Corbridge: Hercules & The Hydra

Hercules&Hydra

Hercules is the latinized form of the Greek Heracles who Homer describes in the Odyssey: “I saw mighty Heracles – his ghost, but he himself delights in feasting among the immortal gods, with fair-ankled Hebe for his wife” (Homer, Odyssey 11.601-603). Hercules was a Greek hero, son of Zeus and exemplar of strength and patience. Such a diverse character attracted a variety of interpretations and uses. His virtues became significantly used by the moralists and philosophers to whom he became a model of unselfish fortitude, labouring for the good of mankind and achieving immortality by his virtue (Morford, Lenardon & Sham, 2011). He was especially important as a paradigm of virtue in Roman Stoicism who set high value on the Heraclean qualities of endurance and self-reliance. The iconography of Hercules was firmly established by the Archaic period with the major identifying symbols of the lion skin cape and hood, his club and his bow and arrows. The geographical distribution of his cult was as wide as his legends and Hercules was adopted by individuals or states as a symbol or protecting deity (Hornblower & Spawforth, 2004). The above relief was found in the west Principia strongroom and depicts the second of Hercules’ Twelve Labours which made him a hero in both the Greek and Roman worlds. A natural patron of emperors and soldiers struggling on behalf of the empire, the carving show Hercules attacking the Hydra (a serpent with snake-headed tentacles, mainly lost but one tentacle is around the demi-god’s forearm). His patroness, the goddess Minerva, stands on the left watching over him. The west Principia was a headquarters building which was divided by arches onto three bays, each entered by one of three doors in the facade. The shrine from the Principia was packed with brightly coloured altars, statuary and standards with the above panel forming one of a series (Hodgson, 2015).

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Corbridge: Statue of Jupiter

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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.

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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