3rd century ce

A collection of ancient Roman rings, all of which are gold save for the ring in the middle of the top row, which is gilt bronze. The rings with gems have cabochons of either amethyst, carnelian, and glass. They all date to sometime between the 2nd to 3rd centuries CE. Image from Bonhams.

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The Legacy of Ancient Palmyra

The intentional destruction of Palmyra’s best-preserved monuments by ISIS in 2015 and 2017 was an attempt to erase its illustrious history and deprive current, and future, generations access to these remarkable vestiges of a past civilization.

The devastation unleashed in Syria today forces a renewed interpretation of the early prints and photographs presented in an new online-only exhibition about the Legacy of Ancient Palmyra.

They gain more significance as examples of cultural documents that can encourage a deeper investment in understanding humanity’s past achievements relevant to all historic sites. Understanding Palmyra through these invaluable accounts preserves its memory and connects us with its grandeur and enduring legacy.

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Twin Mausolea

Imbriogon (Demircili), Turkey

2-3rd centuries CE

Midway between Uzuncaburç and Silifke, the village of Demircili retains some Roman mausolea of the IInd or IIIrd century CE. They were built outside the town of Imbriogon, the scanty ruins of which are barely visible in the fields to the west of the road.
The mausolea were built on commanding locations and therefore have always been very visible, yet unlike the town, they are almost intact as if they were protected by a sort of awe.

The overall design of the mausolea with columns and a standard entablature still produces the effect of small temples.

The small size of the door in one mausoleum and the remaining part of a relief showing a couple in the other one indicate the actual purpose of the two buildings.

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Northern Mausoleum (behind it a tomb cut into the rock)

Imbriogon (Demircili), Turkjey

2-3rd centuries CE

The lower storey of the mausolea was the actual burial chamber which housed the sarcophagi of the deceased, whereas the upper storey was used for funerary rites and anniversaries.

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Mithraic Sanctuary Uncovered in Corsica 

A sanctuary dedicated to the god Mithras was uncovered in Corsica. The building was erected within the ancient port city of Mariana in the 2nd century CE.  It is the first evidence has been found of Mithraism practiced in ancient Corsica. 

Mithras is a Persian solar deity whose cult was appropriated by Roman military in the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE.  Very little is known about the actual religion because it is mystery cult; ritual practices were conducted in secret and the information that was written about the religion is fragmentary and unreliable. What is known for sure about the religion is that it was exclusively for men and that ritual feasting was a common ritual practice.

Artifacts found at the sanctuary include, several bronze bells and a broken altar relief depicting Mithras slaying a bull (shown above).

Of all the classical manifestations of the primordial Great
Goddess who called Hermes into the world as the prototype of the
secret lover, Hecate is the most Hermetic. As a messenger
(angelos) she must be winged, just like her purely celestial
Doppelgängerin, Iris. Like Hermes, Hecate guides souls; and at
crossroads, represented by the Hecataia which were built up on
three-cornered pillars, she appears just as out of place in the
classical world as do the four-cornered roadside Herms. At every
new moon she there received cakes and smoked offerings, as did
Hermes. With Hermes she guards the gates and with him, too,
brings wealth and good fortune to barns.
Karl Kerenyi “Hermes Guide of Souls”

A detail of a 3rd century CE Roman statue of Hecate (or Hekate), goddess of the Moon. As here, she is often depicted having three heads and bodies. (Vatican Museums, Rome).

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Nymphaem of the Tritons

Hierapolis, Phrygia, Turkey

3rd century CE

70 m long

The Nymphaem of the Tritons, along with the Nymphaeum near the Temple of Apollo, was one of the two large monumental fountains of the city. The building was composed of a basin 70m long, opened onto the street, and had a façade with two flaps, on which were niches to accommodate statues.
The systematic excavations of the monuments began in 1993, lead to the recovery of the elements of the marble architectural and figured decoration, which had collapsed in the large basin and was covered by layers of travertine. Of particular interest were the slabs with battles between Greeks and Amazons and reliefs with personifications of rivers and springs. The style of the reliefs, the architectural elements, and the dedication to the Emperor Severus Alexander Severus engraved on the architrave, allow its construction to be dated to the first half of the 3rd century CE.

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Hecate

Hecate or Hekate (Greek Ἑκάτη) is a goddess in Greek religion and mythology, most often shown holding two torches or a key and in later periods depicted in triple form. She was variously associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, dogs, light, the Moon, magic, witchcraft, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, necromancy, and sorcery. She is a pre-Olympian chthonic goddess and appears in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and in Hesiod’s Theogony, where she is promoted strongly as a great goddess. In the post-Christian writings of the Chaldean Oracles (2nd-3rd century CE) she was regarded with (some) rulership over earth, sea and sky, as well as a more universal role as Saviour (Soteira), Mother of Angels and the Cosmic World Soul. She was one of the main deities worshiped in Athenian households as a protective goddess and one who bestowed prosperity and daily blessings on the family. source | edit

Ritual Purity in Hellenism

Ritual purity featured heavily in worship in ancient Greece, with water basins called perorrhanteria, established near the entrances to temples; and stoas found bearing inscriptions that command visitors to cleanse themselves before entering the sanctuary. The nature of ritual purity changed over time and location, as with most aspects of worship in ancient Greece, but the ritual act of purification remained an important one.

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