Figurines of Deities

  • Era/Century: Antique
  • Dating: 2nd-3rd century
  • Material: bronze
  • Technique: casting, chasing, incising, punching
  • Dimensions: height 8.2-16.5 cm
  • ID Number: АА 1027, 1658, 2976, 3327, 3329, 4572
  • Property: Belgrade City Museum
  • On Display: No

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The Roman Pantheon came into being under the influence and in imitation of the Greek Pantheon. In extending their empire, the Romans also spread their religion, remaining, however, tolerant of the local cults of the native populations. These populations continued to worship their local deities, but they often gave them the appearance, function and attributes of the official Roman Pantheon.

Miniature earthenware or bronze figurines were placed in household shrines fashioned as small temples (lararia). Specific rites and sacrifices were performed as a sign of gratitude to the tutelary deities, the Lares, for guarding the household fire, food, home, health, peace, prosperity and wealth of the family. The Lares protected from curses and evil eyes. People often carried these miniature figurines with them to protect them or to help them perform their work successfully.

Apart from providing important evidence of the activity of craftsmen and artists in Singidunum, these figurines can tell us something about the popularity of particular deities in the town. All the gods of the Roman Pantheon, such as Apollo, Fortuna, Somnus, are represented. The majority of the discovered figurines were dedicated to Mercury.

Published in Antiquity


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