Obelisks in Roman Religion

This collegium and forum are dedicated to the study, discussion, re-creation and application of classical Roman and Greek religion and philosophy.

Moderator: Aldus Marius

Obelisks in Roman Religion

Postby Titus Iulius Nero on Sun Dec 10, 2006 6:10 am

Salve

I have noticed on numerous accounts that the obelisk often pops up in Roman art and architecture when dealing with the Gods.

I was wondering if there is any info out there or if anyone here knows the possible significance of this more Egyptian piece of architecture in relation to the Gods of Rome and what it may mean.
User avatar
Titus Iulius Nero
I. Auxiliary
I. Auxiliary
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2005 4:24 am
Location: NY, USA

Postby Cleopatra Aelia on Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:24 pm

Salve Aeneas,

I'm far from being an expert on this topic. The only obelisks I know are those which are spread all over the urbs being Egyptian monuments brought to Rome by Emperors as souvenirs from Egypt. Later on they were transferred by the Church from their first places to where you find them now, e.g. on St. Peter's Square etc.
Cleopatra Aelia
alias Medusa Gladiatrix
User avatar
Cleopatra Aelia
Curialis
Curialis
 
Posts: 353
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 12:57 pm
Location: Hamburg, Germania

Postby Titus Iulius Nero on Sat Dec 16, 2006 3:16 am

Well from the few images i have seen, they are not in relation with Egyptian monuments like the ones you speak which can be found all over Rome. But i had seen a sculpted mural of Roman deities and a winged one as well, who i think was one of the four winds, but it also depicted the obelisk as well. I believe that particular one was from Ostia. In one of my books there is a shield that features the Magna Mater with Attis, the lions, etc... and along with it the Obelisk.

i may have found other images, but i can't quite remember where i saw them, but i know i did.
User avatar
Titus Iulius Nero
I. Auxiliary
I. Auxiliary
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2005 4:24 am
Location: NY, USA

Postby Horatius Piscinus on Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:23 am

Salve Aeneas

Hmm, that sounds as though that the use of an obelisk in association with the Magna Mater was due to a syncretism. In other words, identifying the Magna Mater with Isis just as Isis worships came to identify all earth Goddesses in Isis. I would suspect the shield you mention is a relatively late image.

And the winged figure of which you mention is possibly the image of an apotheosis. The image of a human rising with wings into the company of the Gods might have an obelisk for the same reason as above. Where it probably would appear is in a bas relief of the apotheosis of Antinonus since he had died in Egypt. There is another bas relief, though, where a man and woman are being carried in apotheosis by a winged figured. To the right foreground Roma raises her hand in a gesture of greeting. In the lower left foreground is a figure who holds a column that could be mistaken as an obelisk.

Vale optime
M Horatius Piscinus

Sapere aude!
User avatar
Horatius Piscinus
Curialis
Curialis
 
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2002 7:39 am
Location: Ohio, USA


Return to Collegium Religionum et Philosophiarum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests

cron