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Figures de dieux

Francis Prost
Valérie Huet
Sylvia Estienne
et al.

Troisième partie. Effigies, éphémères

Ephemerality in Roman Votive Images1

Peter Stewart

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Extrait du texte

There are many aspects of modern religious practice which provide at least superficial analogies for Greek and Roman ritual, rendering them less remote if not necessarily easier to interpret. Such is the case with the veneration of divine images in Catholic or Orthodox Europe, for example, or the polytheistic Hinduism of India. The use of votive offerings in both of those traditions is also especially illuminating because it fleshes out a manner of using objects and images in cult, which for the classical world is only selectively attested by ancient written sources and the disturbed material traces uncovered by archaeology.

Consequently this paper begins with a monument of contemporary cult in southern India, even though its real subject is the use of votive images in the Roman world. Figures 1 to 4 illustrate a kind of cult site quite common throughout India2. It is an “ant-hill” (more accurately a termite mound) which is adorned with offerings of various kinds. Located in a public...


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