Thanks to our partnership agreement with the EAGLE Portal, Ancient History Encyclopedia (AHE) will be republishing select EAGLE stories, on a periodic basis, which illuminate special topics pertaining everyday life and culture in ancient Rome. We hope that you enjoy these ancient vignettes, and we also encourage you to explore EAGLE’s massive epigraphic database. In antiquity people believed that divinities were omnipresent. Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, as well as local and pre-Roman divinities were invoked on many altars and in various dedications. The fact that dedications to them were inscribed on stone altars, points to their ‘Romanization’, as this was a typically Roman way of worshiping deities. Some pre-Roman sites of cult activity have been discovered in the northern Adriatic and eastern Alpine regions, where various votive objects were ritually deposited, and such places are also known to exist in the Emona (Ljubljana) area, along the river Ljubljanica.
This week’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble head of Antinous depicted as the god Dionysos, the closest Greek equivalent to the Egyptian god Osiris. It was unearthed in 1769 during excavations undertook by the art dealer and archaeologist Gavin Hamilton who secured it for Lord Lansdowne. The latter was an avid collector of antiquities and owned a fine collection of classical sculpture until most of it was sold and dispersed in 1930 (including the Lansdowne Amazon and the Lansdowne Hercules). Today the Lansdowne Antinous graces the “Greece and Rome” room of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England.
This week’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble statue of a young nude, the so-called ‘Capitoline Antinous’. It was found in 1723/24 during the time when Giuseppe Fede was undertaking the earliest concerted excavations at the Villa Adriana. However its exact provenance within the Villa is unknown.