is con-
most efficiently explained as the arrival in prepa- firmed by the handling of the garments, whose
ration of one such banquet, where the head of hems are apparent at the front, and whose sides
the god is set out to receive the public. The estab- lap over the poles of litters at either side of each
lishment of a shrine was celebrated by holding figure. These are the poles of the litters on which
a lectisternium as a commemorative foundation they have been carried. The rigid frontality of
celebration (Wissowa, 1912: 422 and ns. 1 and 2; the figures, with respect to both the litters and
Latham, 2007: 227–231; Festus 351). Here then the the couch, emphasizes the difference between
occasion of the lectisternium may be the com- these figures as statues, and the Cybele of the Via
memoration of the foundation of Liber’s shrine. dell’Abbondanza painting as an animate being
At Roma, all the public would participate in who participates in ceremony.
visiting the target god or gods to make their sup- In his investigation of the group, Brendel drew
plications, so one can imagine that here at Pom- attention to the repetition of iconographic and
peii a religious community of women dedicated to formal elements with a coin rendering of the two
Cybele have processed to the shrine of Liber for Fortunae worshipped at Antium: the Amazonian
this occasion, bringing along on a litter their image dress of one of the two, the appearance of litters
of the goddess to join them. Recorded official lec­ whose carrying poles end in animal protomai,
tisternia often involved images of gods in male and and the truncation of the figures (Brendel, 1960:
female pairs, and it is possible that the painting on 41–42). The Fortunae on the coin are truncated
the Via dell’Abbondanza commemorates Cybele’s between the breasts and waist, rather than at the
image joining Liber’s for such a lectisternium. The upper thigh, suggesting that the fact of trunca-
orgiastic aspect of the worship of both gods would tion is a more significant carrier of meaning than
account for their pairing in such a lectisternium where precisely the truncation occurs. Brendel
(Vermaseren, 1977: 64). This pairing up of heads of extends the comparison more broadly to the
gods would have required each of the participat- tradition of Roman funerary renderings of heads
ing gods to have his or her image brought from and busts, and images of oracular divinities who
its own temple. But as the goddess is rendered are shown partially risen from the earth to deliver
in the painting not as an image but as if actually their prophecies, the latter case being particu-
present, the painting does not provide evidence larly apposite for the Fortunae, who delivered
for the format of her statue brought to this sup­ oracles from their sanctuary at Antium, appar-
plicatio. However, a statuette group in Praeneste ently on their litters according to a reference in
(fig. 29) does demonstrate that litters were used to Marcrobius (Saturnalia i.23.13). The couch Bren-
bring images of a god from another sanctuary to a del would understand as a bit of temple furni-
divine banquet, a practice which may be restricted ture upon which the images are set to deliver the
to religious observation outside Roma itself. oracles (Brendel, 1960: 44–47). Alternatively, the
The statuette depicts a pair of images of Fortu- setting up of the cult images on a couch has been
nae, now missing their heads and portions of all thought to represent a lectisternium, or allude to
their arms (Agnoli, 2000: 57–59; Champeaux, 1982: a marriage bed (Romanelli, 1967: 93; Champeaux,
150–155 and pl. IX). Much else about the figures 1982: 150–155). The evidence to assess these inter-
might strike one as odd. Brendel has emphasized pretations will be considered at greater length in
in the fundamental publication of the group that the chapter on capita deorum.
despite initial impressions, the figures do not The presence of the litters is exceptional in
kneel (Brendel, 1960: 41), but are instead cut off depictions of lectisternia, or textual accounts of
litter statues 59

them, but Brendel’s argument that the gilded carry the litter of the ξόανον of Jupiter (Wilcken,
cult statues of the deities at Antium were perma- 1885: 438–39, 441, 468–69) point towards the stat-
nently fixed to litters so that they could deliver ues with their litters being stored in the sanctuar-
their oracles while they were carried about their ies, as with the Antium pair. This direct physical
sanctuary, as Marcrobius (Saturnalia i.23.13) association of the ferculum statue with a sanctu-
relates, accounts for the litters being treated ary could foster a link between the statue and a
as fixed parts of the statues’ appearance in this well-known statue of the sanctuary, like the cult
depiction of them. If Brendel’s analysis is cor- statue.
rect, that the statues carried on litters were the Apart from the Antium/Praeneste example, the
primary statues of the cult, it opens the issue of Aquileia sarcophagus lid (fig. 24) offers the most
what the relationship was between the images secure example of a ferculum statue conform-
carried on litters and their corresponding cult ing to a cult image, because of the peculiar form
images, or indeed any prominent statue of the Cybele’s cult image took as a stone of roughly
divinity. It needs stressing that such a proposed conical form. Additionally, it can be concluded
correspondence rests on the assumption that the that the stone image seen on the lid would have
visual examples of statues on litters faithfully to correspond to the local one, derived from the
render their appearance, rather than selecting one in Roma, since according to Prudentius’s
some common and therefore easily recognized description (peri stephanon x.156–57) by this time
image of the divinity. Apart from the identity that original in Roma had been incorporated into
of the particular divinity, what was the relation- a much larger and anthropomorphic image of
ship between the statues on a litter and in the the goddess.
divinity’s sanctuary? No textual or archaeological Additionally, the statues on fercula on the
evidence directly fixes the location of ferculum frieze from Amiternum have a claim to reflect-
statues during the time they were not in use. But ing cult images. The divinities here, excluding
the number of them involved in the large public those impersonated divinities, portray the Capi-
processions in Roma, as described by Dionysios toline triad, consistent with the use of triumphal
(vii.72) for the circus pompa, suggests that mass imagery in such magisterial processions. The
storage would have required considerable space. identification of the Capitoline gods is striking
Hypothetically, storage within a divinity’s sanc- for the specific rendering of Jupiter. He appears
tuary, in one of the ancillary chambers of such not as the Capitoline Jupiter was at the time of
a complex, could have more efficiently provided the frieze’s construction in the middle of the first
for the protection and security of the statue and century CE, a colossal chryselephantine statue
its litter. modeled after Pheidias’ Olympia Zeus, enthroned
At least for Roma, the larger and better under- and holding a figure of Roma(?) in the extended
stood processions, like the triumphal and the right hand (Suetonius, Augustus 94.6; Dio Cassius
circus, did not issue from a temple, requiring xlv.2.3). This form of Jupiter was installed as part
therefore that the statues, like other elements of the rebuilding of the temple after its burning
of the procession, be assembled at some gather- in 83 BCE. By contrast, the Jupiter on the frieze
ing point. However, outside the capitol and for is a standing figure with the right arm lowered
smaller processions focusing on a small number next to the body and holding a thunderbolt. This
of divinities, the evidence suggests that some rendering of the god seems to hark back to the
probably did begin at temple sites. The image of cult statue lost in the burning of the temple. Tex-
Cybele escorted by her adherents to visit Liber tual references to this statue concur that it was
in the painting in Pompeii and a temple account of terracotta, standing and holding a thunderbolt
from Arsinoe dealing with the hiring of men to (Ovidius, fasti i.201; Warren, 1970: 63). Ovidius also
60 chapter two

provides a sense of its scale: so large as to barely ritual of the lavatio, which was observed at vari-
stand in its shrine. This survival of the older cult ous sites throughout the empire, would have nec-
image in processional imagery is also indicated essarily involved removing the goddess’ image
elsewhere, as on a fragment of a sarcophagus some distance from her resident sanctuary. Even
depicting a magistrate with a baton in a chariot. if the lavatio as described in Ovidius ( fasti iv.345),
The context has, like that for the Amiternum pro- where her image is carried in a wagon, pertained
cession, been interpreted as one for the games everywhere, inscriptional evidence expands the
(Ronke, 1987: 228, 735; Costantini, LIMC VIII, picture to include at least one litter statue as part
s.v. “Zeus/Iuppiter”). Accordingly, the Capitoline of this procession. An inscription of the impe-
gods are rendered as a relief decoration on the rial period from Aquae Calidae in Mauretania
front of the chariot box, and as in the Amiternum records a litter statue of Bellona described as dea
case, Jupiter appears in the archaic guise, stand- pedisequa which has been shown to refer to its
ing with a thunderbolt in the lowered right hand. rôle as following the statue of Cybele in the lava­
As it seems unlikely that the fire which destroyed tio procession, and other similar descriptions of
the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus spared the old the same goddess insure that the arrangement
cult statue, or that a large terracotta statue could was not peculiar to this site (Fishwick, 1967: 153–
have been saved from the fire, the anachronistic 54). At whatever distance the lavatio required,
invocation of the lost statue would appear to be at least one litter statue took part, and as it is
a method to underscore the great antiquity of the defined in terms of Cybele’s image and proces-
association between the cult and the games and sion it seems likely to have been housed in the
their processions. What is less clear is at what same sanctuary.
level this appeal to that ancient association was The Cybele on the litter in Pompeii is of a
made: whether the processions did indeed pres- type that descends ultimately from the Meter
ent the god in his old form, or whether depic- made by Agorakritos for Athenai in the fifth cen-
tions of the processions would use the old form tury BCE, and is subsequently extremely popular
regardless of how Jupiter actually appeared on in various media (Vermaseren, 1977–89). It is sig-
his ferculum in the procession. nificant that there is evidence for a number of
The painting from Pompeii of the procession temples of Cybele in the region around Pompeii
of Cybele and her followers to the shrine of Liber (Tran tam Tinh, 1972: 85–100). Particularly strik-
(fig. 28), although the goddess can be construed ing is the Cybele partially preserved in relief on
as if animate and participating in the ritual a base in Sorrento, where the goddess appears,
rather than a statue, nevertheless is a similar very much like the Pompeii painting, on a high-
case to the other examples in evoking at least a backed throne, flanked by lions, and with her
general sense of a cult image with this large and usual tympanum (Tran tam Tinh, 1972: 122–24).
majestic depiction of the goddess. Shortly after The Cybele in the Pompeii painting additionally
the painting was discovered, Delle Corte had holds branches which seem to derive from those
argued that the goddess depicted could not be carried by her company, but overall the image
Cybele because there was no known temple of there would seem to project a sense of being a
Cybele in Pompeii which could provide for such cult statue come to life.
an image (Delle Corte, 1921: 69). While there is For the two examples of patron divinities car-
still no known temple of Cybele in Pompeii it ried by members of guilds, the allusion to a cult
is not necessary to assume that the procession statue is rather more indirect. In the cases of
involves an intramural sanctuary of the goddess. the gladiatorial relief with the armourers’ guild
Processions, of course, could extend outside the (fig. 26) and the painting for the carpenters’ guild
resident city. In the specific case of Cybele, the (fig. 27) both from Pompeii, an urban setting for
litter statues 61

the depicted processions seems warranted, yet interpreted as indicating that the lions draw, not
the divinities represented do not correspond to the goddess herself, but her statue (LIMC VIII,
sanctuaries known in the city. The Telkhines as s.v. “Kybele”, no. 94; Naumann, 1983: 158; Richter,
minor divinities are not likely to have had a tem- 1930: 184–85). Where the original statue referred
ple of their own, and a temple of Minerva is not to here stood is not known, but it is striking that
at this point identified in Pompeii. Instead, one the revived popularity of the type of the statue
of the Telkhines carried by the armourers dupli- in the lion-drawn wagon coincides with the reor-
cates a pose of a cult image of Hephaistos known ganization and expansion of the cult of Cybele
to have some currency from Roman period coins. under the Antonines (Lambrechts, 1952; Fish-
On the litter of the carpenters’ guild, the parts wick, 1966: 194–95), and therefore might originate
of the Minerva preserved along the edge of the at the same time. Additionally, the type of the
painting reveal a statue on a base, the shield on goddess in her lion-drawn wagon appears under
the ground at the goddess’ left and the spear held the Antonines and subsequently under the Sev-
on the left side. To displace the spear from the eran dynasty, as on the reverse of coins of Faus-
right side, some more important object must tina Maior and Julia Domna to celebrate their
have been held in the right hand. The immedi- rôles as mother of the empire and of emperors
ately obvious correspondence to the Athena of (Bieber, 1969: 33–36), alluding to Cybele’s capac-
the Parthenos type in this case is dictated in part ity as mother of the gods. It would appear then
by the appropriateness of a famous rendering of that although the Cybele that occurs on the San
the patron of craftsmen, but also by the narrative Lorenzo sarcophagus lid cannot be with certainty
of Daidalos which takes up the majority of the lit- identified as a cult statue, it is one which is inte-
ter’s space, a story whose setting is Athenai. gral to the cult of the goddess as developed in the
In apparent contrast with this pattern of lit- later empire.
ter images being associated with cult images is Taken together, the visual and textual evi-
the San Lorenzo sarcophagus lid (LIMC VIII, s.v. dence provide some broader scope on the expe-
“Kybele”; Bieber, 1969; Vermaseren, 1977–89, III) riential context of the processional display of
(fig. 21). At first glance the Cybele carried here statues. Not surprisingly, these objects drew
appears to be the type of the goddess enthroned attention to themselves by scale and luxurious
in a wagon drawn by lions. In fact, no wagon is material. In contrast with statues in temples,
shown: the goddess on her throne sits behind a where the isolation of the individual divinity (or
pair of rampant lions. This seems to be a sum- small group) could be presented in a tighter and
mary intended to achieve clarity within the more controlled focus, statues on fercula even if
restricted space, while including the essentials. alone are viewed in the context of a procession
But clearly, this is not the black stone of the god- busy in visual activity which competes with the
dess said to have been brought in from Anato- statue, and where even with the ritual pauses the
lia, installed in the temple built on the Palatine, encounter is distinctly fleeting.
and featured on the Aquileia sarcophagus lid in Scale and material serve to draw attention to
a local version. While the type of enthroned god- such statues. Josephus (historia Ioudaïkou polemou
dess in a lion-drawn wagon is known as early pros Romaious vii.132) reports on the imposing
as some Republican coin issues, it achieves a scale of the litter statues of the gods and describes
renewed and more sustained popularity under them as constructed of opulent materials. In the
the Antonine and Severan dynasties. A statuette same account of the triumph of Vespasianus, he
group in New York (1897.22.24) is particularly describes the Victoriae who led the way for the
informative because the enthroned Cybele is on emperor and his sons as being variously of gold
a different scale than the lions, which has been or ivory. These may be hand-held statues, but
62 chapter two

the text provides some evidence for the expected (Bell, 1972: 32). The choice finds support from a
identification of the opulent materials. This is description of an enthroned processional statue
further corroborated by Ovidius (amores iii.2.43– of Faustina Minor by Dio Cassius (lxxii.31) which
44) who specifically describes the statues of the uses the same term. In the Alexandrian case, the
gods on fercula proceeding through the circus as need to provide an existing seated statue with a
being of gold and ivory. Dio Cassius (xlviii.31.5) new throne is a striking specification, suggest-
refers to a Roman statue on a litters as a “pro- ing that the requirements of processional func-
cessional statue” (ἄγαλμα πομπεῦον). The same tion could not be met by simply retro-fitting the
term (ἀγάλματος πομπικοῦ) is applied to a statue statue’s original throne to a litter.
of Isis Eleutheria the cost of which is provided by The performative nature of processions and
a Roman and which is specified as being of sil- its temporal consequences have a fundamen-
ver. As this, too, is likely a litter statue, it further tal effect on how the involved statues operated.
corroborates Josephus and Ovidius on the luxury Against the fleeting quality of the encounter by
materials used for such objects (Robert, 1928: the viewer was the reiteration of the visual expe-
57). The amount donated for the statue indicates rience with these same statues as the processions
that this was not a statuette to be carried by a were repeated in the liturgical cycle. And the
single individual, like the statuettes specified in dramatic tension inherent in such performance
the Salutaris endowment at Ephesos, but within also played its part: that in both the progression
the range of statues’ costs known from Africa and through the streets and at the ritual pauses all
Italy (Duncan-Jones, 1982: 94, 162–63; see Appen- would go as prescribed. The perils were in part
dix, no. 2). of the moment, as the disastrous portent of a
Construction in gold, silver and ivory presup- ferculum statue” (ἄγαλμα πομπεῦον) of Mars fall-
poses an armature system of some kind, but the ing down during Caracalla’s reign (Dio Cassius
goal of such construction need not be with an eye lxxix.8.1) illustrates. The perils were also pro-
to weight reduction. As examples from Ptolemaic tracted, the inevitable deterioration of statues
Alexandreia (Athenaios, deipnosophistai v.202a–c) subjected to regular handling and moving. The
and the Romans’ own experience with process- best parallel for this lies in the images of the
ing statuary captured from conquered enemies imperial cult which were similarly handled, and
(Appianus, historia Romana xii.116) amply dem- consequently required replacement (Fishwick,
onstrate, very large and heavy objects were no 1981; Fishwick, 1989).
bar to processional display. Indeed, even from It was by this repetition that ferculum statues
the imperial period there is evidence for statuary could function, even more effectively than cult
not intended for processional use being pressed images which they seem often to have emulated,
into such service. The preserved letter from the to distribute the visual information of the god’s
emperor Claudius to the Alexandrians declines appearance to the broader public. The particu-
the honour of two gold statues whose subjects larly striking case is that of Jupiter Capitolinus
are already fixed, and already manufactured as he appeared borne on a litter in Roma, since
(Bell, 1972: 5–6, 27). One, constructed as a Pax this image seems to have preserved before the
Augusta Claudiana he directs to be dedicated to public’s eyes a configuration of the god which
Roma. The other, whose subject is not mentioned ceased to exist in his temple by the early first
in the letter, he instructs to be used for proces- century BCE.
sions. He also stipulates that they provide this The statues themselves, for all their size and
second statue with a δίφρος. The word can have luxury, are fundamentally props, and their full
several possible meanings, although the pub- function relies on the participation of those who
lisher of the letter finds “throne” the most likely carried them along and the crowds who came to
litter statues 63

see the processions. The expectations of decorum images. The standard of decorum which was
as much as the reality of how these groups played expected of the carriers of litters lies behind
their parts were essential ingredients in how well Cicero’s caustic warning (de officiis 1.31) not to
it all came off. adopt the habit of enfeebled walking typical of
The major commentators on the ferculum stat- those who carry litters. Significantly, he does not
ues in processions in Roma, Dionysios of Halikar- level his charge against those who carry litters
nassos, Josephus and Tertullianus, by addressing generally, but only those in processions. That is,
them as a unity, emphasize the visual effect of the he seems to feel there is less attention to their
sheer mass of divine images. Dionysios (Romaîke keeping a rigid comportment than there ought
arkhaiologia lxxii.13) gives an accounting of gods to be. The reality of transporting, large, chrysele-
and heroes which (assuming a single statue on phantine statues to which Cicero is responding
each litter) minimally would require thirty lit- is also acknowledged by Ovidius (amores iii.2.54)
ters, and this he describes as only a partial list. when he imagines that the inevitable shaking
Despite what must have been the intended and swaying of the statue is in fact the goddess
overwhelming effect of these numbers, viewers Venus responding favourably to his entreaties for
were capable of and did respond to statues on aid in his romantic enterprise.
a more individual level as well. Ovidius (amores These two allusions to the task of carrying
iii.2.43–55) describes the arrival of a procession statues on litters underscore the contrast with
at the circus where his interest, due to romantic carrying processional statuettes, that the for-
aspirations, is focused on the statue of Venus. But mer amounts to something like real work. And
his catalogue of the sequence of statues and the as such, a different set of social qualifications
partisans he names for each reflect the responses for the performers applied. For while the car-
of these groups for individual statues. This effec- riers of statuettes were from among the élite,
tive fragmenting of the great mass of divine those who carry litters come from a lower social
images where individual statues receive the rank. Those who transport the wealthy in litters
attention of interested parties is also suggested are slaves (Seneca, de beneficiis 3.28.5; Martialis,
by the account of Dio Cassius (xlviii.31.5) of the epigrammata 9.22.9–10); equally those who carry
circus procession in 40 BCE, where the statue of the gods, though this may be an honour, come
Neptunus was singled out for enthusiastic recep- from among those whose lot it is to bear loads.
tion by the crowd in order to express its support Evidence for the social status of those who bear
for Pompeius against Caesar and Antonius. That the litters of the gods comes from the inventories
such behaviour of singling out a god’s statue was of the temple of Jupiter at Arsinoe, where entries
regarded by the organizers as bad form at least in record the hiring of “workers” to carry the statue
this particular case is demonstrated by their sub- of the god in procession (Wilcken, 1885: 438–39,
sequently removing the statue of Neptunus from 441, 468–69). This can be compared to the “work-
the lineup. And the response of the crowd to this ers” hired to draw the cart for the phallus of
gesture to public order by driving the organiz- Dionysos on Delos (Vallois, 1922: 103–04).
ing magistrates from the Forum under a pelting In contrast with Cicero’s notion of the perfor-
of stones provides a vivid sense of competition mance of ferculum carriers, the visual portrayals
between groups in society to manipulate the the- present them in ideal form. They regularly wear
atre of a procession and its constituent elements short tunics, with occasionally paenulae. They
to their own ends. trudge along with the knees bent and the upper
As with the processional statuettes, a part of body slightly stooped. The pose is used with con-
the visual presentation of the ferculum statues sistency, even for the painting of guild members
involved those whose task it was to carry these from Pompeii carrying the image of their patron
64 chapter two

goddess and heroic antecedents (fig. 27), where Lorenzo sarcophagus lid (fig. 21) develops this
the commercial site of the painting makes it clear spatial hierarchy to its fullest extent. Behind all
that the guild members are to be viewed with a the carriers of Victoria’s and those preserved for
sense of pride. The sense of arduous effort that Cybele’s litters, rise a series of corresponding fig-
typically prevails in the visual evidence is an ide- ures. They might appear to be the far side carri-
alized presentation of the procession with each ers, but in fact they are on a larger scale and their
individual doing his allotted part. The desire shoulders are above the level of the poles. They
to communicate the proud participation also are therefore better understood as the escorts of
accounts for the peculiar perspective treatment the litters. This leaves the carriers as the series of
encountered for a significant number of the lit- smaller figures, all in the standard stooped poses,
ter carriers. Though the renderings of the carriers and all strung out along the shallow plane of the
are in no sense portraits, the sculptors and paint- foreground.
ers seem to feel instinctively that their faces must The identity and visual treatment of the lit-
be visible so far as possible. As a result, heads of ter carriers in Roman renderings offer a point of
carriers on the far side of a litter will violate the contact with foreign cults in Rome, and thereby
logic of spatial recession by appearing on the add emphasis. Dionysios (Romaîke arkhaiologia
near side of the poles. Even in the relief today ii.19) is rather unsympathetic to foreign ceremo-
in the Museo Chiaramonti from an imperial nial practices. His general point is that Romans
monument of the first century CE, where spatial perform religious rites for foreign gods, but in
recession might be expected to be observed more their own manner. He specifically contrasts the
rigorously, the two preserved carriers who belong Roman worship of Cybele with games against the
to the far side of the litter nevertheless position imported pattern of worship, exemplified by the
their heads on the near side of the pole. On the Phrygian priests and priestesses and their pecu-
roughly contemporary Amiternum frieze (fig. 25) liar frenetic processions, vividly described also
the lead carriers on the far sides of both Jupiter’s by Lucretius (ii.600–60). It is this latter practice,
and Juno’s litters also appear with their heads on Dionysios adds, in which Romans are forbidden
the insides of their poles. The same effect can to participate. As none of the visual evidence
occur much later, as on the sarcophagus lid frag- for ferculum statues which show Cybele is as
ment in Aquileia (fig. 24), where the carrier on old as Dionysios, it cannot support his sweep-
the far side behind the baldachin appears in this ing statement. The three examples which do
same arrangement. feature Cybele, the Via dell’Abbondanza paint-
This predilection to have the carriers with their ing (fig. 28), and the sarcophagus lids in Aquileia
heads on the viewer’s side of their poles might (fig. 24) and San Lorenzo (fig. 21), though they
be accounted for by the random switching of the have sometimes been thought to illustrate the
poles from one shoulder to the other in order to Phrygian ministrants of the goddess, including
reduce fatigue during the long tread, but then it the eunuch priests, all lack the frightening frenzy
wants explaining why near side carriers never Lucretius’ description would lead one to expect.
appear on the far side of their poles. Moreover, The litter bearers in these examples have been
in two cases, spatial recession is distinctly dis- equated with Cybele’s Galli; if so it is difficult to
torted to achieve the effect. On the guild painting distinguish them in dress or bearing from proper
from Pompeii (fig. 27), all three preserved carri- Romans. Certainly they share little by way of
ers appear with their heads on the near side of idiosyncratic dress with the Galli (Bieber, 1968:
the pole, all in the same spatial plane, and two fig. 12; Budde and Nicholls, 1964: no. 125, 77–78).
carriers establish that plane as nearer the viewer However, improved understanding of the history
than the litter itself. Three centuries later the San of the Roman worship of Cybele reveals a series
litter statues 65

of expansions of the cult, and the participation in carriers are described as having shaven heads
aspects of it by Romans (Lambrechts, 1952; Fish- and being the leading men of the province. As
wick, 1966). The earliest visual example, the Via he claims this cult was brought from Egypt, his
dell’Abbondanza painting, dates after the first of account matches well with the practice of priests
these changes, that under Claudius. The Phry- there carrying the god, as distinct from the indig-
gian rites described by Lucretius and Dionysios enous Roman practice of workers carrying larger
may have used priests to carry the litter of the statues.
goddess, but apparently in certain aspects of her From Italy itself the corresponding evidence
worship at least, the more usual Roman practice of Egyptian cult, while it does portray the car-
of using members of the lower social rank to do rying of religious apparatus by priests, does not
the work of carrying litters prevailed. provide the same imagery as found in Egypt.
The disjunction between the Phrygian prac- Material from the Iseum in Roma instead shows
tice of priests bearing the litters and the Roman priests holding a variety of cult implements, and
tradition is reflected more pointedly in Egyptian at least one statuette of Harpokrates, but no lit-
religious ceremony, both as practiced in Italy, ters (Lembke, 1994: 43–44, 186–88). This absence
and as it continued in Egypt. The practice of of the procession with litters from among the
processional litters in Egyptian religion is one depictions of the Isis cult in Roma may reflect
long established and documented before contact the real public face of the Egyptian religion as
with Roma, providing a control to measure any practiced in the imperial capital.
exchange of practices. Again, the visual evidence The well-known occurrence of a litter used in
tends to lend support to Dionysios’ claim of seg- Egyptian cult in Italy is in the mosaic installed in
regation between Roman and Egyptian practice. the sanctuary of Fortuna at Praeneste, although
That segregation is most pronounced in the car- this example is conditioned by being fictively set
riers of litters, workers in Roman practice, priests in Egypt not Italy. The evidentiary value of the
in Egyptian. The distinction is visually made clear Praeneste mosaic is further compromised by res-
in the waist-tied mantles and shaven heads of the toration. Four Egyptian priests passing through a
Egyptian priests, who have the authority over pro- propylon carry a rectangular object on poles; so
cessions (Robert, Skeat, and Nock, 1936: 83). But a much is clear. Unfortunately, the centre of the pro-
distinction is also drawn in what is carried, as the pylon, including much of the rectangular object
large, chryselephantine statues supported by the which might be a litter and what, if anything it
Roman workers seem distinct from Egyptian tra- supported is restoration (Meyboom, 1995: 39,
dition. Evidence in the form of Roman terracotta 275–76). All that can be said is that these priests,
lamps from Egypt supports a consistency in the if indeed they carry a litter, transport some small
indigenous practice where priests carry the shrine object, consistent with the visual evidence for
which houses a small image of the divinity: Louvre priests with litters from Egypt itself, and distinct
E20615; Berlin, Ägyptisches Mus. 12417; and Cairo, from the large, chryselephantine statues carried
Egyptian Museum 27081 (Dunand, 1990: 186–87, by workers in the Roman fashion.
no. 504, ThesCRA II, s.v., “cult images”, no. 593b; It is ironic that despite the distinction which is
LIMC IV, s.v. “Harpokrates”, no. 217, ThesCRA II, maintained visually between the identity of the
s.v. “cult images”, no. 593a). litter carriers in Roman religious practice and
Macrobius (Saturnalia i.23.13), in a passage in Egyptian, it is a Roman writer from Egypt, who
which he compares Roman practice of carrying provides the last word from Antiquity on Egyp-
the gods on litters in the circus processions and tian litters. Claudianus, in his panegyricus de
at sanctuary of Fortuna at Antium, describes the quatro consulatu Honorii Augusti in 398 (4.565–
god of Heliopolis in Assyria (Baalbak) where the 74), draws a comparison between the emperor
66 chapter two

borne by his soldiers in triumph and an Egyptian Claudianus’ point: just as the weight of divinity
god carried forth from its temple by the priests. causes the Egyptian priests to pant and sweat
Whether so late in the fourth century statues of under their (apparently) small load, so it is with
pagan divinities either in Italy or Egypt would still the soldiers carrying the imperial if child Hono-
be publicly processed is a separate issue. But as rius, who at the time of his fourth consulship was
an Alexandrian, Claudianus apparently had anti- only 14 years old. Though it is not his interest,
quarian knowledge of Egyptian practice. If his Claudianus is also valuable for understanding the
point is simply to praise the god-like qualities of depictions of Roman litter carriers, since these
the emperor, it is passing strange that he does not even more than the depictions of Egyptian lit-
draw the comparison closer at hand of a Roman ter carriers, are regularly shown as panting and
god carried on its litter. But the Roman example, sweating under the weight of divinity.
because of the large scale of such statues, fails
Chapter Three

Capita Deorum

Capita deorum, heads of gods, are distinctive as specifically for appeasing the gods, and the
among ceremonial genres in being referred to in regular petitioning of gods as a supplicatio (van
texts with a specific title but one which seems Ooteghem, 1964). The holding of regular lectister-
to require some explanation. These texts also nia may also have been an element of imperial
link this genre to a specific ceremony, the lectis- cult. An inscription from Gytheion in Lakonia
ternium or divine banquet (Wissowa, 1923; van dictating details of the ceremonies for the impe-
Ooteghem, 1964; Milani, 1976; Nouilhan, 1989). rial images has been persuasively interpreted as
However, the texts are few in number, cover a describing a lectisternium in the theatre for the
relatively brief period of time, and pose some dif- εἰκόνας (portraits) of Augustus, Livia and Tiberius
ficulties of interpretation. Additionally, the visual (Rostovtzeff, 1930: 12–16; Eitrem, 1932: 43–48; Fish-
evidence which can be brought to bear on the wick, 1991: 566; Gebhard 1996: 117–21; see Appen-
identity and use of this sculptural genre has not dix, no. 3). A part of this argument points to the
been fully explored. parody of a divine lectisternium recounted by Sue-
Livius (v.13 & xxii.10; and Dionysios of Halikar- tonius (Augustus 76), where the young Augustus
nassos, Romaîke arkhaiologia xii.9), among his and his friends played the parts of the gods, as in
numerous references to lectisternia, reports with fact a stage in the development of the lectister-
some detail lectisternia for appeasing the gods in nium in the imperial cult (Rostovtzeff, 1930: 15).
399 and 217 BCE in response to disasters, here In addition to these, privately funded lectisternia
pestilence and military defeat. For each, the gods are also attested (CIL V.5272; Compostello, 1992;
honoured are named, six and twelve respectively, D’Arms, 1998; Lindsay, 1998; Dunbabin, 2003 ).
two to each couch, and usually, though notably Elsewhere, Livius (xl.59) directly links the use
not always, one male and one female paired on of the genre of heads of gods with the lectister-
each couch. The occasions Livius cites are early, nium in recounting a baleful portent in which
but evidence that such occasional lectisternia con- the gods in this format, arranged on couches for
tinued to be held is found in the report of Mar- the banquet, turned away. Also pertinent are two
cus Aurelius holding a lectisternium in 167 CE in definitions in Festus which have been the source
response to a plague (scriptores historiae augus- of some range in interpretation. One (Festus, 472)
tae, Marcus Antoninus 13). Simultaneously with defines struppi as wreaths of verbena placed in
these public arrangements, private banquets front of the heads of gods, and the second (Fes-
were also held, though little detail is given about tus, 56) defines the heads of gods as themselves
these except their broad inclusiveness across the made of the little bundles of verbena. From this
society (Sheid, 1985). In her consideration of these it has been possible to assert that the heads of
accounts, Taylor drew the distinction between gods are themselves simply the wreaths or bands
these exceptional and occasional lectisternia and (struppi), the wreath as a decoration for the head
the regularly held lectisternia, of which those for on these occasions standing in for it in a kind of
Jupiter, the epulum Iovis, and Ceres, the lectister- visual synecdoche (Hölscher, 2007: 37–40). This,
nium Cereris, are only the best known (Taylor, however, seems to do violence to the sense of
1935: 123). Van Ooteghem further has sought to Livius’ description of the heads turning away.
distinguish between the occasional lectisternium Alternatively, Festus’ and Livius’ accounts have
68 chapter three

Fig. 29. Fortunae statuette, Museo Archeologico Prenestino, Palestrina. Photo: author

Fig. 30. Fortunae coin, American Numismatic Society, NY. Photo: Brendel 1960

been taken to indicate that the heads of gods the early first century BCE, has already been cited
were small scale images employed in the lectister- as a representation of statues on litters. All discus-
nia (Wissowa, 1912: 422–23; Rüpke, 2001: 103–104). sions have agreed on the important point that the
Taylor and Abaecherli put forward a reconcilia- group represents not the goddesses, but images of
tion to these two poles of view in the observation the goddesses on litters which themselves rest on
that the wreaths could at times have been substi- a couch. This point has been argued thoroughly
tuted for the original images which were in the by Brendel comparing these figures with the god-
form of heads (Taylor, 1935: 123; Abaecherli, 1935: desses as they appear on a coin (fig. 30) minted
134). This suggestion would account for how such by Q. Rustius late in the same century (Brendel,
wreaths could come to be called heads of gods, as 1960; Champeaux, 1982: 150–155). On the coin
the definition in Festus seems to indicate. the Fortunae appear with the same iconography,
The visual evidence is here considered in again on litters and again truncated, although
chronological order. Fortuitously, the earliest evi- in this case in the upper torso, rather than at
dence is of Italian origin, allowing the establish- mid-thigh. About the significance of the couch
ment of a Roman pattern before taking up the in this group there has been disagreement. Bren-
later examples from elsewhere in the empire. del regarded the couch as temple furniture upon
The statuette group of the twin Fortunae at which the images have been set; the litters cor-
Praeneste (fig. 29), dated on formal evidence to respond to Macrobius’s description (Saturnalia
capita deorum 69

Fig. 31. Coin of Caldus, British Museum. Photo: Grueber 1970

i.23.13) of these goddesses being carried about If the Praeneste group presents the goddesses
their sanctuary on litters in order to deliver their at a lectisternium, it would constitute the earli-
oracles (Brendel, 1960: 44–47). est known rendering of the ceremony. And it
Brendel’s concern was to account for the trun- may be the tradition of using in this ceremony
cation of the divine images on both the sculptural the heads of gods on couches which accounts for
group and the coin, which he saw as emblematic of the truncated form of the goddesses here. But in
the chthonic nature of the divinities, in each case any case, the Praeneste statuette group shares
presented as if rising from the earth. In addition visual characteristics with the subsequent depic-
to the visual evidence he cited, one might mar- tions of gods at the lectisternium. Typically, the
shal in support of his argument the votive heads gods are arrayed in rigidly upright and frontal
of Italian origin which also have an association poses, distinct from the pose of a figure reclin-
with the sanctuaries of chthonic gods (ThesCRA, ing on a couch. There is a disjunction in scale
s.v. “Dedications, Rom; I. Italien; A. Offerte in between the couch and the images set upon it.
forma di figura umana”). Unlike Brendel, Cham- Multiple figures appear on a single couch, again
peaux focused on the significance of the couch distinguishing the divine images as statues rather
in the Praeneste statuette group, which she inter- than incarnate beings. And finally, there is a reg-
preted as a marriage bed, the goddesses placed ular truncation of the bodily form, although the
on it in this votive offering as a plea for their aid degree of abbreviation varies.
in securing a fruitful nuptial (Champeaux, 1982). After the Praeneste group, the earliest identi-
While this interpretation accounts better for the fied visual rendering of a divine banquet occurs
couch, visual comparanda are hard to come by to on the reverse of a coin minted in 61 BCE by
illustrate cult statues on a couch carrying nuptial G. Caldus (Grueber, 1970, 1: 475, no. 3837) (fig. 31).
significance. And, of course, Brendel’s concern to Here a high, base-like form is flanked by trophies
account for the peculiar truncating of the images and bears an inscription commemorating the
is not addressed by this. However, Romanelli, minter’s father as a member of the college of Sep-
in his catalogue of the Praeneste sanctuary pro- temvir Epulones, whose responsibility it was to
posed the identification with the lectisternium carry out the epulum Iovis, the banquets in hon-
(Romanelli, 1967: 93); and there is no reason why our of Jupiter. The base therefore has been inter-
a supplication for a fruitful marriage could not preted as the couch itself, and on the top is set a
take the form of a lectisternium, the votive here puppet-like figure of a god (Grueber, 1970, 1: 475).
functioning as the permanent reminder to the Though quite schematic, this god appears to be
goddesses of the mortal devotion. only half-length and is posed frontally, the arms
70 chapter three

Fig. 32. Lamp with banquet. Photo: DarSag, fig. 4381

Fig. 33. Lamp with banquet. Photo: DarSag, fig. 4382

on either side of the body, in these fundamentals sible understanding of the sanctuary setting or a
comparable to the Praeneste group. ceremonial action.
In her discussion of heads of gods, Abaecherli In one of the earliest modern accounts of the
was the most aggressive in identifying this for- lectisternia, Bouchè-Leclercq reviewed the tex-
mat in the Roman visual record. Her list included tual evidence, that which is still employed today,
heads of divinities associated with altars, shrines, to which were added two visual comparanda
or temples, an example of a head on an agonistic (Bouchè-Leclercq, 1877–1919: 1006–1012). These
table, and even some appearing as isolated ele- were terracotta lamps, apparently of Italian
ments in paintings from Pompeii (Abaecherli, provenance, and were published in line drawings
1935: 136). It is possible to argue that those con- (DarSag, s.v. “lectisternia”, 1011) (figs. 32 and 33).
nected with a cult structure or shown in a sanctu- In each a single couch supports a grouping of gods
ary may thereby be claimed as the genre of heads on a smaller scale than the couch, these gods ren-
of gods for lectisternia, since such banquets were dered as roughly half-length images. The figures
held in sanctuaries on the temple platform (Wis- are set vertically rather than lying on the couch.
sowa, 1923: 1110–1111). But beyond such cases, the On one groups of three male and three female
proposal might be challenged as not falsifiable. gods flank a central, bearded god. The groups of
Where there is no specific ceremonial context, it youthful gods complement each other by turning
may be beyond proof whether a Roman viewer slightly toward the axially placed elder god, who
would recognize in a given rendering a distinc- is rigidly frontal. The other lamp has more spe-
tion between a sculpture in the bust (or some cific attributes for the selected gods which sup-
truncated) format used in the divine banquet, port Bouchè-Leclercq’s identifications: Sarapis,
and a god which happens to be represented in Isis, Selene and Helios. Here the cushion of the
the bust format. And making such a distinction couch is clearly visible, and a tripod table stands
would not add appreciably to understanding this at centre in front. These details certify that the
sculptural genre as it functioned in ceremony. As lower bodies of the gods are not obscured behind
surviving textual evidence associates the genre a long table, as sometimes the case with depic-
only with this single ceremonial function, the tions of feasting, but that these are truncated
surest cases are those in which there is a plau- images set on the couch.
capita deorum 71

The second lamp is further important in that 2000). Finally, to the extent any provenance can
it was reportedly found at Pisaurum in Italy, pro- be established, the material is Egyptian, posing
viding some evidence that such a rendering of a the question whether this evidence reflects only
divine banquet, at least for those Egyptian gods banquets as held in Egypt, rather than regular
amalgamated with Greco-Roman gods, was com- Roman practice. Nevertheless, it cannot escape
prehensible and acceptable to a Roman audi- attention that the money boxes and lamps which
ence. Similar evidence for these gods at banquet make up the bulk of this evidence themselves
in the western empire is provided by a terracotta form part of the paraphernalia which might be
lid found near Augsburg which shows Sarapis associated with putting on such a banquet in a
and Isis on a couch. Harpokrates and Anubis sanctuary (or anywhere else). And while it can-
are also present, but it is not clear if they are not be assumed that they functioned exclusively
intended to share the couch inhabited by Sarapis for banqueting purposes, the adoption, by these
and Isis. And so far as damage allows, the gods objects, of imagery from such banquet functions
here do not appear to be statues (Lederer, 1936: is certainly apposite (Castiglione, 1961: 301–302;
206, n. 29; Montserrat, 1992: 305; Takacs, 1995; Graeven, 1901; Wissowa, 1912: 429).
Bricault, 2004; Alfano, 1989–1990). This evidence Along with several terracotta money boxes are
takes on some significance in the context of a two fragmentary terracotta reliefs (figs. 38 and 39):
series of terracotta reliefs, predominantly money once Lederer Coll., Berlin/Lugano, purchased in
boxes and lamps, and coins which have been Egypt (Lederer, 1936: 208–209; Castiglione, 1961:
shown to depict the lectisternium or its Greek 297–298); and Cairo, Egyptian Archaeological
counterpart, once Museum Antiken Kleinkunst, Museum 27163 (Lederer, 1936: 209; Castiglione,
München 5614, reportedly from Egypt (Lederer, 1961: 298; Dunand, 1979, 275, no. 368). And,
1938: 77–79); once Berlin Antiquarium 31275 finally, one lamp completes this evidence: Louvre
(Lederer, 1936: 207; Castiglione, 1961: 294–295); E14371, of unknown provenance (Dunand, 1990:
Varga-Castiglione Coll., no. 123, Budapest (Cas- 177; ThesCRA, s.v. “cult images”, no. 293). All this
tiglione, 1961: 295–297); once Lederer Coll., Berlin/ material dates broadly to the second and third
Lugano, purchased in Egypt (Lederer, 1936: 208, centuries CE, and each will be referred to in this
no. 2; Castiglione, 1961: 295) (figs. 34–37). This discussion by its location, or last known loca-
material has had little place in the general dis- tion. While there is considerable variation in the
cussion of the lectisternia for a variety of reasons. clarity of the rendered forms, all share a fron-
The terracottas are of humble craftsmanship, tal display of a group of gods on a single couch
making the interpretation of details a challenge. with a cloth coverlet and horn-shaped sides. The
Much of the publication dates before the Second gods are presented as rigidly upright and frontal,
World War during which some of the objects and on a decidedly smaller scale than the couch
were lost. Others were in private collections and itself. On all except the Budapest money box the
are now of unknown whereabouts. Rarely are same five gods appear: Sarapis, Harpokrates, Isis,
the terracottas from precise archaeological con- Demeter, Hermanubis. Only four gods appear
texts, and because the lamps in particular may on the Budapest example (fig. 36), and there the
well have functioned in a variety of settings, both working is so coarse as to make certainty about
sacred and not, the connection of the imagery the identities impossible, although the selection
with a specific cult or ceremonial function must as in the other cases seems to involve male and
rely entirely on internal evidence. However, female gods. Even the two fragmentary examples
Stewart has now demonstrated the value of such (figs. 38 and 39) repeat the same gods, and the
humble material for gleaning evidence of cult Cairo relief, where the couch is intact, allows
statues from the images on such objects (Stewart, room for the full complement of the same five
72 chapter three

Fig. 34. Money box, once Antiken Kleinkunst, München. Photo: Lederer 1936

Fig. 35. Money box, once Antiquarium, Berlin. Photo: Lederer 1936

capita deorum 73

Fig. 36. Money box, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest. Photo: Lederer 1936

Fig. 37. Money box, once Lederer Collection, Berlin/Lugano. Photo: Lederer 1936
74 chapter three

Fig. 38. Banquet relief, once Lederer Collection, Berlin/Lugano. Photo: Lederer 1936

Fig. 39. Banquet relief, Egyptian Archaeological Museum, Cairo. Photo: Dunand 1979

gods. The consistency in the gods who are the the portion of the body employed. On the Cairo
subject of these terracottas, as they belong to relief (fig. 39), if the figures are abbreviated at all,
the group of divinities who are principal in syn- they extend nearly to the knees. In all the other
cretic Roman/Egyptian worship suggests that the cases, however, the gods appear as no more than
banquets presented belong to a practice recog- waist-length or bust-length figures. Harpokrates,
nizably Roman rather than purely indigenous. because he is rendered as a child, is treated
The gathering of these groups of gods on a single exceptionally, on the Berlin (fig. 35) and Berlin/
couch, reflecting different scales, confirms that Lugano (fig. 37) money boxes as a squatting fig-
these are statuettes of gods as they appear at ure, and perhaps also on the München money
these banquets, rather than the gods themselves. box (fig. 34). On the Berlin/Lugano relief (fig. 38),
There is some range among these statuettes in however, he is rendered truncated at the waist as
capita deorum 75

the other gods. This visual evidence, then, con- The same gods which regularly appear in statu-
forms to the texts describing images of gods in ette form on these Egyptian terracottas also occur
some truncated form and small scale being used on a pair of coins from Alexandreia minted under
for lectisternia and at least originally referred to Marcus Aurelius and Septimius Severus illustrat-
as heads of gods. ing a divine banquet (Lederer, 1936; Lederer, 1938;
None of the terracottas depict beneath, or Castiglione, 1961: 294). This corroboration by a
in front of, the couches the ancillary furniture governmental institution of a banquet with these
expected at a mortal banquet. Instead there particular gods lends support to the hypothesis
are additional divinities, canopic jars (?), and that the terracotta evidence reflects a broadly
symbolic animals. On the München money box Roman rather than a peculiarly Egyptian phe-
there is an incense burner, a variation befitting nomenon. It is not clear that the coin of Marcus
the offering of incense at a lectisternium (Wis- Aurelius represents the gods in the truncated
sowa, 1912: 424–25; Lederer, 1938: 78). A similar form favoured on the terracottas; the Severan
allusion to the non-sacrificial offerings charac- coin may do so. But the use of a single couch of
teristic of the lectisternium appears on the Paris the familiar type arrayed with five small images
lamp below the couch in the form of the wick of gods certainly supports their identity as statu-
slots for the scented oil to burn. Further, two of ettes displayed for this ceremony. Lederer in the
the money boxes, München and Berlin, are fin- initial publication of the coin of Marcus Aurelius
ished on their reverse sides with a pattern of sought to establish a direct link between the coin
ashlar masonry, plausibly taken to indicate the type and the special lectisternium known to have
more formal location of the couch in a temple been held by the emperor in 167 CE (scriptores
compound (Lederer, 1936: 208; Castiglione, 1961: historiae augustae, Marcus Antoninus 13; Lederer,
295), which is consistent with textual evidence 1936). The re-appearance of the same coin type
that officially sponsored lectisternia were held on under Septimius somewhat weakens the argu-
the pulvinar of temples, probably to be identi- ment in the absence of a known lectisternium at
fied with their podia (Festus 351 and 472; Livius that time.
v.13 and xl.59; Valerius Maximus ii.4.5). A paral- The lectisternium displayed on the terracot-
lel case for this proposal is a lantern in Karlsruhe tas, alternatively then, could reflect those regu-
with Harpokrates relining on a base with ashlar larly held to honour these gods on the pulvinar
pattern and a vaulted opening, which is therefore of a temple, as the ashlar decoration on two of
identified as a lighthouse (Schürmann, 1989: 288, the money boxes suggests. One possible further
no. 1089; Loeschcke, 1909: 396). explanation, entertained by Castiglione, is that
The choice to represent the gods as images of the banquets represented on the terracottas are
both truncated form and small scale is thrown those held, sometimes more as social than reli-
into contrast by the occurrence in the same gious occasions, by one of the numerous clubs or
medium of depictions of a god at banquet in associations of Egypt (Castiglione, 1961: 301–303;
which the divinity is show at the same scale as Montserrat, 1992: 306). The evidence that such
the couch and in normative bodily form. This organizations existed at all in the indigenous
occurs both for anthropomorphic representa- Egyptian religion is inferential before the sixth
tions of gods, as on a terracotta relief of Sarapis century BCE; but the phenomenon becomes
in Cairo (Dunand, 1979: 268, no. 348; Kraus, 1979), abundantly attested in the Hellenistic and Roman
and for their animal symbols, for example a dog, periods, particularly for such syncretized gods as
thought to represent the god Sothis (Bailey, 1988: Sarapis (Vernus, 1980; de Cenival, 1972; Hughes,
III: 74; Weben, 1914: pl. 41, no. 461). 1958; Otto, 1905: 125–133). And it does seem clear
76 chapter three

that the banquets of these later periods reflect correspondence between the dates for the ban-
their Greco-Roman rather than Egyptian charac- quets of the klinai of Sarapis given in the papyri
ter (Youtie, 1948: 27). and the festival of Isis (Koenen, 1969: 125–126).
Surviving papyri, many contemporary with And a kline for Isis specifically for the goddess
the terracottas under discussion, have been the is recorded at Philae (San Nicolo, 1913–15: I: 24).
subject of considerable investigation for the In sum, the evidence of the papyri can be taken
light they throw on the nature of such societ- to support, or at least does not contradict, Cas-
ies and their banquets (Milne, 1925; Youtie, 1948; tiglione’s proposal that the terracottas illustrate
Koenen, 1969; Montserrat, 1992). So defining banquets held by clubs. But there is some other
a feature of these societies was their banquet- evidence which bears on the question.
ing that the term for couches, klinai, comes to Two of the money boxes, as has been noted,
be synonymous with the societies themselves suggest by their decoration with patterns of ashlar
(Philo, in Flaccum 17; Youtie, 1948: 20). The ban- masonry, the location of a temple podium. This
quets of these societies could be held variously in in itself does not contradict a club association for
rooms or restaurants operated within sanctuar- the represented banquets, since the papyrological
ies, or in private houses or facilities (Milne, 1925: evidence indicates that their banquets at times
9). Many of the surviving documents record the were held in sanctuaries. One additional, par-
operations of the so-called klinai of Sarapis. How- tially preserved example of a banqueting couch
ever, the degree to which the banquets held by with statuettes of gods provides a further visual
these clubs had a religious emphasis is disputed, element not otherwise attested. Petrie excavated
with Youtie and Milne on one side arguing for at at Herakleopolis Magna a fragmentary terracotta,
best a nominal association with the patron divin- perhaps originally a money box, repeating the
ity, and Koenen on the other seeing a function same couch, and an array of small figures of gods
of honouring the god as fundamental. But even in the same manner as on the other examples
Youtie on the skeptical side maintains that the (Petrie, 1905: 1–2, no. 45, and pl. XLVII). But adja-
image of the god would be present, even if there cent to one side of the couch, on a much larger
were no ritual activity apart from the banquet scale, was a head. Petrie recognized by the hair
itself (Youtie, 1948: 13–14; Montserrat, 1992: 303). style a priest, and thought that the priest, along
And for the problem of the type of statuary used with a missing companion on the other side, was
to represent the gods in such ceremonial func- carrying canopic jars on a litter. Petrie’s inter-
tion, it is immaterial what the degree of religious pretation did not have the advantage of the ter-
sentiment might have been, as long as an image racotta evidence discussed here, all published
was part of the expected paraphernalia. much later, nor the Roman images of litters, both
The Sarapis who is the patron for many of the of which contradict his interpretation. However,
clubs recorded in the papyri is also one of the a number of small, terracotta lamps from Egypt
gods who occurs regularly on the coin and ter- (figs. 40 and 41) do corroborate figures carrying a
racotta evidence. But it is the figure of Isis who is collection of statuettes of gods, but it is clear that
placed at centre among the five gods, suggesting they are set on a banqueting couch, of the same
that it is she who is a centre of attention. Sarapis type appearing on the money boxes, rather than
is regularly placed at the right end, the position a litter. The small scale and coarse execution
of power and honour in Roman banquets (Small, makes the identification of the couch carriers
1991: 257–258); the positions of these two closely on these lamps difficult, but they are generally
associated gods may be to emphasize their spe- understood as mythological rather than priests:
cial status and pendant relationship in these ban- Erotes, geniuses, Psyche, Pan (Castiglione, 1961:
quets. It is suggestive that Koenen has noticed a 298–301; Bailey, 1988: III: 11, 24, and pl. 43). The
capita deorum 77

Fig. 40. Lamp with banquet couch, British Museum Q2044. Photo: Bailey 1988

Fig. 41. Lamp with banquet couch, British Museum Q2046. Photo: Bailey 1988

condition of the Herakleopolis Magna terracotta sent Osiris (Lederer, 1936: 208–209; Bailey, 1988:
makes identification uncertain, but the statuette III: 11, 24, and pl. 43).
on the right seems to be Sarapis with the kalathos It is also apparent by the position of the priest’s
headpiece. And others have preferred to see here shoulder on Petrie’s terracotta, in front of and
the same arrangement of statuettes of gods as on above the cushion of the couch, that he cannot
the other terracottas. A canopic jar does appear be carrying the couch as do the mythological fig-
elsewhere with the other gods, and may repre- ures on the lamps. In fact, it was recognized not
78 chapter three

long after Petrie’s publication that the Herakleo- gods onto three couches suggests that the statues
polis Magna terracotta was another example of a were of small scale, corresponding to the Roman
divine banquet, this time with a priest (Vogt, 1924: practice for lectisternia, but there is nothing to
14, n.6; Lederer, 1936: 209–210). The real impor- support an assumption that the Greek practice
tance of the Herakleopolis Magna terracotta lies called for truncated statuettes as Roman tradi-
in the presence of a priest at one of these divine tion commonly did. Likewise, the inscription for
banquets. The Gnomon of the Idios Logos stipu- the imperial cult of Augustus, Livia and Tiberius
lates Roman control over religious practice in at Gytheion has been interpreted as stipulating
Egypt, and specifies that a priest is not permitted a lectisternium for the imperial images. These
to participate, at least in his capacity as priest, at images were brought in procession from the
the banquets of a kline (Milne, 1925: 7–8). It fol- sanctuary of Asklepios and Hygieia where there
lows that Castiglione’s effort to associate the ter- probably were kept, and accompanied by images
racottas illustrating divine banquets with those of Nike and Aphrodite, to the theatre. Here a
of the klinai flounders, and the alternative is that table and an incense burner were placed before
they depict occasional or (more likely) the regu- the images and the lectisternium offered (Eitrem,
lar banquets for the gods in sanctuaries. 1932: 43–48; Rostovtzeff, 1930: 12–16; see Appen-
The small, terracotta lamps illustrating a pro- dix, no. 3). Along with this group of comparanda
cession of the banquet couch, although illustrating should be counted the Fortunae from Praeneste
a subject distinct from that of the Herakleopolis (fig. 29), where the vestige of the processional
Magna terracotta, are of considerable value in arrival of the images remains in the litters on
providing documentation for an element of the which they were transported.
lectisternium not otherwise known. Since both Secondary to these depictions where a banquet
the required furniture and the statuettes must is the subject matter are those cases of heads of
have been kept in the sanctuaries, the bringing gods where the action or the setting is appropri-
forth of these objects with a ceremonial flair can- ate to a lectisternium. The painting on the façade
not be surprising. There is no need to infer that of a taverna on the Via dell’Abbondanza in Pom-
this procession took place exactly as depicted on peii (fig. 28) has been identified in the discussion
the lamps, with the statuettes already positioned of ferculum statues as the arrival of a procession
on the couch, but accepting some such proces- to celebrate a lectisternium. The sculptured head
sion presents no difficulties. And the formality of Liber in the real niche in the pier is inextrica-
of such preparatory operations should be com- bly bound to the fictive, painted procession by
pared to the preparation of the couches recorded composition. The attention of the members of
by Livius (xxii.1) for a lectisternium in the temple the procession and the goddess Cybele on her
of Saturnus which is carried out by senators. litter is uniformly directed at this image of Liber;
The combination of a processional arrival of the and the images of the two gods pinion the crowd
images with the lectisternium is paralleled in at either end by their large, pedimented frames.
cases of the related banquet ceremonies of the The head of Liber in a niche stands in for a shrine
Greek divine banquet and the Roman imperial of the god, or perhaps is the shrine itself, whose
cult. An inscription of 197/196 BCE for the cult of inauguration, or its anniversary, is the occasion
Zeus Sosipolis at Magnesia stipulates that xoana of the lectisternium. If this is the accurate inter-
of the twelve gods were dressed and borne in pretation of the sculptural/painted decoration,
procession to a tholos in the agora, where three the head of Liber here is the head of a god in its
couches were set up (Dittenberg, 1960: no. 589; ceremonial sense.
Eitrem, 1932: 36; Donohue, 1988: 60–61; see The companion pier to that displaying the pro-
Appendix, no. 1). The apportioning of twelve cession features other images of statues: Venus
capita deorum 79

and Eros on bases. The architrave connecting the tification of the specific events has been the
two presents, in a series of square frames, bust- subject of several different interpretations. That
length renderings of four gods: Luna, Mercury, proposed in the original, thorough publication
Jupiter and Sol. In Abaecherli’s broad interpreta- of the cup by Will remains the most compelling,
tion, these too would be capita deorum, but as although none of the other proposed explana-
there is nothing whereby a viewer could identify tions affect the significance of the heads of gods
these as representations of statuettes of gods, it as they appear on the cup (Will, 1983; Finkielsz-
is more cautious to take them at face value as tejn, 1986; Gersht, 1996: 307–317). The subject
the gods in their cosmic realm, contrasting with of the figural decoration comprises the founda-
the gods in their earthly (painted and sculptural) tion story of the city. In a series of scenes, the
manifestations below on the piers. These same establishment in the fourth century BCE of the
four gods appear again in bust format in cubicu- original settlement at the site by Straton, king of
lum 14 of the Casa della Caccia Antica, a group- Sidon, is laid out: oracular directions from Apol-
ing which has been compared to those on the lon to Straton, arrival by ship at the shore, and
Via dell’Abbondanza for their apparent cosmic the greeting of Straton by Asklepios and Hygieia.
significance (Allison, 1985: 26). The story comes to its close in a scene anachro-
If the head of Liber in a shrine frame cues the nistic with respect to the preceding, but whose
audience to its status as a statuette in the for- fundamental identity is apparent: offerings made
mat for a lectisternium, the same would apply to before the Tykhe of Caesarea Maritima. Here a
similar depictions of heads on coin issues. Two of Roman priest in a toga and veiled pours a liquid
Commodus from Laodiceia ad Mare show on the offering before what has been described as a
reverses Tykhe as a head in a shrine (http://rpc tall, narrow altar, but is better understood as an and 9011). In each incense burner. Standing behind him a tunic-clad
case the Tykhe head is set on a seat with high boy holds the box of incense. The Tykhe who is
back but without arms, perhaps a couch. Val- the object of this offering is the type of Tykhe
erius Maximus (xxi.2) records the tradition that particularly favoured in Caesarea Maritima. She
women at banquets would dine in chairs rather wears a mural crown, holds a sceptre or spear in
than reclining; on these coins Tykhe seems to be her left hand and is dressed like an Amazon in a
rendered in this traditional female setting, pre- short tunic, baring the right breast. The extended
sented for the lectisternium at the anniversary right arm holds a bust, thought to correspond to
of the temple’s founding. Similarly, on a coin of the reigning emperor. Her right leg is propped
Lucius Verus from Alexandreia Sarapis appears upon a ship with behind her the half-length per-
in bust format in a niche above the door on this sonification of the port of the city. The details of
façade of his temple (Dattari, 1901: 256, no. 3803; the Tykhe are well documented in sculpture and
Weber, 1911: 10; Abaecherli, 1935: 136). coins from Caesarea Maritima, and correspond to
A late example provides evidence that the for- a local amalgam of Tykhe, Dea Roma and Astarte
mat of heads of gods was still a viable and rec- (Gersht, 1996: 307–309; Kadman, 1957: 50–53).
ognizable one into the period of the Christian Despite the preceding events all set in the fourth
empire. The bronze cup from Caesarea Maritima century BCE, the Roman priest, the bust of the
(fig. 42) has been dated on the basis of the techni- emperor, and even the specific pose and attributes
cal similarities with other examples of the inlaid of Tykhe all belong to the Roman period of the city,
metal decoration to the middle of the fourth a point driven home by the surviving inscriptions
century CE (Bielefeld, 1972; Finkielsztejn, 1986: on either side of Tykhe which identify her with the
427–428). Although there are inscribed labels for genius of the Roman colony (Will, 1983: 4). Above
a number of the figures represented, the iden- these proceedings, set against the top edge of
80 chapter three

Fig. 42. Cup from Caesarea Maritima, Musée du Louvre. Photo: Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Art Resource, NY

the scene, is a simple rectangular frame with five ing of the city. Games and regular lectisternia are
heads inside, whose significance to the occasion the appropriate ceremonies for such anniversaries,
has not been accounted for. The frame is appropri- as at Roma with the establishment of the cult of
ately hung with garlands along its lower extent. At Cybele and her games, or the games for Ceres (Fes-
the right side of the frame is an inscription, “holy tus 35; Wissowa, 1912: 422 and n. 1 & 2). The cele-
games” (Will, 1983: 24). The offering of liquid and bration of the founding of the city and the birthday
incense rather than animal sacrifice before Tykhe of Tykhe was still observed at Caesarea Maritima
as the genius of the colony, the array of heads in into the fourth century CE (Eusebius, de martyribus
a discrete space which must be the pulvinar or Palastinae xi.30), contemporary with the cup. The
temple, and the designation of the celebration of audience, then, would have found no difficulty in
games are all consistent with the performance of understanding the Roman rites and games being
a lectisternium before capita deorum. referred to, and the cup therefore is important evi-
The occasion of the games and conjoined ban- dence that this late a Roman audience could be
quet for the gods is the anniversary of the cult of expected to identify by the context and the bust
Tykhe, the genius of the colony, marking the found- form of gods a lectisternium and its capita deorum.
capita deorum 81

The rank of inlaid heads of gods has lost three difficulties. The head has the generalized appear-
of its original complement of five, but traces of ance of a Julio-Claudian emperor based on the
attributes on the background provide evidence hairstyle, but it might be objected that an emperor
for identification for some of the missing mem- of the Constantinian dynasty, who adopted the
bers. The configuration of five heads is at odds same hairstyle, would be more likely in a fourth
with the descriptions in Livius of the earliest century CE rendering. But closer scrutiny of the
lectisternia, where in each case an even num- head reveals that the series of strokes comprising
ber of paired male and female gods is described. the hair are positioned above the forehead rather
However, the visual evidence already discussed, than as bangs hanging over it. The hairstyle is
which is much closer in date to the Caesarea cup, thus not that of a male, but that of a female, the
more frequently shows five gods at a lectistern- so-called Melonenfrisur. The head also seems to
ium than an even number. The difference might wear a small veil at the back of the head, rein-
be accounted for as a variation introduced over forcing a female identification. But just as impor-
time, but it may also be significant that Livius tantly as these iconographic details, an imperial
(v.13, xxii.10 & xl.59) describes in any detail only head joining those of the gods at a lectisternium in
occasional lectisternia, while that on the cup a temple is without parallel. Apparently, images
must be a regular lectisternium. If Livius’ descrip- of two gods joined the imperial family in the
tions are taken to typify the occasional, the num- lectisternium described by the Gytheion inscrip-
ber of gods honoured for regular lectisternia may tion, but that banquet is one for the imperial cult,
be determined only by local needs. held in a theatre, rather than one honouring the
The central head of the five is missing, but gods in a temple. The head on the Caesarea cup
reeds etched into the background have been should therefore be a goddess, and balancing the
taken plausibly to identify Neptunus, and under Sol on the other side the obvious candidate with
raking light it is possible to make out the traces this particular hairstyle would be Luna. While
of a beard as well (Will, 1983: 7).1 The model of the condition of the surface prevents certainty,
other visual evidence suggests that the central under raking light, there appear symmetrically
head should correspond to the most important disposed projections at the top of the head where
deity of the banquet group. None of the heads one would expect the horns of a crescent moon,
belong to gods depicted elsewhere on the cup, like the reed of Neptunus or the rays of Sol.
and excluding these, Neptunus would hold a One final type of ceremonial object warrants
place of prominence for a harbour city. The head consideration as it has been interpreted in recent
at the left edge, also lost, preserves traces of a scholarship as employing the capita deorum. In
helmet, and here Will proposed Minerva as the an argument to support the hypothesis that the
likely candidate. Next to her is preserved a radi- capita deorum should be equated with the exu-
ant male head which must be Sol. The head at the viae, or attributes of the gods, a third-century
right edge preserves no good evidence to support coin from Nikomedia in Bithynia is identified
an identification. Between this head and Neptu- as depicting a sculptured head of a god upon a
nus is a head which Will identified as Augustus, chair (La Rocca, 2007: 85). The issue of whether a
who had originally ceded the territory to King chair appears in Roman depictions of lectisternia
Herodes. However, this proposal has several needs to be kept a separate one from the issue
of whether this sculptured head is an example of
the objects referred to as capita deorum. But if
1 I am grateful to Dr. Cecile Giroire of the Musée du
Louvre for permission to carry out an examination of the
true, this would provide critical visual evidence
cup under raking light in order to make out the details in support of the proposed identification. How-
described here. ever, the coin is better understood by comparison
82 chapter three

with well-studied types minted contemporane- its configuration around incense and offerings
ously in nearby Nikaia, and types from Athenai rather than sacrifice, and perhaps more direct
extending from Augustus to the third century. access to the divinity than in the formalities and
These depict not a chair, but a prize table for expense of animal sacrifice. Even the occasional
a variety of different games held in these cities. lectisternium described by Livius (v.13) posits a
These tables are distinguished from the chairs in considerable measure of concomitant private
being broader and having all four legs shown, as devotion. The use of regular lectisternia to cel-
on the Nikomedian coin, while for the chairs on ebrate the inaugurations of temples, and anni-
the coins only the front legs appear. Among the versaries of the inception of games would make
objects regularly displayed on these prize tables them a much more common phenomenon than
are busts, variously of emperors or gods, presum- their scant presence in texts suggests.
ably depending on the recipient of the festival In addition to the frequency of the lectister-
being commemorated on the coins (Bosch, 1950; nia themselves, the evidence also points to the
Shear, 1932: 304–306; Seltman, 1947: 28–29). It is ancillary ceremonial action of the bringing out
also characteristic of these depictions of prize of the furniture and divine images for the ban-
tables to show objects, often vases, below the quets. The sculptural images depicted in the per-
table, as in the comparatively clearer case of a formance of lectisternia are in accord with the
second-century mosaic from a villa at Tusculum descriptions of the capita deorum in the texts.
(McCracken, 1939: 332–333) which should be This specialized format appears variously from a
understood as standing in front of the table. Such bust to a figure truncated in the upper legs. Only
objects laid out in front of chairs and thrones in rare cases are the representations of the gods
would contradict their function as seats. It is in banquets configured as full-length figures. In
possible in accordance with Abaecherli’s view addition to the images of the gods being abbrevi-
of applying the title of capita deorum to a wide ated, they are also shown in all surviving cases
range of sculptured busts of gods, that the divine as small enough to allow multiple statuettes to
busts on prize tables might have been described fit on a single couch. The evidence of the texts
by that title, but there is, this coin type now confirms the disposition of multiple images on
excluded, no visual or textual evidence to sup- a couch, but the textual evidence is slight and
port equating these with exuviae, a distinct sculp- consistently describes only two gods to a couch.
tural form which will be addressed in Chapter 4. This configuration cannot be explained as simply
The body of visual evidence for capita deorum reflecting a male/female pairing since the images
provides a substantial expansion to the sparse in the texts are not always by paired sexes. But
information provided in textual accounts, both with several of the visual cases indicating a pro-
clarifying details only dimly indicated in the texts, cession of the statuettes to the banquet setting,
and adding other specifics. The bulk of the visual it is reasonable to infer that the images for lectis-
evidence seems to reflect the regular rather than ternia, being small enough to carry, could be fit
the occasional lectisternia, a distinction which is several to a couch. Assuming the models of the
hardly noticeable in the texts alone. The abun- Greek banquet for gods, as that at Sosipolis, and
dance of the visual reflections of the regular lec- the lectisternium of the imperial cult at Gytheion
tisternia implies the frequency of the experience apply, textual evidence for the pre-banquet pro-
of this particular ceremony in Roman lives, with cessions is consistent with this inference.
Chapter Four


Festus (500) explains a tensa as the carriage made Bonfante Warren, 1970: 57–62; Schäfer, 2002: 44;
of ivory and silver which brings the exuviae, or Malavolta, 1985). In the cases of Roman proces-
attributes, of the gods to the pulvinar in the cir- sions where there is some evidence for the han-
cus for the games there. Valerius Maximus (i.1.16) dling attributes, there is a distinct element of the
provides an anecdote which confirms the connec- theatrical. The women carrying the ivory combs
tion of the exuviae, in this case of Jupiter, with the of Isis in procession did so according to Apuleius
circus games. And finally, a fragmentary inscrip- (metamorphoses xi.9) with arm-waving reminis-
tion from Roma dating to the late second or early cent of a synchronized swim team, to communi-
third century CE (CIL VI.32333) corroborates the cate to the viewers (and presumably the goddess
connection of exuviae with the pulvinar, certainly herself ) their qualifications and readiness to tend
to be understood as that in the circus, and used the goddess’ cosmetic (Alfano, 1989–90: 787). The
in connection with the games there. While sym- same text describes those who carry the mirrors
bols or attributes of gods were common elements of the goddess, but here the emphasis is on the
of Roman processions, those referred to in these devotion to the goddess expressed through the
texts seem to have the distinct status in that they physical effort. From this it can be inferred that
stand in for the gods themselves as witnesses of these mirrors were larger, probably borne on a
the games in the circus and will therefore be the litter, a possibility supported in the visual evi-
focus of this chapter. dence to be discussed below.
The use of processional attributes of divinities Inscriptional evidence also provides some
has a long history, apparently as long as the prin- details about those carrying attributes in proces-
cipal temple images of cults. In the well-known sions for the cult of Cybele and her cohorts, Attis
processions of Athenai objects which might be and Bellona. The cult, as it developed during the
described as attributes, the peplos of the Pana- imperial period, was served by religious colleges
thenaia, the phalluses of the Dionysia, and the identified by their obligation to carry the attri-
divine clothing of the Plynteria, were featured butes of one of these gods: reed carriers (canno-
elements. The same seems true for Roman pro- phoroi), tree carriers (dendrophoroi) and spear
cessions of which details are preserved. But attri- carriers (hastiferi). The descriptions in Philo-
butes like these would be difficult to distinguish calus’ calendar for 354 CE of different days in
from the ordinary paraphernalia of worship, as March for processions of Cybele as canna intrat
distinct from something standing in for the god. (entrance of the reed) and arbor intrat (entrance
Nevertheless, the evidence for the broader cat- of the tree) do little to clarify a visual image of
egory of attributes of gods provides a perspective how the reed(s?) or tree were transported and
to understand the special treatment and status of displayed, and by how many members of the
those in the circus games. college at any one time (Hepding, 1903: 145–148,
Attributes of a god would have brought dis- 169–172; Showerman, 1906; Graillot, 1912: 262–281;
tinction and attention to those charged with Lambrechts, 1952; Fishwick, 1966; Fishwick, 1967).
their handling, as with the bearing of the insig- On the other hand, a description by Herodianus
nia of Jupiter, which Plinius refers to as exuviae, (i.10.5) of an attempt on the life of Commodus
by a general in triumph (naturalis historia vii.145; where the assassin disguised himself among the
84 chapter four

spear bearers during a procession for Cybele has leges of the dendrophoroi (Graillot, 1912: 264–278).
been interpreted as involving the spear bearers And the inscriptional evidence for Bellona’s has-
(hastiferi) of Bellona, which, if correct, indicates tiferi indicates that at least the members of the
something of the mode of carrying the spears and college, if not exclusively its patrons, were male
that it involved a large number of members of and not from the lowest ranks of society (Fish-
the college (Hepding, 1903: 169–172; Graillot, 1912: wick, 1967: 147–148).
278–280; Fishwick, 1976: 148–150, 154). All this serves to set the context for those who
In contrast with these attributes of Cybele and handle the exuviae of the gods in the circus pro-
the supporting colleges of carriers, was the cista, cession as described by Festus (500), transporting
the basket holding the secret objects of the cult. them to the games in special carriages. The treat-
Both Cybele herself, and the ancillary goddess Bel- ment of these carriages and their cargo comes
lona, had such processional baskets, but unlike the closest to the association of the secret cista with
other attributes, these are closely associated with priests in the processions reviewed. For the exu-
the priests, who the scholarship understands are viae, which similarly embodied a measure of sanc-
the ones to carry them in the processions, though tity by standing in for the god, a boy was selected,
it warrants emphasis that this is an inference presumably from a family of high social status,
(Graillot, 1912: 134–135; Fishwick, 1967: 154–155; CIL but also fitting the requirements of having both
VI.2233). Similarly, a priest of Isis is described as parents still living, to act as escort for the carriage
carrying the secret cista (Apuleius, metamorphoses (Cicero, de haruspicum responso 11.23; Valerius
xi.11). Nevertheless, the inscription of the Diony- Maximus i.1.16). This would be the ill omen of
sian college from Torre Nova provides a contrast- Nero’s dream to accompany the tensa of Jupiter
ing example. A series of ministers are listed who to the circus (Suetonius, Vespasianus 5.7) since he
carry specific items which fit broadly into the did not qualify to do so. And similarly beardless
category of attributes: baskets, winnowing fans, youths accompany a carriage on a Julio-Claudian
phalluses, and torches (Cumont, 1933: 233). Here, relief in Budapest (Schäfer, 2002: 45).
too, there is a carrier for the cista, but this person, The importance of this pairing of carriage
while listed first among the carriers of attributes, is and escort is reflected in the circus procession
listed along with the others as subordinate to and on fragments of sarcophagus lids. On one in the
distinct from the priests and officials of the college. Capitoline Museum, 2464, (fig. 43) a youth stands
Thus the pattern of the carrying of the secret cistae in the centre of a group of bearded figures, who
suggests that while these holiest objects were not face him (Abaecherli, 1935–36: pl. VI.1; Ronke,
surprisingly given special considerations, there is 1987: 730, no. 187). On another in the British
some variation in who holds the responsibility of Museum, GR 1805.7–3.145, a solitary and beard-
carrying them. And the specifics of the carrying less youth stands behind the team of horses and
and display of attributes generally may well vary turns his head back in the direction of his charge
from one cult or ceremony to another. (Abaecherli, 1935–36: 7–10; pl. VI.4; Walker, 1990:
A similar diversity is illustrated in the range 18–19 and pl. 3; ThesCRA, I, s.v. “processions”, no.
of social status of those handling the attributes. 41). And on yet another (Berlin 864), a tensa is
Apuleius (metamorphoses xi.11) describes the con- depicted in the Circus Maximus while Erotes-
siderable presence of women who perform this driven chariots race about. Leading the tensa is
task in the cult of Isis. The colleges of Cybele’s again a beardless youth (Humphrey, 1986: 44).
cannophoroi admitted both sexes, usually of free The carriages themselves were outfitted in
but socially lower status, with even slaves appear- precious materials; Festus (500) mentions ivory
ing among the members (Graillot, 1912: 262–264). and silver. The carriages alone appear with
Women, however, were not admitted to the col- some regularity in a variety of media, fitted with
exuviae 85

Fig. 43. Sarcophagus lid, Museo Capitolino. Photo: DAI Rome

elaborate relief decorations on the sides, shield- sion, the Circus Maximus, to identify and to draw
ing their cargoes (Abaecherli, 1935–36: pls. VI–VII; attention to the arrivals where these reliefs could
Abaecherli, 1935: pl. I; Lawrence, 1965: figs. 1 & 13; hardly have been made out by many, each god
Gladigow, 1985–86: fig. 14; Andreae, 1991: no. 373). also was provided with an announcer, nomencla-
Exceptional both in general design and in dis- tor (CIL VI.740; Abaecherli, 1935–36: 9.).
playing rather than hiding the exuviae, probably The importance of keeping the exuviae hidden
because of its foreign divinity, is the carriage of during the procession is illustrated by the anec-
Astarte, to judge only from coin representations dote reported by Macrobius (Saturnalia i.6.15) of
(Abaecherli, 1935–36: 8). The status of the car- a boy, watching the procession from above, see-
riages is reflected in that those on the Capitoline, ing into the carriages at their secret contents.
at least, had their own shrine, and with their use The consternation of the procession organizers
by the élite as vehicles to communicate their own over this violation of decorum resulted in the
status in sponsoring them (CIL III, p. 845, and Dio route subsequently being screened. This solution,
Cassius xlvii.40.4; CIL X.6102). With the emblems rather than the simpler one of roofing over the
of the gods hidden inside the carriages, the relief carriages, speaks to the religious need to keep the
decorations on the sides served to identify the divine objects exposed to the sky.
individual god to the procession spectators. But The exuviae of the gods potentially reached
in the wider prospects of the goal of the proces- the second stage of their ceremonial lives once
86 chapter four

the procession had reached journey’s end. For restrictive in terms of the specific occasions on
attributes large or in multiples, such as those which some banquets are described as by and for
described for the cult of Isis, nothing is known females.
of their disposition at the culmination, and it is That a greater distinction needs to be drawn
possible that their ceremonial function may not between the sellisternium and the lectisternium is
have extended beyond the procession itself. By supported by an oft-cited text from Tertullianus
contrast, those transported in secret to the cir- (ad nationes i.10). In his criticism of the honours
cus had what might be considered their most accorded divinized “princes” he lists in pairs types
important function at that destination. However, of honours. Tensa and currus are paired, for exam-
understanding of how the attributes were han- ple. Both are vehicles, but the tensa is the vehicle
dled at the circus and the response to them there for carrying the crown of the deified emperor,
relies entirely on visual evidence. The interpreta- while the currus the elephant-drawn wagon for
tion of this visual evidence has turned to textual the statue of him. In the same list of honours,
accounts of the sellisternium, or chair ceremony, Tertullianus pairs the sellisternia with the lectis-
to account for the prominence of chairs and ternia, which should not, then, be understood as
thrones in the visual evidence. alternative terms for the same honours, but differ-
There has been a line of argument in the schol- ent honours (Taylor, 1935: 127–128; Salomonson,
arship that identifies the sellisternium as a subset 1955: 11–14). Significantly, the text also requires
of lectisternium, that is, a banquet but with the that a sellisternium can be applied to males, so
condition that chairs rather than couches are that defining it as a banquet with goddesses on
provided for females, divine or mortal. Taylor was chairs clearly does not fit the evidence.
instrumental in challenging this identity, arguing It would also seem to follow from these texts
instead that the sellisternium was a distinct cer- that a general conclusion that goddesses sat at all
emony involving chairs or thrones and held in ceremonial banquets, and that such banquets are
the theatres. Valerius Maximus (ii.1.2) cites the called sellisternia is too sweeping. The absence
use of chairs for Juno and Minerva in the banquet among identified (Roman) visual examples of
for Jupiter, that is, the epulum Iovis, but he men- divine banquets where goddesses sit on chairs,
tions this by way of illustrating that the practice and the contrary visual evidence where god-
had become unusual in domestic banquets. As he desses do appear on couches cast grave doubt on
does not contrast this domestic practice with all it. Added to this, male divinities did sometimes
religious banquets, but only with this specific one sit on chairs at banquets, at least in the textual
on the Capitoline, it is open to question whether sources.
it can be applied universally to religious practice. Further, it is not at all certain that the term
Inscriptions preserving imperial enactments of sellisternium must be restricted to banquets. Just
the Augustan and Severan periods make refer- as there was more than one ceremony to which
ence to sellisternia held by women and for female the term lectisternium was applied and with dis-
divinities in conjunction with the ludi saeculares, tinct religious goals (van Ooteghem, 1964), there
the secular games (CIL VI.32323–32324; VI. 32329; might be more than one ceremony described
Wissowa, 1912: 431–432; Taylor, 1935: 123–124). But as a sellisternium, one of which was not a ban-
these games by their nature were only occasion- quet at which some divinities sit on chairs. Tay-
ally held. And, finally, the ceremony to appease lor’s explanation of coin evidence proposes an
the gods ordered by Nero after the fire in Roma understanding of how the term could be applied
incorporated a sellisternium by mortal women in (Taylor, 1935: 126–128). A series of coins of Flavian
worship of Juno (Tacitus, annales xiv.44). As a date (figs. 44 and 45) depicts divine attributes on
group these references to a sellisternium are quite chairs spread with a cloth, matching Festus’ (386)
exuviae 87

Fig. 44. Coin with chair of Jupiter. Photo: Mattingly 1923–50

Fig. 45. Coin with chair of Minerva. Photo: Mattingly 1923–50

description of the sellisternium as involving the conclusion that a sellisternium, as distinct from
chair adorned with a sumptuous cloth referred to a lectisternium, was held in the theatres (Wein-
as Babylonica, and Taylor, followed by Abaecherli, stock, 1957: 148–149, 155; Hanson, 1959: 81–92;
therefore identified these as portraying just such Damsky, 1995). However, in the most recent sur-
a sellisternium. The attributes depicted include veys of the lectisternia and sellisternia, the earlier
those for both gods and goddesses, consistent position that the two ceremonies were identi-
with the indication of the other textual evidence cal has been followed instead, although without
that the sellisternium, in all its occasions, is not addressing Taylor’s arguments (La Rocca, 2007;
exclusively female (Taylor, 1935; Abaecherli, 1935; Hölscher, 2007). Nevertheless, the great bulk of
Mattingly, 1923–50: II: 231, 236, 240, 297). Taylor’s the evidence supports her original conclusions.
proposal has been reconsidered several times To identify the specifics of the sellisternium
since her original publication, each time assess- which was commemorated on the coins, Taylor
ing the argument from the perspective of different pointed to the series historical accounts of the hon-
bodies of evidence, and each time confirming her ours accorded deified emperors, and occasionally
88 chapter four

some other members of the imperial family. The this particular case in and to commemorate the
earliest of these was for Julius Caesar, and pro- opening of the Colosseum. To this Flavian series
vided that “his golden chair and his crown set he linked coins repeating the motif of a divine
with precious gems be carried into the theatre in symbol on a chair, beginning with coins issued
the same manner as those of the gods” (Dio Cas- under Traianus commemorating the divinized
sius xliv.6.3, l.10.2). The text can be interpreted Vespasianus and Titus. Two later issues, under
to imply that attributes of the gods were set on Antoninus Pius and Philippos II, correspond to the
chairs or thrones when they were carried in pro- 900th and 1000th anniversaries of Roma. Damsky
cession to and set up in the theatre, although posited that all these coins are commemorative of
there is a minority opinion that the divine attri- games held in the Colosseum on these occasions
butes were simply carried on fercula. Visual evi- with a consistent iconography of the thunderbolt
dence discussed below may shed some further of Jupiter on the chair dressed with the sumptu-
light on the theatre procession (Abaecherli, ous cloth referred to by Festus (386). A portion
1935: 131; Taylor, 1937: 254; Weinstock, 1957: 148; of Damsky’s argument, that these occasions are
Hanson, 1959: 84). With some variations in the ill-suited to an expiatory lectisternium, is blunted
details, accounts of those given the divine hon- by the demonstration (van Ooteghem, 1964) that
our and having a chair carried in procession to there are two distinct types of lectisternia, one of
a theatre extend down to the Severan period which is regular and often linked to anniversa-
(Dio Cassius liii.30.6, lviii.4.4, lxxii.31, lxxiii.17.4, ries, so not of the expiatory type. Taylor’s dem-
lxxv.4.1). The occasional references to multiple onstration that the sellisternium is not identical
theatres among these accounts have been under- with the lectisternium renders Damsky’s point
stood to indicate that this chair ceremony took something of a red herring, but the observation
place in several theatres (Taylor, 1935: 127, n.24; that the ceremonies commemorated on the coins
Calabi, 1954; Weinstock, 1957: 153–154). As Taylor are not expiatory is still apt.
herself acknowledged, no text applies the term The sequence of Flavian coins, and the subse-
sellisternium to this ceremony, but it does seem quent issues connected with them in iconogra-
to provide for a throne ceremony as required by phy, though they need to be understood initially
Tertullianus’ list of imperial honours. In a study in their numismatic context, should also be placed
complementary to Taylor’s, Albaecherli argued in the broader one of other visual evidence which
that some of the attributes shown on chairs in shares that iconography (Weinstock, 1957: 148).
the Flavian coin series are those of the emperor Closest to the coins is a gem, once in Berlin (no.
and empress, as they might have appeared with 7656) and dated broadly to the first century CE,
the gods at the theatres (Abaecherli, 1935). Bring- which features the thunderbolt of Jupiter on a
ing to bear additional textual and numismatic draped chair (Furtwängler, 1896: 283). A relief in
evidence, Weinstock and Damsky subsequently Mantova (fig. 46) also displays the thunderbolt
re-assessed the Taylor/Abaecherli hypothesis of Jupiter laid out on a chair (Levi, 1929). There
and while agreeing with the identification of a have been significant restorations to the relief,
divine sellisternium, they were less convinced but the overlapping of the enframing molding
of the identification of imperial symbols among at several points by the original forms assures
the divine exuviae on the coins (Weinstock, 1957; that the relief did not extend higher than now
Damsky, 1995). preserved and that therefore the seat is a chair
Damsky made a convincing argument that the and not a high-backed throne. Atop the one vis-
particular sellisternium recorded on the Flavian ible leg perches a small, winged figure, an Eros.
coins was not held in the theatre as Taylor had Though its torso is broken away it would appear
rightly supposed to be the usual practice, but in that the Eros cradles the thunderbolt, it being too
exuviae 89

Fig. 46. Throne of Jupiter, Palazzo Ducale, Mantova. Photo: author

large for the chair alone. The complementary leg without responding to them. A similar inconsis-
is not actually shown, the eagle at the left occu- tency in the treatment of the forms underneath
pying the point where it should appear. But this the cloth is witnessed where the cloth responds
second leg presumably supports the second Eros to the wing of the eagle over which it falls, while
who appears near the top and functions partially there is no indication of the seat from which it
to secure and partially to hold up for view a large hangs. Levi has suggested that this cloth is the
cloth which extends, like the thunderbolt, beyond toga of Jupiter (Levi, 1929: 275). But despite its odd
the chair to the right. This latter portion of the projection beyond the chair on one side, its posi-
cloth hangs over and reveals a step-like architec- tion covering the seat and underneath the divine
tural backdrop, whose lowest register appears at symbol is consistent with other renderings of the
the lower right corner of the panel. This archi- Babylonian cloth which Festus (386) describes as
tectural backdrop is tied to the one throne leg by accompanying exuviae on chairs. The final ele-
their being, like that leg, slightly askew to the flat ment of the relief is the sceptre which extends
plane of the relef. These would correspond to the diagonally across the relief from the lower right
seats or steps in the theatre in which the divine to the upper left. Incongruously, it appears to run
chairs were set with their exuviae. The spatial beneath the seat and behind all other elements.
relationship between the cloth and the steps is The Mantova relief has been assigned to the reign
inconsistent, with the upper portion of the cloth of Claudius, without argumentation (Levi, 1929:
adhering to and following the form of the steps, 276; Picard, 1954: 14). But the incongruities in the
but the extreme right edge falls vertically from spatial relationships of the objects, the missing
the top to its weighted corner near the bottom throne leg, and the general cramped filling of
90 chapter four

the visual frame might be better understood in by the Erotes, one of whom holds a garland or
a later chronological context. A similar compres- an additional symbol. On two better-preserved
sion of forms in space, and a very close parallel examples (figs. 49 and 50), the dove and the
for the thunderbolt, for example, are apparent on helmet on the thrones probably correspond to
the arch of Traianus at Beneventum, or on the Venus and Mars. On a third, less well-preserved
Great Trajanic Frieze later incorporated into the throne, the indistinct symbol on the cushion has
arch of Constantinus. been taken to be a helmet, with a spear leaning
A particularly rich collection of depictions of against the throne, so that of Minerva, or alter-
divine exuviae is preserved from the Casa dei Cervi natively, if the object leaning on the throne is a
in Herculaneum, some in situ others removed in sceptre, the throne of Juno (Tran tam Tinh, 1988:
eighteenth-century exploration of the site (Tran 55–56; Picard, 1954: 13; La Rocca, 2007: 95 and
tam Tinh, 1988). In oecus XXIX, exceptionally fig. 17). A contrast is apparent with the paintings
within this house painted in a dominant blue of thrones in oecus XXIX, in that these in the por-
palette, each of three walls depicted a throne at tico depict the installation of the divine exuviae
the centre of the attic level of an architectural on thrones, rather than thrones with the exuviae
framework. The seats are thrones with high backs already in place. As the thrones in the oecus make
and arms, corroborating the occasional reference specific reference to the theatre, the installation
in the texts to thrones instead of chairs. On the of exuviae by Erotes may indicate a distinction in
best preserved throne (figs. 47 and 48), on the ceremony or venue.
west wall, an aegis is thrown over the back and a A pair of free-standing thrones in München
helmet rests on the seat, with a shield and spear provides additional evidence for the sellisternium
leaning against the throne, and an owl near the combining exuviae of the gods with the divine
footstool, all indicating Minerva. A second throne, honours accorded emperors. Two survive, origi-
on the east wall, but too poorly preserved to iden- nally with backs worked separately but now lost.
tify the iconography, matches this one. And on a The condition of these thrones makes identifica-
third throne, removed in the eighteenth century, tion of the specific symbols employed difficult,
are a sceptre leaning against it and a peacock but Venus and Mars are the best candidates. La
adjacent, so the throne of Juno (Tran tam Tinh, Rocca has determined that these two thrones
1988: 70). The paintings of thrones on all three were found in the area of the temple of the dei-
walls in oecus XXIX, then, are suggestive of a Cap- fied Claudius on the Caelian Hill (La Rocca, 2007:
itoline triad. On the better preserved west wall, 97–104; Richter, 1966: 99; Picard, 1959; Weinstock,
the throne of Minerva was flanked by theatrical 1957: 147–148; Picard, 1954), and originally they
masks, providing some corroboration for Taylor’s must have formed part of a larger set there of
argument that the sellisternium was a ceremony enthroned symbols of gods. These sculptured
normally held in connection with the theatres. thrones form a group along with the paintings in
The painted decoration of the north portico oecus XIX of the Casa dei Cervi and the series of
of the Casa dei Cervi included a series of framed Flavian coins (figs. 44 and 45) of larger cycles of
panels, some of which again depict thrones with divine exuviae set on thrones.
divine symbols. These were removed in the eigh- The paintings from the north portico of the
teenth century, but three have been identified in Casa dei Cervi, though also depicting a throne
the Napoli archaeological museum. They differ ceremony, are distinct from this group, and find
from the thrones in oecus XXIX in representing a closer parallel in a set of reliefs which like these
an installation of the symbols on their thrones depict Erotes in the process of installing the
by pairs of Erotes. In each case the high-backed divine exuviae on thrones, already decked with
thrones have arms and footstools, and are flanked their Babylonian cloth. On the reliefs the thrones
exuviae 91

Fig. 47. Throne of Minerva, Casa dei Cervi. Herculaneum. Photo: DAI Rome
92 chapter four

Fig. 48. Throne of Minerva, Casa dei Cervi. Herculaneum. Photo: Tran tam Tinh 1988
exuviae 93

Fig. 49. Throne of Venus, Casa dei Cervi, Museo Archeologico, Napoli. Photo: Tran tam Tinh 1988

Fig. 50. Throne of Mars, Casa dei Cervi, Museo Archeologico, Napoli. Photo: Roux Ainé 1839
94 chapter four

are incorporated into a rank of Corinthian pilas- 1986: 78–83; Hugoniot, 2006). No preserved text
ters. They were first recorded in Ravenna in the seems to describe this ceremony. However, the
fourteenth century, and while the majority of importance of the objects transported hidden in
fragments remain in that city, in the church of their carriages is indicated by their being the only
S. Vitale (figs. 51 and 52) and the Museo Arcives- elements of the procession which appear again in
covile, others were dispersed during the Renais- depictions of the later events in the circus. On
sance to Venezia (figs. 54 and 55), Firenze and the circus relief in Foligno while the charioteers
Paris (fig. 53), the last preserving the only com- already race around the spina a single carriage
plete panel in the lot. These reliefs have been appears drawn up against the background archi-
dated variously as Augustan, Julio-Claudian, or tecture, its horses shed, and doubtless its contents
Flavian (La Rocca, 2007: 93–95; Bober and Rubin- removed. While it may seem that the sculptor of
stein, 1986: 90–91; Beschi, 1985; Weinstock, 1957: the relief employs a compressed temporal repre-
148; Taylor, 1935: 126; Ricci, 1910: 247–259). And sentation of things which do not belong in the
while most of the fragments depict the installation same place at the same time, the parking of the
of exuviae on thrones, two additional fragments carriages inside the circus could account for
depict an escort of walking women in Greek dress the report by Dio Cassius (l.8.2) of the carriage of
against the same architectural backdrop, suggest- Jupiter being demolished in the circus. Addition-
ing that the installation should be understood as ally, on a fragment of a child’s sarcophagus in the
connected with a preceding procession. Vatican (fig. 56) a tetrastylon stands on the spina.
While the first group of renderings of exuviae Either inside or perhaps decorating the walls of
already on thrones corresponds well with the this structure appears a tensa with its horses still
texts describing the sellisternium performed at in harness, a shrine or perhaps a votive (Law-
the theatres following on the open procession of rence, 1965: 122, 131).
the symbols, this second group of thrones with The Ravenna reliefs and the paintings from
Erotes installing the symbols requires an alterna- the north portico of the Casa dei Cervi depict the
tive occasion. Both the presence of these divine throne ceremony required in removing the exu-
figures rather than mortals and the installation viae from their individual carriages and installing
ceremony itself correspond better with the special them on the thrones in the pulvinar of the circus,
handling of those symbols of the gods in the circus in which the holiness of the objects is emphasized
procession and subsequently after their arrival at by their being handled by the divine Erotes. As
the circus. Dionysios of Halikarnassos (vii.72) in Tertullianus (de spectaculis 7) lists thrones among
his description of the circus procession makes the objects carried in the circus procession, it is
no mention of the exuviae, focusing instead on a reasonable assumption that these thrones are
the larger images of the gods in this procession, the same which were subsequently placed on
those borne on fercula. Nevertheless, the special the pulvinar for the exuviae. The ancient source
attention given to the procession of the exuviae, of the Ravenna reliefs has never been established
their secretive transit, the opulent carriages, the satisfactorily. They have been thought to have
special escorts, and their announcers all speak to decorated some temple, but this is seemingly
their high religious status. Moreover, it was these contradicted by the peculiarity of their original
symbols not the other images in the procession configuration in two identical sets, oriented in
which stood in for the gods at the circus after the same direction, as established by the dupli-
they were installed there in the pulvinar, a large cate panels represented in the Paris (fig. 53) and
temple-like structure centrally positioned along Venezia (figs. 54 and 55) collections, and the two
one of the long sides (Hanson, 1959; Humphrey, in S. Vitale (figs. 51 and 52). Two sets which are
exuviae 95

Fig. 51. Throne of Neptunus, San Vitale, Ravenna. Photo: author

Fig. 52. Throne of Neptunus, San Vitale, Ravenna. Photo: author

96 chapter four

Fig. 53. Throne of Saturnus, Musée du Louvre. Photo: Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Art Resource, NY

Fig. 54. Throne of Saturnus, Museo Archeologico, Venezia. Photo: author

exuviae 97

Fig. 55. Throne of Saturnus, Museo Archeologico, Venezia. Photo: author

Fig. 56. Circus relief, Vatican Museums. Photo: author

98 chapter four

Fig. 57. After painting of procession, Casa di Nozze di Hercules, Pompeii. Photo: Caratelli 1990–95

not mirror images of each other, especially with types of competitions included required a range
the section of female figures in procession, would of venues, resulting in Domitianus’ building of a
ill fit the long sides of a temple as the length of new odeum and stadium, as well as restorations
the preserved fragments requires. The reliefs of the Circus Maximus. Just as the texts describe
have also been attributed to a theatre decoration sellisternia held in the different theatres where
(Picard 1954: 12–13), but if the interpretation of the games were put on, so sellisternia for the Capito-
subject matter argued here as that taking place in line games presumably would have been held in
the circus is correct, the more likely source for each of the appropriate venues.
these reliefs is a pair of decorated parapets dupli- There are two further visual examples of exu-
cating each other along either side of a circus. A viae which cannot be assigned to the city of Roma.
full treatment of this proposal will appear as a A painting in the Casa delle Nozze d’Ercole, Pom-
separate essay. peii VII.9.47 (fig. 57) illustrates the divine attri-
It is conspicuous that all the coins subsequent butes in a procession extending on either side
to the initial Flavian series depicting a divine of a small, tetrastylon temple, inside of which
sellisternium as well as the Berlin gem and the stands Venus, with Priapus and Eros represented
Mantova relief (fig. 46) present exclusively the as statues on either side of her. The goddess has
thunderbolt of Jupiter. This might be accounted presented Hebe, who descends the temple steps,
for by the chance of preservation, or explained as to her consort, Hercules. While most interpreta-
a visual synecdoche where the symbol of the king tions of this combination of mortal and divine
of the gods stands for the symbols of them all. activities naturally place emphasis on the cen-
But a simpler explanation would be that all these tral divine wedding (La Rocca, 2007: 87; Ryberg,
commemorate sellisternia at games honouring 1955: 169; Della Corte, 1924: 90–92), these do not
Jupiter specifically, and the Capitoline games pro- effectively account for the procession itself. The
vide an attractive candidate. These games were arrangement of this procession passing behind
founded by Domitianus as a penteteric celebra- the temple might better be imagined as indicat-
tion on the Greek model, encompassing musical, ing that the temple of Venus is a station on the
gymnastic and equestrian competitions. Despite path rather than the procession’s goal. Alterna-
Domitianus’ damnatio memoriae, the Capitoline tively, the procession has been described as one
games continued down into the fourth century for Isis. This relies on the female figure immedi-
(Suetonius, Domitianus 4–5; Wissowa, 1912: 311 ately to the right of the temple being identified as
and 465; Caldelli, 1993), and thus span the chro- a priestess of Isis holding her sistrum (Tran tam
nology of all the extant examples of Jupiter’s Tinh, 1964: 132–133; Delle Corte, 1924: 91–93). The
thunderbolt on a chair or throne. The different attributes of Isis and Sarapis carried on fercula
exuviae 99

do lead the procession, yet oddly for this second of the equestrian class (Stone, 1994: 15). Because
interpretation it is that of Sarapis which appears of the prominence of Hebe, identified in Roma
first, with Isis’ following second: a snake in a tree with Juventas, these youths are likely members
for Sarapis and a temple for Isis. Moreover, Sara- of one of the colleges dedicated to her worship.
pis’s and Isis’s symbols are not the only ones in Several such colleges for Juventas are attested in
this procession. To the right of the temple come Italian cities, and apart from dedicating mem-
two more litters with attributes, a helmet first, bers to the goddess of youth, they also fostered
the second now obscured by damage, these fol- those members’ service to other gods, including
lowed by sacrificial animals, and finally a chair of course Hercules (Della Corte, 1924; Wissowa,
carried on two poles. 1912: 58, 135–136, 276; Livius 31.62.9).
The weakness of identifying the procession as In the painting, at the end of this line of attri-
one for Isis is that such a procession would then butes of divine pairs and following the two sac-
have no meaningful relationship with the divine rificial animals, two final youths carry on poles
action at the centre of the painting. More plau- a chair, on the cushion of which appears to be
sibly, Sarapis and Isis are given pride of place in a crown (La Rocca, 2007: 87; Tran tam Tinh,
the procession because of their importance in the 1964: 133). Both the position, separated from the
religious life of the city. Similarly, the pair repre- divine attributes by the sacrificial animals, and
sented by the helmet and the missing attribute to the breaking of the pattern of male/female pairs
the right of the temple would correspond to Mars mark the chair as distinct from them, so not for
and Venus, also a goddess pre-eminent in the city, another of the gods. The extra wide proportions
and her divine consort, much like the thrones in of the chair are like that of the honourific bisel-
the Casa dei Cervi. If this reading is correct, the lium, or double wide chair (Schäfer, 1990). But
procession entails the attributes of divine con- this chair is distinct from the normal bisellium in
sorts, in each case with the male preceding the having a kind of back, suggesting a throne, even
female, in celebration of the newly wed pair of if it lacks arms. The clear indication of excep-
Hercules and Hebe. And if the procession is in tional honours, yet distinction from the gods is
celebration of those two, the sacrificial animals in accord with the position of a deified emperor
must be intended for them. Although the sex of in procession with the exuviae of the gods to a
the bovine is now unclear due to damage to the sellisternium for the theatre games. Likewise, the
surface, it represents an appropriate offering to sacrificial animals are consistent with the altars
the son of Jupiter, while the lamb carried on a known to have been provided at the theatres
boy’s shoulders fittingly is intended for Hebe as (Hanson, 1959: 81–92). In the absence of firm evi-
the embodiment of youthful beauty. dence that the exuviae of the gods were carried
The attributes are here carried on a series of on their thrones in a theatre procession, and the
litters, not in carriages, and as an inscription from possibility of a local variation on the pattern fol-
Formiae records a tensa for Minerva there (CIL lowed in Roma, the strongest case for this Pom-
X.6102) presumably as at Roma itself for a circus peiian example is as a theatre procession leading
procession, it can be concluded that this Pompei- to a sellisternium there.
ian example is not a circus procession. The three An altar dedicated to the cult of Cybele (fig. 58)
female figures in the procession are rendered on and dated by style to the second or third century
a larger scale than the males carrying the litters, is without provenance, but illustrates on one of
who therefore are to be understood as youths. its faces the attribute of the goddess in the form
The simple tunics of each boy are decorated with of her cista set on a throne carried on a ferculum
narrow stripes, indicating that they are the sons (Fitzwilliam Museum GR5.1938: ThesCRA II. s.v.
100 chapter four

Fig. 58. Altar of Cybele, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Photo: Tillyard 1917

exuviae 101

“initiation”, no. 132; La Rocca, 2007: 88–89; Ver- carried there is firm, the theatre procession for
masseren, 1977–89: VII: 11–13; Vermasseren, 1977: the sellisternium represents the best documented
97–98; Budde and Nicholls, 1964: 77–78, no. 125; case for such an arrangement.
Tillyard, 1917). The four figures carrying the litter The attributes for most of the Roman gods
are in Phrygian garb, as are a pair of statues of are not prominent in either the textual or visual
figures on the litter who hold up a pole or tree evidence, but this does not present an accu-
between them. By their Phrygian garb, both the rate picture of the importance of these peculiar
litter bearers and the statues holding the pole objects in Roman religious experience. They, or
have been identified as Galli, originally Phrygian their transportation, represented the critical ele-
immigrants who worshipped the goddess and ment of the procession to the theatres and the
arrived in Roma with her. But given the relatively spectacle which took place there. The grafting
late date of the altar, these would no longer be on of the imperial cult to this procession both
the Phrygians but Romans who had taken up the acknowledged its importance, and added an
foreign cult (Wissowa, 1912: 320–321). In light of additional element of political propaganda. And
the textual evidence for the dendrophoroi and while the circus procession was thick with con-
the carriers of the cista surveyed above, those stituent elements, many large and resplendent,
depicted here should be members of a college, in terms of religious import the divine exuviae
and priests, respectively. The altar either suggests were paramount. It is they which represented
that the dendrophoroi and the priests at that the gods at the games in the circus. The culmi-
time actually dressed as Phrygians, or depicts the nation of both these types of processions was a
contemporary worshippers by imaginary asso- throne ceremony, a sellisternium, which should
ciation as the original immigrant Phrygians. The be distinguished from the banquet or lectister-
uncertainty involved compromises how literally nium both in what it constituted and where it
this transport of the cista on a throne should be was held. The sheer visual opulence reported of
taken as showing a procession leading to a sellis- Roman processions might imply a sameness to
ternium. The cista on a throne in fact quotes the them all, but the singular manner in which the
form in which the goddess appeared in the sculp- exuviae were treated in the circus procession
tured pediment of her temple on the Palatine offers a warning against such an assumption.
(Tillyard, 1917: 286; Picard, 1954: 11–12). But while Keeping the symbols both conspicuous yet out
the altar cannot be taken at face value as simply of sight until their installation on the pulvinar of
an illustration of a procession with Cybele’s cista, the circus must have enhanced the theatricality
it does at least indicate that a Roman audience of that moment, one which is then translated in
would find plausible the carrying of both attri- the visual representation of it as requiring the
butes and thrones on litters. As the circus pro- agency of minor divinities.
cession is excluded since how the exuviae were

The various modes of ceremonial sculpture preva- tion should not obscure the manifold treatment
lent in the Roman world are distinct in terms of within these ceremonial restrictions. The exuviae
design, scale and materials, when compared to were hidden during the circus procession, but
the better-known genres of Roman sculpture. But apparently on view in the processions to the the-
as important to the characterization of each type atres. And in both cases there must have been
is its specific ceremonial function, and the aspects a protocol for installing the exuviae into their
of the theatre of that ceremony: the actors and places at the theatres and the circus. Similarly
audience, and the conventions of behaviour. The capita deorum presumably were brought out to
evidence, both visual and textual, for understand- the banquet couches with a ceremonial protocol,
ing the individual types, their distinctive qualities and some visual evidence from Egypt supports
as well as the points in common among them the inference.
often dictates that only inferences can be drawn. Statuettes had the broadest ceremonial appli-
Nevertheless, with these cautions in mind, the cation. They were carried in processions, culmi-
evidence for the individual types of statue can nating in a presentation. At least so far as the
serve to amplify the picture for others. evidence indicates, the statuettes were presented
The visual representations of ceremonial stat- before the image or person of the emperor or the
uary say little of bad planning, accident or poor image of a god. But the statuette also played a
performance, but in so doing testify to the strong subsequent rôle as a fixed object. The statuettes
desire that these events would all go off perfectly. of the Salutaris endowment at Ephesos were
It is only in the occasional textual reference, like installed in the theatre for a time following their
the report (Dio Cassius xlvii.40.4) of Minerva’s procession through the city. This corroborates
carriage for transporting her symbol to the Circus the curious anecdote of the statuettes of Victo-
crashing on its return to the Capitol, that of the ria for Septimius, Caracalla and Geta installed in
boy peering down into the carriages during their the circus in Roma (scriptores historiae augus-
procession to see the hidden exuviae (Macrobius, tae, Severus 22). As images of Victoria had a spe-
Saturnalia i.6.15), or Cicero’s (de officiis 1.31) dis- cial function in processions to accompany the
approving reference to how litter carriers might emperor or his image, this Severan group must
inattentively disport themselves, where the inevi- have been used in this fashion during the circus
table realities of such enterprises find any men- procession for the emperor and his sons after
tion. But this is in accord with the nature of ritual their designation as co-rulers, and like the statu-
itself, which by its repetition works to negate the ettes at Ephesos were installed subsequently at
passage of time (Turner 1986: 78). The visual ren- the culminating venue.
derings thereby become a perpetual present of Not surprisingly, the bulk of the evidence
things going perfectly. focuses on that principal ceremonial appearance.
Generally the use of these sculptural types But as any procession or appearance requires a
seems ceremonially focused. Thus the large, complementary recession, these too must have
litter-borne statues only appear in processions; been carried out with an appropriate protocol.
capita deorum function only in divine banquets, The account (Dio Cassius xlvii.40.4) of the car-
and exuviae are used only in conjunction with riage for Minerva’s symbol accidentally being
throne ceremonies. This specialization in applica- destroyed after the circus procession on its return
104 epilogue

to the Capitol sanctuary hints at these recession- sanctuary administration, which also implies a
als. Likewise, the preparation of these sacred close physical association. And while much of
objects can be presumed to have been carried the evidence applies to ceremonies conducted in
out according to some established ceremony. the city of Roma, there is sufficient representa-
Tertullianus’ reference (de spectaculis 10) to the tion from outside the city (the texts cited above
theatre and circus processions proceeding from as well as the visual evidence from Pompeii) to
all the temples requires one to imagine both the suggest that this association of the various cere-
series of smaller processions bringing the images monial sculptures with sanctuaries was common
from various sanctuaries, as well as the marshal- practice.
ling and organizing for the procession itself. Even The human agency which distinguishes cer-
capita deorum, the one type of ceremonial sculp- emonial from fixed sculpture is a fundamental
ture not principally dedicated to a processional element of these objects. For the processional
function, nevertheless must have been brought statuettes, the litter statues and the exuviae, those
out to and removed from their banquet couches whose obligation it is to carry or escort them
with due regard. Terracotta depictions from Egypt are a regular feature of the visual depictions.
of the carrying of capita deorum on their couch The (male) children of the élite are prominent
hint at just such an arrival in the accompaniment among these. It is they who are responsible for
of a priest. The legal prohibition against priests carrying statuettes in civic processions in Roma
attending the banquets themselves requires that and Ephesos, and for carrying the exuviae of the
the operation must proceed or follow that ban- gods to their thrones in the theatre in Pompeii.
quet as an arrival or departure. They also have the responsibility to escort the
As all these types of sculpture are intrinsi- hidden exuviae in the circus procession. The sta-
cally bound up with a performative function and tus of these youths, élite yet subordinate within
mobility, the problem of their location when not their social rank, is one that recurs generally for
in use presents itself. The care with which the those who perform with the sculptures in Roman
objects are handled speaks to their sacred nature, ceremonies. The status of those whose charge
allowing the inference that they might frequently it is to handle statuettes remains constant into
be stored in sanctuaries. For statuettes the Salu- the Christian period, where the Calendar of 354
taris endowment from Ephesos where the statu- and the Barberini diptych illustrate statuettes of
ettes originate from and return to the sanctuary of Victoria held by subordinates in the presence of
Artemis provides evidence this was the case (see the emperor.
Appendix, no. 2). Tertullianus (de spectaculis 7), Within the religious guilds, those who carry
in his description of the circus procession and the sacred images are again not those with the
apparently referring to the large statues on litters, highest rank within the guild. The trade guilds
similarly suggests that for this large format the partake of a similar prideful participation, while
sanctuaries functioned for storage. Capita deo- acknowledging their subordinate social rank.
rum are set out for banquets in sanctuaries; thus Their own commissions depict them as the bear-
the sanctuary would be the most likely storage ers of litters, an occupation associated with mere
place for them as well. And finally, the account labourers. The altar dedicated by the ministri
already cited (Dio Cassius xlvii.40.4) of the car- of the collegium fabrum tignariorum shows that
riage for Minerva’s symbol crashing on return to guilds were not limited to the rôle of litter carri-
the Capitol sanctuary tells the same story with ers, but could also take charge of statuettes. How-
respect to the storage of the exuviae. Further, ever, the function of the statuette in this case is
the accounts of the activities of the religious col- confined to their own ceremonies for their patron
leges of Cybele indicate a close coordination with divinity, so distinct from those performed by the
epilogue 105

élite youths in that the ceremonies are not the cern over the danger that the allure of the theatre
large, civic ones. and the circus represented for Christians, and of
Capita deorum and certain aspects of the exu- course is an important source for the elements
viae fall outside the pattern of the other sculptural which make up the processions and the statu-
types in this regard. Neither the texts describing ary involved. It is remarkable that a number of
capita deorum nor the visual representations of objects which provide visual evidence for capita
them seem to give much attention to the human deorum (Caesarea Maritima cup), litter statues
agency of their performance. Some visual evi- (S. Lorenzo sarcophagus lid, Aquileia sarcopha-
dence does indicate a ceremonial bringing out of gus lid) and processional statuettes (Domus Faus-
the sculptures to their banquet site, though this tae paintings, Calendar of 354, Barberini dyptich)
processional is carried out by winged, youthful date to the Constantinian period or later.
beings, perhaps Erotes. This ceremonial bringing These survivals of the old religious parapher-
out of the sculptures amounts only to an append- nalia are consistent with Tertullianus’ fears of
age to their principle function. But despite the the inherent appeal of these public festivals.
absence of attention to the human agency in Their popularity is also reflected in the piecemeal
the visual record, Livius (v.13) does record in his approach of the imperial decrees of the codex
accounts of special (as opposed to regular) lectis- Theodosianus, which allowed the various specta-
ternia with capita deorum the participation of the cles to continue with certain restrictions as long
entire Roman population in visiting these ban- as no sacrifices were involved (codex Theodo-
quets. They then constitute the human agency of sianus ii.8.20; xv.4.1.1; xv.5.2; xvi.10.17). As the var-
this particular statuary type. ious ceremonial acts with which the sculptures
While representations of the transport of the had long been associated had not traditionally
exuviae do feature those youths who escorted included sacrifice, a pragmatic toleration could
the carriages in the circus procession, the cul- be maintained. The success of such a stratagem,
minating action, their installation on thrones in or a concession to its inevitability, is documented
the pulvinar of the circus, appears only through in the long survival of at least the litter statues,
the agency of Erotes. Such divinities enacting a modified to their new master in the later history
parody of a ceremony are not unfamiliar. Here, of Christianity.
the critical moment in the handling of the sacred An additional ingredient promoting the sur-
objects, which prior to this point have been care- vival of these objects into the Christian period
fully shielded from all human view, their installa- was the assimilation of certain sculptural forms
tion on the thrones, calls for a heightened sanctity into the cult of the emperor. The deified emperor
for the operators. Similarly, the Erotes who bring could still appear on its wagon in the circus pro-
out the capita deorum are the only beings shown cession of the San Lorenzo sarcophagus lid. And
handling those sculptures. In each case, Erotes even more enduring was the close association of
make particularly fitting sacred, metaphorical statuettes of the goddess Victoria with the per-
replacements for the Romans themselves, since son or image of the emperor. Thus a statuette
the Roman people, like Erotes, are descended of Victoria can still be presented to the emperor
from Venus through their founder, Aeneas. in the Calendar of 354, and in perhaps the final
Finally, the ceremonial sculptures are factors appearance of all these sculptural forms, on the
in and help map the history of the shift of the Barberini diptych the emperor, usually identified
empire into a Christian one. Tertullianus (de spec- with Justinianus, still appears with the statuette
taculis 7 & 10) had already expressed great con- of Victoria leading the way.

Inscriptional and Papyrological Texts

1. Magnesia-on-the-Maiandros. decree concern- 160 ὁλκῆς λειτῶν δύο, οὐνκιῶν δέκα, γραμμάτων πέντε . . .
ing the cult of Zeus Sosipolis (197–96 BCE) 168 ὁμοίως καὶ ἄλλη Ἄρτεμις ἀργυρέα λαμπαδηφόρος,
Text: Kern, 1900: 82–83  ἐ[μφερὴς]
Translation: Donohue, 1988: 470 τῇ ἐν τῇ ἐξέδρᾳ τῶν ἐφήβων, ὁλκῆς λ ζˊ, οὐνκιῶν εˊ,
γραμ[μάτων ˊ,] . . .
ὁ δέ στεφανηφόρος ἄγων τὴν πομπήν φερέτω ξόα- 182 [ὁμοίως καὶ ἄλλη Ἄρτεμις] ἀργυρέα [ χ]ειρὶ
να πάντων τῶν δώδεκα θεῶν ἐν ἐσθῆσιν ὡς καλλίσ- [, ὁλκῆς λ ˊ, οὐνκιῶν θˊ . . .
ταις καὶ πηγνύτω θόλον ἐν τῆι ἀγορᾶι πρὸς τῶι βωμῶι
τῶν δώδεκα θεῶν, στρωνύτω δὲ καὶ στρωμνὰς τρεῖς ὡς 202 [. . . τὰ δὲ προγεγρ]αμμέ[να ἀπεικο]νίσματ[α ἀποτιθέσθω]
45 καλλίστας . . .  σαν κατὰ
[πᾶσαν νόμιμον ἐκκλ]ησίαν κ[αὶ τῇ τῇ νέᾳ] νουμη[νίᾳ
Let the stephanophoros leading the procession carry the ἔτους άρ]χιερατι-
xoana of all the twelve gods in garments as beautiful as [κοῦ ἐπιτελουμένῃ θυσί]ᾳ ἐν τῶι [θεάτρωι ὑπ]ὸ τῶν
possible, and let him build a tholos in the agora near the κα[θηκόντων ἐπὶ τὰ]ς κατὰ σε-
bomos of the twelve gods; and let him spread out three 205 [λίδας τεθειμένας κ]αἰ ἐπιγεγ[ραμμένας] θ’ βάσεις [ἀνὰ
couches as beautiful as possible . . .  γ’, ὡς ἡ ἐπὶ] τοῖς βά-
[θροις καί ἡ ἐν τῇ δ]ιατάξει βο[υλῆς, γερου]σίας,
2. Ephesos. endowment of Gaius Vibius Salutaris ἐφη[βείας καὶ φυλῆ]ς καθιέ-
[ρωσις. μετὰ δὲ τ]ὸ λυθῆν[αι τὰς ἐκκλσί]ας
(103/04 CE) ἀποφ[ερέσθωσαν τὰ ἀπεικονίσ-
Text: Rogers 1991: 152–185 [ματα καὶ αἱ εἰκόνε]ς ε[ἰ τὸ ἱερὸν τῆς Ἀρτέμ]ιδος κα[ὶ
translation: excerpted from Rogers 1991 παραδιδόσθωσαν ὑπὸ]
[τῶν φυλάκων, συνεπιμελουμένων ἐκ] τῶν νεο[ποιῶν
. . . προσ[έτι δὲ καὶ νῦν προσελθ]ὼν εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν δύο καὶ σκηπτούχου,]
ὑπέσχε[το ἐννέα ἀ 210 [Μουσαίῷ, ἱερῷ τῆς Ἀρτέμιδος τῷ ἐπὶ τῶν παρ]αθη[κῶν,
πεικονίσ[ματα καθιερώσειν,] ἓν μὲν χρύσεον, ἐν ᾧ καὶ  διαδεχομένων καὶ συμ-]
ἀργ[ύρεα] [προπεμπόντων καὶ τῶν ἐφήβων ἀπὸ τῆς Μαγνητιῆς
ἐπίχρυσα, ἕτ[ερα δὲ ἀργύρεα] ἀπεικονίσματα ὀκτώ, πύλης είς τὸ θέα-]
εἰ[κόνας τε] [τρον καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ θεάτρου μέχρι τῆς Κορησσικῆς πύλης
25 ἀργυρέας εἴ[κοσι, πέντε μὲν] τοῦ κ[υ]ρίου ἡμῶν μετὰ] πάσης [εὐπρε-
αὐ[τοκράτορος] [πείας . . .
Νέρουα Τραϊα[νοῦ Καίσαρος Σ]εβαστοῦ Γερμανικοῦ
. . . ὅπως ἐξῇ τοῖς χρυσο-
Δ[ακικοῦ, καὶ]
420 φ[οροῦσιν τῇ θεῷ φέρειν εἰς τὰς] εκκλησίας καὶ τοὺς
τῆς ἱερωτάτ[ησ γυναικὸς αὐτοῦ Πλ]ωτείνης καὶ τῆς
ἱερ[ᾶς συνκλήτου]
τὰ ἀπεικ[ον]ίσματα καὶ <τὰς> εἰκόνας τὰ καθιερωμέν[α
καὶ τοῦ Ῥω[μαίων ἱππικού τάγμα]τος καὶ δήμου, [τούτων
ὑπὸ Γαΐο]υ
δὲ χω-
Οὐειβίου Σαλουταρίου ἐκ τοῦ προνάου τῆς Ἀρτέμιδος,
ρὶς εἰκόν[ας δεκαπέντε Ἐφεσίω]ν τήν πόλιν
επιμελουμένων καὶ τῶν νεοποιῶν, συνπαραλαμβανόντων
30 [τοῦ δήμ[ου καὶ τῶν ἓξ φυλῶν κα]ὶ βου[λῆ]ς καὶ
καὶ τῶν
 γερ[ουσίας καὶ ἐφη-]
ἐφήβων ἀπό τῆς Μαγνητικῆς πύλης καὶ
Βεία[ς . . .
156 . . . ὥ[στε καὶ αὐ- 425 μέχρι τῆς Κορησσικῆς πύλης . . .
τὰς τίθε[σ]θαι ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις ἐπάνω σελίδος τῆς
(22–31) . . . and further now coming forward in the assembly
βουλ[ῆς μετὰ τῆς
he has promised to dedicate nine type-statues, and twenty
χρυσέας Ἀρτέμιδος καὶ τῶν ἄλλων εἰκόνων. Ἄρτεμις δὲ
silver images, five of our lord emperor Nerva Traianus Cae-
χρυσ[έα, ὁλκῆς]
sar Augustus Germanicus Dacicus and his most revered
λειτρῶν τριῶν καὶ αἱ περὶ αὐτὴν ἀργύρεοι ἔλαφοι δύο καὶ
wife Plotina and the revered Senate and the Roman eques-
τὰ λοιπὰ ἐπίχρυσα
trian order and the Roman people, and apart from these
108 appendix

fifteen statues representing the city of the Ephesians, of the 35 οῦ Σεβαστοῦ καὶ Ἰουλίας τῆς Σεβαστῆς καὶ Τιβερίου
demos and the six tribes and the boule and the gerousia  Καίσαρος τοῦ Σεβαστοῦ καὶ τὰ διὰ θέατρον
and the ephebeia . . . ἴκρια τῷ χορῷ καὶ θύρας μιμικὰς τέσσερας καὶ τῇ
συνφωνίᾳ ὑποπόδια.
(156–60) . . . that these be placed during the assemblies above
the block of the boule among the golden Artemis, and the When the agoranomos celebrates the theatrical games, he
other images. A golden Artemis, weight of 3 pounds, and shall conduct a procession from the temple of Asklepios
the two silver stags about her and the rest of gold gilded, and Hygieia including in it all the ephebes and young men
weight of 2 pounds, 10 ounces, 5 grammes . . . and other citizens wearing garlands of bay leaves, and in
white clothing. They shall be accompanied in the proces-
(168–69) Equally another silver Artemis the Torch-bearer,
sion by the sacred maidens and the women in their sacred
similar to the one in the exedra of the ephebes, weight of 7
clothing . . . While Khairon is strategos and the priest of
pounds, 5 ounces, . . . . . grammes . . .
divine Augustus Caesar, the overseers who are colleagues
(182–83) Equally another silver Artemis [ ] in hand, weight of Terentius Biades shall deliver three painted images of
of . . . . pounds, 9 ounces . . . the divine Augustus and Iulia Augustus and Tiberius Cae-
sar Augustus, and for the theatre the platform for the cho-
(202–13) The aforementioned type-statues should be
rus and four doors for stage performances and footstools
placed during every regular assembly, and during the new
for the orchestra.
moon’s sacrifice of the archieratic year in the theatre by
the fitting people on the nine inscribed bases in three
groups over the blocks set out as the dedication on the 4. Oxyrhyncus. affidavit of priestly rank (336 CE)
bases and the dedication in the bequest for the boule, the text: Grenfell & Hunt, 1914: 189–91, no. 1265
gerousia, the ephebeia, and (each) tribe. After the assem-
blies have been dismissed, the type-statues and the images translation: modified from Grenfell and Hunt,
should be carried back to the sanctuary of Artemis and 1914
should be handed over by the guards, two of the neo-
poioi and a beadle attending, to Mousaios, sacred slave of Μετὰ τὴν ὑπατείαν Ἰουλίου Κωνσταντίνου
Artemis, custodian of the things deposited, the ephebes πατρικίου ἀδελφοῦ τοῦ δεσπότου ἡμῶν
receiving and escorting from the Magnesian Gate into the Κωνσταντίνου Αὐγούστου καὶ Ῥουφίου
theatre, and from the theatre right into the Koressian Gate Ἀλβίνου τῶν λαμπ(ροτάτων)
with all due dignity. 5 Φλααυίῳ Παρανίῳ τῷ καὶ Μακροβίῳ λο(γιστῇ)
(419–25) That it may be permitted to the gold-bearers for παρὰ Αὐρηλίου Θωνίου Δημητρίου
the goddess to bring into the assemblies and the contests ἀπὸ τῆς αὐτῆς πόλεως ἱερέως
the type-statues and the images dedicated by Caius Vibius ἱεροῦ Διὸς καὶ Ἥρας καὶ τῶν συννάων
Salutaris from the pronaos of Artemis, the neopoioi sharing θεῶν μεγίστων [κα]ὶ κωμαστοῦ
in the care, the ephebes sharing in receiving them from the 10 θίων προτομῶν καὶ νίκης αὐτῶν
Magnesian Gate, and in escorting the procession up to the προαούσης.
Koressian Gate.
The year after the consulship of Julius Constantius, patri-
cian, brother of our master Constantius Augustus, and
3. Gytheion. decree for the imperial cult (15 CE) Rufius Albinus, the most illustrious. To Flavius Paranius
text: Woodward, 1954: no. 923 also called Macrobius, logistes of the Oxyrhynchite nome,
translation: modified from Sherk, 1988: 32–33 from Aurelius Thonius son of Demetrius, of the same city,
priest of the temple of Zeus, Hera, and the associated most
ὅταν ὁ ἀγορανόμος τοὺ[ς great gods, celebrant of the divine protomai and his Victory
25 ἀγῶ]νας ἄγῃ τοὺς θυμελικοὺς, πομπὴν στελλέτω ἐκ τοῦ which goes before.
 Ἀσκληπιοῦ καὶ τῆς Ὑγιεία[ς]
πομπευόντον τῶν τε ἐφήβων καὶ τῶν νέων καὶ τῶν ἄλλων 5. Oinoanda. endowment of Gaius Ilius Demos-
πολειτῶν ἐστεμμένων δάφν[ης]
στεφάνοις καὶ λευκὰ ἀπεχομέν‹ω›ν. συμπομπευέτωσαν δὲ thenes (124 CE)
καὶ αἱ ἱεραὶ κόραι καὶ αἱ γυναῖκες ἐν text: Wörrle, 1988: 10
[τ]αῖς ἱεραῖς ἐσθῆσιν. translation: modified from Mitchell, 1990: 185
. . . οἱ ἔφοροι οἱ ἐπὶ Χαίρωνος στρατηγοῦ καὶ ἱερέως θε
61 . . . ὁμοίως αἱρεῖσθαι ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ καὶ σεβαστοφόρους ι΄,
οῦ Σεβαστοῦ Καίσαρος οἱ περὶ Τερέντιον Βιάδαν
ἐγδότωσαν τρεῖς γραπτὰς εἰκόνας τοῦ θε
inscriptional and papyrological texts 109

νες φοροῦτες ἐσθῆτα λευκὴν καὶ στέφα[νον σε]λίνινον ρας διὰ βίου Τι(βέριον) Κ(λαύδιον) Φλῶ-
βαστάσουσι καὶ ρον, υἱὸν Τι(βερίου) Κλ(αυδίου) Μολι-
προάξουσι καὶ προπομπεύσουσι τὰς σεβαστικὰς εἰκόνας 5 ανοῦ, ἄρξαντα κα-
καὶ τὴν [τοῦ] λῶς τὴν ἐπώνυμον
πατρῴου ἡμῶν θεοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος . . . ἀρχὴν καὶ φιλοτει-
μησάμενον εἰς κα-
. . . likewise ten sebastophoroi should also be chosen by him
τασκευὴν ἀγάλμα-
who, wearing white clothing and a crown of celery leaves,
10 τος πομπικοῦ ἀργυ-
will handle and bring forward and escort the images of the
ρέου Θεᾶς Ἐλευθέ-
emperors and the image of our central god Apollon . . .
ρας (δην.) μ(ύρια) ͵βφʹ.
Πρ(οβούλου) Πλάτωνος Μειδίου.
6. Termessos Maior. honorific decree for Tiberios The ancestral priest for life-tenure of the goddess Eleuthe-
Klaudios Phloros ria, Tiberios Klaudios Phloros, son of Tiberios Klaudios
text: Kalinka, & Heberdey, 1920: no. 136 Molianos, of the foremost nobility eponymous magistrate,
for the furnishing of a processional statue in sliver of the
ἡ πατρὶς goddess Eleutheria, 12500 denarii. From the standing com-
ἱερέα θεᾶς Ἐλευθέ- mittee, Platon in charge.

A. Ancient Texts

Ammianus Marcellinus xxiii.3.7 50 Festus
Appianus, historia Romana xii.116 40 35 80
Apuleius, metamorphoses 56 67
 xi.9 83 351 58, 75
 xi.11 84 386 86–89
Athenaios, deipnosophistai v.202a–c 62 472 67, 75
Augustinus, de civitate Dei iv.31 2 500 83, 84
Florus 2.13 39, 40
 de officiis 1.131 63, 103 Herodianus
 de haruspicum responso 11.23 84 i.10.5 83
Claudianus, panegyricus de quatro consulatu Honorii viii.7 26, 29
Augusti 50, 53, 65
Clemens Alexandrinus, protrepticus 4.44 33 Josephus, historia Ioudaïkou polemou pros Romaious
codex Theodosianus vii.132 61
ii.8.20 105 vii.136 42
xv.4.1.1 105 vii.152 49
xv.5.2 105
xvi.10.17 105 Livius
i.10.5 39
Dio Cassius v.13 67, 75, 81–82, 105
xliii.45.2–3 24, 42 xxii.1 78
xliv.6.3 42, 88 xxii.10 67, 81
xlv.2.3 59 xxvi.30.9 40
xlvii.18.4 24 xxvi.34.12 40
xlvii.40.4 85, 103, 104 xxvii.16.7 40
xlvii.40.8 2, 19, 27 xxix.14.14 50
xlviii.31.5 62, 63 xxxi.62.9 99
l.8.2 94 xxxix.13.8–14 17
l.10.2 88 xl.59 57, 67, 75, 81
liii.30.6 88 Lucretius ii.600–60 64
lviii.4.4 88
Macrobius, Saturnalia
lxii.14 41
i.6.15 85, 103
lxii.20–21 41
i.23.13 58, 59, 65, 68–69
lxxii.31 62, 88
iii.4 55
lxxiii.17.4 88
Martialis, epigrammata 9.22.9–10 57, 63
lxxv.4.1 88
lxxix.8.1 62
Nonnos, Dionysiaka xxx.68 55
Diodoros Sikeliotes v.55 55
Dionysios of Halikarnassos
Obsequens, Julius, de prodigiis 70 18, 53
i.61 & 68 55
ii.19 64
vii.72 45, 47, 59, 94
iii.2.43–57 47, 61, 63
xii.9 67
lxxii.13 63
i.201 59
iii.733–34 57
Euripides, Iphigeneia he en Taurois 1156–77 35
iv.179–87 49
Eusebius, de martyribus Palastinae xi.30 80
iv.345 48, 60
iv.389–92 47
112 a. ancient texts

Pausanias x.3.7 55
i.29.2 1 x.3.19–22 55
ii.32.5 26 xii.2.6 22
v.10.4 33 xiv.2.7 55
Philo Judaeus, in Flaccum 17 76 Suetonius
Philostratos, bioi sophiston 2.1 1 Iulius
Plinius, naturalis historia 37 39
vii.145 83 76 24
xxxiv.1 15 Augustus
xxxiv.5 48–49 32 15
xxxiv.10 48–49 57 16
xxxiv.40 40 76 67
xxxv.159 15 94.6 59
Ploutarkhos 100 27, 49
peri mousikes 14 26 Nero
Nomas 8.8 2, 15 25 41
Fabios Maximos 22.5 40 34 17
aitia Romaïka 290C 53 Vespasianus 5.7 84
Titos 1 45 Domitianus 4–5 98
Polybios vi.53 21 Titus 2 24
Prudentius, peri stephanon x. 154–61 48, 59
Tacitus, annales
scriptores historiae augustae ii.41 39, 40
Antoninus Caracallus 9.11 42 xi.31.2–3 17
Commodus 9 25 xiv.44 86
Marcus Antoninus Tertullianus
13 67, 75 de spectaculis
21 24 7.93 24, 42, 45, 54, 94, 104–105
Pescenius Niger 6 25 8–9 44
Severus 22 24, 103 10 104–105
Seneca ad nationes 1.10 86
de beneficiis iii.28.5 57, 63
Hercule Oetaeus 107–11 39 Valerius Maximus
Statius, Thebais ii.269–75 55 i.1.16 83, 84
Strabon ii.1.2 86
iv.1.4–5 2, 22, 50 ii.4.5 75
vi.3.1 40 xxi.2 79
viii.4.4 22

Epigraphic and Papyrological

CIL I.G. II2, 3606 26
III, p. 845 85 ILS 3804 55
V.795a 50
V.796 50 papyri Osloenses
V.5272 67 3, 94 25, 49
VI.740 85 papyri Oxyrhynchus
VI.2233 84 10, 1265 25, 49
VI.32323 86 12, 1449 25, 49
VI.32324 86
VI.32329 86
VI.32333 83
X.6102 85, 99
XIV.36 50
b. place names 113

B. Place Names

Alexandreia 16, 62, 75, 79 Nikaia 82

Almo 50 Nikomedia 81–82
Amiternum 52
Antium 58–59, 65 Oinoanda 22–23
Aquae Calidae, Mauretania 60 Ostia 50
Aquileia 26, 29, 50
Arsinoe 59, 63 Philae 76
Athenai 1, 17, 26, 60, 82, 83 Phrygia 50
Akademeia 1 Pisaurum 71
Augsburg 71 Pompeii 53, 58, 60, 61, 104
Pontus 40
Beneventum 19, 40, 90 Praeneste 58, 65, 78
Puteoli 43–45
Caere 10
Caesarea Maritima 79 Roma 1, 2, 6, 10, 16, 19, 26, 33, 39–40, 45, 50–51, 52, 55, 57,
Callinicum 50 58, 59, 62, 80, 86, 88, 99, 101, 104
Capua 16, 40, 54 Arch of Constantinus 46, 90
Arch of Titus 40, 49
Danube 41 Aventine Hill 2, 12, 14
Dastarcum 22 Caelian Hill 14, 90
Delos 2, 16, 26, 63 Capitoline Hill 14, 39, 40, 86, 103–104
Circus Maximus 41, 44, 47, 83–84, 94, 98, 103
Eleutherai 1 Colosseum 88
Ephesos 14, 19, 21, 50, 62, 103, 104 Curia 27, 49
Artemision 2, 21, 104 Domus Aurea 16–18, 19
exedra of the ephebes 21 Domus Faustae 29, 49
theatre 21 Circus Maximus 24, 42, 44–45, 50, 84–86, 101, 103, 105
Forum Romanum 63
Formiae 99 Iseum 19, 20, 65
Odeum 98
Gerenia 22 Palatine Hill 49, 61, 101
Gytheion 67, 78, 81–82 Sacra Via 40
Stadium of Domitianus 98
Heliopolis (Baalbak) 65
Herakleopolis Magna 76–78 Samothrake 55
Sidon 79
Karnak 20 Sosipolis 82
Sperlonga 36
Laodiceia ad Mare 79 Syrakosios 40

Makedonia 2 Taras 40
Magnesia-on-the-Maiandros 15, 55, 78 Taurike 35
Massilia 2, 22 Termessos Maior 23
Mérida 21, 22 Thessaloniki 26–27
Messene 35–36 Torre Nova 18–19, 84
Minturnae 16 Troia 2, 55
Tusculum 82
114 c. personal names

C. Personal Names

Abaecherli, A. xxviii, 39, 45, 68, 70, 79, 82, 87–88 Dacian 41
Aeneas 105 Daidalos 56, 61
Agorakritos 60 Daktuloi 55
Agrippina 17 Damsky, B. 88
Alexander Severus 27 Danube 41
Angelion 26 Delle Corte, M. 60
Antoninus Pius 88 Demeter 71
Antonius 2, 63 Demosthenes, Gaius Iulius 22–23, 24
Anubis 25, 71 Diana (see also Artemis) 2, 50
Aphrodite (see also Venus) 26, 78 Dio Cassius 27, 42, 62, 63, 94
Apollon 22, 26, 44–45, 79 Diomedes 36
Apollon Patroos 22–23 Dionysios of Halikarnassos 45, 47–48, 59, 63, 64–65,
Apuleius 83 67, 94
Artemis (see also Diana) 2, 19, 21, 22, 35, 50 Dionysos (see also Liber) 1, 2, 16–18, 57, 63
Artemis Orthia 35–36 Domitianus 41, 42, 98
Asklepios 22, 78, 79
Astarte 79, 85 Eleutheria 23
Athena 26 Erinyes 35
Athena Pammousos 22 Eros/Erotes 57, 76, 79, 84, 88, 90, 94, 98, 105
Athena Parthenos 27, 61 Euripides 35
Athena Polias 1, 2
Attis 83 Fabius Maximus 40
Augustus (see also Octavianus) 3, 6, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 20, Faustina Maior 61
23, 27, 49, 67, 78, 81, 82 Faustina Minor 62
Festus 67–68, 83, 84, 86–89
Bellona 53, 55, 60, 83–84 Fortuna/Fortunae 58, 65, 68–69, 78
Bonnano, A. 3 Franceso d’Olanda 16–17
Bouchè-Leclercq, A. 70 Frothingham, A. 41
Brendel, O. 58, 68
Brutus 2 Gebhard, E. 22
Galerius 26–29, 49
Caesar, Julius 2, 15, 42, 63, 89 Gallus 33
Caldus, C. 69 Geta 24, 103
Caracalla 24, 62, 103 Graces 8
Cassius 2, 26
Castiglione, L. xxviii, 75–76, 78 Hadrianus 23
Ceres 67, 80 Harpokrates 19, 20, 65, 71, 74, 75
Champeaux, J. 69 Hebe 98–99
Cicero 63, 103 Helios (see also Sol) 70
Claudianus 53, 65–66 Hephaistos (see also Vulcanus) 15, 55, 61
Claudius 6, 12, 16, 62, 65, 89, 90 Herakles/Hercules 40, 98–99
Claudius II 49 Hermanubis 71
Clemens Alexandrinus 33 Herodes (king) 81
Clinton, K. 17 Herodes Attikos 26
Commodus 23, 25, 79, 83 Herodianus 26, 83
Concordia 27 Himmelmann, N. 44–45
Constantinus 29, 49 Honorius 53, 65–66
Constantius 29, 49 Humphrey, J. 47
Constantius II 33 Hygieia 78, 79
Cumont, F. 18
Cybele (see also Meter) 47–49, 50, 57–58, 59, 60–61, 64, Iphigeneia 35–36
78, 80, 83–84, 99, 101, 104 Isis 19, 25, 65, 70, 71, 76, 83, 84, 86, 98–99
Isis Eleutheria 62
c. personal names 115

Jordan river 40 Odysseus 36

Josephus 42, 49, 61–62, 63 Orestes 35–36
Julia Domna 27, 61 Osiris 77
Julia Flavia (Gens) 29 Ovidius 29, 47–48, 57, 59, 60, 62, 63
Julian 50
Juno 47, 52, 59, 60, 64, 86, 90 Pan 76
Jupiter 59, 63, 79, 83, 99 Pax Augusta Claudiana 62
Jupiter Capitolinus 39–40, 47, 52, 59, 60, 62, 64, 67, 69, Penates 55
83, 86, 88–89, 94, 98 Perdix 56
Justinianus 29, 105 Petrie, W. 76–78
Juventas 99 Pheidias 59
Philippos II 88
Kabeiroi 55 Philocalus 83
Koenen, L. 76 Phloros, Tiberios Klaudios 23
Korybantes 55 Pietas 29
Plinius 83
La Regina, A. 53 Plotina 23
La Rocca, E. 90 Ploutarkhos 15
Lar/Lares 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 16, 17, 20, 33 Pompeius 40, 63
Lederer, P. xxviii, 75 Priapus 98
Levi, A. 89 Prudentius 59
Liber (see also Dionysos) 17, 57–58, 59, 60, 78–79 Psyche 76
Licinius 49 Ptolemies 19
Livia 67, 78 Ptolemaios Philadelphos 21
Livius 57, 67, 81–82, 105
Lucilla 8 Robert, L. 25
Lucius Verus 8, 79 Roma 62, 79
Lucretius 64–65 Romanelli, P. 69
Luna 79, 81 Romulus 39, 54
Lysippos 40 Romulus, M. Valerius 49
Rustius, Q. 68
Marcrobius 58, 59, 65, 68–69, 85 Ryberg, I. xxviii, 3, 6, 8, 12, 15, 16, 53
Manlius, C. 9, 16
Marcus Aurelius 23, 67, 75 Sabina 23
Marcellus, Claudius 40 Salutaris, Gaius Vibius 14, 19, 22, 23, 24, 33, 62, 103, 104
Mars 53, 62, 90, 99 Santa Maria Scrinari, V. 29
Maximianus 49 Sarapis 19, 70, 71, 76, 77, 79, 98–99
Maximinus 26 Saturnus 78
Maximus 26, 29 Schürmann, W. 12
Megaloi Theoi 55 Selene 70
Mercury 79 Senwosret II 19
Meter (see also Cybele) 60 Senwosret III 19
Milne, J. 76 Septimius Severus 24, 75, 103
Minerva (see also Athena) 10–12, 14, 15, 17, 47, 52, 56, 59, Sol (see also Helios) 44–45, 46, 79, 81
60, 61, 81, 86, 90, 99, 103, 104 Sothis 75
Minerva Capta 33 Spannagel, M. 41–42, 44
Mingazzini, P. 44 Stern, H. 33
Mithradates 40 Stewart, P. 71
Strabon 22
Neith 20 Straton 79
Neptunus 47, 63, 81 Stuart Jones, H. 15
Nero 16–18, 41, 84, 86 Suetonius 67
Nike (see also Victoria) 25–26, 78
Numa 15, 33 Talos 56
Taylor, L. xxviii, 67–68, 86–88, 90
Obsequens, Julius 53 Tektaios 26
Octavianus (see also Augustus) 2 Telkhines 55, 61
116 c. personal names

Tertullianus 24, 42, 45, 63, 86, 88, 94, 104–105 Victoria (see also Nike) 2–3, 17, 18, 24, 26–33, 45–46, 47,
Thoas 36 49, 51, 52–53, 61, 64, 103, 104
Thutmose III 20 Volcanus (see also Hephaistos) 55
Tiberius 67, 78
Titus 40–41, 49, 88 Wahibre 20
Torelli, M. 9 Weege, F. 16–17
Tortorella, S. 47 Weinstock, S. 88
Traianus 19, 21, 23, 40, 88, 90 Will, E. 79, 81
Turner, V. 103 Wörrle, M. 23
Tykhe 79, 80 Wrede, H. 16

Valerius Maximus 79, 83, 86 Youtie, H. 76

Van Ooteghem, J. 67
Venus (see also Aphrodite) 63, 78, 90, 98, 99, 105 Zanker, P. 6, 8, 16
Venus Pompeiana 57 Zeus Olympios 27, 59
Vespasianus 42, 49, 61, 88 Zeus Sosipolis 78
d. greek & latin words 117

D. Greek & Latin Words

aedicula 57 kline/klinai 76, 78
aegis 90 komastes/komastai, κωμαστής/κωμασταί 25, 49
agalma, ἄγαλμα 2, 22, 23 kouros 44–45
ἀγάλματος πομπικοῡ 23, 62
agnothetes 23 lavatio 50–51, 60
amphithaleis, ἀμφιθαλεῖς 18 lectisternium/lectisternia (see also banquet) 57–58,
apeikonisma, ἀπεικόνισμα 14–15, 21–22, 23, 33 67–71, 75, 78, 79, 80–82, 86–88, 101, 105
aphidruma, ἀφίδρυμα 2, 22 libamina 57
arbor intrat 83 liknon 17–18
Augusti 26 ludi (see also games)
ludi Apollinares 45
Babylonica (see also Babylonian cloth) 87, 88–89 ludi circensis 24
biga/bigae 47, 53 ludi Megalenses 47, 49, 50
bisellium 99 ludi Romani 42, 45
bretas, βρέτας 35 ludi saeculares 86
ludi sevirales 47
Caesares 26 ludus Troiae 47
camillus/camilli 6, 8 lustrum 12, 14
canna intrat 83
cannophoroi 83–84 magister/magistri 3, 6, 8, 12, 15–16
capita deorum 57–58, Ch. 3 passim, 103–105 minister/ministri 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15–16, 17, 20, 104
carceres 24
cista 84, 99, 101 nomenclator 85
cornucopia 27
currus 86 obsecratio 57–58

dea pedisequa 60 paenulae 50, 57, 63

desultores 47 patera 57
δίφρος 62 peplos 10, 18
dendrophoroi 83–84, 101 pompa circensis 24, 27, 41, 42, 45
pontifex maximus 15
eikon, εἰκών 22, 23, 67 processus circensis (see also circus procession) 59
epulum Iovis 67, 69, 86 processus consularis (see also consular procession) 42,
evocatio 26, 40 45, 50–51, 53
exomis 55 protomai 23, 25–26, 58
exuviae 23, 53, 81–82, Ch. 4 passim, 103–105 pulvinar 75, 80, 83, 94, 101, 105

fasces 54 quadriga 47–49
fastigium 57
ferculum/fercula 39–42, 47, 51, 55, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, ricinium 3, 4, 6
78, 89, 94, 98, 99
flamine/flamines 53 sacrarium 21
scipio 50
Galli 101 sebastophoroi 23, 25
gerousia 23 Septemvir Epulones 46
gratulatio 57 sellisternium/sellisternia 86–88, 90, 94, 98, 99, 101
simulacrum/simulacra 24
hastiferi 83–84 sistrum 98
spina 47, 50, 94
imago 24 struppi 67
supplicatio 57–58, 67
kalathos 77
khiton 10, 29
118 d. greek & latin words

tensa/tensae 47, 53, 83, 84, 86, 94 venationes 47, 54

tetrastylon 94, 98 vexillum 43
θεῶν ἀγάλματα 42 vicomagistri 3
theophoroi, θεοφόροι  18–19
thiasos 16–18, 47, 49 xoanon, ξόανον 22, 59, 78
triumphator/triumphatores 42, 53
e. general subjects 119

E. General Subjects

applicatio in clientelam 9  armourers 54–55, 60

Aquileia  carpenters (see also Roma, collegium fabrum
Museo Archeologico, sarcophagus lid 50–51, 52, 57,  tignariorum altar) 12, 14, 56, 60–61, 104
59, 61, 64, 105  Dionysian 18
Ara Pietatis Augustae 4  poets and playwrights 14

Babylonian cloth (see also Babylonica) 90 Herculaneum, Casa dei Cervi (see also Napoli, Casa dei
baldachin 24, 50, 55–56, 63 Cervi) 90, 94, 99
banquet (see also lectisternium) 67, 69–70, 71, 74–76, 78,
82, 86, 101, 104, 105 Idios Logos 78
Berlin imperial cult 3, 4, 6, 8–9, 10, 16, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 26–27,
 gem with thunderbolt, once 7656 88, 98 33, 48–49, 62, 67, 78, 81, 87–88, 99, 101, 105
 terracotta lamp, Ägyptisches Museum 12417 65
 money box, once Antiquarium 31275 71, 74, 75 London
 sarcophagus lid, no. 864 84  lamp, British Museum Q2044 76
Berlin/Lugano  lamp, British Museum Q2046 76
 money box, once Lederer Coll. 71, 74  sarcophagus lid, British Museum, GR 1805.7–3.145 84
 terracotta relief, once Lederer Coll. 71, 74 lustration 3
 tense relief, Museum der Bildenden Künste, Mantova
 2000.24.A 84  relief with thunderbolt, Palazzo Ducale 88–90, 98
 money-box, Varga-Castiglione Coll., 123 71 Melonenfrisur 81
Cairo  money-box, once Museum Antiken Kleinkunst
 terracotta lamp, Egyptian Archaeological Museum  5614 71, 74–75
 27081 65
 terracotta relief, Egyptian Archaeological Museum Napoli
 27163 71, 74, 75  Casa dei Cervi (see also Herculaneum, Casa dei
Calendar of 354 33, 83, 104, 105  Cervi) 90, 94
Cambridge  grave relief, Museo Nazionale 6704 53–55
altar (?), Fitzwilliam Museum, GR5.1938 99, 101  painting from Pompeii VI 7.8, Museo Nazionale
Chieti  8991 55
 funeral relief from Amiternum, Museo Naz. 52–53,  sarcophagus lid from Puteoli, Museo Nazionale 43–45
 59–60, 64 New York
circus procession (see also processus circensis) 42–43,  Cybele statuette, Metropolitan Museum 1897.22.24 61
 45, 47, 49, 50–51, 65, 84, 94, 99, 101, 103–105  Torre Nova statue base inscription, Metropolitan
consular procession (see also processus consularis) 42  Museum 18–19, 84
couch 56, 67, 68–71, 74–79, 82, 86, 103–104
cult statue 1–2, 58–61, 62, 69, 71, 83 palaistra 44–45
Dionysia 83  Fortunae statuette, Museo Archeologico
 Prenestino 58, 68–70
Eleusinian Mysteries 16–18  Nilotic mosaic, Museo Archeologico Prenestino 65
ephebe 19, 21, 44 Palladium 2, 15, 36
Panathenaia 83
Foligno Paris
circus relief, Palazzo Trinci 24, 94 Barberini dyptich, Louvre 29, 104, 105
funeral procession 20–21 bronze cup from Caesarea Maritima, Louvre 79–81,
games (see also ludi) 60, 80, 82, 84, 99 terracotta relief with litter, Louvre Cp4324 45–47
 Capitoline games 98 throne of Saturn, Louvre 94
 circus games 47, 83 terracotta lamp, Louvre E14371 71, 75
 consular games 33 terracotta lamp, Louvre E20615 65
guilds 15–16, 19, 54–56, 60, 63, 104 Plynteria 1, 83
120 e. general subjects

Pompeii 35, 70, 104 sarcophagus lid, San Lorenzo fuori la Mura 47–50, 51,
Casa delle Nozze d’Ercole (VII.9.47) 19, 98–99 61, 64, 105
Casa della Caccia Antica 79 triumphal relief fragment, Museo Chiaramonti 41, 45,
Bottega del Profumiere (VI 7.8) 55–56, 63–64 64
Via dell’Abbondanza (IX 7.1) 56–58, 59, 60, 64–65,
78, 79 Senate 6, 27
Ravenna  relief with Cybele 60
 throne reliefs, Museo Arcivescovile 94
 throne reliefs, S. Vitale 94 theatre 21, 23–24, 42, 63, 67, 78, 81, 86–90, 94, 98–99, 101,
Roma 103–105
Ara Pacis 10 triumph 20, 39–43, 49, 50, 53, 54–55, 59, 61, 83
collegium fabrum tignariorum altar, Museo
Capitolino 10, 14, 15–16, 17, 19, 20, 22, 33 Vatican
Domus Aurea, Volta Dorata painting 16–19  Belvedere altar 6–8, 9, 12, 16
Domus Faustae paintings, Museo Nazionale delle  Lar relief 8, 9, 33
Terme 29, 33, 49, 105  Manilius altar 9–10, 16
Great Trajanic frieze, Arch of Constantine 90  sarcophagus for child 94
Iphigenia and Orestes mosaic, Museo Capitolino  shipwright’s workshop medallion 12
4948 36  Vicomagistri altar 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 16, 33
litter relief, Museo Chiaramonti 41 Venezia
Minerva workshop relief, Museo Capitolino 12, 14  throne reliefs, Museo Archeologico 94
procession relief, Villa Medici 4, 6, 8, 10
sarcophagus lid, Museo Capitolino 2464 84