1 March 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

Terracotta Figurines of the ancient cult of the goddess Cybele discovered in Pompeii Domus

Archaeologists unearthed 13 terracotta figurines during recent excavations in the Domus adjacent to the “House of Leda and the Swan” along Via del Vesuvio in Pompeii.

The 13 clay figurines, approximately 15 centimeters high, were associated with the cult of the goddess Cybele. According to archaeologists, the figurines may be associated with Kybele and Attis, telling the story of the mother goddess’s tragic love for a mortal.

Attis was a handsome young man born in Phrygia. Cybele, also known as Kybele, was a powerful goddess associated with fertility, abundance, and nature. Attis became involved in a forbidden relationship with one of Cybele’s priestesses, which began to undermine his devotion to Cybele.

Cybele was furious at Attis’ betrayal, which drove her to a state of madness. In a fit of frenzy, Attis castrated himself in a moment of extreme anguish and eventually died. After his death, he was transformed into a pine tree.

Overwhelmed by grief, Cybele sought permission from Zeus to grant Attis immortality. Attis became revered as a symbol associated with Cybele and was celebrated as a representation of life after death, symbolizing the cycle of nature, loss, and rebirth.

Some of the figurines unearthed at Pompeii. Others depicted the head of a cockerel, an almond, a walnut and a pine cone. Photo: Pompeiisites

The miniature clay sculptures were found upright on a horizontal plane, probably on a shelf that once hung inside the home. Some statues were human figures, while others included a chicken head and a pine cone.

The statues found bear a striking resemblance to figures often found in Christmas nativity scenes.

‘Although the Christmas creche was obviously not a tradition in the pagan Roman city, experts believe the statues were arranged in a way that suggests they were part of an ancient ritual, ‘ archaeologists shared in the announcement.

The statues provide a glimpse at religious practices more than 2,000 years ago and ‘could potentially provide a new understanding of the influences and traditions that shaped early representations of nativity scenes,’ BNN reports.

Glass-pinecone. Photo: Pompeii archaeological park
Glass-pinecone. Photo: Pompeii Archaeological Park

The sculptures were discovered near the House of Leda and the Swan, which gets its name from a sensual fresco depicting the Greek myth discovered in one of its rooms in 2019 and is currently undergoing excavation and restoration work. The Domus is believed to have belonged to a rich merchant who wanted to reflect his high level of culture by adorning his home with myth-inspired frescoes.

Pompeii, an ancient Roman city nestled near present-day Naples, Italy, gained monumental significance due to the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. This eruption engulfed the city in volcanic ash and preserved its remains for centuries, offering a poignant snapshot of life in antiquity.

Today, visitors wander through remarkably preserved streets, houses, temples, and theaters, providing a vivid glimpse into the daily routines and architectural grandeur of the Roman era. Pompeii’s compelling narrative of destruction and preservation continues to captivate global interest, serving as an immersive testament to both ancient history and natural calamity.

Pompeiisites

Cover Photo: Pompeiisites

Related Articles

Skeleton Of “Spanish Monk” in Palace of Cortés Turns Out To Be An Aztec Woman

26 January 2024

26 January 2024

Recent research at the Palace of Cortés in Cuernavaca, Mexico, has revealed a grave historical error. For 50 years, it...

Remains of 2 houses belonging to the founding period of the city were unearthed in the ancient city of Hierapolis

5 November 2021

5 November 2021

During this year’s excavations in the ancient city of Hierapolis-Pamukkale in Turkey’s Aegean province Denizli, the remains of two houses...

A massive Rune stone found under a kitchen floor in Denmark declared treasure

8 June 2023

8 June 2023

A couple in Denmark discovered a massive rune stone weighing approximately 900 kilograms during a home renovation project that planned...

Yale Archaeologist discovered an “arcade” of rock-cut ancient mancala game boards in Kenya

2 February 2024

2 February 2024

Veronica Waweru, a Yale University archaeologist conducting fieldwork in Kenya, discovered an “arcade” of ancient Mancala game boards carved into...

Norwegian Boy in Search of Granddad’s Wedding Ring Finds 1500-year-old Roman Jewellery

11 August 2021

11 August 2021

Sander Magnus Vang (12) needed to find his grandfather’s lost wedding ring. Instead, he found a 1500-year-old ring. The golden...

Neo-Assyrian underground complex discovered under a house in southeastern Turkey

11 May 2022

11 May 2022

An underground Iron Age complex has been found in Turkey that may have been used by a fertility cult during...

Researchers measure the impact of Population Pressure on Prehistoric Violence in Japan’s Yayoi Period

23 August 2021

23 August 2021

Are wars part of human nature? Do people tend to fight instinctively or do they war as a result of...

Love and hate in ancient times: Exploring Magical Texts

6 February 2024

6 February 2024

Love and hate are universal emotions that have persisted throughout human history. Ancient civilizations developed their own distinct methods of...

Researchers extract ancient DNA from a 2,900-year-old clay brick

6 September 2023

6 September 2023

Researchers have successfully extracted ancient DNA from a 2,900-year-old clay brick, uncovering a wealth of information about the plant life...

8,000-year-old Musical Instrument found in northwest Turkey

4 July 2021

4 July 2021

Archaeologists in northwestern Turkey’s Bilecik on Tuesday discovered a musical instrument that dates back to an estimated 8,000 years. During...

Mandrin cave in France shows Homo Sapiens arrived in Europe almost 10,000 years earlier than thought

10 February 2022

10 February 2022

According to archaeological research published in Science magazine on Wednesday, Homo sapiens ventured into the Neanderthal territory in Europe far...

In Lowbury Hill Mystery of Anglo-Saxons buried 1,400 years ago may soon be solved

8 March 2023

8 March 2023

The mystery surrounding the remains of two Anglo-Saxons buried 1,400 years ago in south Oxfordshire, identified as a man and...

Important archaeological find in the seas of Sicily: Archaic stone anchors found off Syracuse

24 November 2023

24 November 2023

During a joint operation by the Maritime Superintendency of the Sicilian Region and the Diving Unit of the Guardia di...

Researchers excavating the burial site along Caleta Vítor Bay in northern Chile found an Inka Tunic or unku

15 February 2023

15 February 2023

A recently published study, co-authored by a research professor at George Washington University, looks at the Inka Empire’s (also known...

A mosaic made by the freed slave to thank God was found in the church excavation

10 January 2022

10 January 2022

During the season excavation of the 6th-century Holy Apostles Church, located in an orange grove in the Arsuz district of...