Corbridge: Statue of Jupiter

CorbridgeJupiter

The above Statue of Jupiter holding a staff was found in the aedes (chapel in the headquarters building) at Corbridge Roman Fort. Although much of the statue is missing, Jupiter can be identified by his staff or sceptre, and the drapery over his shoulders and round his waist, leaving the torso bare. Jupiter was the great Italian sky-god, the forms of whose name are etymologically connected with other Indo-European sky-gods, including Zeus. Known by many titles, as sky-god he directly influenced Roman public life in which the weather omens of thunder and lightning, his special weapons, played an important role. His many titles indicate his supreme importance in all matters of the state’s life in war and peace (Morford, Lenardon & Sham, 2011). The role of Jupiter in Roman religion became increasingly important and he was seen as the ‘president’ of the council of gods and the source of all authority. During the Empire, the emperors placed themselves under the protection of Jupiter and every provincial city had a Capitol similar to the one in Rome; the Triad (Jupiter, Juno & Minerva) would be installed with Jupiter enthroned in the centre. With each of the daughter cities imitating a small copy, Jupiter represented the political bond between Rome, the mother city (Grimal, 1991). As king of the gods and patron of the empire, this would have been an appropriate statue for the location in which it was discovered.

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Gilsland: Genii Cucullati

Genii

On display as part of an exhibition at Birdoswald Roman Fort is the above stone figurine. The small figure is of a god called Genius and is of a type called Genii Cucullati (meaning hooded spirit). Wearing a full length hooded robe, such figures were spirits of place and both stone altar pieces and small votive figures in rock and bronze have been found throughout Roman Britain and Gaul. Genii Cucullati sculptures resemble those of the Greco-Roman deity Telesphorus who was the son and hooded attendant of Asclepius. Like many mythological figures, Asclepius was trained by the wise and gentle Chiron (a centaur and tutor of heroes) and became a heroic physician (Illiad). As the son of Apollo, the god of medicine, Asclepius himself was transformed into a god and his birthplace became Epidaurus, the major centre of his worship in ancient Greece. His son Telesphorus was also depicted cloaked and he was the protector of children and deity of fertility with his powers lying in the realms of sleep and dreams. Small carved cucullati have been found on the continent as grave goods which suggests they were viewed as protectors both during life and after death. Ancestors of the Landvættir (spirits of the land in Norse mythology), the Genii Cucullati derived from popular tradition and were a deity connected with the earth, agriculture and healing. The Genius (guardian spirit of a person) also represented the creative power of a man and was associated with the continued well-being of the family. Slaves swore oaths by the Genius of the head of the family and offerings were made to it on his birthday. The equivalent of the male Genius for women was her Juno. These wonderful sculpted figures represent a multitude of religious connotations and often appear in trios.

Zadar: Roman Forum

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Located in front of the church of St Donat is a municipal square from the Roman era. In the second half of the first century BC, Zadar became a Roman colony. As such, Zadar was developed in the typical Roman tradition used in the design of military camps (castra).

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The centre of public urban life was the Forum which in Zadar, was started by the first Roman Emperor Augustus. The open central square (lastricat) was the largest on the eastern Adriatic coast measuring 95x45m.

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During the period of late antiquity, the foundations of Christian buildings were laid which later developed into an episcopal complex consisting of several buildings built from the 4th to the 19th centuries.

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There was a temple dedicated to the Capitoline Triad, Jupiter, Juno and Minerva which were supreme deities worshipped by the Romans. The temple would have been located in the middle of the capitolium (worship area).

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Surviving fragments of beautifully decorated capitals remain on display

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