Tuesday, July 8, 2014

From 79 AD to 1879 AD

The cult of Isis, an Egyptian Goddess, was one of the most popular in Pompeii. The Temple of Isis featured statues and images of Isis as well as other Egyptian gods and goddesses. The worship of Isis was adopted by the nobility, and this wealthy background shows in the treasures found within its walls. There was a small room at the rear of the temple, which is believed to have been used as a meeting-room for followers of the cult; the marble and bronze table found there, and now known as the Isis Table, was probably used to serve sacred meals.
 The preserved Pompeian temple is actually the second structure; the original building built under Augustan was damaged in an earlier earthquake of 62 AD. Seventeen years later, in 79 AD, with the massive volcanic eruption, the Iseum alone was the sole temple to have been completely re-built.
 Principal devotees of this temple were women, free men, and slaves. Initiates of the Isis cult worshipped a compassionate goddess who promised eventual salvation and a perpetual relationship throughout life and after death. The temple itself was reconstructed in honor of a 6 year-old boy by his free man father, Numerius, to allow the child to enter elite society. Many scenes from the temple are re-created in the villas of wealthy of Pompeians, indicating that citizens visited this temple for political, economic, or social reasons.
 This small and almost intact temple was among one of the first discoveries during the excavation of Pompeii in 1764. The original table is housed in the Museo Archeologico in Naples.
 Our spectacular pair of bronze and marble reproductions were made in Italy and date to the 19th Century when wealthy Europeans and Americans would go on the "Grand Tour" to visit all the classical sites, returning with luxury goods such as these tables to furnish their opulent homes.
 Each one is 29 inches tall and 23 inches in diameter.

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