The Sacred Area of Herculaneum

The Sacred Area of Herculaneum


The Sacred Area of Herculaneum  The Sacred Area of Herculaneum

Священное место (Геркуланум)Terrace M. Nonius Balbus was built after the earthquake of 62 years. Local proconsul politician M. Nonius Balbus gave part of his wealth to the construction of a number of public buildings. He did not forget about his family and built several statues dedicated to himself. So even today we can look at the face of this famous person in the life of Herculaneum.

Terrace of M. Nonius Balbus lies at the foot of the gangway that leads to Cardo IV. Entrance (a) opens onto a rectangular square that leads to Suburban termae (b) in its eastern part.

The sacred place of Herculaneum is located in the suburban district of the city. Here were located the temple of Venus and the temple dedicated to the four deities of Minerva (she is Athena), Vulcan (the blacksmith god working in the depths of volcanoes, Mercury (the god of commerce and thieves) and Neptune (the god of the sea). By the way, it should be noted that the ancient Romans they did not know that Vesuvius is a dangerous volcano, in front of the temples in the open sky there are marble altars on which they burned gifts to the gods, usually carcasses of animals.

The Sacred Place of Herculaneum lies to the west of the terrace of M. Nonius Balbus. Access to the site goes through the passage lane (a) on its eastern part, where the ramp from Cardo IV Street joins the terrace. The square was built over vaulted boat houses or docks, on the ancient shore of the Gulf of Naples.

In the far corner were rooms that might have been used for storage. The first of the two temples (b) was dedicated to the goddess Venus, the Roman version of the Greek Aphrodite, the goddess of love. The building was completely restored after an earthquake in 62 years. The restoration was funded by Vibidia Saturninea and her son A. Furius Saturninea. The small temple of Zella stands on a small podium (photo below). The temple has a vaulted ceiling and retains part of its original painted stucco, whose paintings are based on the theme of the garden. In front of the honored pedestal was once a marble altar.


Священное место (Геркуланум)  Священное место (Геркуланум)

The second temple (C), also restored after the earthquake, was dedicated to the four gods Vulcan, Neptune, Mercury and Minerva, as evidenced by the neo - attic reliefs that were torn from the building by the force of pyroclastic flow , the Reliefs were recently discovered and their copies were placed in Celle. This temple is also placed on a small podium. In the extreme Northwest corner of the square are the remains of another building (D), the use of which has yet to be determined. Note: the originals of the four reliefs shown here can be seen at the National archaeological Museum in Naples.