Q.1) Using Sources 1 & 2 and your own knowledge of other sources, describe what the evidence shows about religion in Pompeii and Herculaneum.
• After Rome’s conquest of Greece, Macedon and the East in the 2ndC, Hellenistic religious traditions were introduced to the Roman world.
• Pompeii was located near main trade route between Alexandria and Puteoli. As a result,
Pompeii received considerable religious and commercial influence from Egypt.
• Isis temple was near theatre, surrounded by high walls with entrance placed so it was impossible to see ceremonies from outside. Some unusual architectural elements (e.g. the niches beside cella) & Hieroglyphic inscriptions giving exotic and “unroman” look.
• Initially popular among slaves and freedman, but grew in popularity in first century AD.
‘nearly 1/3 of worshippers mentioned in the inscriptions were women’
• It was rebuilt after its complete destruction by AD62 earthquake while other temples
(Jupiter, Venus Pompeiana) were still repaired. Paying for repair gave young N.
Popidius Celsinus a seat in the senate, showing the appreciation for Isis: “Numerius
Popidius Celsinus, son of Numerius, rebuilt at his own expense from its foundations, the
Temple of Isis, which had collapsed in an earthquake; because of his generosity, although he was only six years old, the town councilors nominated him into their number free of charge” (ILS 6367 2004).
• Over 20 lararia showing Isis. Private houses had decorations depicting Isis e.g House of Cn. Poppaeus Habitus, gives us important information that worship of Isis did not exclude worshipping other gods: he had a sanctuary for Isis, and the Capitoline Triad.
• The ceremony of lustral waters is shown on famous fresco in Herculaneum. A priest is holding a vessel (with sacred water from Nile), while two other priests have sistra, rattlelike musical instruments, in their hands, and a third priest tends a fire on the Altar.
• The household gods – the guardian spirits of the family, called the Lares – were the central factor of household religious practices in Pompeii.
• Houses had shrines for the Lares: lararium. It acted as a mini-temple that had statues or paintings of Lares. Lararia were often in entry of house or near kitchens/gardens.
• House of the Vettii: there are the Lares surrounding the paterfamilias, above a snake.
The Lares themselves represent the spirits that guard the family.
• The paterfamilias, central figure, is leader of family who carries out religious practices.
It is common to see one or two snakes associated with the lares. These snakes have been interpreted as a phallic symbol for reproduction of the clan.
• The importance of religion in the community was furthered by personal worship in the home. A large part of personal worship was the presence of lararia. Lararia are “…small statues or painted images of lares..” (K.Cameron, J.Lawless) Lares were household gods used to protect the home and the family, like source 1 the Lararia was a place of sacrifice and prayer, asking the Lare Gods for protection.
Q.2) Use Source A (map of the forum) and your own knowledge to explain the function of the forum in Pompeii( 5 marks) 5/5
The Pompeii Forum played a crucial role in the political, religious and general lives of ancient society. It contained the public buildings of Pompeii including the law courts, bascilica, as well as the many religious temples of the Capitoline triad, labelled as W and
Y in source A. The active nature of the forum is described by Maiuri as “the noisy plebeian...commercial life” of Pompeii, expressing that the forum was actively used as a centre by the society. The bascilica, at X in source A, up-held the law of Pompeii. The forum was blocked off to carts, shown through the remains of street blocks, and aced as a market place, macelleum, in which all kinds of merchandise was sold
Q.3) Using Sources and your own knowledge of other sources interpret what these reveal