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Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World$
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Beate Dignas and R. R. R. Smith

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572069

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572069.001.0001

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Statues in the Temples of Pompeii

Statues in the Temples of Pompeii

Combinations of Gods, Local Definition of Cults, and the Memory of the City1

(p.83) 5 Statues in the Temples of Pompeii
Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World

William Van Andringa

Oxford University Press

Pompeian citizens were surrounded by the sacred. Not only were there a lot of cult places in the town, there were also crowds of statues of divinities inside each sanctuary, usually set up as votive offerings. In a world of polytheism, the gods were never alone. Each divinity had multiple aspects and zones of competence, and the association with other gods in sanctuary spaces allows us to define their ‘personalities’ more sharply. This chapter studies the statues found in the sanctuaries of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and shows that the collocation of gods in a sanctuary and their association with the emperor or with local notables was a way of defining the religious interests of the cult in question. Most prominent here are the statues of ancestral divinities, embodiments of the city's religious and historical memory of the city.

Keywords:   cults, cult places, Herculaneum, memory, polytheism, Pompeii, sanctuaries, statues, votive offerings

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