Categories
Education

Gods, Superstition, and Magic

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.

divinities: Diomedes (left) and Odysseus steal the horses of Rhesos. Lycurgus Painter [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Diomedes (left) and Odysseus steal the horses of Rhesos. Lycurgus Painter [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Categories
Culture

Art and Sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Marble head of Hypnos

This week’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble head of Hypnos, the Greek god of Sleep.

Marble head of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, 117-138 AD, Hadrian’s Villa, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome

Hypnos is represented as a young man with wings attached to his temples (now lost). The head must have been part of a full length statue showing Hypnos running forwards, holding in his hands poppies and a vessel from which he presumably poured a sleeping potion. One of the most complete representations of Hypnos is a bronze statuette from the collection of the Roman Museum in Augst (see an image here).